Plastics News staff reporter Frank Esposito gathered the following items at Metcon 98, held June 10-11 in Houston.
Romanian PE maker has cheaper catalyst
A Romanian high density polyethylene producer is negotiating with a North American HDPE maker to supply a less-expensive catalyst to make those materials.
Dan Munteanu, senior scientist with Intelcerc of Timisoara, Romania, declined to identify the North American firm that is interested in Intelcerc's magnesium hydroxide catalyst. Intelcerc used the catalyst to produce HDPE at four Romanian plants beginning in 1984.
Munteanu described the catalyst as ``a cheap and valuable support in a developing family of catalysts.''
Intelcerc, which makes HDPE using technology licensed from Japan's Mitsui Petrochemical Co., has been successful with the catalyst but has been unable to expand its business because of the depressed Romanian economy, Munteanu said.
Pilot tests succeed for Equistar catalyst
Equistar Chemicals of Houston has completed successful pilot runs of polyethylene based on nonmetallocene, single-site catalysts twice since December, according to a company scientist.
It made the runs using boratabenzene catalysts at Equistar plants in Matagorda, Texas, and Morris, Ill., Gregory Hlatky said.
Equistar scientists have used boratabenzene and other ligand groups to develop catalysts that the company hopes will surpass the performance qualities offered by standard metallocenes, said Hlatky, who is based at the firm's research center in Cincinnati.
Hlatky added that PE producers do not have to limit themselves to cyclopentadienyl, the standard metallocene catalyst used since the materials were discovered in the 1950s.
``Hopefully, this research will allow us to start the cycle over again and develop new polymers based on new catalysts,'' he said.
Univation signs up licensee in Europe
Univation Technologies of Houston has added a fifth licensee of its metallocene technology, but has not set a date to publicly identify the European firm, according to Felix Jacobson, Univation's director of licensing, marketing and sales.
Univation, a licensing joint venture between Exxon Corp. of Houston and Union Carbide Corp. of Danbury, Conn., has signed two licensees in South America, one in Europe and one in Asia since being formed in early 1997.