North American chemical producers oppose Canadian restriction initiative on flame retardants; Shell to provide EV charging to Penske trucks; HIF Global holds talks with Uniper over eMethanol from Chile

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North American chemical producers oppose Canadian restriction initiatives

The North American Flame Retardant Alliance, part of the Washington D.C.-based chemical industry association American Chemistry Council (ACC), disagreed with Canadian regulatory proposals to restrict a flame retardant known for its acronym DBDPE and cited trade accords.

“NAFRA is extremely disappointed in this decision and will continue to support the product’s continued use to enhance fire protection,” according to the May 18 press release from ACC.

“Canada’s regulatory proposal for DBDPE is not supported by the state of the science, does not align with global regulations, and has the potential to create inconsistencies and disruptions for the North American supply chain,” the ACC statement said.

“Dozens of studies have been submitted demonstrating that DBDPE is safe for its intended use. In addition, a study commissioned by ECCC found that the costs of prohibiting DBDPE remain uncertain because suitable alternatives do not exist for some” applications, it said.

The producers said a restriction may not be consistent with the North American free trade agreement.

“The proposed regulation is an outlier globally and would be the first to place such broad restrictions on the use of DBDPE. It´s also inconsistent with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which requires a risk-based approach to chemical regulations,” it said.

“NAFRA looks forward to continued engagement with the Canadian government to properly apply a weight of the evidence approach in considering any regulations for DBDPE,” it added.

There have been initiatives related to banning some flame retardants within the U.S. like in the case of New York out of concern that fumes of household goods with flame retardants may be more toxic.

The global flame retardant market was valued at $7.8 billion in 2019 and projected to reach $10.6 billion by 2027, according to a Nov. 2021 press release by Verified Market Research.

Shell to provide EV charging to Penske

Penske Truck Leasing and Shell Recharge Solutions North America said in May 2022 that they plan a joint initiative to support light-duty electric vehicle (EV) charging at Penske locations.

The project will initially deploy electric truck charging stations in California, a joint statement said. 

“Additional sites will be rolled out in four U.S. states in 2022 with more locations expected to be added in 2023 and beyond,” it added.

Penske is incorporating EVs to its fleet as it wants to provide “sustainable fleet solutions," said Art Vallely, Penske Truck Leasing´s president.

Of 33 Penske sites that will have the re-charging installations, 23 will be in California; three in Washington State; two each in Colorado, Illinois and Oregon; and one in Reading, Pennsylvania. This will bring the Penske Shell´s “L2” network to 79.

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs about 14,000 people.

Penske is headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania. It operates over 372,000 vehicles and serves customers from over 1,300 locations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Shell is completing this year construction of an ethylene and polyethylene complex in Monaca, Pennsylvania that will have capacity to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year.

HIF Global may supply Uniper with eMethanol from Chile

HIF Global, a company planning to build eMethanol production capacity in the south of Chile, said on May 19 it signed a Letter of Intent “to negotiate binding offtake agreements for the sale and purchase of eFuels” with Europe´s Uniper.

Uniper may “purchase up to approximately two million tons per year of eMethanol from four commercial plants in Chile, representing 50% of the production from each plant,” the companies said. Two plants are planned in Magallanes, in south Chile.

Production from the first commercial plant in Chile is projected to begin in 2025 with 150,000 tons per year of eMethanol. The second plant is scheduled to begin in 2027 with a 1.3 million tons per year output. 

“Our eFuels Letter of Intent provides a framework to negotiate definitive agreements for our products." said HIF Global COO´s Clara Bowman.

HIF Chile is currently building a demonstration plant in Magallanes, Chile.

Dusseldorf-based Uniper's roughly 33 GW of installed generation capacity makes it one of the world's largest electricity producers, according to the release.

Punta Arenas, capital of the Chilean province of Magallanes, is home of production capacity of Canada´s Methanex, the world´s biggest methanol producer.

Methanol produced with carbon capture and renewable energy can be emissions free.

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