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業界新聞 塑 料 資 訊 : 再生塑料鞋類掀序幕
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Volume 30, No 215
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A S l A’ S L E A D l N G m aga z l ne f o r the plastlcs and rubber lndustry
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16 塑料資訊: 再生塑料鞋類掀序幕 18 Energy – This article explores Asia’s quest for clean energy with the pressure to shift to clean energy bearing down on the region that is still clinging on to more non-renewables in its energy mix 22 Pipe Industry – At the recently concluded Chinaplas 2015 show, pipe machinery maker Battenfeld-Cincinnati Extrusion Systems exhibited new machinery, outlined its strategic plans and also introduced its new management
24 Building & Construction Industry – Super plastics possess properties that may surpass conventional materials for the building and construction sector
27 Environment – Decarbonisation is a way forward; towards curbing the dependence on fossil fuels
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Supplements 副 刊 Malaysian packaging maker Combi-Pack has been trailblazing the industry since it was set up eight years ago Once under-rated as a rubber producer, Vietnam has overtaken regional producers like Malaysia and India
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The quest for clean energy and decarbonisation is becoming increasingly vital in the region given the target for a zero-carbon global economy by 2100
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• Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas and German chemicals company BASF are forging ahead with their EUR1 billion investment in Kuantan and at a new site within Petronas’s proposed Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) complex in Pengerang, Johor. These projects are to be implemented between 2015 and 2018. The partners have agreed to form a new entity (BASF 60%; Petronas 40%) to jointly develop, production facilities for isononanol, highly reactive polyisobutylene, non-ionic surfactants, methanesulfonic acid, and plants for precursor materials at the RAPID project. Petronas and BASF are also studying the expansion of the C3 value chain with a new plant for superabsorbent polymers, as well as the expansion of the production capacity of the existing glacial acrylic acid unit at BASF Petronas Chemicals in Kuantan. The company currently operates an integrated complex with acrylic monomers, oxo products and butanediol production facilities AUGUST 2015
at the Gebeng Industrial Zone, Kuantan, Pahang. • UK-based global PEEK provider Victrex has acquired US-based polymer gears specialist Kleiss Gears to facilitate the rapid development of gear solutions, including enhanced durability and reliability, better performance, significant reductions in energy consumption and weight, and up to 50% reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), compared with metal gears. • Germany-based ProTec Polymer Processing has taken over PolymersNet that specialises in systems for manufacturing of long-fibre reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) using the pultrusion technology. ProTec, which previously distributed these systems exclusively as a sales partner, also acquired patents, supply chain, and the LFT production line that had been used up to now for process and material developments and for specific customer trials. • Australian packaging giant Amcor has acquired Packaging India (PIPL) from Essel Propack, a public listed specialIty
packaging company, for US$26.4 million. PIPL has three plants located in the North and South of India and produces flexible packaging products predominately for the food and personal care markets. The business services multinational and local customers and generates annual sales of US$40 million. Amcor currently has four flexible packaging plants across the North and West of India. • Germanyheadquartered Mauser Group has acquired 50% shareholding of Time Technoplast in the IBC (Intermediate Bulk Containers) business of Fanshun Elan Group. The latter and Time Technoplast (through its subsidiary GNXT Investment Holding in Singapore) operate an IBC joint venture in Guangzhou (South China) named Guangzhou Fanshun Elan Plastech. Operations and business of Fanshun Elan will be integrated into the existing Fanshun Mauser IBC joint venture. • Riyadhheadquartered chemicals firm Sabic and South Korean petrochemical company SK Global Chemical are to
set up a 50-50 joint venture that will purchase the Nexlene solution technology and a plant that manufactures a range of high-performance ethylene/alpha-olefin copolymers products in Ulsan, South Korea. The aggregate purchase price for the technology and plant is US$640 million. The joint venture holding company, Sabic SK Nexlene Company (SSNC), is headquartered in Singapore. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Korea Nexlene Company (KNC), owns the plant in Ulsan, which has an annual capacity of 230,000 tonnes. The plant will produce metallocenebased linear lowdensity polyethylene, polyolefin plastomers, and polyolefin elastomers. • Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals and South Korea-based SKC Co, which early this year merged their polyurethane (PU) businesses, have announced that Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes (MCNS), an equallyowned joint venture of the two companies, has started operations. Headquartered in South Korea, MCNS will capitalise on the premium strengths of its two parent companies to “strengthen competitiveness in existing business”. In
INDUSTRY NEWS fiscal 2020, MCNS is planning to achieve target sales of US$2 billion and earnings before tax (EBT) of US$150 million. • US-based Barnes Group, an international industrial and aerospace manufacturer and service provider, is to acquire privately held Thermoplay, an Italian hot runner maker for EUR50 million. In 2013, Barnes bought the German mould maker Otto Männer and in 2012 it purchased American hot runner supplier Synventive Molding Solutions. Thermoplay has technical service capabilities in China, India, France, Germany, UK, Portugal, and Brazil, with annual revenues of EUR35 million and over 200 employees. • After having announced its partnership with French machine maker Billon, French robot maker Sepro Group is now teaming up with Dutch machine maker Stork IMM. In this deal, Sepro will make top-entry Cartesian robots that Stork will sell under its own name worldwide. • Rosti Group has acquired 100% of the shares in Dutch holding company Boog BV, and indirectly the Bianor group of companies, from the Dutch-
German private equity company Nimbus Investments. Bianor is an injection moulder and assemblysolutions provider to major OEMs within the small household appliances, electrical goods and safety accessories sectors.
Latin America. Cytec is among the world leaders in composite materials, which represents two thirds of its sales, with its principal market is
primary and secondary structures for aircrafts. It is also developing new technological applications for composites in automotive.
• Brussels-headquartered chemicals group Solvay has agreed to buy US peer Cytec for US$5.5 billion, to forge its presence in the composites sector with demand for materials from the aerospace sector growing. It will acquire 100% of Cytec’s share capital for US$75.25 per share in cash and will finance the transaction with a US$1.66 billion rights issue. The Belgian company said the enterprise value, which includes debt, is US$6.4 billion, representing a 2015 estimated core profit (EBITDA) multiple of 14.7 times and of 11.7 times when considering potential benefits. Solvay expects to make annual savings of EUR100 million, within three years. Headquartered in New Jersey with 4,600 employees across the globe, Cytec generated sales of US$2 billion in 2014. It sources almost half of its sales from North America, nearly a third from EMEA and the remainder from Asia Pacific and AUGUST 2015
Plant Set-Ups/Capacity Additions • India-headquartered Jindal Films, the world’s largest BOPP and BOPET film producer, has added on capability additions in Belgium and North America (La Grange, GA). The two complementary locations will house testing laboratories for exhaustive film characterisation, and will be equipped to simulate customer conditions on packaging, printing and labelling machines. A new flexible orientation pilot line will also be centrally installed in Virton, Belgium. Meanwhile, Jindal Films Europe is also adding on environmental sustainability capability at its Brindisi plant in Southern Italy. Combined Heat and Power (CHP), or co-generation as it is also known, is the process of capturing and using the waste heat produced by the generation of electricity. • Japanese chemicals company Showa Denko (SDK) has completed the expansion of usedplastic gasification facility at the Kawasaki Plant. As part of its basic chemicals business, SDK is producing ammonia at Kawasaki. SDK processes used plastic to obtain part of hydrogen necessary for the synthesis of ammonia. As an industrial material,
ammonia is used in the production of synthetic fibres and metal surface treatment for automotive and construction machinery parts. • Borealis, a provider of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilisers, has announced a EUR160 million investment in its production location in Stenungsund, Sweden. The investment entails the upgrade and revamp of four cracker furnaces and shutting down completely two ageing ones. The Stenungsund programme is scheduled to begin in late 2016 and be completed by 2020. • Norway-headquartered chemicals firm Yara International and German chemicals firm BASF recently broke ground on a world scale ammonia plant at the BASF site in Freeport, Texas. Total capital investment for the plant – which is expected to come online in 2017 – is estimated at US$600 million. Yara will build an ammonia tank at the BASF terminal and BASF will upgrade its current terminal and pipeline assets for the export of ammonia from the new plant. The plant will have a capacity of about 750,000 tonnes/year and will be owned 68% by Yara and 32% by BASF, which will use
its share of ammonia from the plant to produce caprolactam. Yara will market the remainder mostly to industrial customers in North America, in addition to supplying the agricultural sector. • Sumitomo (SHI) Demag recently opened its new Demag Plastics Machinery facility in Ningbo, China. The 27,000 sq m-site will accommodate production and logistics facilities as well as providing about 13,000 sq m of available area and 1,400 sq m of administration floor space. At present, Ningbo is producing Systec C hydraulic injection moulding machines with clamping forces from 50-1,000 tonnes. Automation solutions and turnkey systems are being engineered with system partners such as Sepro, MAI or Kebo. • Canadian speciality label and packaging solutions provider CCL Industries is building a US$20 million manufacturing plant for in-mould-labels (IML) in Memphis, US, with Korsini, an IML producer in Izmir, Turkey. The partners will each have a 50% stake in the new company known as CCL-Korsini, which is expected to be operational by mid2016.
• US-headquartered Emerald Kalama Chemical, a business group of Emerald Performance Materials, is adding a second benzoic acid purification and finishing process at its facility in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The new process will add an additional 100,000 tonnes/year capacity of high purity benzoic acid (Purox B) and also provide an increased production capability for benzaldehyde. The project is slated for completion in late 2016. The company previously announced it had begun engineering the expansion in April, which would focus on high purity benzoic acid to support growing demand for the company’s Kalama and Purox brands of benzoic acid flakes, sodium benzoate granules and liquid benzoic acid, which it provides for food and beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical and a variety of industrial applications. The main products from the company’s reactor train, benzoic acid and benzaldehyde, are key intermediates used for the production of the company’s downstream products like its K-Flex plasticisers and Kalama aroma chemicals.
Recycled plastics kick off in footwear Regarded as an environmental nuisance, waste plastics are now being recycled to bring added value in materials to many top footwear brands, according to Angelica Buan in this article. Downcycling footwear The environmental impact of footwear design is akin to the growing concern for degradability and compostability of materials. Leather, commonly picked for shoe material, takes an average of 25 to 40 years to decompose. And unless recycled, leather footwear would just add on to the heaps of landfill wastes, notwithstanding the fact that the chemicals used in the tanning process and in assembling the footwear could leach into the environment. Meanwhile, taking apart the other components in regular footwear, such as the foam padding, fabrics, metals and other materials, which also present varying duration of decomposing, is a challenge, especially for recycling. Hence, footwear is often downcycled, rather than recycled. Downcycling is the process of converting old or useless items into new ones that are of lesser quality and functionality. Summing up these challenges, Netherlandsheadquartered sustainability metrics consultancy, Pre, noted in its Waste Disposition Life Cycle Assessment report that global footwear and apparel manufacturers are determining the best end-of-life disposal options for the main waste materials; to validate and potentially refine their existing company philosophies regarding waste disposal. Supplementing materials Sustainability, more than a green by-word, is an approach to augment reserves for virgin materials. With the current technologies now being employed for recycling, waste plastics are also now used in personal goods like apparel and footwear. Several footwear brands have embraced the usability of waste plastic materials, incorporating that into their product lines. One of these is global brand Timberland, a US manufacturer and retailer of outdoors wear like footwear, apparel and accessories. According to Timberland, it utilised some 128 million of used PET bottles into creating its footwear line, from linings, laces, uppers and insulation to faux shearling and even the backing of faux fur. Recycled PET content is a highlight in Timberland’s Earthkeepers Collection that it introduced in 2007. The company states that guidelines have been developed to ensure cost-effectiveness, and that materials (textile, leather, foam, or plastics) that go into the products meet
certain criteria. It has developed its own material fabric made from 100% recycled PET, ReCanvas, which has the look and feel of cotton canvas. Moreover, as part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility for the environment, it launched a sustainability online campaign in 2008. Known as the Earthkeeper Network, its target is to recruit 1 million people who would engage in environmental awareness and action, as well as knowledge sharing. Co-branding for sustainability Top active sports shoe brands such as Nike, Puma, and New Balance are also incorporating recycled plastics into their product lines, and in some of their product offerings. These shoe manufacturers are partnering with other major companies for either materials or technology. Massachusetts-based manufacturer Nike has a track record of utilising recycled plastics and renewable materials in developing its new shoe designs. In 2012, Nike launched the GS sneakers, made of castor beans and recycled PET bottles, during the London Summer Olympics. The football cleat, weighing light at 160 g, has its laces, lining, and tongue of the shoes made from a minimum of 70% reused plastics from recycled PET bottles, while the traction-plate on the shoes is made from 50% Pebax Renew, a renewable material consisting 97% castor beans and 50% recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) from French firm Arkema. Among its more recent offerings is the latest kit designed for the 2015 US Women’s National Team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Each piece of the kit, consisting of a jersey, shorts and socks, is made from yarn using an average of 18 recycled PET bottles. Nike, ranked the 13 th most admired company by Fortune, says that it has recycled polyester from over 2 billion waste plastic bottles since 2010. Nike says it is also able to reduce energy consumption in the manufacturing process by as much as 30% by using the regrind PET polyester compared with using virgin polyester. German sportswear giant Puma’s InCycle collection, launched in 2013, is the brand's "Cradle to Cradle Certified Basic" first closed-loop range of footwear, apparel and accessories. These are biodegradable or recyclable, meaning that they include organic fibres without toxic chemicals, and have to follow certain international standards for composting.
Materials News The firm has also worked with German chemicals maker BASF, utilising its Elastopan and Celasto PU foams for the sole of the Ignite running shoes. The footwear maker said that it had used about 50% post-industrial recycled TPU in the outsole of over 500,000 of Puma shoes with BASF's its football cleats, as of last Elastopan and Celasto foams year. Meanwhile, Puma collaborated with fashion retailer H&M in a cloth recycling project with UK-based Worn Again, a textile recycling firm that uses a chemical textileto-textile recycling technology, which enables reprocessing of end-of-use clothes and textiles into new yarn, textiles and clothes. In yet another shoe project, Massachusetts-based New Balance’s newSKY shoes, launched in 2011, was the result of its team-up with Coca-Cola’s bottled water brand Dasani, which is packed in PlantBottle. The packaging is the firstever 100% recyclable plastic beverage bottle containing as much as 30% plant-based materials. In New Balance’s newSKY shoes, the upper material is made of 95% post-consumer recycled PET bottles, which is then adhered to the outsole with water-based glue. A pair of newSKY uses approximately eight 20-oz recycled PET bottles. Shoes from the ocean Bavaria-headquartered Adidas, which designs and manufactures sports shoes, clothing and accessories, recently showcased at the "Oceans. Climate. Life" event, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, its latest sneaker prototype made from fishing nets scoured from the oceans by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The latter, a US-based non-profit, marine conservation organisation,
during its 110-day expedition, hunted for illegal poaching vessels off the coast of West Africa, as an official partner of Parley for the Oceans’s Vortex Project marine cleanup initiative. New York-based Parley for the Oceans was created in 2013 to address major threats towards oceans. In an interview with PRA, Silvia Raccagni, Senior Manager Sustainability Communication at Adidas, provided additional insights on the partnership with Parley for the Oceans and its network of organisations, as an initiative that encourages creative repurposing of ocean waste, and to raise awareness of the growing environmental issue. “For us, this partnership is an example of the Adidas group's open-source innovation approach that engages with partners, crowd-sources ideas and co-creates the future of the industry. In fact this collaboration – among many others - will accelerate the creation of innovative products and the integration of materials made from ocean plastic waste into the product offer of the Adidas brand. Starting with limited collections to raise awareness, the intention is to gradually move inline, to fully integrate materials made of marine plastics into our regular ranges and to really push the needle. So while we contribute to an environmental cause, we are also contributing to a better future for our industry,” she explains. The prototypes that were showcased in New York are concept shoes. “There are only two pairs in existence and currently, we are looking into developing a consumer-ready range for the start of next year,” she said. The upper material of the prototype is fabricated from yarns and filaments produced from ocean plastic debris and retrieved fishing nets. The sourced waste plastics are spun into high performance eco-yarn by US firm Bionic Yarn (it has also supplied to other companies including Timberland).
Prototype of Adidas x Parley concept shoes
Retrieved illegal fishing nets are recycled into yarn for fabricating shoes
The Adidas x Parley shoe is designed by British designer Alexander Taylor, who also previously designed limited edition trainers for the company. According to Raccagni, this is just one of the breakthroughs Adidas is bringing forth to push forward its sustainability plans. It has also announced its decision to phase out plastic bags in all its retail stores, putting its best foot forward! AUGUST 2015
Plastic recycling as a key function for a sustainable life Plastic has become indispensable in everyday life. It is an essential feature of our modern lifestyles and can be found in all parts of it. Product innovations, the development of alternative energy carriers and, above all, the rising global population mean that the demand for plastic as a raw material will continue to increase. At the same time, however, the supply of fossil raw materials is rapidly decreasing. Asked about how this situation will continue to develop until the year 2030, the two Erema CEOs Klaus Feichtinger and Manfred Hackl speak with one voice: the key lies in the efficient utilisation of existing plastic streams and the key function is in the recycling of plastics. A closed loop with high amounts of recycled material in products would also help plastic gain a positive image in society. Erema CEOs Klaus Feichtinger and Manfred Hackl
How would you describe the current significance of plastics? Manfred Hackl: They are of unbelievable significance. When you consider that, unlike other materials such as paper, metal or glass, plastic is only 60 years old, it is remarkable that it is used just about everywhere and has become indispensable. The reason for this is that compared to other materials, plastics have an incredible, broad portfolio of characteristics â&#x20AC;&#x201C; plus the price performance ratio is convincing. This is what makes a life without plastics unimaginable. Klaus Feichtinger: You only have to look at everyday life. In order to maintain our lifestyles, food has to be kept as fresh as possible for as long as possible and that would be impossible without plastic packaging. Seen in global terms there would not even be other energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels as these did not become economically viable until plastic was used. How will the significance of plastic continue to grow up to the year 2030? Manfred Hackl: Even greater importance will be attached to plastics in future. The benefits of this multifunctional material in terms of technology and design will drive forward innovations in many product sectors, such as lightweight automotive construction, for example, to reduce fuel and CO2 consumption. Plastic consumption is currently growing at a rate of 8% every year worldwide, with around 7.2 billion people living on the planet earth. Forecasts estimate that global population will be in the region of 8.4 billion in the year 2030, which means the demand for plastics will grow enormously. The growth in population, however, will not be distributed evenly across all continents. While Europe's contribution to the global population will shrink from 18% to 8%, other regions of the planet will grow rapidly and disproportionately â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and with them also the demand for raw materials. As, however, Europe has relatively low fossil energy resources, the shortage in these areas will exacerbate and lead to an increase in prices. This means that in future we will have to drastically
Recycling reduce our dependence on fossil raw materials such as crude oil or natural gas and we will have to do so in two ways. First we will have to succeed in closing the loop of existing plastic streams by means of recycling. And secondly, because transport, heating and energy still currently account for 87% of crude oil consumption, we have to make more intensive use of the material benefits of plastics to obtain renewable energy and for lightweight engineering.
Manfred Hackl: Passing laws for the collection of plastic waste for reuse is not enough; you have to stipulate defined minimum percentages of recyclates in plastic products. A higher portion of recycled material in plastic products would not only have enormous positive leverage on the entire plastics industry, it would also be a huge opportunity in terms of image. But the longer this development takes, the more difficult it will be to maintain our material flows in a sustainable way.
Klaus Feichtinger: The goal, therefore, is as far as possible autonomous supply through closed recycling loops and renewable energy generation. Reliable, inexpensive and environmentally sound energy supply is a crucial factor in the sustainable development of modern societies. Material-driven innovations are of vital importance in further growth and the penetration of the market of energy technologies. As polymer materials offer special potential here, they will become a driving force and thus be key materials in future developments.
Who else could help to realise this vision?
What does this mean then for the plastics recycling industry? Manfred Hackl: Enormous potential, of course, because plastics are becoming increasingly valuable as a secondary raw material – not only in terms of quantity but also with regard to quality. But to turn waste plastic into high-quality and recognised secondary raw material calls for intensive communication within the entire plastics industry – between raw material suppliers, plastics processors and recyclers. This is the basis for proper eco-design. Only then is it possible to develop new products which take into account their later recyclability at the time they are produced. The way forward is to organise material flows better and optimise the production of plastics in such a way that new, high-quality products with a high recycling content can be achieved. This is how sustainability works in a closed loop. Why does this closed loop not work now and what is your vision for its realisation? Klaus Feichtinger: In order to secure the necessary material streams also for future generations the portion of recycled material in products has to increase dramatically. In terms of technology this is indeed already possible, but the industry still has to accept the fact. The crux of the matter lies namely in a completely paradoxical view of the general public and the industry. Whereas plastic is regarded as a valuable raw material by the industry it often has a negative aftertaste for the general public. On the other hand, people see recycling as a positive topic, whereas the majority of the industry still refuses to use recycled pellets – although everyone talks about sustainable corporate policy. If business and society do not change their approach themselves regarding this issue, legislation will have to intervene.
Klaus Feichtinger: To press ahead with this development, even more global branded companies need to recognise the benefits we can gain by initiating a positive spiral and offering products which contain recycled materials. Ikea was one of the first companies to recognise this, CocaCola also makes a major contribution with rPET featuring in bottles and Henkel was recently added to the list with another product containing recycled material. Far more global players, however, would have to pull together. Manfred Hackl: These can also be smaller, regional initiatives which, as a good and successful example with a large portion of creativity, lead the way to increasing the portion of recycled material. In Chile, for example, three young masterminds launched the initiative "Net Positiva" to free the sea from old polyamide fishing nets. Thanks to an incredibly creative idea a company was formed, which now manufactures trendy skateboards from the recycled pellets from these nets. Klaus Feichtinger: Articles in the media could likewise make such a valuable contribution. Discussions which are not always factual and balanced, like the current debate about microplastics, bisphenol A and plastic carrier bags, tend to overshadow the positive aspects of the material in the public's eye. Where do you see the biggest growth markets in plastics recycling? Klaus Feichtinger: If you take a look at current legislation developments in Europe, Brazil and China – just think of the 'Green Fence' – which speed up the development and efficiency of collection systems, we expect recycling to become stronger in the post-consumer area and in the case of regrind from the automotive and electronic sectors. Manfred Hackl: In the field of plastic recycling systems, efficient and flexible systems in particular will prevail because the complexity in the processing of used plastics will continue to increase due to constant innovations in the production of plastics. Extensive recycling competence and experience together with a high degree of innovation are without doubt the key factors for success. Erema has been taking this approach for 30 years now and is, therefore, well prepared to provide the answers to these and also other, new recycling challenges. AUGUST 2015
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Asia’s quest for clean energy The pressure to shift to clean energy may be too soon for Asia that is clinging on to more non-renewables in its energy mix, says Angelica Buan in this report.
Thailand and Indonesia giant consumers Economies in Asia rely heavily on energy to power industries. The ASEAN’s total energy consumption increased by 4% in 2013, with Thailand and Indonesia accounting for 58% of the consumption share in 2013, according to Franceheadquartered consulting firm Enerdata. This growing demand, which augurs well for the energy sector, is at the same time straining the environment, especially since energy is sourced mostly from non-renewables. On the other hand, this awareness that it is just a matter of time before non-renewables are exhausted is setting forth the direction to utilising renewable energy sources, which are cleaner, in virtually abundant supply, and cost-efficient. According to research from US-headquartered consultancy Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT), investments in clean energy are growing. It finds that the scale and scope of investments in and deployment of renewable energy are expanding in emerging economies at the back of “national economic development goals, local priorities for the environment and health, and international cooperation to reduce global energy poverty”. And whilst in the five-year duration of the research, with economy defining situations such as global recession, changing energy markets and ontogeny of international policies on renewables and climate change, the clean energy sector has become a US$300 billion fixture of the world economy. PCT estimated that US$62 billion worth of energy investments from 2009 to 2013 are occurring in non-G20/Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Almost 45% of this figure or US$27.9 billion occurred in ten emerging markets where clean energy capacity leapt by 91% within the five year-period. Five of these emerging markets are in the East and Southeast Asia: Taiwan, Vietnam, Pakistan, and the Philippines; with Thailand taking the lead. Developing countries are betting on solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, biofuels and other renewable energy sources in order to alleviate energy poverty, promote power economic progress, reduce imports, and protect the environment, according to PCT. Amidst the growing allocation for clean energy capacity, fossil fuel-based energy still dominates installed energy capacity or 67% of the total energy capacities, in the top ten emerging markets. Nonetheless, installation for conventional fossil fuel-powered plants has somewhat downsized by less than 10% from the period studied, said PCT. Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, provide the world’s energy needs. Coal is a widely used power source and is cheaper. According to coal statistics of the World Coal Association (WCA), coal contributes around 30.1% to the global primary energy requirement, and produces over 40% of the world’s electricity.
Japanese firms Tepco and Marubeni joint venture company TEC is building the third Pagbilao coal-fired powered plant in the Philippines
Asian coal rush Asia is one region where coal is still widely used evidenced by new coal-fired plants being opened. Citing a sector forecast published by US-headquartered market researcher McIlvaine Company, Asia will be generating 1,464,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power by 2020, up from 918,000 MW in 2013, which would translate to a CO2 spike of 2.6 billion tonnes.
Energy The 2014 World Energy Outlook of the Energy Information Agency (EIA) noted that coal trade will expand by 40% to 2040, driven by strong Asian demand. However, emerging climate change policies are hampering this demand growth in the main markets of the US, China and Europe. Despite this, coal use continues and in Asia, the demand is brisk. Coal production is also starting to shift to the region to India. China, India, Indonesia and Australia will account for over 70% of global coal output by 2040, the IEA report cited. Aligning with its campaign to mitigate air pollution, China is easing up on coal use. China’s heavy utilisation of coal-fired plants to generate electricity has taken a toll on its air quality, especially in big cities and industrial areas. The country has also been blamed as the biggest contributor to global warming. The antipollution drive affected coal output and sales, declining nearly 6% year-on-year to almost 1.8 billion tonnes in the first six months of the year according to data report from the Beijing-based National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The opposite effect is unfolding in other countries in the region. For example, the Philippines’s Department of Energy (DOE) reported that new coal-fired power plants will come on stream starting next year. By 2020, there will be 25 new plants in operation, it said. Nonetheless, renewable energy share will also be increased by 30% from the current 23%; and liquefied natural gas (LNG) would account for a 30% share in the energy mix. Likewise, a feedin-tariff (FIT) scheme is also being implemented with the deployment of renewable energy. Thailand, rattled by nearly depleting natural gas reserves, is also opening new coal plants to sustain its energy security. In a 2010 IEA Clean Coal Centre publication, Thailand’s proven gas reserves, which make up a third of the country’s gas supply, were projected to last for only 12 years. The nation’s Power Development Plan (PDP) has been amended to focus on coal as a primary power generation source. The amendment would involve, among others, minimising the use of natural gas to generate power from 64% to 40%; and increase coal use from 20% to 25%, and renewable energy from 8% to 20%. Indonesia, whose power demand has been projected to grow at an average of 7.4% annually over the short to medium term, is also pushing up installed capacity from the approximately 40 GW projected in the UK-based firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) taxation guide report published in 2013. It said that the Indonesian government plans to more than double capacity by 2020. AUGUST 2015
Energy The international environmental group, Greenpeace, in its 2014 briefing paper cited that some 117 new coal-fired power plants are planned to be developed in Indonesia. Recently, the country has presented its imminent plan of adding 42 GW power capacity to its current 53 GW by 2024; and an allocation of an estimated US$90.1 billion for the plant projects by state-owned electricity producer Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) and private firms. Reportedly half of the planned additional capacity or 20 GW will be obtained from coal-fired plants. Coal production is forecast to reach 400 million tonnes by 2019.
US firm First Solar is collaborating with Indonesia's PT Pembangkitan Jawa-Bali on a 100-MW solar energy facility for Indonesia
Vietnam’s demand for coal is also growing and it is pumping up investments into this sector. The country’s Power Master Plan VII highlights the critical role of coalfired thermal power facilities in its energy agenda. It stated that these plants are projected to generate 46.8% or 36,000 MW of the country’s total electricity output by 2020, further rising to 56.4% or 75,000 MW by 2030. This is not surprising as Vietnam is a major coal producer that supplies both domestic power plants and countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Vietnam's Vinacomin says there was continued growth in coal production and business activities in the first half of 2015
A “dirty” stigma Coal may be the cheapest (so far) source of power for manufacturing plants yet it has earned the stigma of being a “dirty energy” source. Why is that so? Generating electricity from coal commonly involves burning of the coal in power plants to produce steam that converts to energy when run through turbines. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed on its website the environmental impacts of coal-fired power plants from the time the coal is mined to when it is converted to energy. EPA explains that burning coal generates emissions in the environment. Related activities such as mining, cleaning and transporting coal to the power plants also give off additional emissions. Power plants also need large amounts of water for producing steam and for cooling. The plants will then discharge the polluted water into lakes or rivers. Burnt coal also creates ash that is composed of metal oxides and alkali. Much of this solid waste ends up in landfills or abandoned mine sites. As well, the coal-fired power plant could contaminate the soil within its peripheries. The US-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is emphasising on solutions that are cleaner to meet the world’s energy needs without jeopardising the environment. The group is batting for increasing renewable energy and decreasing coal use. On its website, it describes coal as “our dirtiest source of energy,” because, it said, coal releases more pollutants into the atmosphere than any other energy source and is responsible for about 25% of the US’s global warming emissions. UCS strongly backs policies that promote renewable energy, including adoption of strong renewable electricity standards, clean energy tax credits (and similar financial incentives), and investment in smarter electrical grids. Likewise, it is pushing for the shutting down of the “oldest, dirtiest coal plants” and to not replace these by opening new coal plants to address air pollution and global warming. However, there are new advances in coal technologies that produce “clean” coal, according to the World Coal Association or WCA. The “supercritical” and “ultra-supercritical” technologies not only improve coal power efficiency but also reduce GHG emissions by up to 3%. Others are the carbon capture and storage (CCS), which by far is the most widely used of these new clean coal technologies, while the underground coal gasification (UGC) enables the otherwise unrecoverable coal resources with fewer GHG emissions to be utilised. Lastly, coal to liquid fuels (CTL) and synthetic natural gas (SNG) can provide “clean” liquid fuels.
Energy Renewables to take over Over the next two decades, the majority of the world’s new power generation infrastructure, comprising a mix of fossil fuel-based and cleansourced powers, is anticipated to rise in Asia. An estimated US$3.3 trillion investment for new power generation is projected in China, according to the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in its report. What’s more, the cost for renewables is declining. Wind power is expected to be the cheapest form of new power generation worldwide by 2026, while solar panel projects would reach utility-scale by 2030. To sustain the impetus for clean energy, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a clean energy development initiative for the region and is the region’s largest financier for clean energy. In 2014, the Manila-headquartered agency’s own financing reached over US$2.4 billion. At the Asia Clean Energy Forum held in June, Bindu N. Lohani, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Renewables, said that the utilisation of renewables is becoming more competitive considering that technology is advancing, yet the region has not fully maximised its potentials, amidst a large population still wanting access to electricity. He said that dependency on fossil fuel remains high that the region’s annual CO2 emissions register at 13.4 billion tonnes, or 37% of global emissions. The region’s clean energy investment reached nearly US$106 billion in 2013. Another programme was launched early this year that highlights clean energy in the region. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Department of State, and the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) launched the Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Program under the US-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership (USACEP). The consortium, together with the US Export-Import Bank, have allotted US$6 billion in financing resources to meet the region’s need for approximately US$9 trillion in energy investments by 2035. LENR: a fresh option The transition from the so-called dirty to clean energy status may take some time, according to findings from Bloomberg New Energy Finance or BNEF. It projected that by 2040, more than half the world’s energy would have come from cleaner sources, with 46% of global electricity generated by clean energy, top billed by wind turbines and solar panels. Not oft-mentioned but nevertheless it offers insurmountable clean energy potential is the Ultralow Energy Neutron Reactions (LENR). Like many other clean energy platforms, it has been undercommercialised.
“The LENR technology, if successfully commercialised and scaled-up, could potentially replace fossil fuels in the not-too-distant future (over a period of 20-40 years) because it would be CO2-free and significantly less costly for consumers and businesses,” said Lewis G. Larsen, CEO/President of Chicago-based Lattice Energy LLC in an interview with PRA. When asked if LENR is a viable alternative to fossil fuels (as an energy source), he replied, “LENRs are much more synergistic than competitive fossil fuels such as oil and coal.” Larsen, who has been involved in developing the technology since 1997, said that LENRs are a “truly biosafe nuclear technology that involves neither fission nor any kind of fusion process, hot, cold, warm, or otherwise.” He explained the “clean energy” potentials of this technology in various applications. “LENRs’ uniquely green attributes would also enable the future development of revolutionary, compact battery-like portable nuclear power sources that could compete directly with chemical batteries and fuel cells in many high-performance applications that include portable electronic devices like power tools, tablet computers, and smartphones,” he said. How can emerging and underdeveloped nations in the Asian region benefit from LENRs? “At system power outputs of just 5-10 kW, green LENR-based distributed CHP power generation systems providing heat and electricity could potentially satisfy the requirements of a majority of urban and rural households and smaller businesses throughout Asia. For system power outputs of just 50-200 kW thermal, LENRbased systems could begin to power steam or electric vehicles, breaking oil’s stranglehold on transportation; as well as provide high-quality heat for industrial processes.” Nevertheless, as with other new technologies, deployment is an issue. “Small-scale LENR systems might seem to be light years away from being able to compete headon with enormous 500-1,000 MW coal-fired and Uranium-fission power plants,” said Larsen, adding that it is not a remote possibility that commercial versions of LENR technologies could begin competing directly with coal, oil, and natural gas as a cost-effective CO2-free primary energy source. “If grid-scale LENR-based power plants were built, there is an excellent chance that they might be around 54-74% less expensive than natural gas,” he claims. Currently, R&D efforts on LENR are being carried out in countries like the US, Japan, China, Ukraine, and the EU. Larsen said that he is mulling expansion to Asia in the future. “Someday, we would like to second-source, licence, and/or partner with Asian companies,” he adds. AUGUST 2015
Roll out of new technologies At the recently concluded Chinaplas 2015 show, extrusion machinery manufacturer Battenfeld-Cincinnati Extrusion Systems, which has been active in China for 19 years, exhibited new machinery, outlined its strategic plans and also introduced the new management of the company.
At the open house, on a solEX line, a 400 mm gas pipe was produced
Open house to showcase machinery Running concurrently with Battenfeld-Cincinnati’s participation at the exhibition, was an open house where it welcomed 210 visitors at its Shunde plant for presentations and extrusion line demonstrations. Battenfeld Cincinnati also introduced its new management line-up, which took effect from this year. Early this year, Toni Bernards was appointed CEO and Bruce Lamont as COO of Battenfeld-Cincinnati China. In addition, Bernards also serves as Head of Global Sourcing for the group. Germany-born Bernards Toni Bernards is the was formerly General Manager of machine maker new CEO and also Milacron’s Chinese subsidiary. Bernards commented, “We see that the Chinese serves as Head of market needs both – top performance solutions for high- Global Sourcing for end applications and turnkey lines for standard products the group that are simple, easy to handle and quickly available. We were able to show our customers both on the booth and at the demonstration in our plant that we can do both and so can deliver tailor-made solutions for every company.” The company had two demonstrations, where it presented two lines in production: a high-output (1,200 kg/hour) line for 400 mm gas pipe extrusion and a LeanEX high-speed line for 20 mm PE-RT pipe that ran with a line speed of 40 m/minute. The 400 mm line for gas pipe extrusion features the solEX 75 single-screw extruder, which includes as standard, an AC motor that saves 20% energy compared with a DC motor and is able to achieve the higher outputs with a low noise level of below 80 db. The proven helix 400 VSI-T pipe head with inner pipe cooling EAC (efficient air cooling) also ensures melt homogeneity and pipe quality, with minimised sagging. This is why the combination of solEX and helix VSI-T is also ideal for large diameter solid wall PO pipe extrusion – diameters up to 2.6 m are currently possible. The inner cooling in the pipe head also enabled a 45% reduction in line length from 85 m to 47 m. The PE material BorSafe 3490LS was sponsored by Borouge and the dehumidifying and conveying system came from Piovan. This energy reclaim system was used for preheating of the material, saving 30% energy, bringing the line’s combined energy consumption per tonne of PE processed down to 268 kWh. The 400 mm PE-RT line was sold to Hebei BlucicinPlastic Industry, located at Guan, Hebei Province, before the open house. The Chinese company produces PVC, PPR, PE and PB/PBOB pipes. It also bought the first 32 mm PBOB pipe line from Battenfeld-Cincinnati China in 2013. The second line on display, LeanEX line, is available in five sizes. The LeanEX concept stands for “lean extrusion”, ie simple, turnkey lines for standard PO pipe applications built with European technology and locally sourced screws, barrels, motor and drive. The LeanEX series was first launched in 2009 with a 63-mm model and Following customer demand in South East Asia, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Russia. It has now expanded to 160 mm and 250 mm, with the
Pipe Machinery According to Mark Feng, Group Vice President of Sales for Asia Pacific (previously General Manger and Sales Director for China), the company expects good growth in Shangdong, Szechuan, Guangdong and Hebei “where we see good business since there a lot of pipe and profile producers located there.” It is for this reason that the company will double its sales force in China to push its lines in the domestic market. Feng also added that the company is seeing strong growth for its export markets in Asia in countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia as well as Japan.
LeanEX has been expanded to include lines for 160, 250, 400 and 630 mm 400 mm model shown at the exhibition. The company has also introduced a 600 mm line since then. Bernards pointed out, “The line is designed for customers seeking a low cost line for small, standard pipe applications.” The lines come in a basic package with limited options, and a smaller control panel and power control system. The pipe heads are from the standard battenfeld-cincinnati helix series. “The components for the lines come from Europe and China and the price is 10-15% lower than other lines,” he explained. The line shown at the open house was a LeanEX 63 mm, with a LeanEX C1-60-30 single screw extrusion extruder producing a PE-RT pipe with dimensions of 2.3 mm at a high line speed of 40 m/minute and an output of 320 kg/hour. The HDPE XSene XRT 70/PE-RT Type II material for this line was sponsored by Total Refining & Chemicals.
On the LeanEX line, a 20 mm PE-RT pipe was produced New strategies to keep growth momentum The new CEO of the company’s Chinese operations said during a group interview that the company is aiming to grow 10-15% in China this year. Bernards also said that the company will be extending its customer base to small/ medium companies. “The trend for small/medium customers is energy savings,” he said. “We will double the sales force over the next few months all over China and also pump up engineering capacity.”
First PO solid-wall pipe line for 2.6 m pipes Meanwhile, Battenfeld-Cincinnati (Austria/Germany) has sold its first large solid-wall PO pile line, with a diameter of up to 2.6 m, to South Korean pipe manufacturer Hyundai Pipe Co from Sang Ju City.
Hyundai has bought a large solid-wall PO pile line Hyundai Pipe is among the five largest manufacturers of pipes in South Korea and currently produces them in dimensions ranging from 100 to 1,500 mm for transporting fresh and waste water and for applications in the petrochemical industry. The company, which is certified according to DIN ISO 9001 and 14001, supplies both large companies, such as ExxonMobil and Shell, as well as small companies. It already has three lines from BattenfeldCincinnati in its production plant, which is equipped with eight extrusion lines in total, and has a production capacity of 22,000 tonnes/year. To be able to manufacture pipes with huge diameters, the extrusion line needs an extruder with a suitably high plasticising capacity. In the line ordered by Hyundai, this is made possible by means of a solEX 120-40 extruder, which achieves an output level of 2,200 kg/hour with its processing length of 40 D. Alongside the extruder, the tooling is the second key component of this line. This has the task of ensuring minimum ovality and minimum sagging, particularly for thick walls of more than 100 mm. The helix VSI-T+ system ensures low pressure build-up and operation independent of viscosity with its tried-and-tested combination of a spiral mandrel for initial melt distribution and a compact lattice basket for fine dispersion. Meanwhile, the EAC (efficient air cooling) internal pipe cooling system assures high line speeds and pipe quality. It also results in a shortened cooling section and thus a shorter total line length, which was also very important for Hyundai Pipe. AUGUST 2015
Building & Construction Industry
Super plastics taking over conventional materials Super plastics, which include fluoropolymers, possess properties that may surpass those of conventional materials, which are required in key industries such as the building and construction sector, says Angelica Buan.
Reinforcements with plastics Super plastic innovations have been going on for years, in response to major global challenges impacting major industries such as aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, to name a few. For instance, in 2012, a higher-grade plastic was developed by a professor in Israel to provide materials option in construction and automotive applications. Moshe Kol, a professor at Tel Aviv's School of Chemistry, created the super plastic version of conventional polypropylene (PP), with the development of a new, higher quality catalyst for the polymer-production process. This, thus, resulted in a PP that has a uniform polymer chain and very high melting point. The super strong PP version can replace materials where steel, cement, or other heavy materials are required, but at a lower weight. Super plastics are also known to be heat resistant. At the University of Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s College of Engineering, a new super plastic is being developed, which exhibits thermal properties, enabling to direct heat away from its source that make it suitable for the aerospace, building and electronic devices applications. The team, led by Associate Professors Jinsang Kim and Kevin Pipe, are using hydrogen bonding from two different liquid polymers to regenerate a continuous pathway for heat transfer. These same principles can be used to â&#x20AC;&#x153;fine tuneâ&#x20AC;? other thermal properties to design future heat resisting or insulating plastics, they said. Last year, IBM scientists developed a new class of ultralight, strong and self-healing materials. The team said the fully recyclable new polymers resist fractures, and revert to their original shape. Fluoropolymer coatings show promise Currently, amongst the most promising super plastic is fluoropolymer. This new class of plastics opens up new potential opportunities for major industry applications that require durability; chemicals, weathering and thermal resistance; favourable mechanical properties; and at the same time light weight. The consumption for fluoropolymers is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2%, in terms of volume through 2019, according to a report by Markets and Markets, which says the sector will be worth over US$8 billion by 2019. Meanwhile, the global fluoropolymer coating additives market is expected to grow substantially over the forecast period of 2014-2019 on account of increasing application scope. Growing construction and automotive industries in Asia Pacific and Latin America particularly, in China, India and Brazil, are projected to augment the market in the near future. The promising characteristics of fluoropolymer coating additives projects the product as a favoured solution for applications requiring high resistance to solvents, acids and bases, according to a report released by US research firm Grand View Research. On the basis of products, fluoropolymer coating additives have been classified into fluorinated ethylene propylene, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Extensive application segments are anticipated to deliver enormous opportunities to various end-use industries on account of intrinsic properties such as high corrosion resistance and chemical inertness. Highly priced fluoropolymer coating additives and volatile raw material prices are the major setbacks to the market expansion. Construction was the largest end-use segment in 2014 and is expected to maintain its dominance in global market over the next seven years. Improving infrastructure coupled with rising speciality polymer coatings requirement in mature economies is expected to augment fluoropolymer coating additives demand in the segment over the foreseeable future.
Building & Construction Industry In terms of demand, Asia Pacific holds the largest market share of fluoropolymer coating additives and is expected to remain the market leader over the next seven years. Increasing demand in construction industry in emerging economies such as India and China is expected to drive the market penetration in the region over the forecast period. The coating additives market is moderately consolidated with key market players accounting for over 50% of the market share. Major players include Dow Chemical, Eastern Chemical Company, AkzoNobel and BASF. Feedstocks used Fluoropolymers can be manufactured using various raw materials and different manufacturing processes. The value chain spans from basic fluorochemicals and mineral products to end-users. Fluorspar, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen sulphide, ethylene, and fluorocarbons are the key feedstocks. Based on a review published in 2012 by researcher, Hongxiang Teng of the Polymer Research Institute, Department of Chemical and Biological Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, there are two fluoropolymer materials, perfluoropolymers, whereby all the hydrogen atoms in the analogous hydrocarbon polymer structures were replaced by fluorine atoms; and the partially fluorinated polymers, whereby there are both hydrogen and fluorine atoms in the polymer structures.
Conquering the building sector Of the super plastics, the PTFE is one of the smoothest and toughest materials available, according to European trade association PlasticsEurope. US materials firm DuPont discovered and pioneered industrial-grade Teflon PTFE, the compound found to be heat resistant and chemically inert, and that provides a nonstick surface.
Du Pont's ECCtreme ECA fluoropolymers can be used for insulated cables for high heat environment It has now moved on to its latest offering, ECCtreme ECA (Epitaxial Co-crystallised Alloy), a new family of meltprocessable high-temperature perfluoroplastics (HTP) that can withstand continuous-use temperatures of up to 300Â°C, exceeding the previous performance limits of 260Ë&#x161;C.
EUROPEAN POLYURETHANE JOURNAL
Building & Construction Industry
Typical applications for the new hightemperature perfluoroplastics from DuPont are moulded parts, pipes, hose, sheathings and linings The firm says that this super plastic offers the benefits of good chemical and permeation resistance, dielectric properties and a low coefficient of friction. The company has also confirmed that US standard organisation, UL, after comprehensive mechanical, electrical and fire tests at thicknesses of 0.75 mm and above, has classified ECCtreme ECA in class V-0, and confirmed electrical and mechanical Relative Temperature Index (RTI) values of 300°C, said to be the highest RTI value of all plastics registered in the UL database. Among the main applications for ECCtreme ECA are moulded parts, pipes and hoses, as well as sheathings for cables, wires and sensors for very harsh ambient conditions. Three types are available with different melt flow rates (before and after heat treatment) for a broad range of applications. Meanwhile, Belgium-based Solvay has also embarked on producing fluoroplastics via its plant in Changshu, China. The facility, the company’s third fluoroplastics unit worldwide, has recently started production of its FKM type Tecnoflon products, and sources raw materials from production partner Shanghai 3F New Material. Solvay says its Tecnoflon is resistant to chemicals and heat exceeding 250°C. Meanwhile, Solvay is building a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) plant on the same site, which is expected to come on-stream by early 2017. The plant will be producing its Solef PVDF for various applications that include backsheet laminates used in photovoltaic modules, gas sampling bags, pump and filter diaphragms, anti-graffiti covering films, and copper plenum cables and for plenum rated optical fibre jacketing.
One of Solvay's Solef PVDF applications is for backsheet laminates in PV modules
Rigging up solutions for exploration platforms The common nemesis for oil and gas exploration platforms is corrosion of equipment parts. Protection traditionally is delivered by applying coatings onto metallic parts. For this purpose, fluoropolymers can offer the same, if not more effective advantage to these parts. Minnesotaheadquartered 3M, with its subsidiary, Dyneon, headquartered in Germany, says its 3M Dyneon fluoropolymers exhibit “impressive” resistance towards fuels, engine oils and elevated temperatures. According to 3M, its wide range of fluoropolymers can operate in temperature ranges from -200°C to +260°C; provide chemical resistance; have the lowest 3M Dyneon Fluoropolymers used permeation rates; and in O-Ring and other equipment for are able to handle deepsea and onshore explorations extensive pressure fluctuations where optimum performance is required. The typical applications are in chemical hoses, pipe linings, O-ring, high-pressure pipes, and other components used in deep-sea, offshore or land-based oil exploration. US-based Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics offers its OmniSeal spring-energised seal product line that can be used for a wide range of critical applications from cryogenic to high temperature and Saint-Gobain high pressure for Performance engineered valves Plastics's in the upstream OmniSeal and downstream spring-energised sectors. During the seal for critical design process, finite applications element analysis including (FEA), including engineered valves advanced material models for PTFT and polymers, is utilised. The product addresses industrial challenges, particularly in ultradeepwater production, high pressure and high temperature, harsh chemicals, rapid gas decompression resistance, long durability at extreme temperature and sour gas concentrations via proprietary fluoropolymer compound qualifications.
Spade work towards a decarbonised future More than an environmental issue, climate change has become a colossal economic issue, which is getting worse by the day due to inaction, say experts. Now, a solution has come up. It is known as decarbonisation, says Angelica Buan in this article.
n June this year, the G7 (Group of 7), that includes the US, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada, and representations from the European Union, issued a joint statement seeking for a "decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century." The communiqué, released on the final day of the G7 Summit held in Schloss Elmau in Germany, laid out an ultimate climate change agenda, and that is to decarbonise economies, targeting a zero-carbon global economy by 2100. This means curbing dependence on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas; and committing at keeping the global average temperature below 2°C. The latter includes reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reached in 2010 by as much as 70% by 2050, which is the amount recommended by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). Currently, global warming temperature has already reached approximately 0.9°C. Part of the G7 declaration is the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, pumping up investments in renewable energy, as well as prioritising climate change mitigation with development assistance and investment decisions. Observers say that the plan lacks binding provisions and is speckled with vague details, particularly on how these goals can be reached, except for pointing up the role of the financial sector in fossil fuel subsidies. On a parallel note with a similar agenda was the World Summit Climate & Territories held early July in Lyons, France. It was a meeting of some 1,000 officials and representatives from global networks of subnational and local governments, and other non-state actors who co-organised the event. The conference came down to a target of collectively reducing about 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon emissions by 2020. The strategy is to employ a territorial approach to address climate disruption efficiently.
Undertaking groundwork to decarbonise The issue of climate change has brought out the best and worst of economic progress and industrialisation. The greenhouse gas emissions from economic activities contribute significantly to global warming, an aspect to the changing climate. The Colorado-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, citing data from the IPCC, reported that in the last 100 years, the global temperature over all land and ocean surfaces swelled by 0.85°C. Decarbonisation is a complex but an achievable feat. Switching to renewable energy sources, implementing energy efficient designs and processes and using biofuels could contribute to containing GHG emissions at low levels. Nevertheless, fossil fuel still accounts for 80% of the world’s primary energy source.
Decarbonisation requires cutting dependence on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas
The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP), a draft of which was presented to the UN in July last year, outlines plans on how to keep carbon emissions within the set ideal limit. Fifteen countries, including five from Asia (South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, India and China), were identified as having the highest carbon emissions. A study has determined how each could cut down on its emissions by 2050. The so-called “carbon budget” indicates the amount of carbon that can still be emitted so as not to exceed the 2°C cap. China: heading towards a zero-carbon model China’s cumulative carbon dioxide emissions has been projected to amount 151 billion tonnes between 1990 to 2016, outpacing the US’s 147 billion tonnes total next year. AUGUST 2015
Environment Amidst China’s surging carbon emissions, it has come out with climate change policies and targets via its 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) adopted in March 2011. Based on the plan’s 2011-2015 targets, the country is on target to reducing its energy and carbon intensities by 16% (up to 65% by 2030) and 17%, respectively, and increasing utilisation of non-fossil or renewable energy to 11.4% (up to 20% by 2030) against the total energy use. Considering that the 1.3 billion-populated China has the framework for decarbonisation, the world’s second economy still floundered in its plan to build what could be a tangible microcosmic decarbonised economy – the ecocity in Dongtan on Chongming Island near Shanghai. The 86-sq km project, unveiled in 2005, was set to be the world’s first carbon neutral city ever to be built. It was to be the first of four such cities, all eco-friendly with no GHG emissions and fully self-sufficient in water and energy, to be designed and built in the country. Dongtan, particularly was envisioned to use about 65% less energy than any other similar-sized city. Construction that would span in three phases, was planned to start in 2006, but has been stalled. After almost a decade, the Dongtan eco-city project that would have been home to some 500,000 residents remains on the drawing board.
The failed 86-km carbon neutral Dongtan eco-city project in China
Nature’s interventions The issue of decarbonisation is an upshot for retarding global warming, but experts say this may not end climate change. A study, backed by real-world historic climate records from 1782 to 2000, was undertaken by researchers from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh. The results indicate that short-term, temporary interruptions in climate change are merely caused by natural variations, and do not mean global warming is ending. In fact, according to lead researcher, Dr Andrew Schurer, global warming is continuing with human activity, adding that this natural variability “can cause this trend to slow down or speed up”.
The CarbFix project harnesses the potential of basalt in absorbing CO2
Absorbing CO2 in the air can also be speeded up with certain types of rocks, according to scientists who published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2008. A type of rock, known as peridotite, can absorb huge quantities of CO2, reacting naturally to form solid minerals (like limestone and marble). The process may be accelerated a million times or more with simple drilling and injection methods. Peridotite can be found in the earth’s mantle but some is also pushed on to the surface when tectonic plates collide. An ongoing project, known as the CarbFix, harnesses the potential of basalt in absorbing CO2. US-based and Icelandic scientists, who started work on the project in 2007, are tapping a natural phenomenon called mineral carbonation to trap solidified CO2. The experiment involves injecting carbonised water or “seltzer water,” into the basalt rock, which is a very porous and highly reactive rock created through volcanic activity. The basalt, on contact with the seltzer water that should react with the calcium in the rock, traps the GHG in the limestone. Meanwhile, another group of scientists from Australia’s Monash University are working on converting CO2 into fuel through artificial photosynthesis. The latter is an industrial process that mimics plants’ and other organisms’ natural way of converting light energy from the sun into chemical energy, and can produce fuels and chemicals from CO2, water and sunlight. Through this process, CO2 can be converted to methanol. The scientists are also developing catalysts, one of such is the photo-catalyst based on a copper oxide surface and dotted with 2 nm-sized carbon particles. It will be combined with materials that can absorb light energy. Mitigating the price tag At the current levels fossil fuels are used in industries, the task of decarbonisation will require pulling the investment plug off fossil fuels as soon as possible. But is it worth the risk?
Environment Proponents of decarbonisation say that the cost of decarbonisation is way much lesser than not to decarbonise at all. A 2006/08 report, The Economics of Climate Change presented by Nicholas Stern, Head of the Government Economic Service and Adviser to the government (UK), explained the cost of decarbonisation and why addressing the issue is more inexpensive than if placed on a phlegmatic stand. Stern says that by being passive and doing nothing to mitigate the problem, the overall costs and risks of climate change could range from at least 5% to 20% of global GDP annually, if a wider range of risks and impacts are taken into account. On the other hand, the costs of reducing GHG can be limited to around 1% of global GDP annually. Maintaining a dormant stance is adding on more risk to the environment and lives, according to the scientists and academics who gathered at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Climate Change conference held in July in Paris, France. Delaying decarbonisation only allows GHG pollution to increase further. Attendees also said that zero emissions “must be the goal for this century”. Averting global warming of as much as 4°C by the end of the century requires “an induced implosion of the carbon economy,” according to Hans Joachim
Schellnhuber, a climate physicist and Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change. Unless such a drastic shift in the global energy system is undertaken, the worst impact of climate change will root ahead, he added. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is also stepping up in the global decarbonisation movement. It said that mitigation costs in developing countries are projected to grow to over US$100 billion/ year by 2030, while adaptation cost estimates for Asia Pacific are placed at US$40 billion/year through 2050. By numerical means, averting climate change requires “massive financing”, which ADB says can be sustained. “The key will be using limited public sector funds to leverage significant amounts of private capital, and to get the right technologies into the hands of as many partners as possible, as quickly as possible,” said ADB through its website. The Manila-headquartered financial institution, through the Climate Investment Fund (CIF), is able to mobilise US$6.5 billion for climate change mitigation programmes in developing countries. Of that funding, US$2.5 billion is earmarked for the Asia Pacific region. The various options to combat climate change are finally summed up through decarbonisation across economies. “Deep cuts in global GHG emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy,” summed up the G7 meeting.
Injection Moulding Asia Automotive
More than lightweighting; materials too matter The annual WardsAuto survey shows all technologies are
Question: In the US, mid-term reviews of the 2017-2025 standards could adjust the fuel economy and emission regulations. How do you expect standards to change?
getting more emphasis as the mid-term review deadline for meeting the average fuel economy looms in the US.
hile lightweighting and engine efficiency again top the list of strategies, the automotive industry is also focusing on transmission technology and electrification to meet the 2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards in the US, according to the nearly 900 respondents in the automotive design and engineering community, in the annual WardsAuto survey sponsored by DuPont Automotive.
ENGINE EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS
Electrification and diesel saw TRANSMISSION TECHNOLOGIES, the greatest SUCH AS MULTI-SPEED, CVT, DCT increase in mentions
ADOPTING DIESEL FOR ENGINES FOR LIGHTWEIGHT VEHICLES
SOMEWHAT/ LESS STRENGTHENED
2014 Base = 838 2015 Base = 820 2015 Response
STAYED THE SAME
LIGHTWEIGHTING AND USE OF LIGHTWEIGHT STRUCTURAL MATERIALS
SOMEWHAT/ MORE STRENGTHENED
New to the survey, vehicle manufacturers cite transmissions more than twice as often as suppliers
Source: 2015 WARDSAUTO, DuPont Automotive Trends Benchmark Study, conducted by Penton Research
Mid-term reviews could strengthen US 2017-2025 emissions standards
Technologies to help meet 2025 CAFE standards
from the 40 million automotive transmissions manufactured that same year would save up to 350 million l of refined gasoline fuel, or 3.4 million barrels of crude. “Lightweighting is a universal approach because it can be applied to every system and every component and it amplifies the impact of the other strategies,” said Jeff Sternberg, Technology Director, DuPont Automotive. “Electrification, which saw one of the largest increases in mentions this year, is fast becoming another universal strategy. Light electrification, such as start/stop, regenerative braking systems and transmission and engine controls, is expanding across the light vehicle fleet.”
With the mid-term review of the 2025 CAFE standards scheduled through 2017, 86% of the respondents say they expect the standards to strengthen or remain the same. At the same time, the majority of respondents, 87%, say low fuel prices in combination with low sales of fuel efficient, low emission vehicles will impact programmes to meet CAFE regulations. Lightweighting of vehicles is directly linked to lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy. The benefits of even modest vehicle weight reduction are significant. Reducing an automobile’s weight by a mere 50 kg reduces up to 5 g of CO2/km and increases fuel economy by up to 2%, according to DuPont’s research. If mass production is taken into account, vehicle weight reduction really starts to pay dividends. Cutting 11kg from each of the 70 million light-vehicle engines produced in 2011 could save up to 908 million l of refined fuel or nine million barrels of crude. Eliminating 5-7 kg
CAFE outlook “ he survey responses might suggest that the industry is backing off technologies that lower emissions and improve fuel economy,” said Sternberg, “but it’s important to remember the global automotive industry has to navigate emissions regulations throughout the world, so we still need to run fullsteam ahead. That said, the current market dynamic is certain to spark some lively debate during the mid-term reviews.” The light-duty vehicle CAFE and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions rate standards require, on an average industry fleet-wide basis, 163 g/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which would be equivalent to 4.3 l/100 km if this level were achieved solely through improvements in fuel efficiency. The midterm review by the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 20162017 was designed to determine technology readiness and ability to implement at acceptable cost. A final decision is due April 2018.
FUEL CELL POWERED VEHICLES
ADOPTING BIO-FUEL PROGRAMS
2015 Base: 761; 2014 Baase: 753 Percents may reflect multiple answers QUESTION: Please identify all the technologies your company is focused on to help the industry meet 2025 standards? 2015 Response
Source: 2015 WARDSAUTO, DuPont Automotive Trends Benchmark Study, conducted by Penton Research
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Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Materials matter urvey respondents again this year point to aluminium and multi-material solutions as the materials that can best help them meet CAFE standards. Engineering plastics and advanced high-strength steel comprise the second tier. Respondents continued to express “moderate confidence” that today’s materials are sufficient to meet the future standards. Materials companies are gung ho about the development of lighter-weight alternatives to metal; materials that can withstand the intense heat, the aggressive chemicals, and the high pressures in constant play within automotive engines.
ADVANCED HIGH-STRENGTH STEEL
19% 15% 14% 9%
Base: 684 Not Shown: Magnesium 1%; Other, 5%
Base: 684 Not Shown: Magnesium 1%; Other, 5%
Question: Which material family are you relying upon most heavily to help meet the new CAFE fuel economy standards? 2014 Response
Source: 2015 WARDSAUTO, DuPont Automotive Trends Benchmark Study, conducted by Penton Research M
The automotive industry favours aluminium, multimaterial solutions
Vehicle weight reduction saves energy, minimises brake and tyre wear, and, perhaps most welcome, it cuts down emissions. “We are pretty bullish on the impact that materials can have on lightweighting,” said Sternberg, “and new solutions continue to be introduced. But materials alone are not enough when it comes to reducing vehicle weight in the 10-15% range. Those big opportunities require fundamental changes in design, manufacturing and assembly as well.” Sternberg says that more “disruptive technology” developments are taking longer, but the work is moving forward. “ High volume adoption by 2025 may be optimistic for some of them, as we are just a little more than two vehicle model cycles away, but I am confident we will see an impact,” he adds. Now in its fifth year, the DuPont-sponsored survey with WardsAuto was conducted by Penton Market Research.
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The nearly 900 respondents work for system, component or parts manufacturers, automotive makers, engine or engine-service companies or in automotiverelated industries. Most represent engineering, design, manufacturing, marketing, sales and corporate management.
Injection Moulding Asia Processor Report
Combi-Pack takes expansion in its stride Malaysian packaging maker Combi-Pack has been trailblazing the industry since it was set up in 2007. It has not only won awards for its Combi Cup but also moved to a new factory last year.
he injection moulder achieved the ISO:22000 (food safety management system) in 2008; won the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) Award of Excellence for its Combi Cup in 2011; and moved to a 120,000 sq m-facility late last year in Oakland Industrial Park, Seremban, around 50 km south of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. “We like to emphasise that we are purely a food packaging manufacturer. We do not engage in any other types of plastics manufacture,” said CEO CY Chow, who, together with his wife Clara Cheng, and partner Linda Leong, owns the business.
Combi-Pack relies on Arburg’s machinery to produce its Combi Cup, in a controlled environment
It also has a controlled environment, in compliance with the food packaging sector. “A factor in sourcing for Arburg machinery has been that sales and service is easily available, plus service technicians are close by,” said CY. Novelty packaging star product in the company’s portfolio, Combi Cup, as its name suggests, is a combination of a moulded PP cup with a cardboard sleeve on the outside. It has been specially designed with ribs for heat insulation, for hot food servings. Two-layer Combi Cup The cardboard sleeve provides rigidity for the PP cup and also allows a user to have an easy grip on the cup when it has hot food in it.
ed CY Chow and his wife Clara Chang share a similar passion in packaging
Having bought over a ready-made factory, which was previously occupied by another plastics product manufacturer, the company was able to start operating in a short period of time. “We invested RM20 million and upgraded the 20-year old factory,” “The first generation “Combi Cup is a combination of of the said CY, adding that plastic cup had previously, the company’s long ribs but we have a moulded PP cup with a operations were spread out improved the design cardboard sleeve and is over three smaller facilities with shorter ribs that in Balakong, closer to Kuala allow for further specially designed with ribs..” Lumpur. savings in material,” The “new” facility is equipped with 30 injection explained CY. moulding machinery from German machine maker The first generation 15 g-cup, allowed for material Arburg, with related auxiliaries and IML (in-mould savings of 25%. The 13.5 g-second generation cup labelling) cells from companies like Wetec and allows for even further material savings, said CY, who Wittmann. designed the cup. 3 AU G U ST 2 015
Injection Moulding Asia Processor Report Apart from the less use of plastic material, other When the company moved from its previous “green” factors include easier separation of material location in Balakong, it managed to retain most of (plastic and cardboard) for recycling, glue-less binding its staff. It has been able to do this, by providing for the cardboard and the use of recycled cardboard housing in Seremban and a car pooling service for paper. those who commute from the city. “People are the Furthermore, offset printing is used to print the heart of a company,” says Clara. branding on the cardboard. While originally having designed the Combi Cup for Nestlé’s ubiquitous Maggi Looking ahead to the future noodles, the company now offers different variations ver the eight years, and since the introduction for other hot food serves, yoghurts and snacks. of Combi Cup, the company has built up an When asked what the inspiration for the design impressive list of clientele of major brand owners, was, CY said, “While studying the market to see with 50% of its output now exported to Singapore, what was available, we found that there were a lot of Australia and Indonesia. companies producing generic-type cups. Rather than “This year we are targeting a turnover of RM70 compete on pricing, we decided to stand apart from million, up by 18% from last year,” said CY. our competitors and innovate a new design.” In terms of its products, the company is He added, “Customisation and adding value to increasing its IML packaging is the only offerings. “It may be way to move forward.” “...IML decoration is an added expensive, but IML is an added value for packaging, as well as decoration Ideal partnership value for packaging, he entrepreneur as well as aesthetically aesthetically appealing..” learnt the ropes appealing,” said CY, the hard way having adding that IML was worked his way up from rank and file. “I literally targeted at a higher range of products. dropped my bags after finishing high school and started working,” CY said, adding that his first jobs were in canning factories. In 1985, CY set up Fairpoint Plastic, which later merged with public-listed Versatile Creative. Not one to rest on his laurels, CY set up Combi-Pack. While it is assumed that it is a bad idea for married couples to work together, the Chows have successfully worked together for years (first teaming up at Fairpoint Plastic) and share the same passion for the business; and complement each other well. They have perfected the formula: with CY taking care of the business and technical aspects and Clara, the general management of a staff force of 200.
The company also offers IML
Though CY admitted that the current economic conditions meant that OEMs and brand owners were approaching the market cautiously, he hasn’t ruled out future expansion, especially given that the facility sits on a land area spanning 6.3 acres. CY, the innovator, says, “We are working on another product design, but it is still under wraps.” Not bad for someone who honed his skills from being involved in the packaging industry and has used his practical knowledge to innovate an award winning cup.
The machinery is mostly equipped with servo-electrically driven IML robotic systems
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Chemicals distributor SaficAlcan has acquired a 75% stake in ChemSpec, a US distributor focused on rubber and adhesives business. ChemSpec has a portfolio of 190 active customers. Revenue forecast for 2015 is expected to exceed US$41 million, up from US$36 million last year. • UK-based Avon has completed the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Hudstar Systems for US$5.1 million in cash from existing cash resources. Hudstar is a Florida-based designer and manufacturer of electronic control systems used in powered and supplied air respiratory protection systems, largely for Avon’s award winning Deltair product. • Switzerland-based Datwyler is acquiring Italian-based company Origom to reinforce and expand its Sealing Solutions Division’s product portfolio in the automotive industry. Family-owned Origom was established in 1980 and has longstanding experience, primarily in Europe, of producing and manufacturing industrial seals. By acquiring Origom, Datwyler will benefit from pioneering technology in the production of O-rings. Origom employs 115 people, generates annual revenue of around EUR22 million. • US-based Morgenthaler Private Equity has purchased Ohio-based automotive supplier, DLH Industries Inc, and merged it with another company it owns, Marylandbased Bowles Fluidics Corp of Columbia. Both companies make components for handling automotive fluids, such as hoses and nozzles for windshield washer systems.
• India’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is partnering with the Chinese subsidiary of Italy-based Versalis (Eni), to market its styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) to tyre producers in China. Versalis Pacific Trading (Shanghai) will be commercialising rubber produced by RIL. The SBR sales deal follows the license agreement that the two firms entered into in 2011. • China Automobile Parts (CAP) Holdings is eyeing acquisitions, particularly of automotive parts supply, to expand its core business in China’s automotive parts manufacturing industry. Meanwhile, the Chinese automotive chassis components maker is cautious with its cash reserves amidst China’s slacking economy. Nevertheless, the company intends to diversify its business into rubber recycling by entering into a joint venture with Malaysian rubber recycling technology firm SRI Elastomers. The US$3 million joint venture will build a rubber-scrap recycling plant in Fujian Province, China. • Germany-based Kraiburg TPE has formed a new subsidiary in Mexico, Kraiburg TPE Mexico S de R.L. de CV, which will function primarily to provide commercial and logistical infrastructure support for goods imported into the region. According to Kraiburg, the location for the new subsidiary in San Pedro Garza Garcia is befitting as 50% to 60% of the firm’s materials are shipped to Mexico and Central America. Alberto Oba will be the director of the Mexico branch. • German thermo-analytical instruments maker NetzschGerätebau has acquired Gabo
QualimeterTestanlagen, a German manufacturer of highforce dynamic mechanical thermal analysers (DMA/ DMTA), which are the industry standards in the field of tyre and rubber testing. Netzsch offers a wide range of instruments for rubber characterisation, including DSC, TGA and EGA instruments. In the composites field, the analytical instruments it produces cover the entire production process, including cure monitoring with DEA. • Japan-based Yokohama Tyres is boosting production capacity at its Bahadurgarh, Haryana plant to increase its market share in India. The plant, which is planned to be expanded in four phases to yield a total capacity of 8,000 tyres/day, has the first phase already in operation with an output of 2,000 tyres. • South Korean Nexen Tyre Corporation obtained a regional investment grant worth almost EUR117 million, approved by the European state aid regulators, for the construction of a production plant in Zatec, Czech Republic, creating 1,000 jobs. According to the European Commission, the aid granted from the Czech Republic promotes regional development without disturbing competition in the internal market. • Stuttgart-based Trelleborg AB’s Sealing Solutions business has recently started production at its new aerospace products factory in Conde-sur-Noireau, France, that spans about 3,000 sq m and cost US$5.6 million. The plant replaces an existing facility in the city.
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Rubber Journal Asia Industry News • Malaysian technology firm Petra Group is investing £12 million for a pioneering rubber recycling manufacturing facility to be located in the North East of England. The factory is expected to create 90 new jobs for the region. The Petra Group said that the facility will be utilising its patented technology to produce Green Rubber. • German rubber machinery maker Desma has inaugurated a new and larger facility in Wuxi near Shanghai. Desma Rubber Injection Machinery (Wuxi) moved to the new facility in May; and that is targeting R&D investment increase, expansion of domestic market, and improvement of service to local clients. The facility spans over an area of 10,498 sq m, or 200% larger than the previous site.
about by its acquisition of Veyance Technologies in January this year. The headquarters is located at Veyance’s former site in Fairlawn, Ohio. ContiTech, a division of German automotive manufacturing company, Continental, produces parts, components and systems for machine and plant engineering, mining, the automotive industry and other segments.
• American multinational vehicles maker Ford Motor Co is relocating production of its Focus small cars and C-Max hybrids from its Michigan assembly plant to a yet undisclosed site by 2018. The announcement came at the heels of the United Auto Workers-led negotiations on new labour agreement, which includes wage increases and healthcare costs concerns. In 2009, Ford had obtained some US$5.9 billion financing from the US government to build fuel-efficient vehicles in US plants, and the Michigan plant was among Ford’s 13 factories that benefited from that loan.
• Ohio-headquartered Parker Hannifin Corp’s Engineered Materials Group is undertaking restructuring. Its TechSeal Division will be merged with the Kentuckybased O-Ring division; the Integrated Sealing Systems division will be consolidated with the Indiana-based Engineered Seals division; and the Medical Systems Division will be merged with San Diego-based Composite Sealing Systems. Meanwhile, its California-located Medical Systems division will be closed in the next 18 months; while its Atlanta service centre will be added into its remaining service centre network. On the other hand, its Medical Systems Business unit is expanding its manufacturing capabilities in Tijuana, Mexico, with a new 22,296.8 sq m facility, which will house the silicone, organic elastomer, thermoplastic-moulded products and assemblies, including four ISO Class 7 and Class 8 clean rooms. The facility is expected to be fully operational by end of 2016
• Rubber and plastic technology specialist ContiTech has launched its North American headquarters bearing a new name brought
• Illinois-headquartered Tenneco plans to stop its Marzocchi motor bike fork suspension and its mountain bike business, and
will liquidate its Marzocchi operations. Tenneco has not disclosed details of negotiations or the buyer. The public-traded automotive industry supplier employs 127 people at the Marzocchi plant in Bologna, Italy, and 11 people in its North American and Taiwanese operations. The firm, which has principal brand names like Monroe, Walker, Knox and Clevite Elastomer, expects to complete the closure by the end of 2015. • American Fuel Cell (Amfuel) and Coated Fabrics Company, which produces a variety of fuel cells for the aerospace industry, along with rubberised coated fabrics and large bladders for the storage of liquids, plans to open a second plant in Texas, while maintaining the Magnolia Amfuel plant at its current location. Amfuel will expand operations to Wichita Falls, subject to the expected approval by its City Council of an economic development incentive package worth $US2 million. • French tyre major Michelin has decided to increase its production capacity at the Chennai plant by 45% in 2015. Hinting at a possible entry into car radials in India (currently it produces only commercial vehicles tyres), the company is betting big on retreading as well tubeless tyre businesses. It expects its capacity in the Indian plant will match one of the three plants in Europe and address the demand in neighbouring markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan, Middle East and Southeast Asia. The company commands close to 15% market share in the commercial vehicle radial tyres market, which would grow further with the increasing radialisation.
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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News
Exploiting energy potentials of rubber Piezoelectricity holds promise to providing
According to the book, Nanotechnology-enabled Sensors authored by RMIT University researchers, some polymeric materials such as rubber, wool, hair, wood fibre and silk also exhibit piezoelectricity to some extent. A recent study undertaken by Malaysian researchers, Mohd Firdaus Jaafar of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology Infrastructure, Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur, and Dr Hanim Salleh of the Centre for Renewable Energy, University Tenaga Nasional, has been proven that micro-watts of power can be generated from a piezoelectric energy harvester (PEH)-rubber attachment. The researchers, presented during a conference held in Putrajaya, a piezoelectric cantilever beam with structural modification using rubber, which was designed to harvest power from a vibrating structure.
power source, and the use of rubber is helping researchers to optimise that potential in broader applications, says Angelica Buan. Clean source of energy hen we think of renewable and clean energy, what comes to mind are the energies sourced from the wind, water, sun and, although arguably, nuclear power. However, researchers continue to seek other potential energy that will add to the list of renewable energy sources. Hence, piezoelectricity shows promise in this aspect. The University of California published online a definition of piezoelectricity as â&#x20AC;&#x153;the effect of mechanical strain and electric fields on a material. The mechanical strain on piezoelectric materials will produce a polarity in the material, and applying an electric field to a piezoelectric material will create strain within the material. When pressure is applied to a piezoelectric material, a dipole and net polarisation are produced in the direction of the applied stress.â&#x20AC;?
Energy from rubber n a study, Piezoelectric Ribbons Printed onto Rubber for Flexible Energy Conversion, published in Nano Letters in 2010, scientists have developed the piezo rubber, a flexible, biocompatible rubber film, which they said could be suitable for use in implantable or wearable energy harvesting systems, which means that the material may harvest energy from body motions, such as the lungs during breathing. This potential sees the possibility of enabling pacemakers for heart patients to function for longer time without replacing batteries as frequently as is usual. Hand-held consumer electronic devices that require smaller amounts of electricity could also benefit from piezo rubber, which can collect energy when flexed or pressure is applied on it. Manufacturing piezoelectric materials requires very high temperatures of over 538Â°C, thus making it difficult to work with temperature-sensitive rubber, the study explained. This limitation can be overcome through applying a manufacturing process for transferring crystalline piezoelectric nano-thick ribbons of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) from host substrates onto flexible rubbers over macroscopic areas. The scientists also suggested that the PZT could be embedded onto clear sheets of silicone rubber. Each PZT strand is about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. According to the study, PZT is one of the most efficient piezoelectric materials developed to date and can convert 80% of mechanical energy into electricity.
Materials used to harvest energy ccording to research, only certain non-conductive materials produce the piezoelectric effect; and although at the time it was discovered in the 1880s to occur by applying mechanical stress on crystals like quartz, ceramics also became known to produce such an effect.
Quartz and rubber are examples of piezoelectric materials
Developing for larger-scale use n-going research and developments are taking place to utilise energy-generating rubber on a commercial scale.
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Rubber Journal Asia Materials News The power tool comes in two models, with the BioSonic Suvi Premier for ultrasonic treatment. Due to its wide power range and a variety of tips, the scaler is adjustable for all treatments. The other model, BioSonic Suvi Elite, combines the various features of the Premier and the air polisher into one versatile appliance that can be used for a wide range of ultrasonic and polishing treatments. Meanwhile, this year, researchers from the National University of Singapore presented at a conference in Portugal, the skin-based self-powered generator that converts muscle movements into enough power for small electronics. With a size as small as a postage stamp, the device utilises static electricity to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.
The energy-generating rubber developed by Ricoh
Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company, Ricoh, is currently developing an “energygenerating rubber” that it says converts pressure and vibration into electric energy with high efficiency. Working with the Tokyo University of Science that launched mechanism analysis in molecular level using leading computational chemistry, Ricoh says that the mechanism of the energy generating rubber is not the same as that of previous piezoelectric materials. The company says that the current piezoelectric materials, such as ceramics and polymers, pose certain limitations in terms of tenuous strength and weight. Combining the beneficial properties of ceramics and plastics, Ricoh’s energy generating rubber may be able to wield a high level of electricity as ceramics, while taking on the soft and flexible nature of plastics. This combination broadens the scope of applications for energy rubber. Ricoh says that it will further advance research in this technology, targeting to commercialise the material for various purposes, especially flexible sensors, as well as become an energy harvesting staple for devices with the emerging Internet of Things trend. The latter is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
The skin-based self-powered generator converts muscle movements into power for small electronics
According to the research team, friction-powered generators can launch new types of wearable sensors that do not require batteries but harness the piezoelectric effect of the wearer’s daily activities like walking, talking or holding an object. The said device can generate 90 V of open circuit voltage and power of 0.8 mW at a slight tapping of the finger. To enable the friction electrical charge on the sensors to come on contact with the skin, the scientists created a negative layer with thousands of tiny pillar-like structures on a flexible silicone rubber layer. Below it, a 50 nm-thick gold film is bonded to act as the device’s electrode. The pillars increase the surface area of the device that touches the skin, which increases friction and thus generates power. Thus, although still in its nascent phase, piezoelectricity offers vast opportunities for varied applications, such as electrical transducers and signal devices. However, with current interest in piezoelectricity, potential applications, as well as viability as efficient direct source of energy, are expanding.
Current applications in healthcare ecent advancements are paving the way for piezoelectricity for a much larger scale use. It is obvious though that the recent developments are built around medical applications. Coltene, a Switzerland-headquartered dental manufacturing company, launched in 2013 the BioSonic SUVI piezoelectric ultrasonic scaler and air polisher. The ultrasonic and air polishing devices for professional dental care feature an ergonomic design combined with LED lighting, advanced electronics and high-durability DuraGradeMAX steel tips.
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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus
The low-profile success of Vietnam as a rubber producer Vietnam’s rise to the ranks as the third largest
Furthermore, based on the latest CIA Factbook data, the share of agriculture’s economic output has fallen from about 25% in 2000 to 18% in 2014, while its share grew from 36% to 38% in the same period. By 2013-2014, exports surged in the second quarter, GDP expanded 6.4% from the first quarter’s 6.1%, over the same period last year, according to data released by Vietnam’s General Statistics Office (GSO). The growth target for 2015 is 6.2%, whereas industry observers project the economy to expand 6.4% by 2016.
rubber producer globally, came through a series of economic transitioning spurred by eco-political reforms as well as regional partnerships, says Angelica Buan in this report.
he once-underrated Vietnam has already outranked Malaysia and India in the global rubber output race. And amongst Asia’s emerging economies, it is now an investment haven in the region. The World Bank (WB), with which the country has fostered the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2012-2016, rooted this metamorphosis from the time the Doi Moi (economic reforms with the aim of creating a socialistoriented market economy) was launched in 1986. From then on, Vietnam has shifted from a lower income country, with per capita income below US$100, to a lower middle income level, with per capita income exceeding US$2,000 by the end of 2014. It has also shifted from an agrarian to an industrialised economy. The country has further bolstered its economic agenda with international and regional partnerships, such as joining the World Trade Organisation in 2007; and becoming a negotiating partner in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in 2010, which will benefit Vietnam, having exportoriented industries. It also joined the recently initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) amongst the ten-member ASEAN and its free trade partners (which reports say is the ASEAN’s version to the US-led TPP).
Looking ahead to rubber production oremost, Vietnam is known for producing natural rubber ( N R ) , and had been ranked the fifth largest producer in the world until 2012, contributing significantly to Asia’s 91% global share of rubber output. Data by the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) and the Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA) indicates that Vietnam has outpaced Malaysia and India in terms of rubber production and exports. Vietnam’s rubber output was estimated at 1.04 million tonnes in 2013, up from the previous year’s 1.01 million tonnes, according to VRA. Meanwhile, ANRPC reported that there have been shifts in the ranking amongst the top rubber exporters when Malaysia (which posted an annual decrease of 11.1%) and India (which posted an output of 849,000 tonnes) posted reductions in outputs; while Vietnam’s output has marginally increased.
Push for rubber exports he country exports 85% to 90% of its rubber to 70 countries across the globe; and imports NR from more than 40 countries, including Cambodia (which accounts for 59% of imported NR), Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and South Korea, to enumerate a few, according to a 2013 NR industry report by VietinBank. In the first five months of 2015, Vietnam’s reported NR exports reached a volume of 330,000 tonnes, valued at US$475 million. In May, the export volume was pegged at 78,000 tonnes, worth US$114 million. Citing data by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, this figure grew 30.1% in volume but fell 2.9% in value, compared to the same Vietnam is an official negotiator at the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement period a year ago.
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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus Strength in numbers with trading partners The country’s largest rubber importer is China, ue to Vietnam’s rise to the throes of rubber which accounted for over 44.39% of the total export producing bigwigs, the tripartite group of volume in the first five month-period, followed by Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, the International Malaysia and India. Overall, the three countries Rubber Consortium (IRCo) has urged participation make up for more than 72% of the market share for from Vietnam to stabilise the price of rubber. The Vietnam’s NR exports. three Asian rubber producers account for almost 70% China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner. of the total global rubber output. According to reports citing the GSO data, in the first Meanwhile, half of 2015, the Thailand, which has country posted been persuading US$32.1 billion in “....The country’s largest rubber Vietnam to join trade revenue with importer is China, which accounted the BangkokChina. Over US$24 based IRCo, is billion worth of for over 44.39% of the total export also expanding its products, including volume in the first five month-period, bilateral trade with machinery and the latter. Vietnam fertilisers, to cite followed by Malaysia and India.... ” is its fourth largest a few, have been trading partner shipped by China in ASEAN and during the six11 th globally, and it expects bilateral trade to rise to month period; while nearly US$8 billion worth of US$20 billion over the next five years (2020), up from commodities, mainly agro-forestry products, have US$11 billion in 2014. A five-year plan of action is been exported by Vietnam to China in the period. proposed to achieve the trade targets. Discussions are As well, during the first half of the year, Vietnam’s being launched for this agenda, which will also tackle earnings from foreign exports was close to US$78 mutual efforts to stabilise commodities, including billion, but almost US$82 billion was incurred on rubber. imports.
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Rubber Journal Asia Country Focus Cambodia is also an important trade and investment that this 2012 figure continues to expand not only partner for Vietnam. Currently, Vietnam has 128 on the home front but because there has also been investment projects in the country, with a total expansion in neighbouring countries, such as Laos and investment estimated at US$49.6 million; whilst Cambodia, by several Vietnamese rubber firms. Cambodia has invested in three projects in energy and At the time of the 2014 report, the area exceeded rubber plantations in Vietnam. This year, the bilateral the 2020 target of 800,000 ha rubber projected in the trade revenue development between the strategy approved “....Vietnam exports not only rubber two countries is by the country’s estimated to reach but other products including footwear and Prime Minister in US$5 billion. 2009, producing electronic products, to 33 markets Also earlier in a total volume of in Latin America....” the year, Vietnam 1.2 million tonnes discussed a of latex. US$2 billion bilateral trade with Israel that would However, the continued expansion of plantation cover agriculture, science & technology, investment, areas has played out significantly on forest resources. and others. During a country visit to Israel by The report illustrated an example. In the Central the Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Highlands, as much as 79% of the new rubber Commission for Economic Affairs, Vuong Dinh Hue, plantations were established on natural forest land not early this year, he suggested that the target may be necessarily classified as poor forests. achieved by creating optimal conditions to import certain Vietnamese commodities, including NR, in exchange of facilitating Israel’s export of technology products and transfer and funding of production activities in Vietnam. Likewise, recently, Vietnam reiterated expanding trade ties with Latin America, and this was discussed during a workshop on business opportunities organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Uruguay-based MercosurASEAN Chamber of Commerce. Vietnam exports not only rubber but other products including footwear and electronic products, to 33 markets in Latin America. The trade turnover between Vietnam and these markets reached US$9.5 billion in 2014, an increase of 40.7% over the previous year. Majority of new rubber plantations in Central Highlands were established on natural forestland not necessarily classified as poor forests
Expanding rubber plantations espite these new developments and an upswing in trade revenues, Vietnam’s NR sector is observed to witness “little organic growth in the next few years”, according to a 2013 Vietnam Rubber Report by Stox Research, an independent research house in Vietnam. It said that plantations are declining for most listed rubber companies and this may be due to plantations being either “too old or replanted areas not being ready for yielding.” By increasing rubber prices, only can revenue growth come in, and Vietnam, Stox Research said, “has no impact or influence on” increasing rubber prices. Vietnam has vast tracts of rubber plantations. According to the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade), the country’s rubber plantations grew by 640,000 ha in 2009. By end of 2012, the rubber plantation area covered some 910,500 ha. The 2014 Rubber Protection and Forest Protection in Vietnam Report published by the Forest Trends said
About 397,879 cu m of timber was harvested during this conversion process to give way to more than 200 projects in the area. In short, encroachment of forests directly managed by communities is widening as expansion for rubber plantations increases. Thus, industrial crops like rubber have been identified as one of the top drivers for deforestation and degradation in the country, the report added. In response to this forest conversion issue, the Vietnamese government says it is engaging in activities such as the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)” and “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT)” programmes. This, the government says, would enable Vietnam to implement mechanisms that address drivers of deforestation and degradation, and aid the country to forge ahead in its plans to be one of the top producers of rubber in Asia. 7
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