News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

July 11, 2021

NPPD evaluating proposals for renewable energy for Monolith Materials

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:54 pm

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) currently is evaluating a range of proposals to provide nearly two million megawatt hours of renewable electricity to support Monolith Materials for its green hydrogen and carbon black operations in Hallam, Nebraska. The request for proposals was issued in January 2021 and resulted in bids for wind, solar and energy storage projects. NPPD plans to prioritize projects located in Nebraska. The new project is part of Monolith Materials’ proposed $1 billion expansion of its Olive Creek facility near Hallam. NPPD and Monolith previously signed a letter of intent outlining the companies’ intentions to procure enough renewable energy resources to generate two million megawatt-hours annually.

July 1, 2021

Tokai Carbon CB introduces rubber blacks for electric vehicle tires and components

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:03 pm

Tokai Carbon CB Ltd., the Fort Worth-based subsidiary of Tokyo’s Tokai Carbon, has introduced several grades of rubber blacks specifically developed for electric vehicles. The grades were developed to provide higher strength and lower hysteresis in rubber products. EV800 is designed to give maximum strength and lower hysteresis for tire sidewall applications. The greater weight of the batteries will require this increase in strength while not sacrificing the necessary hysteresis to improve overall rolling resistance. For non-tire components, EV480 is designed to provide higher strength at higher levels of reinforcement. Both carbon blacks are available immediately through Tokai Carbon CB.

Last month, Tokai Carbon CB announced it will increase carbon black prices in North America. Starting July 15 or as customer contracts allow, the company will raise its prices $150 per metric ton. Tokai said the increase allows the company to invest in its facilities and cover rising operational and raw material costs.

Orion raising rubber black prices in EMEA region

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:45 pm

Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. announced today that effective August 1, 2021, or as permitted by customer contracts, the company is increasing prices on all rubber carbon black products sold in the EMEA region. Prices for rubber carbon black will increase by an average of €110 per ton. In addition, the company’s service surcharges and payment terms shall be adjusted to reflect these higher costs. In a press release announcing the move, Orion said that the increase was necessary due to rising operating, logistics and environmental costs required to maintain service levels.

June 21, 2021

Phillips Carbon Black commissions new power plant at Mundra

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:04 am

Phillips Carbon Black Ltd., a part of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, has commissioned an eight MW power plant at its carbon black plant in Mundra, Gujarat, India.

June 18, 2021

Birla Carbon recognized for plant safety

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:14 pm

On June 14, the International Carbon Black Association (ICBA) awarded certificates of recognition to 12 Birla Carbon sites for achieving a level of safety performance above the industry average. The ICBA awarded twelve gold awards to Birla Carbon plants across North and South America, Europe, and Asia. The sites include the company’s two R&D centers in the United States and India. These sites are recognized at the Gold level for their safety efforts for the calendar year 2020. Of the 12 sites, seven sites have consistently received the Gold rating for the third consecutive year.

In a press release announcing the awards, Joe Gaynor, Chief Legal, Risk, and Sustainability Officer, Birla Carbon, said, “Despite the challenging times which were faced due to the pandemic, Birla Carbon continued to build and maintain its culture of safety, globally. All our plants maintained the highest safety standards for all employees.”

This recognition was started by the ICBA to acknowledge outstanding safety records and educate policymakers and the public about the carbon black industry’s regard for making employee safety a pre-condition for successful operations. It is a voluntary program where the participating companies submit the previous year’s safety performance data, which gets certified by the company’s members on the ICBA Board of Directors. Awards are given in three categories, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Orion Engineered Carbons launches renewable carbon black for tires

Filed under: Carbon Black, Recovered Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:49 am

Orion Engineered Carbons has announced the commercial launch of ECORAX® Nature, a new family of products developed for rubber applications utilizing industrial grade, plant-based oils, which are a renewable, non-fossil derived feedstock. ECORAX® Nature 100 is the first highly reinforcing carbon black grade made from renewable feedstocks which can be used in critical tire tread construction. The product is currently being tested by customers and will go into high volume manufacturing in the second half of 2022.

In a press release announcing the launch, Orion CEO Corning Painter said, “This launch is an important milestone in our strategy to develop commercially viable, carbon black products that drive sustainability across the value chain.

June 14, 2021

Scandinavian Enviro Systems plans tire recycling plant in Sweden

Filed under: Carbon Black, Recovered Carbon Black — Notch @ 3:43 pm

Scandinavian Enviro Systems AB recently announced plans for the construction of a major waste tire recycling facility in Sweden that the company says can process half of the country’s annual end-of-life tires. The company said it was preparing consultation documentation regarding the construction of the plant in Lillesjoe, in Uddevalla Municipality, and expected to submit a permit application to local authorities by Q3 2021. The company did not disclose the financial details of the project.

The project will have the capacity to recycle a maximum of 60,000 metric tons of waste tires per year. The new facility will be in addition to the company’s existing wholly owned recycling plant at Åsensbruk, in Mellerud Municipality, with a permit for recycling a maximum of 15,000 tonnes of tyres per year. This plant has been in operation since 2013. Enviro said that the establishment of the plant will depend on several factors, such as securing access to end-of-life tires and agreements covering deliveries of recovered materials, the company said. Enviro tire recycling facilities employ a patented technology to recover carbon black, oil and steel from end-of-life vehicle tires.

Michelin introduces two sustainability products at Movin’On summit, including racing tire with 46% sustainable materials

Filed under: Carbon Black, Recovered Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 3:35 pm

At the 2021 Movin’On global sustainable mobility summit, Michelin introduced two innovations related to sustainability.

The first innovation is an automated, inflatable sail system, WISAMO (Wing Sail Mobility), designed to improve fuel usage in merchant ships and pleasure craft.

The second innovation is a new racing tire containing 46% sustainable materials, fitted to the GreenGT Mission H24 hydrogen-powered prototype developed for endurance racing. This very high percentage was achieved by increasing the tire’s natural rubber content and using recycled carbon black recovered from end-of-life tires. Other bio-sourced or recycled sustainable materials used in the tire include orange and lemon rind, sunflower oil, pine resin and recycled steel from tin cans. The recovered carbon black used in the racing tire is supplied by Scandinavian Enviro Systems. SES also provides the recovered carbon black used in a sustainable motorcycle racing tire for MotoE that Michelin introduced in April.

Michelin has focused on racing tires for its sustainability push to emphasize the fact that the use of sustainable materials need not compromise performance.

As a real-world technological laboratory, motorsports enable Michelin to develop and test new high-tech solutions in extreme usage conditions. With this innovative partnership, Michelin is showcasing its ability to incorporate an ever-higher proportion of sustainable materials into its products without compromising on their performance.

This year, Michelin announced its commitment to using 100% sustainable materials in all its tires by 2050. This commitment will reach an initial milestone in 2030, with a Group-wide target of having 40% sustainable materials in its tires.

Monolith Materials receives additional investments

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:23 am

Monolith Materials (Lincoln, NE) has announced new investments to support its growth in the areas of carbon black and clean hydrogen. The new investments come from a consortium of investors led by Korea’s SK Inc. and includes NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Perry Creek Capital. This round also included additional investments from current Monolith funders Azimuth Capital Management, Cornell Capital, and Warburg Pincus. The additional funds will support Monolith’s further development of commercial-scale, clean hydrogen manufacturing technology. According to the company, Monolith Materials is the first U.S. manufacturer to produce “green hydrogen” on a commercial scale using its proprietary methane pyrolysis process. This allows the production of clean, economically sustainable hydrogen using 100% renewable energy. Monolith Materials plans to collaborate with SK on expanding global markets for green hydrogen while also working with NextEra Energy Resources on North America growth opportunities.

Monolith Materials is currently in the operating stage of its first commercial-scale carbon black production facility in Hallam, Nebraska. The new facility uses renewable electricity to convert natural gas into carbon black and hydrogen. Monolith also recently announced plans to produce clean ammonia at a second phase production facility nearby.

June 4, 2021

Cabot raising carbon black prices and adding feedstock surcharge

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 1:57 pm

On June 1, Cabot Corporation announced a price increase for all carbon black products sold by its Reinforcement Materials segment in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, effective July 1, 2021, or as customer contracts allow. All Black Pearls®, CRX®, Endure®, Propel®, Regal®, Sterling®, Spheron® and Vulcan® carbon black products will increase by €115 per metric ton, in addition to any applicable index-related adjustments. According to a press release announcing the move, the price increase is necessary to address rising costs associated with manufacturing, regulatory and environmental compliance, packaging, and logistics.

This increase in the EMEA region follows a previous announcement on May 12 that Cabot was raising prices by $0.06 per pound on all carbon black products sold by its Reinforcement Materials segment in North America, effective July 1, 2021, or as customer contracts allow. According to Cabot’s press release, this price increase is necessary to address the increasing costs to provide reliability and supply assurance to customers as the industry continues to rebound strongly from the COVID-19 crisis and experiences rising utilizations in line with long-term fundamentals. At the same time, Cabot is investing approximately $200 million in NOX and SO2 reduction projects to meet requirements related to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national enforcement initiative to control air emissions from carbon black manufacturing facilities. Cabot’s operating costs are increasing substantially as these systems are put into service to meet industry deadlines in 2021 and 2022. In addition, Cabot is making significant investments in its manufacturing network to maintain and enhance equipment reliability to meet strong customer demand even at high plant utilizations.

In addition to the price increase, effective for all shipments made on or after July 1, 2021, to the extent allowed under customer contracts, Cabot will apply a feedstock surcharge of $0.05 per pound to all carbon black products sold by its Reinforcement Materials segment in North America. This replaces the previously announced feedstock surcharge of $0.03 per pound that was effective as of October 1, 2019. According to Cabot, the increased feedstock surcharge is necessary to address the rising premiums for rubber carbon black feedstock relative to fuel oil indices in North America. These premiums are being driven by changes in the crude oil refining industry, which in turn has been affected by the IMO 2020 regulations, reduced demand for gasoline since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and several severe weather events.

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