IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 7 December

1:07 PM MST | December 7, 2012 | By LINDSAY FROST

This week in CW:

After Innospec and private equity firm Blackstone Capital Partners (New York) dropped their $47.50/share bid for TPC Group earlier this week, TPC Group shareholders approved the sale of the company to First Reserve and SK Capital for $45/share, valuing the group at about $890 million. All regulatory approvals have been met, and closing is expected on 31 December.

Ohio Valley Resources (Fairfield, IL) announced the construction of a $1-billion nitrogen fertilizer plant in Spencer County, IL. The facility will produce ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate solution for fertilizer and diesel exhaust fluid, as well as house selective catalytic reduction units. Construction is expected to be complete in 2016.

Ineos says it will build an ethane tank and expand its infrastructure at its Rafnes, Norway, production site—moves that will enable ethane imports from the United States. The company signed a letter of intent with TGE Gas Engineering (Bonn, Germany) for the project. Construction is planned to begin in the first quarter 2013, and the tank will begin storing its first ethane loads in the second quarter of 2015. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Yara International (Oslo) has signed an agreement to acquire Bunge’s fertilizer retail business in Brazil for $750 million. The two companies have also agreed to enter into a long-term fertilizer supply agreement, allowing Bunge to continue to supply fertilizer to farmers along with its grain origination activities.

Around the Web:

An international team of researchers, led by John Badding of Penn State University, has created the first fiber-optic solar cell, according to technology news site extremetech.com. The fibers are thinner than human hair, flexible, and produce electricity. The team took optical fibers made from glass and, using high-pressure chemical vapor deposition, injected n-, i-, and p-type silicon into the fiber—turning the into a solar cell. The US military has expressed interest in weaving the threads into clothing to provide a wearable power source for soldiers.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the November jobs report, which says that the economy created 146,000 jobs in November and that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%, the lowest level since 2008. According to the New York Times, the decline is largely from the drop in the number of people seeking work and who are now counted as officially unemployed. Among the strongest sectors reported is the retail industry—adding 53,000 jobs in advance of the holiday season. However, 1 of the weaker sectors was manufacturing—which lost 7,000 jobs during the month because of o weakening demand from Europe and a stall in spending from some manufacturers as discussions on how to cut the deficit continue in Washington.

According to SciTech Daily, a new type of micro fuel cell, made up of mostly bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), could serve as a low-cost, long-lasting, and eco-friendly power source for portable electronic devices. Engineers at Yale University took fuel cells—which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce energy and are a common alternative to the battery—and developed them with the use of BMGs, which are extremely pliable metal alloys that are more durable, efficient, and cheaper than the metals typically used, such as silicon and stainless steel. BMGs can be finely shaped and molded using a fabrication process similar to those used in shaping plastics, according to the article.

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