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Feature article - Solutions for solvent sustainability

Paul Vanden Branden, director and product manager at laboratory equipment supplier SciMed, examines the potential of supercritical CO2 to supplant environmentally harmful solvent in extractions and separations

The environmental and financial challenges associated with widely used organic solvents are severe. To reach sustainability goals, laboratories around the world must wean themselves off these long relied-upon hydrocarbons and pursue greener alternatives.

Double Asian advance for Evonik

Evonik is making a “mid-double-digit million euro investment” in a production facility for its Aeroxide brand of fumed aluminium oxide at its site in Yokkaichi, Japan (pictured). This will be its first alumina plant in Asia and will be geared to making ultra-thin separator coatings the next generation lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Construction will begin this summer for a scheduled opening in 2025.

Flamma to invest worldwide

CDMO Flamma Group is to invest about $200 million over the next three years across its network of sites in Italy, the US and China, as it “continues to respond to market demands that require future growth and opportunity”. This includes:

* Revamping the site at Bulciago, Italy, that was acquired in 2022

* Completing the new GMP facility at the Flamma Honkai site in Dalian, China, where small molecule API and NCE capacity will ultimately quadruple to 800 m3 to meet growing domestic demand

Dr David Robert Karsa, 1943-2022

The UK speciality chemicals industry lost one of its leading lights on 17 December 2022, when Dr David Karsa passed away after suffering severe organ failure.

A chemist by training, David ran his consultancy, TensioMetrics, from his Stockport home for over 50 years while  writing several well-regarded books on surfactants in the Sheffield Annual Surfactants Review and the Applied Surfactant Series. He also co-authored books on both surfactants and biocides.

Veranova to close Annan site

Following a review over the past few months of its of its manufacturing capacity relative to customer needs and market trends across its product portfolio, Veranova’s Macfarlan Smith subsidiary has announced a proposal to close its facility at Newbie, near Annan in Scotland. It will now conduct statutory consultation requirements under UK law.

CEO Niek Stapel said: “Every effort has been made to avoid proposing the closure of the plant. This was a difficult decision to make which in no way reflects the performance or commitment of our colleagues at Annan.”

BFRs face EU restriction

Within the Restrictions Roadmap under the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, ECHA has released its Regulatory Strategy for Flame Retardants (FRs). This refers mainly to halogenated FRs and organophosphorus-based FRs, which make up about 70% of the organic FR market.

The strategy identified aromatic brominated FEs (BFRs) as candidates for EU-wide restriction on five classes of aromatic BFRs that are already or will be confirmed to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, or very persistent and very bioaccumulative, or identified as substances of very high concern.

Curia, Corning join forces

CDMO Curia is to collaborate with Corning’s Advanced-Flow Reactor (AFR) team to expand and accelerate continuous flow development and manufacturing for the chemical and biopharmaceutical industries.  This includes installing Corning’s G1 production system (pictured), designed for the continuous industrial production of APIs at Curia’s Albany facility.

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