Chem Watch: September 2014
President-elect of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has unveiled a radical new approach for the next term of the EU executive – which is scheduled to begin on 1 November.
Directorate General (DG) Environment is set to lose responsibility for biocides policy, which will move to the DG in charge of health and food policy. Under the new structure, the environment and maritime affairs and fisheries portfolios will be joined in one DG, under the responsibility of Malta's Karmenu Vella.
Commenting on the news, head of the biocides team coordinator in DG Environment, Pierre Choraine, says: “We are flabbergasted. There are lots of uncertainties now, as we are not sure how this will affect our work and the team, or how it might be reorganised. For now, the work will continue and we will have to see what will be the consequences for the team.”
Echa will come under the newly formed DG in charge of internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Polish Elzbieta Bienkowska is set to become industry commissioner.
An Echa spokesman says: “There are no major changes to Echa. DG Enterprise has always been our formal 'partner' DG, even though DG Environment was responsible for certain parts of REACH, biocides and the prior informed consent (PIC) Regulation.”
He adds: “It seems that the biocides part of the DG Environment unit might move to DG Sanco, while certain REACH responsibilities appear to remain in DG Environment. This would mean that in the future Echa will cooperate with three directorate generals.”
DG Health and Consumers is losing the unit dealing with cosmetics policy, which will be the responsibility of the DG for internal market and industry. The DG will be responsible mainly for health and food policy, while the consumers’ policy will be under the oversight of the newly designed DG Justice, Consumers and Gender equality. Lithuanian Vytenis Andriukaitis will be the health and food safety commissioner, while Czech Vera Jourová will manage the justice and consumers' DG.
The current EU home affairs commissioner, Swedish Cecilia Malmström, will take over the trade portfolio and oversee the negotiations for the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The changes to the DGs will apply three months after the start of the new Commission.
Chem Watch: September 2014
Press Release: September 2014
I-Tech has been notified that Selektope®, a marine biocide used to improve ship hull performance and reduce maintenance, has been approved for use in China by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People Republic of China.
“We are pleased to recognize the Chinese authorities’ approval of our antifouling technology following a rigorous environmental risk assessment. This marks a very important milestone in our efforts to provide the global marine sector with our unique technology”, says Philip Chaabane, Managing Director of I-Tech. “We are confident that our enthusiasm is shared also by our customers and partners in the shipping industry as this is proof that Selektope® can now be used for sea going vessels as well as other marine structures on the world’s largest single maritime market.” Selektope had previously been approved in Japan and Korea and is under registration in EU.
The turnover for antifouling paints is estimated at USD 2 billion annually and protection against barnacles is a critical necessity in all antifouling paints. Selektope is a biodegradable, non-metal substance developed to avoid fouling by barnacles and other shell-forming animals on boats and ships – a so-called antifouling substance. It has proven effectiveness in concentrations of about 0.1 % w/w (percentage weight/weight). The antifouling effect is exerted through stimulation of the barnacle larvae’s swimming behaviour. It thereby makes the larvae unable to attach to a surface painted with Selektope. As soon as the barnacle leaves the surface the effect disappears, i.e. it is reversible. Due to the low concentration needed, Selektope does not compromise the paint’s chemical structure, colour or other cooperative biocides involved. Read more at www.i-tech.se
I-Tech is a Swedish limited company, founded in 2000 by a group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology.
I-Tech’s biocide Selektope (common name medetomidine) has sprung from extensive research on the development of environmentally sound marine paints through a government funded (MISTRA) multi-year research project. Several potential biocides were included in this project, but Selektope distinguished itself from the others when it was discovered to affect the behaviour of the barnacle larvae so that they would not settle on prepared surfaces. The substance was particularly interesting as the effect can be identified already at nano-molar concentrations.
Further development has refined Selektope to a potent, ecologically verified biocide for use in marine antifouling paints. The technology holds extensive patent protection for all relevant maritime nations.
Chemical Week: September 2014
Process industries, such as oil and gas and chemical processing, as well as the power sector, are the key growth drivers for water treatment chemical makers. These markets have high technical demands and strong appetites for enhanced products and services, producers say. Sectors such as general manufacturing, commercial, and institutional water treatment are lower growth, since these have fewer technical demands and are somewhat commoditized and more often supplied by local producers.
Solenis, the former Ashland water technologies business—which became an independent company less than two months ago—is aiming to grow its revenue by focusing on process industries, president and CEO John Panichella says. The company is also revamping its pricing model. “We did not have a good process, historically, on how to manage and measure price,” Panichella says. “We are now getting the right process and metrics in place.”
While Solenis does not intend to play in the water purification equipment space, the company is rolling out a system that uses a film—as opposed to a dye, the more traditional method—to track the dosage of water treatment chemicals and biocides in industrial systems. The system monitors the level of scale and biomass in process water and the dose of the chemicals and can increase or decrease the dosage depending upon conditions. “A typical cooling water system will control the dose at, say, 15 parts per million,” Panichella says. “Our system continually monitors it and feeds the appropriate dosage you need based on the fouling it sees.”
Solenis has also trained its employees in a method called new product blueprinting, a system developed by AIM (Cuyahoga Falls, OH), a consultancy, designed to match new products to unmet or uncommunicated customer needs. The system, which has been employed by other chemical companies, including DuPont and Dow Chemical, involves training salespeople to simply listen for problems they have not encountered before. “We are looking for areas where they have a challenge they haven’t articulated well,” Panichella says. “Probably because it was cross-functional, it covered different departments in the organization.” Some areas of unmet need Solenis has identified include real-time monitoring of biological fouling in cooling towers in power plants, ways to reclaim and recycle cooling water in power plants, and friction reducers for high-salinity flowback water in the oil and gas drilling sector, Panichella says.
Meanwhile, US Water Services (St. Michael, MN) says that reusing and recycling water is important even in the commercial and institutional markets. “Water reduction initiatives in California, for example, are huge,” says Al Bly, CEO of US Water. “There are rebate programs in place. … There is a lot of focus in California on water-use reduction because of the drought.”
Still, the fastest-growing end markets for US Water include oil and gas and power. “Cleaning up the water associated with oil and gas production is a huge market for water treatment,” Bly says. “The power market, in terms of utilities, is growing at a good clip. … There are new plants going up. A lot of the water associated with those utilities is reused water, which requires more chemicals and more expertise than other kinds of water.”
US Water’s overall growth strategy, however, continues to be heavily focused on acquisitions. The company closed the acquisition of Texas-based ChemCal earlier this year, which gave it a footprint in Texas and Oklahoma, particularly in the oil and gas market. The deal is US Water’s largest acquisition. “Our goal is to double the size of the company in the next three years,” Bly says. “We are looking aggressively for additional acquisitions in the US East Coast.” The company is also rolling out a product aimed at the ethanol production market—one of its largest—that removes sulfates from the final ethanol product, which is often difficult to do efficiently and can make ethanol unusable as a transport fuel.
Chemical Week: September 2014
Kemira expects its revenue to be EUR 2.7 billion in 2017 with an operative EBITDA margin of 15%. Previous target was for revenue to be between EUR 2.6 billion - 2.7 billion in 2016 with an operative EBITDA margin of 15%. Gearing target has not changed and is expected to remain below 60%.
Kemira expects its capital expenditure-to-sales ratio to increase for the next few years from the current run rate of approximately 6%. In addition, Kemira expects its medium-term operative tax rate to be in the range of 22%-24%. This rate excludes non-recurring items and the contribution of income from associated companies.
In 2014, Kemira expects its revenue in local currencies and excluding acquisitions and divestments to be slightly higher than in 2013 and its operative EBITDA to be approximately at the same level as in 2013. Kemira's President and CEO, Jari Rosendal, says Kemira is now progressing towards the next phase of its strategy - focusing on growth. This growth will be achieved by providing customers in water intensive industries with improved water, energy and raw material efficiency, through a more streamlined operational structure across the Kemira Group. Kemira has three core segments with well-defined strategic objectives:
Paper and Oil & Mining are targeting profitable, above-the-market growth.
Municipal & Industrial is targeting to maximize cash flow generation.
Kemira's mid-term financial targets are expected to be reached through organic growth, inorganic growth and continuous efficiency improvements.
Kemira Kemi AB's Fennocide 145 biocide has received an approval from the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) to be used for controlling slime producing micro-organisms in process waters of the pulp and paper mills. Fennocide 145 is an effective disinfectant that contains sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide. Sodium hypochlorite forms hypochlorous acid that quickly controls microbes, and any remaining active chlorine is fully degraded in the high organic content of the mixed waste water. In order to stabilize the hypochlorous acid, Fennocide 145 can be used together with Kemira's Fennosurf 300 that contains dimethylhydantoin. Fennocide 145 is currently the only sodium hypochlorite product having slimicide approval for controlling microbes in pulp and paper process waters in Sweden”.
Press Release: September 2014
In a move with far-reaching implications for the future of antimicrobial copper, A.T. Cross Company in collaboration with Olin Brass has announced the introduction of the world’s first pen made with a U.S. EPA-registered CuVerro® bactericidal copper.
Known as the Century® Copper Pen, the product represents a truly unique and innovative addition to the Cross signature collection of stylish, quality writing instruments. With its Olin Brass supplied CuVerro® bactericidal touch surface, the pen kills 99.9% of bacteria within two hours of contact – including MRSA – and delivers continuous and ongoing antibacterial action 24 hours a day. With heightened public awareness for hygiene, the Century Copper Pen with CuVerro® surfaces fits perfectly into everyday life, continuously killing bacteria on-the-go, at home or in the workplace.
Cross pens with CuVerro are priced at $50 SRP and available to consumers through select retailers in the United States and online. “The Century Copper Pen represents a huge step forward in our efforts to bring CuVerro® bactericidal touch surfaces into the product mainstream and everyday life,” said Jeff Byrd, Olin Brass Vice President of Marketing & Sales. “It illustrates how simple and sensible an autonomous bacteria control measure can be. And it’s our hope that other manufacturers of everyday personal products will take notice.”
Another company using CuVerro is ATEK Access Technologies who have introduced the Larco CopperShield push-plate, an automatic door activation switch made from CuVerro® bactericidal copper. Unlike silver coatings or any other touch-surface metal, CuVerro is recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill more than 99.9 percent of bacteria*, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), within two hours, when cleaned regularly. CopperShield is the only push-plate switch that utilizes a solid bactericidal material approved by the EPA for use in hospitals in the U.S.
“The CopperShield push plate is an integral part of our improved infection control plan,” said Ed Harrich, director of surgical services at Pullman Regional Hospital in Pullman, Wash. “Its ability to continuously combat bacteria falls right in line with the culture of ‘patient safety first.’ We take great pride in our infection rates being below one percent, and the Larco CopperShield wall switch will help us further supplement our current infection control program because of its inherent ability to kill bacteria that cause these infections.”
CopperShield push plates made with CuVerro help inhibit build-up and growth of bacteria between routine cleaning and sanitizing, and continuously kill bacteria. They are offered in 4.5 inch and 6-inch square sizes, and feature a handicap logo and “press to open” engraving on 18-gauge brushed copper alloy. The push plates can be mounted directly into electrical or universal mounting boxes, and can be hardwired or connected wirelessly to the door.
“HAIs can be devastating to a hospital’s revenue and reputation, and even deadly to patients,” said Scott Gardeen, senior product manager for Larco products. “CopperShield push plates provide the kind of protection from infectious bacteria patients and employees in the healthcare industry deserve.” In addition to healthcare facilities, CopperShield push plates are ideal for use in clean rooms, pharmacies, restrooms, restaurants, and anywhere hygiene and convenience are required.
About Olin Brass
Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, GBC Metals, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Brass and Copper, Inc., the leading manufacturer and distributor of copper, copper-alloy and bactericidal copper sheet, strip, plate, foil, rod, ingot and fabricated components in North America and one of the largest in the world. GBC Metals engages in the melting, casting, rolling, drawing, extruding and stamping of specialized copper and copper alloys finished products from scrap, cathode and other refined metals. GBC employs over 2,000 employees, and serves the automotive, electronics, building hardware, munitions, coinage and select other industries through manufacturing facilities in East Alton, Illinois; Montpelier and Bryan, Ohio; Waterbury, Connecticut; and Cuba, Missouri; along with joint ventures in Japan and China. GBC also operates A.J. Oster, the leading service center and distributor of copper, copper alloys and bactericidal copper products in North America. GBC and its subsidiaries sell products under the Olin Metals, Olin Brass, and Chase Brass brand names. For further information about Olin Brass visit www.olinbrass.com, www.cuverro.com or call 1-877-311-2883.