Everything you need to know at the start of this week in science and industry.
Croda expands biotech portfolio with Solus purchase
Croda International has agreed to acquire Solus Biotech from Solus Advanced Materials for approximately £232 million on a debt-free, cash-free basis. Solus specialises in biotechnology-derived beauty actives, and is a leading supplier of naturally derived powder ceramides. Croda says that ceramides are a high-growth global market, and the number of new personal care products containing ceramides has doubled over the last five years.
The acquisition provides Croda with access to Solus’ existing biotech-derived ceramide and phospholipids technologies, as well as its emerging capabilities in natural retinol. It will also strengthen Croda’s Beauty Actives portfolio. In addition, with Solus being located in South Korea, the acquisition will also expand Croda’s Asian manufacturing capability and create a new biotechnology R&D hub in the region.
Croda added that Solus’ growth will be accelerated through the new ownership as the company will have access to Croda’s ‘technical and innovative capabilities, particularly in formulation, and by accessing Croda’s global selling network.’
Steve Foots, Chief Executive of Croda said: ‘[The acquisition] significantly enhances our sustainable biotechnology capabilities and adds a North Asia manufacturing and innovation facility, providing a springboard to premium markets in Asia and beyond.’
Givaudan’s fountain of youth?
Also in the area of cosmetics, Givaudan has introduced an anti-ageing molecule which it says is a ‘breakthrough evolution for the cosmetic industry’. The new active ingredient is said to be the first 100% naturally sourced retinol and provides a sustainable solution to chemically synthesised versions.
Givaudan says that the molecule, RetiLife, is the result of ‘advanced biotechnology development’ which uses microorganisms to produce pure retinol in a natural carrier during a fermentation process from plant sugars. Romain Reynaud, R&D Director of Givaudan Active Beauty said: ‘After years of research and development we are thrilled to offer the most innovative and sustainable retinol on the cosmetic market and therefore open the door to new cosmetic applications.’
Ineos to grow VAM production in Korea
Lotte Ineos Chemical is to increase its output of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) from 450,000 tonnes/year to 700,000 tonnes/year by the end of 2025.
Located in Ulsan, South Korea, the new capacity will come through the construction of a third VAM facility, following the purchase of additional land adjacent to the existing production plants. Front-end engineering and design work has already started. The company said that demand for VAM, which is used in a wide range of applications, is growing, driven by strong global growth in solar power generation.
David Brooks, CEO of Ineos Acetyls said: ‘This investment, using well proven INEOS technology, will support our customer growth plans in North East Asia and globally.’
LyondellBasell partners on LDPE and LEGO recycling
New polymer capacity is being developed by PetroChina Jilin Petrochemical Company, which will licence LyondellBasell’s polyethylene technology for a facility in Jilin City, Jilin Province, China.
The technology will be used in two production lines producing mainly low-density polyethylene (LDPE), with ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers. A high-density polyethylene line using LyondellBasell process technology will also be built.
‘This newly added production capacity will help us to foster our ambitions in supporting the global energy transition in being able to best serve the solar panel lamination and encapsulant market,’ said Han Zhiqun, Chief Engineer at PetroChina Jilin.
In a separate development, LyondellBasell and KIRKBI, the family-owned holding and investment company of the LEGO brand, have signed an agreement to make an investment in APK, which has a ‘unique solvent-based recycling technology’ for LDPE. Under the agreement LyondellBasell and KIRKBI will become minority shareholders in APK, along with other co-investors. APK aims to increase the recycling of multi-layer flexible packaging materials, which make up the majority of mixed plastic waste from the consumer sector.
ECHA makes landmark proposal on PFAS
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published what it calls the ‘universal restriction proposal’ covering at least 10,000 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The proposal was prepared by authorities in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The proposals aim to reduce PFAS emissions into the environment and make products and processes safer.
ECHA Director for Risk Assessment Peter van der Zandt said: ‘This landmark proposal by the five authorities supports the ambitions of the EU’s Chemicals Strategy and the Zero Pollution action plan. Now, our scientific committees will start their evaluation and opinion forming.’ A six-month consultation period is planned to start during March 2023. An online information session will take place on 5 April to explain the restriction process and to help those interested in participating in the consultation.