News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

November 29, 2013

Carbon Black World conference to be held in Barcelona

Filed under: Carbon Black, Conferences — Notch @ 11:00 am

Smithers has announced the dates and venue for the Carbon Black World 2014 conference, which will be held October 20-22, 2014 at the Hesperia Tower in Barcelona, Spain. This excellent conference features two days of talks plus a preconference seminar covering various aspects of the global carbon black industry, including feedstocks, markets, and manufacturing and technical matters. More details as they become available.

November 25, 2013

Cabot signs consent decree with EPA on US carbon black plants

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:38 am

Last wee, Cabot Corporation announced it had entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the EPA’s national enforcement initiative to control air emissions from industrial sources including carbon black manufacturing facilities. Under the the consent decree, Cabot agreed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM) from its three U.S. carbon black plants located in Franklin and Ville Platte, LA, and Pampa, TX.

As a part of the settlement, Cabot has committed to install advanced control technology and continuous emission monitoring systems on its U.S. plants. The control technologies will be installed and commissioned over a six and a half year time period at a cost of approximately $85 million. Cabot will be identifying means to recover the impact of this investment over time. Although Cabot has not acknowledged any noncompliance, under the settlement agreement the company has agreed to a civil penalty payment of $975,000, all of which was previously accrued by the Company. Cabot has further agreed to invest approximately $450,000 toward environmental mitigation projects that will be focused on energy efficiency improvements in the communities where the three U.S. carbon black manufacturing plants are located.

Patrick Prevost, Cabot president and chief executive officer, said in a press release, “As the first party in our industry sector to come to an agreement with the USEPA, we also believe this will set the standard for the entire U.S. carbon black industry.”

This process has been underway since 2008/2009, when the EPA made Clean Air Act Section 114 information requests of many US carbon black production facilities, requiring details of capital expenditures over the last 20 years.

November 19, 2013

Impressions of Taipei and the Carbon Black Asia Pacific Conference

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 3:57 pm

The Carbon Black Asia Pacific Conference was held last week in Taipei, Taiwan. Guided by a stellar advisory committee, the conference was a big success: well organized, well run, and packed with excellent papers. Special thanks to CSRC for hosting the conference and to the gracious and generous people of Taipei for their hospitality. Formosa, the historical name for Taiwan, means “beautiful island,” and the place certainly lives up to its name.

Dr. Santrupt Misra of the Aditya Birla Group delivered a lively, wide-ranging, and well-received keynote address entitled “Looking Beyond the Carbon Black World: Lessons to Learn,” in which he urged the carbon black industry to think beyond current limitations, in part by working together to address common areas of concern. A second keynote address by Vinod Taneja of Vidhitech Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a consulting firm, addressed the future of the carbon black industry in a world squeezed for resources. Notch Consulting was proud to deliver the third keynote address, which, as in previous years, was an overview of current supply/demand dynamics in the global industry.

As always, the conference included market updates on the regional industry: Midori Hajikano of Tokai Carbon covered Japan, Igor Levenberg of Makrochem covered Russia and the Ukraine, and Zhang Yulong of the China Carbon Black Institute covered China. The feedstock situation was well covered by Vince Guercio of CTC International and David Tauber of Tauber Oil. In other notable papers, Greg King of Sid Richardson gave an overview of their new energy-saving carbon blacks, Francois Terrade of Pro2Act gave an excellent update on the current status of recycled carbon black recovered from scrap tires, and Dr. Soumen Chakraborty of Himadri Chemicals & Industries gave an overview of carbon black reinforcement properties. Bill Brown of Hosokawa Micron Powders, Cui Jianbo of Doright, Juergen Lauer of Alstom Power Energy Recovery, Daniel McClean of Zircoa, Koji Miura of Tokai Carbon, Takayuki Aoki of Asahi Carbon, Vimal Kumar Dubey of Continental Carbon India, and C.P. Natrajan of Ganpads addressed various technical aspects of carbon black manufacturing, ranging from air preheaters to energy recovery to quench boilers.

There are three distinct conferences covering the carbon black industry: Carbon Black World and Carbon Black Asia Pacific are held in November on alternating years in North America/Europe and Asia, respectively, while Carbon Black China is held every other year in China. The next Carbon Black World Conference will be held in Barcelona, Spain in October 2014, while the next Carbon Black China conference will be held in Kunming, China in April 2014 (Notch will deliver a keynote address). The next Carbon Black Asia Pacific Conference will be held in Yokohama, Japan in November 2015.

Below: Taipei 101, the third tallest building in the world, on a foggy day as seen from Elephant Mountain
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