24 March 2013 22:10 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--Tightening standards for lubricants and for emissions from diesel engines should drive growth for highly reactive polyisobutylene (HR PIB), the president of US-based TPC Group said on Sunday.
TPC Group has started engineering to expand production of PIB. For feedstock, TPC Group can rely on an on-purpose isobutylene unit, which should start operations at the end of 2014.
The on-purpose plant should allow TPC Group to enjoy a cost advantage, as it will use isobutane as a feedstock, said Mike McDonnell, CEO of TPC Group. He made his comments on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), held by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).
Demand for PIB is benefiting from both tighter lubricant standards and cleaner diesel regulations, McDonnell said.
HR PIB reduces particulate emissions from diesel engines, he said. It is also used as a backbone for lubricants.
Increasingly, automobile producers are reducing the size of engines without reducing performance, McDonnell said. Such engines require better performing lubricants, which, in turn, are made with HR PIB.
In addition, new lubricant standards are expected to take effect in 2016, he said. Lubricant formulators will start preparing for those new standards well in advance of the date, however. Those new standards should also increase demand for HR PIB, McDonnell said.
Overall, the standards should offset a headwind facing lubricant demand, he said. The number of miles driven each year by US drivers is expected to remain flat.
The IPC lasts through Tuesday.
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