Titanium dioxide (TiO2)

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TiO2 is used in the manufacture of countless industrial and consumer products, from paint and coatings and plastics to furniture, packaging and personal care products. Worldwide production and trade in TIO2 means that there are multiple markets to keep track of. As production levels and downstream demand fluctuates, prices change and opportunities for profit come and go. Reacting quickly is vital to protect and maximise profits.

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Titanium dioxide (TiO2) news

Chemours has no executive ‘attrition problem’ – CEO

HOUSTON (ICIS)–“We do not have an attrition problem,” the new CEO of Chemours, Denise Dignam, said during the company’s Q4 2023 earnings call on Thursday. An analyst on the call asked about the company's unusually high number of senior executive changes and departures. Chemours has business leaders at many levels, with “deep experience”, and succession planning allowed it to quickly backfill key roles internally, Dignam responded. “I know it’s hard for you to see this, but there is great stability in the organization,” she said. Also, while Chemours does not want turbulence, “I do believe change is good”, she said. “We have fundamentally changed how we operate at the top of this organization. We are now business-led, rather than corporate-led,” she said. Dignam last month took over from Mark Newman, who was suspended – along with CFO Jonathan Lock and controller Camela Wisel – as the board started an investigation and review of financial reporting practices and internal controls. Previous executive changes and departures include: Lock became CFO in mid-2023, succeeding Sameer Ralhan, who left. Ed Sparks resigned as the president of Titanium Technologies and Chemical Solutions in March 2023. Also in March 2023, Sheryl Telford resigned as the company's chief sustainability officer. At the end of May 2023, Alisha Bellezza resigned as president, Thermal & Specialized Solutions (TSS), the business segment that makes fluorochemicals. Susan Kelliher, senior vice president, people, resigned at the end of September 2023. INTERNAL CONTROLS Mark Abbott, who currently serves as interim CFO, said on Thursday that Chemours’ review of internal controls identified “four material weaknesses” as of 31 December 2023. Although the weaknesses did not result in any material misstatements of financial statements or disclosures, they did result in immaterial revisions to certain prior-period financial statements, he said. Chemours is still in the process of implementing enhancements to its internal controls, he added. “These actions will take time to implement, but we are already moving forward. We are fully committed to actions that not only address the weaknesses, but also strengthen our control environment going forward,” he said. The investigation and review is expected to cost about $30 million. Additional reporting by Al Greenwood Thumbnail photo of Chemours' CEO Denise Dignam; photo source: Chemours


Dow, ExxonMobil among chems picked in US $6 billion CO2 cutting program

HOUSTON (ICIS)–A $6 billion industrial decarbonization program by the US will fund many chemical projects being developed by Dow, ExxonMobil and other companies, featuring projects as diverse as using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a feedstock, recycling plastic and burning hydrogen as a fuel, the Department of Energy (DOE) said on Monday. The following describes the seven chemical projects chosen by the US. ExxonMobil is developing the Baytown Olefins Plant Carbon Reduction Project in Texas. The project will use new burner technologies to combust hydrogen instead of natural gas for ethylene production. The project should cut more 2.5 million tonnes/year of carbon emissions, or more than 50% of the cracker's total emissions. The project will receive up to $331.9 million from the government. A subsidiary of Orsted plans to build a 300,000 tonne/year e-methanol plant on the Gulf Coast in Texas. The subsidiary, Orsted P2X US Holding, expects the e-methanol will be used as fuel for marine shipping and transportation. E-methanol is made with CO2 with green hydrogen. Orsted is already developing such a project in Sweden. The Texas project will receive up to $100 million from the government. BASF plans to develop a project in Freeport, Texas, that will convert liquid byproducts into synthesis gas (syngas) using plasma gasification and renewable power. Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO). BASF will use the syngas as feedstock for its operations in Freeport. The project will receive up to $75 million from the government. LanzaTech and T.EN Stone & Webster Process Technology plan to develop a project on the US Gulf Coast that will capture CO2 emissions from crackers. It will then use green hydrogen and a biotech-based process to convert the captured CO2 into ethanol and ethylene. LanzaTech has developed strains of bacteria that ferment CO2 using hydrogen as an energy source. The name of the project is Sustainable Ethylene from CO2 Utilization with Renewable Energy (SECURE), and it will receive up to $200 million from the government. Ashland's subsidiary, ISP Chemicals, plans to replace natural gas boilers with electric heat delivered by a thermal battery at its plant in Calvert City, Kentucky. Other partners in the project include the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Electrified Thermal Solutions (ETS), which is supplying its Joule Hive system. The project will receive up to $35.2 million from the government. Dow's project will be developed on the US Gulf Coast and it will capture up to 100,000 tonnes/year of CO2 from ethylene oxide (EO) production. The project will then use the CO2 to produce chemicals used in electrolyte solutions to make domestic lithium-ion batteries. The project will receive up to $95 million from the government. Eastman is building a chemical recycling plant in Longview, Texas, that will use its methanolysis technology to break down waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monoethylene glycol (MEG). The plant plans to use thermal energy storage combined with on-site solar power to reduce the carbon intensity of its process heating operations. It will receive up to $375 million from the government. DETAILS ABOUT THE US PROGRAMThe US expects the program will cut more than 14 million tonnes/year of emissions of CO2 from 33 projects. On average, each of the projects will cut carbon emissions by 77%. Out of the $6 billion, $489 million will come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and $5.47 billion will come from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The fund will target the following: Seven chemical and refining projects. Six cement and concrete projects. Six iron and steel projects. Five aluminium and metals projects. Three food and beverage projects. Three glass projects. Two process heat-focused projects. One pulp and paper project.


AFPM '24: INSIGHT: New US auto emission rule to boost plastic demand, squeeze refiners

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The new greenhouse gas restrictions that the US imposed on automobiles will speed up the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), which will have several knock-on effects on plastics, lubricants and chemicals produced by refineries. Under the new greenhouse gas standards, EVs and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) will make up a growing share of the nation's light automobile fleet at the expense of internal combustion engines (ICEs). EVs and PHEVs consume larger amounts of plastics on a per-capita basis than autos powered by ICEs. If the prevalence of ICE-powered vehicles declines as forecast by the US, then that would lower demand for fuel, discouraging refiners from expanding or making expensive investments on their units. That could lower production of aromatics and other refined products. DETAILS OF NEW EPA TAILPIPE RULEThe new rule requires the US light vehicle fleet to emit progressively smaller amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), as shown in the following table. Figures are listed in grams of CO2 emitted per mile driven. 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 Cars 131 139 125 112 99 86 73 Trucks 184 184 165 146 128 109 90 Total Fleet 168 170 153 136 119 102 85 Source: EPA The US will have to greatly increase its reliance on EVs to meet such standards, according to the EPA. The regulator forecasts what its new rule will entail for the makeup of the US light vehicle fleet. It presented three scenarios that make different assumptions about the share of EVs, PHEVs, hybrids and autos powered by ICEs. Hybrid vehicles rely predominantly on ICEs, while PHEVs rely predominantly on batteries, which is why they need to be plugged in to recharge. The following charts show the three scenarios. Scenario A 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 ICE 64% 58% 49% 43% 35% 29% Hybrid 4% 5% 5% 4% 3% 3% PHEV 6% 6% 8% 9% 11% 13% EV 26% 31% 39% 44% 51% 56% Source: EPA Scenario B 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 ICE 62% 56% 49% 39% 28% 21% Hybrid 4% 4% 3% 6% 7% 6% PHEV 10% 12% 15% 18% 24% 29% EV 24% 29% 33% 37% 41% 43% Source: EPA Scenario C 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 ICE 61% 41% 35% 27% 19% 17% Hybrid 4% 15% 13% 16% 15% 13% PHEV 10% 17% 22% 27% 32% 36% EV 24% 26% 30% 31% 34% 35% Source: EPA IMPACT ON PLASTICSEVs and hybrids typically consume more plastics than ICEs, according to Kevin Swift, ICIS senior economist for global chemicals. Swift compared two automobile models that their manufacturers offered in ICE, hybrid and EV versions. The following chart shows how plastics consumption fared across the three versions. Not only do EVs tend to consume more plastics, they impose different challenges on the materials. Because EVs need to be recharged, their systems are running even when the vehicles are stationary. Materials must have the durability to maintain their properties after several thousands of additional hours of use. The wires and cables within EVs generate heat through electrical resistance, so materials need to manage heat. Materials used in battery packs and the charging equipment need to have flame retardancy to prevent thermal runaway. Some materials must withstand high voltages from fast charging times, while others need to shield sensors and other electrical components from electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). As EV production grows, demand for these materials will increase. IMPACT ON BASE OILSIf the EPA's forecasts come true, then demand for base oils used in engine lubricants will decline. EVs lack ICEs so they do not use motor oil. However, EVs still have moving parts so they will require greases and lubricants. A more lucrative opportunity may lie in thermal management fluids. Petroleum-based thermal management fluids avoid the problems that come with using water-based cooling fluids like glycols in electric vehicles. In time, EVs could manage heat by relying on direct immersion cooling. Here the battery, the inverter and the motor are submerged in a bath of thermal management fluids. The base stocks that would be used in thermal management fluids will be a combination of polyalphaolefins (PAOs), esters and polyaklylene glycols (PAGS). IMPACT ON AROMATICSA faster adoption of EVs could speed up the arrival of peak oil demand. Figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that gasoline demand in the country peaked in 2018. That peak was barely higher than the previous record set in 2007. Refiners are not going to add new capacity or make expensive investments if demand for their primary products have stagnated. As their units age or suffer damage from fires and other accidents, refiners could choose to shut operations or convert their complexes to produce renewable fuels or other sustainable products. The consequences would cause production to stagnate or even decline for benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX), chemical building blocks that are primarily produced in refineries in the US. Downstream consumers of these chemicals will have to consider imports if they wish to maintain their operations. US COULD LAVISH MORE POLICIES ON EVSUS EVs could get more supportive policies in the months ahead. The EPA is expected to decide if California can adopt its Advanced Clean Car II (ACC II), which would phase out the sale of ICE-based vehicles to 2035. If the EPA grants California's request, that would trigger similar programs in several other states. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing stricter efficiency standards under its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) has raised concerns about the new EPA rule as well as the two pending policies that would provide further support for EVs at the expense of vehicles powered by ICEs. It raised more concerns on Thursday right before the group's International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), which begins on Sunday. “At a time when millions of Americans are struggling with high costs and inflation, the Biden administration has finalized a regulation that will unequivocally eliminate most new gas cars and traditional hybrids from the US market in less than a decade,” said Chet Thompson, AFPM CEO, said. “Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, Congress has to make a decision whether to protect consumer choice, US manufacturing workers and our hard-won energy security by overturning this deeply flawed regulation,” Thompson said. “Short of that, our organizations are certainly prepared to challenge it in court.” Insight article by Al Greenwood Thumbnail image shows an electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Takoma Park, Maryland. Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock


Americas top stories: weekly summary

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News from the week ended 8 March. Evonik sells superabsorbents business to ICIG to focus on specialties Germany’s Evonik has signed a deal to sell its superabsorbents business to International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG), a privately-held industrial group headquartered in Germany. ICIG will acquire the entire division with around 1,000 employees and superabsorbent production facilities in Krefeld and Rheinmuenster, Germany, as well as two locations in the US, in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Garyville, Louisiana. Indorama Ventures will divest, right-size assets and cut costs under revised strategy Fundamental long-term changes in global chemicals markets have prompted a significant review of strategy, Indorama Ventures said on Monday. Indorama eyes upstream plant shutdowns with 6 assets under review – Group CEO Indorama Ventures is reviewing six operating assets in the ‘West’ for potential shutdown as it seeks to boost competitiveness and exit the merchant market for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) feedstocks amid intensifying competition from China, its group CEO and Founder said. Brazil’s Unigel halts fertilizers production on high natural gas prices Unigel is to “temporarily stop” nitrogen fertilizers production because of high costs and low prices, effective on Wednesday, the Brazilian chemicals and fertilizers producer said. Chemours says suspended execs tried to influence cash flows An internal review showed that top executives at Chemours tried to influence the reporting of the company’s cash flows, the US-based titanium dioxide (TiO2) and fluoromaterials producer said in an update late on Wednesday. LOGISTICS: Panama Canal to add additional slots in Panamax Locks beginning 25 March The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) announced on Friday that it will open additional slots in the Panamax Locks beginning 25 March based on the present and projected water levels in Gatun Lake.


Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 8 March 2024. Asia, Mideast petrochemical trades to slow down during Ramadan By Nurluqman Suratman 08-Mar-24 13:10 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Trades for several petrochemicals in Asia and the Middle East will slow down as markets observe Ramadan starting 10 March, with demand going into a lull amid shorter working hours during the Muslim fasting month. Asia naphtha sentiment improves; supplies to tighten By Li Peng Seng 08-Mar-24 12:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha intermonth spread rose to a one-month high on 7 March amid expectations of fewer arbitrage cargoes arriving in April from the west due to Europe’s demand for gasoline and petrochemicals. Lotte Chemical mulls 'strategic measures' for Malaysian-listed LC Titan By Nurluqman Suratman 07-Mar-24 13:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korean producer Lotte Chemical said on Thursday that it is exploring options for its Malaysian subsidiary, in response to local media reports that the unit is up for sale. Weak China demand to weigh on oil markets despite OPEC+ supply cut extension By Fanny Zhang 06-Mar-24 12:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economic weakness will continue weigh on crude oil prices despite the decision by oil cartel OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) to prolong their production cuts to support the market. Asian spot TiO2 market set to enjoy support in March By Joson Ng 01-Mar-24 13:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The titanium dioxide (TiO2) Asian spot market is likely to see improving or stable demand in March, especially in China, as the traditional peak demand season kicks in. As producers in China are also citing a healthy number of orders on hand, they are not likely to allow cargoes to go unless the bids are close to their valuation. Asia polyester market at standstill amid firm costs, weak fundamentals By Judith Wang 05-Mar-24 14:07 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The polyester export market in Asia has fallen into a standstill amid a tug of war between firm cost pressure and weak market fundamentals. INSIGHT: China 2024 growth target will require stronger stimulus measures By Nurluqman Suratman 07-Mar-24 00:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China is likely to need to introduce stronger stimulus measures to meet its official growth target of around 5% for this year given the country's deep structural imbalances. Chemical, palms freight costs up as tanker supply tightens into March By Hwee Hwee Tan 07-Mar-24 18:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A tanker supply crunch persisting into March has pushed up shipping costs for chemical and palms cargoes traded on Asia’s spot market.


Chemours says suspended execs tried to influence cash flows

HOUSTON (ICIS)–An internal review showed that top executives at Chemours tried to influence the reporting of the company’s cash flows, the US-based titanium dioxide (TiO2) and fluoromaterials producer said in an update late on Wednesday. Chemours’ share price was up more than 7% on Thursday pre-market trading. Chemours on 29 February announced it placed CEO Mark Newman, CFO Jonathan Lock, and principal accounting officer Camela Wisel on administrative leave, pending completion of an internal review of practices for managing working capital. The review was triggered by an anonymous report made to the company’s ethics hotline. In its update, the company said that the review by the board's audit committee found that the executives “engaged in efforts” in the 2023 fourth quarter to delay payments to certain vendors and to accelerate the collection of receivables. The executives did this in part to meet free cash flow targets, which, in turn, was a key metric for determining their incentive compensation, the company said. The audit committee's review also found that the executives were engaged in similar actions, though to a lesser extent, in the 2022 fourth quarter. The findings of the internal review do not affect the preliminary, unaudited estimates of 2023 operating results Chemours disclosed on 29 February. The preliminary results were for 2023 full-year net sales of $6.0 billion, down from $6.8 billion in 2022, with the decline primarily due to lower demand for volumes in the company’s TiO2 and advanced materials businesses. Chemours guided to a 2023 net loss in the range of $225-235 million, compared with net income of $578 million in 2022. The estimated  2023 net loss includes $746 million of pre-tax litigation settlements and $153 million of restructuring, asset-related, and other charges, offset by a $106 million net pre-tax gain from the sale of the company's Glycolic Acid business. The company is currently evaluating one or more potential material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting, it added. It did not say if or when the executives may resume their duties. Chemours is currently led by Denise Dignam as interim CEO and Matt Abbott as interim CFO and principal financial and accounting officer. Chemical equities research firm Alembic Global Advisors said that a quick resolution of the financial reporting issues, coupled with the fact that they "were not excessive and just limited to Q4 2023, should allay investor concerns about more widespread accounting improprieties." Thumbnail shows Mark Newman, one of the executives placed on administrative leave. Image by Chemours.


Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 1 March 2024. Asian spot TiO2 market set to enjoy support in March By Joson Ng 01-Mar-24 13:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The titanium dioxide (TiO2) Asian spot market is likely to see improving or stable demand in March, especially in China, as the traditional peak demand season kicks in. As producers in China are also citing a healthy number of orders on hand, they are not likely to allow cargoes to go unless the bids are close to their valuation. Korea’s S-Oil targets $2bn capex for Ulsan oil-to-chems project in '24 By Pearl Bantillo 29-Feb-24 12:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korean refiner S-Oil has earmarked won (W) 2.72tr ($2bn) this year for its thermal crude-to-chemical (TC2C) project called Shaheen, representing 87% of the total capital expenditure (capex) set for 2024. VIDEO: China VAM market remains firm post-holiday on tighter spot supply By Joanne Wang 29-Feb-24 11:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– ICIS senior industry analyst Joanne Wang reviews the vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) market in China in early 2024 and shares a brief market outlook. Japan January inflation at 2.0%; end to negative interest rates in sight By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Feb-24 14:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan's core consumer inflation in January rose by 2.0%, matching the Bank of Japan's (BoJ) price stability target and supporting expectations that the central bank will end its ultra-low interest rates policy by April. Asia oxo-alcohols find support in post-holiday market on tight supply By Julia Tan 26-Feb-24 12:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s spot oxo-alcohols import markets saw quiet trade in the post-holiday period, with limited buying interest from northeast Asian buyers as most opted to assume a wait-and-see stance. Buyers are generally only expected to begin procurement activity following the Lantern Festival, which took place on 24 February. Asia BD spot market buoyant with active China exports By Ai Teng Lim 23-Feb-24 10:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions for Asian butadiene (BD) imports picked up this week as China embarked on active export sales.


US Chemours shares crash after CEO, CFO placed on leave

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Shares of pigment and fluoromaterials producer Chemours fell by more than 35% on Thursday after the company placed its two top executives and its principal accounting officer on administrative leave. Chemours also delayed the release of its full-year earnings for the second time. It did not say when it could release its results. Right now, the company's audit committee is conducting an internal review that will cover the following: The processes for reviewing reports made to the Chemours ethics hotline. The company’s practices for managing working capital, including the related impact on metrics within incentive plans, certain financial metrics made in government filings and in public announcements. Chemours did not say when it would release its full-year earnings. Meanwhile, the Rosen Law Firm is investigating whether a class action lawsuit could be filed on behalf of Chemours's shareholders. ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE FOLLOWS BOUT OF EXECUTIVE TURNOVERThe executives placed on administrative leave are CEO Mark Newman, Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Lock and Principal Accounting Officer Camela Wisel. Denise Dignam will serve as interim CEO. Matt Abbott will serve as as interim CFO and principal financial and accounting officer. Newman has been CEO since mid-2021. Before that he was the company's chief operating officer. Lock became CFO in mid-2023. He succeeded Sameer Ralhan, who was one of several high-profile departures that took place that year. The following lists the other departures: At the end of March 2023, Ed Sparks resigned as the president of Titanium Technologies and Chemical Solutions. Also at the end of March, Sheryl Telford resigned as the company's chief sustainability officer. At the end of May 2023, Alisha Bellezza resigned as president, Thermal & Specialized Solutions (TSS), the business segment that makes fluorochemicals. Susan Kelliher, senior vice president, people, resigned at the end of September 2023. FIRST DELAY ANNOUNCED IN MID-FEBRUARYChemours disclosed that its audit committee was conducting the review in mid-February, when it announced the first delay of its earnings release. Chemours makes titanium dioxide, fluorochemicals and fluoropolymers like Teflon. Thumbnail shows Chemours CEO Mark Newman. Image by Chemours.


Asian exporters must brace for EU tariffs on high-carbon imports – ADB

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian economies, particularly those in the central and western regions, will face strong hits from the EU's import charges on carbon-intensive products, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday. Scheduled to be implemented in 2026, the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will introduce import fees on items such as steel, cement, and electricity, which will be calculated based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated during their production. The purpose of these charges is to prevent "carbon leakage," which occurs when companies relocate production from nations with strict environmental regulations or high carbon costs to those with more lenient policies or lower costs. “The fragmented nature of carbon pricing initiatives in terms of sectors and regions covered, including CBAM, can only partially limit carbon leakage,” ADB chief economist Albert Park said. Initially targeting carbon-intensive products, the EU sees CBAM as a tool to align global carbon prices and accelerate emission reductions worldwide. “To significantly reduce carbon emissions globally, while also making sure climate efforts are more effective and sustainable, carbon pricing initiatives need to be extended to other regions outside the EU, especially Asia," Park added. Given the expected distributional impacts, especially on developing economies in Asia, proper incentive mechanisms are necessary to encourage widespread adoption of carbon pricing, according to the ADB. ADB estimates that CBAM might reduce carbon leakage by around half compared with an Emissions Trading System (ETS) scheme with a similar carbon price. CBAM is meant to complement the EU's ETS, with sectors covered by the ETS eventually to be covered by CBAM as well. The CBAM will first be implemented for imports of specific products and their key components that are vulnerable to carbon leakage, including cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizers, electricity, and hydrogen. "While the EU’s ETS and CBAM may have a limited direct impact on emissions – reducing emissions globally by around 1.3% at €100 per metric ton of CO2 and by 2.2% at €200 per metric ton of CO2 – it could significantly affect exports to the EU," the ADB said. "At the same time, reductions in EU production from CBAM could spread to many sectors, such as computer, electric and optical equipment, and motor vehicles and parts within the EU through industrial input–output linkages," it said.


US Huntsman mulls commercial-scale MIRALON carbon nanotube project

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Huntsman is considering a commercial-scale project of its MIRALON carbon nanutube technology after it starts up a pilot plant mid-year, the US-based producer said on Thursday. The pilot plant will be in Texas, and it will produce 30 tonnes/year of MIRALON. "We feel that we should have sufficient data from that to initiate the larger expansion, which will be in 2025," said Peter Huntsman, CEO. He made his comments during an earnings conference call. Huntsman did not disclose the capacity of the expansion, but he considered it to be a commercial scale reactor. From that point, increasing capacity would be a matter of additional reactors of that same size. In the next year or two, Huntsman will be able to inspect the product coming out of the plant and qualify the material. Even though the pilot plant has yet to start up, Huntsman indicated that the company is already producing material. "Right now, we're able to sell as much as we're able to make of the product," he said. However, Huntsman is selling MIRALON to very high-end applications, such as satellites and to space agencies. Huntsman expects that economies of scale will broaden the end uses of the material. Right now, the company is considering concrete, tires and batteries for electric vehicles. Other applications stem from MIRALON's ability to dissipate static charges. These include adhesives and floor coatings. It can also be used as a light-weight structural carbon fiber used in composites. Huntsman produces MIRALON via methane pyrolysis. Under it, natural gas is converted to solid carbon and hydrogen with little, if any, carbon dioxide (CO2). If process uses renewable energy, then it emits no CO2. Huntsman's methane-pyrolysis process is different from other technologies because it produces a much higher grade of solid carbon, the company said. For most methane pyrolysis, the solid carbon is at best the equivalent of carbon black, according to Huntsman. Huntsman acquired the MIRALON technology in 2018 when it bought Nanocomp.


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