27 July 1998 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Petron Scientech Inc., of New Jersey, has received a contract from DSM Chemie Linz GmbH, Linz, Austria, to convert and expand that company's benzene-based maleic anhydride plant at Linz to butane feedstock. The expanded plant will have an annual capacity of 11,000 metric tons. Its scheduled start-up date is the end of 1999.
Petron will provide a complete basic engineering package, including supervision of detailed engineering and technical services during construction and startup. Amoco will supply Amoco IV catalyst technology and a patented yield maintenance program.
BASF to Build Diols Plant
BASF plans to construct a 25,000-metric-ton plant for the production of 1,6 hexanediol at a location on the Gulf Coast, most likely Freeport, Tex. The new plant will replace an existing 8,500-metric-ton plant at Freeport and is expected to come on stream by 2001.
The new plant will use a BASF-developed process based on ester hydrogenation instead of acid hydrogenation. The raw material is a dicarboxylic acid mixture produced in the oxidation of cyclohexane. The plant will also produce caprolactone, depending on market needs. Caprolactone and 1,6 hexanediol are precursors for the production of coating resins, radiation-curable coatings and thermoplastic polyurethanes.
Nova to Sell Specialty Resins
Nova Corporation is putting its Dylark specialty automotive engineering resins business up for sale. The division had 1997 revenues of $70 million and enjoys a high market share, Nova says. "We're selling this specialty business because we believe it is inconsistent with our commodity focus and will be a better fit with another company," says Jeff Lipton, president and CEO of Nova.
Nova produces Dylark automotive resins at its Beaver Valley, Pa., plant, which would be included in the sale. Also at that location, the company has foam and specialty styrofoam operations, which it would retain. The decision comes on the heels of Nova's blockbuster purchase of Huntsman Corporation's US and European styrenics businesses (see stories page 1).
DuPont, CuraGen Ally
DuPont Agricultural Enterprise, a unit of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., and CuraGen Corporation have signed a collaborative research agreement to explore the use of genomics for developing crop protection products.
CuraGen will use its technology platform, which includes proprietary processes, genomics technology and bioinformatics, to study the genetic components and metabolic pathways underlying the action of new DuPont crop protection products. "We have our own patented process that allows us to look at every gene in every genome and how it's changing in expression in an incredibly cost effective way," says Gregory Went, executive vice-president for CuraGen.
Mycogen RP Ag Alliance
Mycogen Corporation and RhÖne-Poulenc Agro, the crop protection subsidiary of RhÖne-Poulenc, have signed a letter of intent to pool their plant biotechnology assets to develop and market genetically modified plants and seeds offering multiple traits.
"Today Mycogen has access to Bacillus thurin-giensis (Bt) insect resistance technology, but we don't have access to any herbicide tolerance technology," explains Mike Sund, a company official. "RhÖne-Poulenc has extensive herbicide tolerance technology that they could bring to this collaboration, and the flip side is that RhÖne-Poulenc does not have access to insect resistance technology of its own, so we can offer the marketplace a combination of these traits."
Also, an agreement that restricted Dow Agrosciences LLC, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, from buying the remaining shares of Mycogen before February 1999 has been amended. This clears Dow to enter into discussions about buying all the remaining shares of Mycogen until August 31. Dow Agrosciences owns 68 percent of Mycogen's outstanding shares.
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