BP to Build Advanced Materials Center, Poet Pens JDR, Researchers Paint Silicone
- Aug 30, 2012
Hello and welcome to your late week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. For this issue, we have a lot of research and business activity, by folks that we don't normally hear a lot from. These are all good signs for the industry, so let's get started.
British Petroleum will establish a $100 million international research center, known as the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials. This center will lead research aimed at advancing the fundamental understanding and use of materials across a variety of energy and industrial applications. The ten-year investment program will fund research into advanced materials and is expected to support 25 new academic posts, along with 100 post-graduate researchers and 80 post-doctoral fellows.
The BP-ICAM will be modeled on a "hub and spoke" structure, with the 'hub' located within The University of Manchester's Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, which has core strengths in materials, engineering, characterization, collaborative working, and a track record of delivering breakthrough research and engineering applications that can be deployed in the real world. The "spokes" and other founder members, all world-class academic institutions, are the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In biochemical news, Jeff Broin and the Poet crew in the US are on a rampage with ethanol. Poet Research Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Poet LLC, one of the world's largest ethanol producers, and Agrivida, Inc., a developer of biotechnology platforms for feedstock and feedstock processing, announced the signing of a technology collaboration joint development agreement in the field of cellulosic ethanol. Under the terms of the four-year agreement Poet and Agrivida will develop Agrivida's technology platforms with the goal of significantly reducing the capital and operating costs of commercial cellulosic ethanol production facilities.
Poet and Agrivida will collaborate to develop and test Agrivida's engineered corn stover feedstock and feedstock processing technology for integration with Poet's existing commercial cellulosic technology. Agrivida is developing traits engineered to improve the pretreatment of corn stover and make it easier to break down cellulose while reducing the cost of enzymatic application.
Big scientific news here! Researchers of Kiel University in Kiel, Germany, have now developed the first technology which is capable of joining low surface energy polymers like silicone and TFE. The technology applies passive nano-scaled crystal linkers as internal staples. The nano staples open up solutions to a large number of technical challenges, for example in medical engineering. The work carried out within the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Center 677 "Function by Switching" was published on August 24th in the scientific journal Advanced Materials.
"If the nano staples make even extreme polymers like Teflon and silicone stick to each other, they can join all kinds of other plastic materials," says Professor Rainer Adelung. The new technology of joining materials without chemical modifications can be used, according to Adelung, in a variety of everyday life and high tech applications. The technique is easy to use and does not need expensive equipment or material.
We have been covering this acquisition for a while, and the trigger point is apparently at hand. DuluxGroup is seeking to break an impasse of its own creation by giving its takeover target Alesco a deadline of 5pm Australian time on August 30 to its proposition in relation to the amount of dividend franking credits that can be passed on to Alesco shareholders.
This small point has become an incredibly big stumbling block in this deal. Alesco has already declared fully franked dividends of 15 cents a share, which carry franking credits of up to 6 cents a share, but wants Dulux to agree to the payment of a further 60 cents a share (a total of 75 cents), which would carry franking credits of up to 26 cents a share.
Dulux would be prepared to agree but for the final statement it made under Australian Securities and Investments Commission's "truth in takeovers" policy, in which it increased its cash offer price from $2 a share to $2.05 and said it would allow Alesco holders to receive up to 18 cents a share in franking credits (requiring a fully franked dividend of 42 cents a share).
Dulux and Alesco have been talking to ASIC and the Takeovers Panel to try to find a way through the impasse, but Dulux says ASIC remains strongly opposed to a 75 cents dividend payout because it would involve a departure from Dulux's final statement, which set a limit a 42 cents of fully franked dividends.
Dulux also says that talks with the panel have not provided any confidence that the 75 cent proposal would be permitted.
Dulux is prepared for it to be fully tested by ASIC, including taking the deal to appeal if necessary, but will only do so if the Alesco board agrees that if the 75 cent proposal is not allowed or cannot be implemented without "significant financial consequences", then it will recommend the 42 cent best and final offer.
Dulux says that the terms of a recommendation and whether the 75 cent proposal would be permitted are the only material outstanding impediments to the completion of a takeover. Also that if Alesco does not agree by 5pm on the 30th then it will regard its discussions on the 75 cent proposal as at an end. But Alesco has previously rejected the 42 cent proposal and is not going to change its recommendation, in the absence of an additional dividend.
Dulux wants full ownership of Alesco in order to obtain significant franking credits but would almost certainly be unable to satisfy the compulsory acquisition criteria without a board recommendation.
ASIC's "truth in takeovers" policy says that a bidder cannot change a "no increase" statement by compensating those who have sold on the market and that compensation does not adequately address the "regulatory concerns".
In paper coatings, Whole Foods Market's Rocky Mountain Region is preparing to launch two sizes of paperboard deli containers with a new coating that replaces 100% polyethylene with one that combines PE and calcium carbonate, for a reduction in the use of plastics. Jim McConnell, store supplies and services specialist for the region, says that the use of Smart Planet Technologies' clear EarthCoating is an "in-the-meantime solution" that will reduce Whole Foods' use of PE while suppliers, including Smart Planet, work on developing a coating that can be certified compostable.
"What I really want is a compostable coating that can be third party-certified as such and third party-certified as non-GMO," McConnell says. "It would be a real game changer in the industry."
Whole's Rocky Mountain Region, which includes five states (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, and Utah) and 28 stores, offers consumers two types of containers for use with its salad bar and hot food selections: a compostable wood fiber-based clamshell, and two sizes of the Bio-Plus Earth recycled paperboard containers from Fold-Pak. The 100% recycled-content Bio-Plus Earth containers currently use a PE coating to provide leak-resistance and a grease barrier.
At Whole Foods' request, Fold-Pak will provide the Bio-Plus Earth containers with Smart Planet's EC-40 coating, which contains up to 60% less polymer content by weight than 100% low-density PE coatings while providing superior barrier properties to moisture, oil, grease, and fatty acids.
McConnell says his suppliers were receptive to the idea of experimenting with the new coating, and are currently in the process of fine-tuning the new solution. He says the new containers are expected to be available in Whole Foods' Rocky Mountain Region stores within the next six weeks. Once implemented, the new containers will represent 1.5 million units/year.
While McConnell says his ultimate goal for the paperboard deli-food packaging is certified compostability, the EarthCoating containers are a step forward. "We are working with two companies, Smart Planet and Fold-Pak, that are on a path that aligns with our core values," he says. "Some people might call this a 'less bad' solution. I hate that terminology. I think it's a 'more good' solution."
Due to the terrible drought in the USA's Midwest, lawn painting has become very popular but apparently, it occurred to some that this painting process may not be beneficial to the turf that is painted. It seems logical even to me, a lowly physicist that putting a coat of polymer or binder on a growing thing might hamper its transpiration, but the exact vehicle of the problem is not immediately apparent to me. The research however was conducted with professional athletic turf and professional athletic field coatings.
New research now suggests why. In a study that appears in the September-October issue of Crop Science, three North Carolina State University researchers found that grasses coated with latex paints show a notable reduction in photosynthesis.
In their study, which was funded by the Center for Turfgrass Research and Environmental Education at NC State, the researchers prepared 60 pots with sand and peat substrate before seeding each with perennial ryegrass, a grass commonly used on professional football and baseball fields including most NFL and MLB fields. After the grass matured, two different dilutions (no-dilution, and 1:1 dilution with water) of red and white latex paints were applied to the turf samples weekly for six weeks.
To recognize how paint affects turfgrass health, it's important to first understand how the paint itself functions. As we all know, latex paints consist of four different components: resins, solvents, additives and pigments. Each has a unique role in the painting process.
The NC State researchers suspected the coating of pigment on turfgrass was also damaging the grass by shielding it from the sun and reducing photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). PAR consists of wavelengths of light in the 400 to 700 nm range that plants use in photosynthesis.
The researchers looked at the reflection, transmission and absorption of PAR in the four different paints, determining that red paint absorbs the highest amounts of PAR. By observing the carbon exchange rates in the painted turfgrass samples, the team also found red paint was more damaging to total canopy photosynthesis (TCP) than white paint, although diluting each color with water reduces their negative effects.
Results from this study further suggest that white paint reflects more PAR in the turfgrass canopy, allowing it to be absorbed by plants for photosynthesis. Over the course of the six-week study, diluted white paint reduced TCP by only 19 percent. However, the absorption of PAR by red paint eliminates the benefits of PAR reflection by the white and reduces TCP more drastically, the effects worsening as paint applications increase. The no-dilution red paint produced a 75 percent reduction in TCP by the final application.
The results from this study confirmed pigment's crucial role in the availability of PAR for plant use underneath latex paint. But more research is needed to fully explore the impacts different types of athletic field paint have on turfgrass photosynthesis and growth, say the scientists.
Test green paint? Nah, far too useful. If it were done, I would expect fairly bad results, since the coating is reflecting the wavelengths that occur naturally in the grass, but this might not be true. Either way, it's an interesting study.
In India, the naming of nanoparticles as the latest answer to combating corrosion, a senior scientist Thursday urged the industries concerned to use them as a "smart coating" option.
"Nanoparticles are the next big thing in combating corrosion. Nano-engineered smart coatings would achieve results that cannot be attained in a conventional way," said A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chairman of the National Corrosion Council of India (NCCI) and chief controller (research and development) of India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
"We are at par with other countries regarding troubleshooting for corrosion. Concepts of nano-particles and 'smart-materials', as well as self-healing coatings are revolutionary developments," Pillai said at the 16th National Congress on Corrosion Control in Kolkata.
Pointing out that corrosion affects oil and gas, automobile, construction and metallurgy as well as the naval sectors, he said in the Indian sub-continent corrosion was very severe near the shores.
"The industries concerned should give due concentration by employing technological solutions. The impact of corrosion could be significantly reduced by good 'corrosion-smart' designs with appropriate selection of corrosion-resistant material, use or corrosion prevention and control methods and ensuring planned corrosion maintenance," he said.
Highlighting the agenda of this year's Congress, which is held every two years, R.K. Malhotra, Director (research and development) of Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Faridabad, said: "We hope to create awareness about the perils of corrosion and provide solutions. We hope to help the industries to deal with corrosion-related problems."
"There is no study as such on the loss incurred due to corrosion but it has been guesstimated at 3-4 percent of the GDP or Rs.2 lakh crores per year," said M. Vijaywargiya, Executive Director-in charge, IOCL, Paradip Refinery Project.
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Soybeans pack much of corn's potential as a raw material, or "feedstock", for biorefineries. But soybean processing facilities traditionally have focused mainly on producing oil (which also has non-food uses in paints and inks, for instance) and soybean meal for livestock feed. Biorefineries can use chemical processes to transform other components in soybeans into an array of valuable materials...
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UL announced the acquisition of ICQ Global with presence in Africa, Asia and the United States. The addition will bolster UL's European and Asian footprints, and global quality and performance assurance services across the consumer product supply chain. ICQ Global tests a wide variety of products, including toys, cosmetics, construction products, furniture, packaging materials, paints and varnishes...
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And finally, with cyanobacteria, carbon dioxide and sunlight, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers aims to create a sustainable alternative source of commodity chemicals currently derived from an ever-decreasing supply of fossil fuels. The team will develop and evaluate a systems-level biorefinery strategy for using photosynthetic methods to produce chemical compounds...
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