OPEC Lifts Non-OPEC Oil Production Growth Forecast – OPEC revised up on Tuesday its 2018 forecast for total non-OPEC supply growth, while it left unchanged its projection for world oil demand growth at 1.65 million bpd this year – OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production

OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production  

OPEC Lifts Non-OPEC Oil Production Growth Forecast

OPEC NonOPEC Oil Production

OPEC revised up on Tuesday its 2018 forecast for total non-OPEC supply growth, while it left unchanged its projection for world oil demand growth at 1.65 million bpd this year.

In its closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report published today, OPEC revised up its non-OPEC supply growth estimate by 130,000 bpd compared to last month’s report, and now expects non-OPEC supply growth of 1.86 million bpd in 2018 compared to 2017.

“World oil demand in 2018 is forecast to grow by 1.65 mb/d, broadly unchanged from the previous month’s assessment, to stand at 98.85 mb/d,” OPEC said.

Total OECD commercial oil stocks—OPEC’s current gauge of the oil market rebalancing—were 26 million barrels below the latest five-year average, as per preliminary data for April.

Looking to the rest of 2018, the cartel pointed to “pronounced uncertainty about the second half of the year.”

“While oil demand in the US, China and India shows some upside potential, downside risks might limit this potential going forward, including a slowdown in the pace of economic growth in some major economies, stronger impact of policy reform with regard to retail prices, and further substitution toward natural gas,” according to OPEC.

OPEC’s crude oil production increased by 35,400 bpd from April, to 31.869 million bpd in May, as Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Iraq boosted production that was partially offset by lower production in Nigeria, Venezuela, and Libya.

Related: Venezuela Won’t Have Enough Oil To Export By 2019

Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer, raised its production by 85,500 bpd to 9.987 million bpd, according to OPEC’s secondary sources. The Kingdom self-reported a production increase of 161,400 bpd to 10.030 million bpd, just below its ceiling of 10.058 million bpd.

According to secondary sources, the biggest drop in May was registered in Nigeria, whose production fell by 53,500 bpd to 1.711 million bpd, as pipeline outages hampered production last month.

Venezuela was a close second in terms of a production decline in May, with output plummeting again, by 42,500 bpd to below 1.4 million bpd—1.392 million bpd, according to secondary sources.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprcie.com

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Sustainable packaging requires a flexible supply chain – Many companies across the globe are attempting to develop sustainable packaging materials to reduce environmental impact – Sustainable packaging supply chain

Sustainable packaging supply chain Sustainable packaging supply chain  Sustainable packaging supply chain  Sustainable packaging supply chain  Sustainable packaging supply chain  Sustainable packaging supply chain  

Sustainable packaging requires a flexible supply chain

Sustainable packaging supply chain

Many companies across the globe are attempting to develop sustainable packaging materials to reduce environmental impact. However, developing the materials required is a time-consuming and expensive process, and companies need to build flexibility into their supply chain while regularly updating consumers on their progress to remain in the competition, according to GlobalData.

The company’s report, ‘Innovation Scenarios in Sustainable Packaging Materials’, reveals that two-thirds of consumers across the globe think that living an ethical or sustainable lifestyle is an important aspect in developing a feeling of well-being. This increased focus on environmental impact is creating new opportunities for the manufacturers of sustainable packaging materials.

Mayu Teeven, associate analyst of FMCG at GlobalData, says: “Pressure from governments and consumers is forcing companies to better track the environmental impact of their packaging. However, concerns remain over cost, barrier properties and product safety, product functionality, and scalability that must be addressed for sustainable materials to increase their market share.”

While analysing the packaging landscape, the report states that glass packaging is seen as environmentally friendly yet inconvenient. On the other hand, even though the growth of flexible packaging across many categories is driven by cost and convenience, it will come under threat due to the negative sustainability credentials many plastics have.

GlobalData has identified micro fibrillated cellulose, polyvinyl alcohol, ethylene vinyl alcohol and polyethylene furanoate as the materials that impact innovation in sustainable packaging markets. MFC specifically is a 100% renewable material based on cellulose fibres extracted from wood. While the use of MFC is currently niche and severely limited by production capability, GlobalData found that it has the potential to replace existing paper and board in food and drink cartons.

Teeven explains: “Consumers in regions such as Asia-Pacific are used to drinks being served in a carton format, which means there will be fewer obstacles to increasing adoption.

“EVOH, which is mainly made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, is relatively common in East Asian markets such as Japan. It is suited for a wide range of applications, but its environmental benefits can be hard to communicate to consumers as it may not be biodegradable.”

Teeven concludes: “The biggest challenge for producers is to convince consumers that these sustainable packaging materials are worth the cost. Although there are long-term savings to be made by manufacturers moving to more sustainable materials, in the short term prices will likely need to increase to cover the research and development costs of developing new materials and upgrading machinery in factories to work with the new packs.”

Related Topics

-HOW BIG BRANDS ARE TRYING TO PULL OFF A RECYCLING REVOLUTION  – RECYCLING REVOLUTION SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING

-Testing ‘recyclability’ with an eye on sorting systems – Testing protocols developed by the Association of Plastic Recyclers give brand owners the chance to prove their plastic packaging can be correctly sorted at materials recovery facilities – Testing recyclability sorting systems

-UK company adds Max-AI robotic sorting technology – MaxAI robotic sorting technology

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PE prices in Europe are rising in June – Prices of polyethylene (PE) in Europe are expected to grow in June, buyers and sellers note, but the rise in PE prices has not yet covered the increase in raw material quotations – PE prices Europe June

PE prices Europe June PE prices Europe June   PE prices Europe June   PE prices Europe June   PE prices Europe June   PE prices Europe June  

PE prices in Europe are rising in June –  PE prices Europe June  

PE prices Europe June   MOSCOW – Prices of polyethylene (PE) in Europe are expected to grow in June, buyers and sellers note, but the rise in PE prices has not yet covered the increase in raw material quotations, ICIS reports.

The contract price of ethylene in Europe for June supplies was agreed at the level of EUR1,150 per tonne, which is EUR63 per ton higher than the level of May.

Initial prices grew rapidly, buyers expected an increase of about EUR50 per tonne and above. According to sources on the market, contracts tied to the price of ethylene will grow by EUR65 per ton, but freely agreed prices take time to settle.

Deliveries of imports from new North American PE capacities are still expected in the market, but so far their volume has been low. Most players expect that by the end of the year the volumes of supplies will grow.

It is expected that the June price for PE will be finally agreed at the very end of the month, when the contract price for ethylene in July is likely to be settled.

Earlier it was reported that European producers went for a more substantial increase in the export prices of certain types of polyethylene (PE) for June supplies to the CIS countries than the increase in the price of the monomer. The increase in the cost of ethylene in the region has led to a proportional increase in export prices for low-density polyethylene (HDPE) for customers from the CIS, while in the segment of high-density polyethylene (LDPE), the price increase is half the size of the increase in the price of ethylene. Negotiations for June shipments of HDPE were conducted in the range EUR1 080-1 153 per tonne, FCA, which is EUR63-80 per ton higher than the May price level.

mrcplast.ru

Author:                Anna Larionova

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Asia PTA supply to lengthen in H2 on India, China plant start-ups – Asia PTA supply India China plant

Asia PTA supply India China plant Asia PTA supply India China plant  Asia PTA supply India China plant  Asia PTA supply India China plant  Asia PTA supply India China plant  Asia PTA supply India China plant  Asia PTA supply India China plant  Asia PTA supply India China plant  

Asia PTA supply to lengthen in H2 on India, China plant start-ups

 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Supply of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) in Asia is expected to lengthen in the second half of 2018 as new capacities will start up in the major markets of India and China, amid a slowdown in demand.

Major plants will have resumed production after unplanned outages to ease the current global supply tightness that has been driving up Asian prices, while demand typically weakens in the third quarter.

Asian PTA prices may start to come under pressure as fresh supply will hit the markets when new major regional plants start production in the third quarter.

“Market sentiment is currently pessimistic about the outlook, however, this can quickly change if we see a sudden uptick in downstream demand,” a China-based producer said.

In India, JBF Group’s 1.25m tonne/year PTA unit in Mangalore is expected to start up in the third quarter, although the schedule is still fluid, according to several market participants.

In China, Fuhaichuang Petrochemical, formerly known as Dragon Aromatics (Zhangzhou), is planning to resume operations at its complex in the third quarter this year after a prolonged shutdown.

Its petrochemical complex in Zhangzhou has a 4.5m tonne/year PTA plant, which is comprised of three 1.5m tonne/year lines, two of which have been in operation since end-2017. The company is likely to restart the third line once smooth operations at its upstream paraxylene (PX) unit at the site is achieved, market players said.

In Europe, Indorama Ventures Portugal plans to start up in July an idled 700,000 tonne/year PTA unit in Sines. Thailand-based Indorama Ventures Ltd acquired the plant from Portuguese Artlant PTA in late 2017.

All these factors should see the narrowing of the price gap between China’s import and domestic markets as early as next month, after widening steadily from March to May.

As of 12 June, the gap stood at $96/tonne, down from the peak of about $111/tonne on 30 May.

Asia PTA supply India China plant

Asia’s PTA prices are currently steady at high levels, with regional end-users preferring to procure cargoes on a need-to basis and were not keen on building inventories.

Future movement will depend on market conditions in the downstream polyester industry.

The wide price gap in China’s import and domestic markets have been deterring Chinese buyers from tapping the international spot market for supplies since March, while demand was healthy, especially in the downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) markets.

Tight global supply in the first half saw Asian producers shipping out cargoes to the Middle East, as well as Europe, which was hit by unplanned outages in Belgium and Poland in April.

In Europe, BP Chemical on 15 April declared a force majeure at its Belgium PTA unit, and declared a second force majeure on 17 May; while PKN Orlen on 23 April declared a force majeure at its Wloclawek PTA unit in Poland which was subsequently lifted on 2 May, with spot cargoes from the plant limited until after a planned maintenance in September/October 2018.

Within Asia, the southeastern region has had PTA plant outages and had to procure cargoes from the northeast in the past two months.

Regional supply tightened further with the unexpected shutdown of Hanwha General Chemical’s 700,000 tonne/year PTA unit in Daesan, prompting a force majeure declaration on 21 May.

In the first half of 2018, strong growth in demand in the downstream polyester markets in Asia, particularly China, supported the rally in PTA prices amid tight supply.

Downstream polyester markets were enjoying positive margins, keeping demand for feedstock PTA healthy.

In the key China market, operating rates at polyester units were higher compared with the previous year.

Asia PTA supply India China plant

The country’s PTA production losses in January-June 2018, on the other hand, were estimated at around 1.34m tonnes due to planned and unplanned outages.

Asia PTA supply India China plant

Asia’s PTA producers were largely enjoying healthy margins, on the back of steady demand growth in the downstream polyester markets. Firmer upstream energy and feedstock PX prices have also buoyed up PTA prices.

In January to May 2018, Brent crude traded at $66.92-76.16/bbl, up by about 25% year on year, while PX prices were at $938-994/tonne, representing a 15% increase over the same period.

Asia PTA supply India China plant

Focus article by Samuel Wong

Picture: Inside a textile factory in Jiangsu province, China. Textiles are the main downstream of purified terepthalic acid (PTA). (Source: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock)

By Samuel Wong
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BASF invests in carbon recycling company LanzaTech – BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech

BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech  BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech  BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech  BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech  BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech  BASF invests carbon recycling LanzaTech  

BASF invests in carbon recycling company LanzaTech

  • Unique biotechnological procedure for using gaseous waste as a source for raw materials
  • Technology with potential for applications in the chemical industry

BASF invests in carbon recycling company LanzaTech Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Chicago, USA – BASF Venture Capital GmbH is to invest in LanzaTech, a biotech company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Using special microbes, LanzaTech has developed a technology for gas fermentation that first enables ethanol to be produced from residual gases containing carbon monoxide and hydrogen. By re-using waste streams instead of incinerating them, industrial companies can reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

LanzaTech’s patented technology is now being deployed at commercial scale in the steel industry where carbon monoxide from residual gases (off-gases) can be converted into ethanol. Ethanol can be used as the raw material for the production of diesel, gasoline or jet fuel and as a precursor to plastics and polymers. The company’s product portfolio includes additional biochemicals besides ethanol, such as chemical specialties and intermediates, that can be used as raw materials in other chemical production processes. The technology is also potentially suitable for treating and recycling waste streams in the chemical industry and for municipal waste disposal.

“LanzaTech offers a promising technology that allows currently unused industrial residue and waste streams to be recycled,” says Markus Solibieda, Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital. “We support our customers and society with chemistry that makes optimum use of available resources, and we are working to integrate sustainability increasingly in all our business processes. One part of this is investment in technologies that help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

“Investment from BASF will help us realize our goal of a Carbon Smart Future,” says Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “BASF’s expertise in creating sustainable chemistry that benefits society aligns with our carbon recycling vision, where we capture and reuse waste carbon to make useful everyday items, displacing fossil feedstocks and keeping the sky blue for all.”

About BASF Venture Capital
BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC) was founded in 2001 and has offices in Europe, the U.S., China and Israel. The aim of BVC is to generate new growth potential for BASF by investing in new companies and funds. The focus of investment is on chemical products and new materials, software and services as well as innovative and digital business models in the broader field of chemistry. Further information
at  www.basf-vc.de.

About BASF
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com.

About LanzaTech
LanzaTech has developed a unique microbial capability that captures and recycles a broad spectrum of gases for fuel and chemical production with over 50 different molecules demonstrated. Proprietary microbes combined with innovative approaches in bioreactor design and process development have enabled rapid scale up. The first 2 commercial units converting steel mill waste gases to fuels are being built; in China with Shougang and in Belgium with the world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal. Across the supply chain, LanzaTech promotes a “Carbon Smart™” circular economy, where both gas providers and end users can choose to be resource efficient by recycling or “sequestering” carbon into new products rather than making them from fossil reserves.

Founded in New Zealand, LanzaTech has raised more than US$250 million from investors including Khosla Ventures, K1W1, Qiming Venture Partners, Petronas, Mitsui, Primetals, China International Capital Corp, Suncor, China International Investment Corporation (CITIC) and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

BASF Media Contact:
Inga Franke
+49 173 3099242
 inga.a.franke@basf.com
LanzaTech Media Contact:
Freya Burton
+1 630 347 8054
 freya@lanzatech.com
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Colour Tone to urge producers to ensure recyclability of non-clear plastics at PDM 2018 – Colour Tone producers recyclability nonclear plastics PDM 2018

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Colour Tone to urge producers to ensure recyclability of non-clear plastics at PDM 2018

by Grace Nolan

by Grace Nolan

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First bio-based FDME pilot plant opens – First biobased FDME pilot plant

First biobased FDME pilot plant First biobased FDME pilot plant  First biobased FDME pilot plant  First biobased FDME pilot plant  First biobased FDME pilot plant  First biobased FDME pilot plant  First biobased FDME pilot plant  First biobased FDME pilot plant  

First bio-based FDME pilot plant opens

By Scott Jenkins

The world’s first pilot plant for manufacturing bio-based furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) began operating last month in Decatur, Ill.

A collaboration between DuPont Industrial Biosciences (Wilmington, Del.; www.biosciences.dupont.com) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM; Chicago, Ill.; www.adm.com), the 60-ton/yr pilot facility represents the next step in an ongoing commercialization process for bio-based FDME (see Chem. Eng., March 2016, p. 9; www.chemengonline.com/collaboration-lowers-cost-bio-based-fdme-process).

Bio-based FDME is made from cornstarch-derived fructose starting material, and will be used to make a range of bio-based chemicals and plastics. The fructose is dehydrated and the products from the reaction are oxidized to form furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA). The FDCA iFirst biobased FDME pilot plant s then reacted with methanol, resulting in FDME. DuPont and ADM say plastics derived from bio-based FDME will ultimately be more cost-effective, efficient and sustainable than their petroleum-based counterparts.

One of the first FDME-based polymers under development by DuPont is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol). PTF is a 100% renewable polymer, DuPont and ADM say, that, in bottling applications, can be used to create plastic bottles that are lighter-weight, more sustainable and better performing. Research by the two companies shows that PTF has up to 10–15 times the CO 2 barrier performance of traditional PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, which results in a longer shelf life. Improved barrier performance could allow lighter-weight packaging designs for beverages.

The two companies say they hope to further scale up the FDME production process in the coming months.

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-Synvina extends PEF pilot phase – Amsterdam-based Synvina CV is planning to extend the pilot phase of its FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) production by 24 to 36 months in order to “optimise” future commercial-scale production – Synvina PEF pilot phase

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DSM launches innovative fermentation solution that improves ethanol production – DSM fermentation solution ethanol production

DSM fermentation solution ethanol production DSM fermentation solution ethanol production  DSM fermentation solution ethanol production  DSM fermentation solution ethanol production  DSM fermentation solution ethanol production  DSM fermentation solution ethanol production  DSM fermentation solution ethanol production  

DSM launches innovative fermentation solution that improves ethanol production

Parsippany NJ, US,

eBOOST™ provides consistent increased ethanol yield while significantly reducing glycerol production

DSM fermentation solution ethanol productionRoyal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, today introduced eBOOST™, a complete solution for ethanol producers seeking higher yield and significantly reduced glycerol production in starch conversion processes. The launch took place at the annual Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Omaha, Nebraska, USA (11-13 June 2018). Developed by DSM’s Bio-based Products & Services business, the solution includes yeast; a license to proprietary, patented technology; and technical service from DSM’s local team.

To establish the comprehensive viability of this solution, DSM undertook several full-scale application trials. The trials demonstrated that the solution enables a step change in performance for the ethanol market, increasing ethanol yields up to 6% and reducing glycerol formation more effectively than other industry-standard yeast products. This superior performance was demonstrated during continuous use over extensive periods, resulting in clear benefits to plant owners and managers looking to improve their plant economics and reduce energy consumption to make them more competitive and profitable.

One such trial took place with Corn Plus, an ethanol plant located in Minnesota, USA, that is owned and supported by more than 600 local shareholders. “In working with DSM, we saw a near 50% reduction in glycerol production – this is very significant,” said Mike Jerke, Corn Plus General Manager. “Beyond that, DSM provided a high level of attention to the technical side with people on site to guide us through the process. Having a vendor who is willing to deploy resources in this way is a good thing.”

Available in dry and cream forms, eBoost™ is tailored to provide ethanol producers with an easy-to-use solution that will optimize their ethanol production and improve their profitability. The solution is manufactured and commercially available in the United States.

DSM is committed to delivering unique and differentiating technologies and solutions that enable the biofuel industry to optimize its processes and maximize its yields and profits in a sustainable way,” said Atul Thakrar, President of DSM Bio-based Products & Services. “eBOOST is the newest example of our efforts to bring customers the latest in yeast technology, allowing them to deliver the best fermentation results and helping to advance the entire biofuels industry.”

DSM continues to invest in the biofuel industry and has a dedicated team working on the development and commercialization of products and services for the industry. Global research facilities exist for the business in Illinois, USA, and in Delft, the Netherlands.

To learn more about DSM’s range of yeast and enzyme solutions that enhance performance, visit DSM at booth 1014 at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop on 11-13 June 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska, USA or by visiting www.biofuelthefuture.com.

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-Russia Eyes Petrochemicals As Answer To Crude Oil Reliance – On a sprawling construction site in Western Siberia, about 20,000 workers are busy building what will be one of the world’s five biggest petrochemical plants – On a sprawling construction site in Western Siberia, about 20,000 workers are busy building what will be one of the world’s five biggest petrochemical plants, part of a play by Russia to capture more of the value from the oil it produces – Russia Petrochemicals Crude Oil Reliance

-Asia petrochemicals outlook, w/c May 14 -Asian petrochemical prices are seen likely to continue to trend higher this week amid support from bullish crude futures – Asia petrochemicals outlook

-Asia petrochemicals outlook, w/c May 7 – Petrochemical market participants will be keeping a close eye on developments upstream this week, particularly the fate of the US-Iran nuclear agreement and its impact on crude oil, which in turn will influence aromatics and MTBE markets – Asia petrochemicals outlook

-EMEA petrochemicals outlook, w/c Apr 23 – The European ethylene market looks stable as the recent length has cleared following a spate of exports to Asia – EMEA petrochemicals outlook

-Americas petrochemicals outlook: w/c Apr 16 – Spot ethylene has been on the rise, 0.50 cent/lb higher than the record lows seen April 9 after prompt-month was heard offered at 14 cents/lb MtB Nova – Americas petrochemicals outlook

-Motiva considers ethylene, aromatics projects in US – Motiva Enterprises signed $8bn-10bn worth of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) covering process technologies for possible ethylene and aromatics units in the US – Motiva ethylene aromatics projects USA

-US spot ethylene falls to 16-year low amid tariff concerns – US spot ethylene traded at a 16-year low on Friday amid long supply and concerns about proposed Chinese tariffs on chemicals – USA spot ethylene chemicals

-The initial price for MEG in Europe for April deliveries fell by EUR20 per tonne – The initial contract price of monoethylene glycol (MEG) in Europe for April deliveries was agreed at the level of EUR965 per tonne, which is EUR20 per ton lower than the March contract prices – Price MEG Europe April

-China’s MEG up in anticipations of better supply-demand for Q2 – China’s MEG market has remained rangebound for around two weeks, and domestic spot prices shivered around 7,000yuan/mt – China MEG prices market

-Prices MEG in the US may fall in April  – It is expected that prices of monoethylene glycol (MEG) in the US will decline in April due to a weakening of demand between peak seasons – Prices MEG USA April 

-AFPM ’18: EQUATE’s US MEG plant begins construction phase – CEO – AFPM 2018 EQUATE USA MEG

-Sabic reduced the April price of MEG by USD55 per tonne – Sabic, the largest Saudi petrochemical company, has lowered the contract price of monoethylene glycol (MEG) to supply material to the Asian market in April at USD55 per tonne compared to the March price level – Sabic April price MEG

-MEGlobal lowered the April contract price of MEG in Asia by USD80 per tonne – MEGlobal, the world leader in the production of monoethylene glycol (MEG) and diethylene glycol (DG), set the April contract price for MEG for Asia at USD1,100 per tonne – MEGlobal April contract price MEG Asia4

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Improving nature’s tools for digesting plastic – Improving nature digesting plastic

Improving nature digesting plastic Improving nature digesting plastic   Improving nature digesting plastic   Improving nature digesting plastic   Improving nature digesting plastic   Improving nature digesting plastic   Improving nature digesting plastic   Improving nature digesting plastic  

Improving nature’s tools for digesting plastic

by Mary L. Martialay, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Improving nature digesting plastic
Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Enzymes found in nature can break down certain plastics, but not well enough to support industrial recycling and stem the scourge of plastic waste. Building on what nature has provided, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have improved the efficiency of a leaf and branch compost cutinase that breaks down polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the plastic used in clear and colored plastic water bottles and many other products. Researchers believe the enzyme can be further refined, offering a promising candidate to fuel limitless recycling of PET and possibly other plastics such as cellulose acetate.

In work recently published in the journal Biochemistry, the researchers used yeast cells to express the leaf and branch compost cutinase (LCC) modified by the addition of sugar molecules – or glycans – in two locations. The “glycosylated” modified enzyme retained at least half of its activity after 48 hours at 75 degrees Celsius, versus a previously reported half-life of 40 minutes for the unmodified enzyme at 70 degrees Celsius.

“We need plastics and other materials that retain good performance and, after use, can then be broken down by safe and mild processes to their original  for reuse,” said Richard Gross, lead author of the research, Constellation Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering, member of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rensselaer. “The goal should be zero waste and to do that, we have to build reuse into the design of a wide range of polymers and materials. This is an encouraging step toward that goal.”

“This promising advance, which is sorely needed as  pollution becomes an ever-greater threat to our environment, is a result of the diverse skill set and collaborative environment we have built at Rensselaer ” said Deepak Vashishth, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. “Dr. Gross’ research spans boundaries between biologics and biomanufacturing, and is certain to help us resolve the critical problems we face.”

With existing technologies, a plastic bottle isn’t so much recycled as down-cycled. After a single use, a high percentage of PET bottles go directly to landfills or are reused as other plastics such as PET fibers and fleece for clothes, carpet, bags, furniture, and packing materials. Eventually, down-cycled PET makes its way to landfills or other undesirable environments such as oceans and lakes, a fate many consumers are unaware of as they toss their water bottles in a recycling bin.

Breaking PET down into its building blocks – terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol – would enable the limitless reuse more commonly associated with other recyclable materials such as glass and metal. Some naturally occurring enzymes can break down PET, but not within the constraints of time and temperature required by an industrial recycling process. Many enzymes lose their activity at higher temperatures, and eventually denature. An enzyme suitable for industrial recycling must be able to operate at optimal temperature for breaking down PET, which is about 75 degree Celsius, and it must retain its activity long enough to do its job cost-effectively at that temperature.

LCC was initially discovered through metagenomic analysis of a leaf-branch compost, meaning scientists extracted DNA found in a compost irrespective of the organisms that produced it, and then used the DNA to express and catalogue enzymes that were present. A 2012 study published by unrelated researchers in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology showed that LCC was able to hydrolyze, or break down, PET, but lost activity quickly at higher temperatures. That attracted the attention of Gross, an expert on biocatalytic and chemical synthetic methods, who saw the opportunity to improve the enzyme’s “kinetic stability” without damaging its ability to break down PET.

The lab studied the enzyme and found three separate glycosylation sites,  to which glycans are attached during protein synthesis. Gross said the glycosylation sites could have evolved in a previous organism and been conserved even though they were not used by the natural bacterium that originally produced this protein. Regardless, when the team expressed the enzyme using the yeast strain Pichia pastoris, they found that the yeast naturally glycosylated the enzyme at the three sites. Further research showed that two glycosylation sites yielded a more effective enzyme than three sites.

With only those minor changes, the team saw greater than a 60-fold improvement in kinetic stability. And Gross said additional research will explore how to further improve the kinetics and the overall activity of the  by experimenting with amino acid sequences to create variant structures. Through this work, Gross expects to understand the design rules that lead to better performance.

“This cutinase is an excellent candidate for commercialization, but this work will also help us redesign other cutinases to break down other polymers, and that’s a much larger end game,” said Gross.

“Stabilizing Leaf and Branch Compost Cutinase (LCC) with Glycosylation: Mechanism and Effect on PET Hydrolysis” was published in Biochemistry.

 Explore further: Research enhances enzyme that degrades plastic

More information: Abhijit N. Shirke et al. Stabilizing Leaf and Branch Compost Cutinase (LCC) with Glycosylation: Mechanism and Effect on PET Hydrolysis, Biochemistry (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b01189

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MEGlobal nominates July MEG ACP at $1,110/mt CFR Asia, down $40/mt from June – MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia

MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia  MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia  MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia  MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia  MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia  MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia  MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia  

MEGlobal nominates July MEG ACP at $1,110/mt CFR Asia, down $40/mt from June

Singapore (Platts)-

MEGlobal MEG ACP $1,110/mt CFR Asia MEGlobal has nominated its July Asia Contract Price for monoethylene glycol at $1,110/mt CFR Asia, down $40/mt from June, a company official said Wednesday.

The lower July ACP nomination reflects the short term supply and demand situation in the market, the source added. MEG was last assessed at $915/mt CFR China Tuesday, up $15/mt from Monday.

–Serena Seng, serena.seng@spglobal.com

–Edited by Pankti Mehta, pankti.mehta@spglobal.com

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