News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

June 29, 2022

Tokai Carbon CB raising carbon black prices in North America

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:57 am

Tokai Carbon CB will raise prices on all grades of carbon black in North America by $0.20/lb effective August 1, 2022. The company said the price increase is necessary to pay higher operating costs associated with ongoing investment in equipment to meet increasingly rigorous environmental standards and higher operating expenses required to ensure continuity and increase overall reliability for customers.

June 20, 2022

Notch presenting at European Carbon Black Summit in Frankfurt this week

Filed under: Carbon Black, Conferences — Notch @ 2:05 pm

Notch Consulting is presenting a paper at the European Carbon Black Summit being held this week (June 22/23) in Frankfurt. The paper — Carbon Black Global Outlook: the Year in Carbon Black 2022 — looks at the causes of the current supply tightness in Europe and North America. The conference provides two days of talks on carbon black, feedstocks, recovered carbon black, and other topics of interest to the industry. Hope to see you there!

May 26, 2022

Orion expanding gas black capacity, building acetylene black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:51 pm

On May 25, Orion Engineered Carbons announced that it will complete its gas black expansion in Germany at plants in Dortmund and Cologne by early 2023. Orion is the only carbon black producer in the industry with gas black capabilities. Gas blacks, known for excellent dispersion and coloristics, are used in coatings, printing ink and other applications.

“The expansion in Germany is core to our strategy to further strengthen our leadership in the premium specialty market,” Sandra Niewiem, senior vice president of global specialty carbon black and the EMEA region, said in a press release. “As we experience continuous high demand for gas blacks, we are confident that the extra capacity will be welcomed by our customers.”

Earlier this month, Orion announced plans to build the only plant in the U.S. producing acetylene black, a conductive carbon black used in lithium-ion batteries, high-voltage cables and other products powering the global transition to electrification and renewable energy. The factory will be located in La Porte, Texas, south of Houston, and will be will be backed by a long-term agreement for acetylene supplied from a neighboring site owned by Equistar Chemicals LP, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

Acetylene is a colorless gas widely used as a chemical building block. Orion’s production process turns acetylene into a powder, which is added to lithium-ion batteries to enhance electrical conductivity. The material plays a similar role in high-voltage cables used for wind and solar farms.

Orion will invest between $120 million to $140 million in the facility, expected to start up in the second half of 2024. This investment should increase the company’s conductive additives capacity by approximately 12 kilotons per year.

“With this investment, we will quadruple our effective manufacturing capacity of acetylene-based conductive additives,” Corning Painter, Orion’s CEO, said in a press release. “We are already experiencing high demand for this material, so expanding capacity for it is one of our top investment priorities and a major milestone in our growth plans. This is a very big day for Orion.”

The company, which has a similar plant in France with locally supplied acetylene gas from LyondellBasell, is the sole producer of acetylene-based conductive additives in the European Union. Demand for battery additives is expected to grow rapidly amid a global boom in the construction of gigafactories making lithium-ion batteries.The plant will have a favorable environmental profile and will be subject to obtaining the routine regulatory approvals.

May 16, 2022

Birla Carbon raising carbon black prices in North America

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:58 pm

Birla Carbon today announced a 15% price increase for all carbon black products manufactured in North America, effective July 1, 2022. All shipments made on or after this date are subject to the price increase.

Increasing costs in materials, freight, logistics, and operations are the key reasons for this necessary change.

Tire Tech Exposition coming this week to Hannover

Filed under: Auto, Carbon Black, Conferences, Tires — Notch @ 3:19 pm

Notch will be presenting a paper on current conditions in the global carbon black industry at the Tire Tech Expo happening this week at the Hannover Messe, Germany. This giant conference/trade show is an absolute must for anyone interested in the tire industry. Notch is presenting on Day 2 (Thursday, May 19) during the “Solutions in Polymer, Filler and Compound Additives” session, which begins at 9:00 AM. There are many, many papers of interest over all three days, as well as a full trade show on-site. Hope to see you there.

Asia Pacific Carbon Black Conference postponed

Filed under: Carbon Black, Conferences — Notch @ 3:13 pm

The Asia Pacific Carbon Black Conference, which was scheduled to be held in Singapore from November 9-10, 2022, has been postponed to 2023. Tentative dates are October 1-3, 2023, but that may be moved forward to the April-to-June period depending on the COVID outlook at that time. A final decision will be made in June.

The conference’s International Advisory Board cited the evolving Covid situation, the indoor mask mandates still in force in Singapore, China’s current battle with Covid, huge increases in airfares due to oil price spikes and several operational issues as the factors behind the decision.

April 25, 2022

Orion Engineered Carbons Pledges to Achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:25 pm

Orion Engineered Carbons announced today it aspires to align its sustainability objectives with the Paris Climate Agreement and strive to achieve net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. To meet this goal, Orion has developed a roadmap with near- and long-term targets. These targets include:

    • Launch a broad range of products using recycled materials by 2025
    • Enlarge the company’s footprint in the conductive additives space by 2025, including materials used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other applications critical for the transition toward electric power
    • Grow the sustainable solutions’ share of adjusted EBITDA to 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2035
    • Set new aspirational mid-term goals for greenhouse-gas emissions reduction that are aligned with science-based methodologies

In a press release announcing the program, Orion CEO Corning Painter said, “We know our goal is ambitious and we want to make sure it’s meaningful. Like most companies, we can’t say we have all the answers now. But we’re determined to work hard to find sustainable solutions with collaboration, innovation and the right regulatory environment.”

March 8, 2022

Orion Engineered Carbons issues statement on Ukraine/Russia conflict

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:34 pm

On Monday, March 7, Orion Engineered Carbons issued a statement on the conflict in Ukraine. The statement is presented in its entirety below.

How are natural gas prices in Europe impacting your business?

On a net basis, our business in Europe is facing an overall manageable headwind from current energy pricing developments. We have hedging programs in place and for our formula and nonformula customers, natural gas costs are part of our pricing negotiations.

Do you have assets in Russia or Ukraine?

No. We do not have any direct risk exposure in Russia or Ukraine.

Do you import Carbon Black Oil as feedstock from Russia?

No, we do not.

How much of your business in Europe is spot versus contracted?

Spot is less than ten percent of our business in Europe.

Do you have any capacity available for customers who need to move their business from Russia or Ukraine to Europe?

Our capacity remains tight in Europe. However, our new production line in Ravenna Italy was recently commissioned which adds capacity to the region and the line should be filled sooner than anticipated.

Do you have Ukrainian or Russian customers which you no longer deliver to?

Historically, Orion’s business activities in Ukraine and Russia have been very limited. Our few Russian customers have been informed that deliveries to them have been discontinued.

March 4, 2022

Orion commissioning new carbon black line in Italy

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:00 am

ERJ reports that Orion Engineered Carbons is commissioning a new 25,000 ton/year reactor for speciality and technical rubber carbon black production at its facility in Ravenna, Italy. The plant will start operations the first week of March and will serve primarily the European market. Additional investments at the 60-year-old plant include a new co-generation facility to convert waste heat into electricity, generating up to 120 MWh of green electricity per year. Roughly 7% of the power generated at the plant will be supplied to the national grid.

The article states that the facility in Italy marks the first new reactor for carbon black production in the European Union in over 40 years. This statement is technically correct, but it should be noted that in 1994 two new carbon black plants started up in Europe: a Cabot factory in Valasske Mezirici, Czech Republic and a Columbian Chemicals factory in Tiszaújváros, Hungary. Neither the Czech Republic nor Hungary were members of the European Union at the time — both countries joined in 2004. Both of these plants have been expanded since they were built: CS Cabot in the Czech Republic was expanded 1996 and 2002, while the Columbian factory in Hungary was expanded in 2008 and 2012. The Hungary plant is now part of Birla Carbon and recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary.

February 16, 2022

Cabot breaks ground on Specialty Compounds facility in Indonesia

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 3:10 pm

On February 15, Cabot Corporation announced the groundbreaking of a new specialty compounds facility in Cilegon, Indonesia. The new facility is co-located with Cabot’s existing carbon black manufacturing site and will add 20,000 metric tons of annual global capacity for specialty compounds, including black masterbatch and conductive compounds. The facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

According to Cabot, the facility will incorporate the company’s latest technology advances into the plant design and operations. Additionally, co-locating the specialty compounds facility with the company’s existing carbon black facility will promote manufacturing efficiencies while reducing waste, including the use of recovered waste-heat energy from carbon black production. This will reduce the environmental impact of the project in alignment with Cabot’s recently announced ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions globally by 2050. The carbon black plant in Cilegon is also scheduled for a capacity expansion scheduled to come on-stream in 2024.

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