SPE Industry Update
Dec. 8, 2010

Dow may use 30 percent more ethane to make plastics in US
Bloomberg Businessweek
Dow Chemical Co., the world's second- biggest chemical company, plans to use more ethane to make plastics and may form a venture to separate the raw material because of lower natural-gas prices in the U.S. Dow plans to increase cracking of ethane by 20 percent to 30 percent at ethylene plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast over the next two to three years, Midland, Michigan-based Dow said recently.More

Production of highly transparent polypropylene sheets
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polypropylene (PP) is an excellent resin, because it is reasonably priced and has both good physical properties and recycling features. However, because it is a crystalline resin, it is rather difficult to obtain highly transparent PP sheets. This has limited its development for high-transparency use. There are two main theories of higher-order structure formation during PP solidification.More

Corn-based ingredient could replace BPA in plastics
Natural News
Oil and grain conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland has announced that the chemical isosorbide could function as a replacement for the embattled petroleum derivative bisphenol A (BPA). The company says it is the first to offer "renewable" (corn-based) isosorbide on such a large scale.More

A greener way to make plastic
Science NOW
Chemical refineries are great at converting petroleum into gasoline and the building blocks of plastics and other consumer goods. But when it comes to sustainable starting materials, such as wood chips, corn stalks, or other plant "biomass," refineries are too inefficient to make the process commercially viable. Researchers have now given that efficiency a major boost, perhaps enough of one to allow us to leave petroleum behind. More

Researchers train bacteria to convert bio-wastes into plastic
Science Daily
Researcher Jean-Paul Meijnen has 'trained' bacteria to convert all the main sugars in vegetable, fruit and garden waste efficiently into high-quality environmentally friendly products such as bioplastics. There is considerable interest in bioplastics nowadays. The technical problems associated with turning potato peel into sunglasses, or cane sugar into car bumpers, have already been solved. The current methods, however, are not very efficient: only a small percentage of the sugars can be converted into valuable products.More

Plastic to increase its share of packaging market to 49 percent against paper
According to the report 'Paper versus Plastic in Packaging – U.S. industry forecasts for 2014 & 2019,' plastic is expected to increase its share of the market to 49 percent (in pounds) in 2014 as it makes further inroads into paper applications.More

First deal in what could be a wave of Chinese acquisitions of US auto part suppliers
Plastics Today
The largest Chinese investment in a U.S.-based automotive supplier was completed earlier this week with the acquisition of steering and driveline systems supplier, Nexteer Automotive by PCM, an entity formed by PCAS and Beijing E-Town International Investment & Development Co., Ltd. (E-Town), which is itself an affiliate of the Beijing municipal government.More

Bioplastics conference pulls in a healthy crowd
Plastics Today
The fifth annual conference hosted by the European Bioplastics trade group gave a warm welcome to about 365 attendees who traveled to chilly Düsseldorf, Germany, to learn the latest on these materials. Most of the presentations focused on material developments, with some of these quite upstream from plastics processors as they highlighted new feedstock material developments, while many were in processors’ sweet spot of masterbatches, compounds and additives. More

Turkey's plastics imports rise in October 2010
According to the data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey's plastics imports in October 2010 rose slightly compared to the September figures of the same year with the country's imports rising from 316,000 tons to 320,000 tons month over month.More

Taiwan set to be a major center for the exportation of high-value chemical and plastics products
According to statistics compiled by the Industrial Technology Research Institute's Industrial Economics & Knowledge Center, the volume of plastics used in Taiwan each year exceeds 5,908,000 metric tons, requiring the use of at least 296,000 metric tons of plastic additives. However, in 2009 Taiwan's plastic additives industry posted annual production value of approximately $360 million, and annual production value of only around 144,000 metric tons; there was thus a shortfall of approximately 152,000 metric tons in the quantity of plastic additives that Taiwan was able to produce for itself.More

Study suggests BPA exposure impacts fertility
Plastics News
Female mice injected with low doses of bisphenol A experienced both a decline in fertility and in the number of pups in their litters after their first pregnancy, according to a study conducted by a research team at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. The findings, published online Dec. 2 in the scientific journal "Environmental Health Perspectives," also suggested an increased risk of breast and prostate cancers, obesity and more masculine behavior in female mice from doses of BPA, as low as 25 nanograms/kilogram.More