PET bottles – Ocean freight disruptions threaten domestic supply, push US PET import prices higher – 11-01-2024

PET bottles

Crude Oil Prices Trend 

Crude Oil Prices Trend by Polyestertime

Crude Oil Prices Trend by Polyestertime

Maschinenbau, a manufacturer of extrusion blow molding machines, has found a buyer following its declaration of insolvency in August of the previous year

The company will now come under the control of the German subsidiary of an unnamed Chinese investor, as disclosed by AndresPartner, a legal and tax firm specializing in industrial restructuring transactions.

The transfer encompasses not only the brand but also the Bonn facility in Germany, where Kautex Maschinenbau is headquartered. This facility is crucial for the development and assembly of the majority of plastic container blow molding machines. However, with 155 employees affected, there is a possibility of job cuts.  PET bottles

Apart from the German base, Kautex Maschinenbau has a second production facility under the independent subsidiary Shunde Kautex Plastics Technology in Shunde, China, which remains unaffected by insolvency. In Germany, the company also has a commercial subsidiary in Berlin. Additionally, independent branches are situated in Shanghai (China), Bangalore (India), Treviso (Italy), Jakarta (Indonesia), Mexico City (Mexico), and Moscow (Russia). The purchaser, being a Chinese investor, marks a strategic shift in ownership and may bring about changes in the company’s operations and global presence.

PET bottles

California market development payments prioritize PET bottles

A long-running post-consumer plastic market development program in California has been modified to further incentivize PET container recycling.

The Plastic Market Development Payment Program uses government funding to make payments to reclaimers and plastic product manufacturers that use recycled content, with the goal of spurring market development in the state.

The program only covers plastic containers that are part of the state’s California Refund Value (CRV) deposit system.  PET bottles

In-state reclaimers who process deposit containers, and in-state manufacturers who purchase the resulting flake, pellet or other output from those processed containers, can be reimbursed at a rate that’s set each program year, up to $150 per ton of material handled.

The market development payment program was created in 2006 and is regularly renewed by state lawmakers. A frequent priority for plastics recycling stakeholders in the state, it was most recently renewed through Senate Bill 1013, passed in 2022, and is set to run until at least July 2025. PET bottles

Lawmakers budgeted $10 million for market development payments during the current program year. Overall, they’ve allocated $47 million for the program to be used through June 30, 2027.

New in 2024, the program has been modified to use a three-tier payment structure, whereas previous years paid one rate for PET and one rate for HDPE. The new system creates a hierarchy within the PET payments to pay more for certain types of manufacturing and processing.  PET bottles

“The payment restructuring will incentivize participants who produce PET #1 or use PET #1 for new beverage containers,” CalRecycle stated in a public notice of the change.


PET bottles

According to American media, Stellantis and CATL’s LFP batteries may find a home in Spain for electric vehicle production

Following Italy, France, and Germany, Spain could potentially become the birthplace of the next Stellantis electric vehicle batteries. Foreign press rumors suggest the Iberian Peninsula as the chosen location for the Group’s fourth European facility dedicated to accumulator production.

While the American publication Teslarati first reported the speculation, there is currently no mention of official sources or confirmations from the companies. The rumored Spanish plant would be dedicated to manufacturing lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in collaboration with the Chinese company CATL.  PET bottles

Stellantis had previously announced an alliance with CATL in November, signing a memorandum of understanding for the supply of cells and modules in Europe without specifying the location for the batteries involved in the agreement.

Now, American media leans towards Spain as the next destination for Stellantis. The Group already owns three vehicle factories in Madrid, Vigo, and Zaragoza, with the latter two being converted for the production of coveted affordable electric cars based on the STLA Small platform.  PET bottles

Among the upcoming models, the Citroen e-C3 may be one of the creations featuring CATL’s LFP batteries, priced at €23,300 and expected to hit the market in 2024. However, it will be built on a different architecture, namely the Smart Platform.

PET bottles

Ocean freight disruptions threaten domestic supply, push US PET import prices higher

Imports of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to the US have experienced price increases of 30-40% due to the global ocean freight disruptions and delays, according to market participants.

Last week, rates for shipping containers from east Asia to the US surged after rebel attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. Additionally, disruption of traffic through the Suez Canal is putting upward pressure on freight rates and increasing concerns of delayed shipments.

As a result, many companies are altering their shipping routes to avoid the disruptions from the Suez Canal and dangers of the Red Sea, opting to divert cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope. However, this route is adding significant delays, as well as reducing the availability of shipping containers.  PET bottles

The European PET and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market is experiencing shortages as a result of diverted shipments combined with multiple outages. The Asia polyester market is also experiencing negative impacts from the Suez Canal and Red Sea diversions, as rising freight rates have dampened buying on the market.

In addition to the Suez Canal and Red Sea disruptions, commodities markets continue to grapple with issues at the Panama Canal due to low water levels as a result of a local drought. The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has been limiting the number of vessels able to pass through the canal since early November.  PET bottles


Ocean freight disruptions threaten domestic supply, push US PET import prices higher

The Composition and Evolution of Lithium-Ion Pouch Cell Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in electric vehicles, traditionally employ cylindrical cells. However, pouch cells, characterized by their flattened and flexible structure, have emerged as an alternative. First introduced in 1995 by the U.S. company Li-Polymer, these pouch cells have found applications not only in consumer electronics but also in energy storage systems and electric vehicles.

Similar to conventional lithium-ion cells, pouch cells consist of an anode, a cathode, a separator, and an electrolyte. The anode and cathode, serving as the negative and positive electrodes, are coated with conductive materials.  PET bottles

The separator prevents their direct contact, while the electrolyte facilitates ion movement during charge and discharge cycles.

Internally, pouch cells feature neatly arranged layers of anode-separator-cathode, sealed to form a compact unit resembling a bag or pouch. The negative and positive poles are externally connectable through tabs extending from the pouch.

Pouch cells offer advantages such as compactness, lightweight design, and flexibility, making them initially popular in consumer electronics. Their flexible design allows for greater design freedom, adapting to irregular shapes. Additionally, pouch cells boast higher energy density, exceeding 90%, making them appealing for emerging electric mobility.  PET bottles

Despite their benefits, pouch cells face a durability challenge. Their flexible external structure is susceptible to deformation and mechanical stress during charge and discharge cycles, leading to a shorter lifespan compared to cylindrical or prismatic cells. Factors such as gas production during cycles, sensitivity to humidity, and high temperatures contribute to observable cell swelling.

However, advancements are underway, particularly with the growing use of pouch cells in solid-state battery technology. Companies like Factorial, Solid Power, and QuantumScape are employing stacked layers of pouch cells, reaching up to 24 layers, to create next-generation batteries. Solid-state electrolytes offer improved temperature management and eliminate gas formation, addressing the longevity concerns associated with traditional pouch cells.  PET bottles

As a result, pouch cells are gaining traction, proving ideal for solid-state battery innovations with extended lifespans comparable to cylindrical or prismatic cells.

The Composition and Evolution of Lithium-Ion Pouch Cell Batteries

Heraeus Precious Metals enters hydrogen business

Heraeus Precious Metals has announced the establishment of a new dedicated Business Line, Hydrogen Systems, effective 1 January 2024.

The company aims to offer a comprehensive range of precious metal-based products for electrolysers and fuel cells, in particular state-of-the-art electrocatalyst solutions for next-generation applications. In addition to the supply of precious metals, the new business will offer a comprehensive range of technologies and production capabilities for the recovery of precious metals from production scrap and end-of-life materials such as catalyst-coated membranes.  PET bottles

Heraeus Precious Metals also continues to expand its R&D efforts to the United States and China and beyond PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) technology. In addition, resources have been established to support customers in the development of inks and electrodes.


Heraeus Precious Metals enters hydrogen business

Newcleo has entered into a partnership with NextChem and Tecnimont, subsidiaries of Maire, to leverage cutting-edge reactors for the decarbonization of the chemical industry, including hydrogen production

The agreement entails the exclusive development of a conceptual study on the sustainable, zero-emission production of hydrogen and chemicals, combining Newcleo’s nuclear technology with Maire’s chemical expertise.

This collaboration will enable the production of electrolytic hydrogen and zero-emission chemical products such as ammonia, methanol, e-fuel, and derivatives. It aligns with the European Union’s decision to incorporate innovative nuclear technologies, like that of Newcleo, into the EU taxonomy of environmentally sustainable economic activities.

Additionally, Tecnimont will provide consultancy services for Newcleo’s nuclear power plant based on small nuclear reactors (SMRs), applying Tecnimont’s modularization approach to optimize construction and planning methodologies, reducing production and construction times and costs.  PET bottles

This supports Newcleo’s vision of realizing a fully modular, accessible, and easy-to-install plant.

Stefano Buono, President and CEO of Newcleo, emphasized that small or advanced modular reactors (SMRs/AMRs) have the potential not only to generate electricity but also for industrial applications. The safety-by-design feature of Newcleo’s reactors, based on the laws of physics, ensures the safety of lead fast reactors (LFR) even in unlikely severe accidents or sabotage scenarios. This enhanced safety, coupled with the favorable physical properties of lead, allows for cost reduction compared to third-generation SMRs, paving the way for a competitive “e-Factory for zero-carbon chemistry” as envisioned by Maire. Buono expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration with Maire and looks forward to advancing their shared vision for sustainable, zero-emission hydrogen and chemical production.  PET bottles

Newcleo has entered into a partnership with NextChem and Tecnimont, subsidiaries of Maire, to leverage cutting-edge reactors for the decarbonization of the chemical industry, including hydrogen production

Solid-State Batteries – Bottled water contains hundreds of thousands of potentially dangerous plastic fragments 10-01-2024

PET bottles

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