Engineering News

Albemarle Unveils New Magnesium Alkyl Process At Pasadena Plant
Thursday, June 26, 2008

Albemarle Corp. is continuing its aggressive focus on sustainable business practices by investing in a new process that is expected to eliminate more than 80 percent of the process-related waste at Albemarle's main organometallics plant, located in Pasadena, Texas, USA. The waste is associated with the production of BEM, an essential component in the manufacture of two of the world's most widely used plastic resins.

BEM, or n-Butylethylmagnesium, is a magnesium alkyl catalyst component used in the manufacture of Ziegler-Natta catalysts that are critical in making the plastic resins polyethylene and polypropylene.

The new process, which is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2009, will significantly reduce waste by recycling solvent from the process waste slurry and making it available for reuse, and by converting the residual solids to a material suitable for onsite disposal.

Created by Albemarle process engineers at the company's Pasadena plant site, the new, proprietary BEM production method also eliminates hundreds of loading operations per year involving the waste, leading to a cleaner, safer manufacturing process and manufacturing site.

This sustainable process change will deliver a positive impact on safety, the environment and operational efficiency at our Pasadena plant, and will continue to deliver high-quality end products and services to our customers, said Amy Motto, director of Albemarle's global polyolefin and chemical catalysts business.

The Pasadena BEM project is the latest in a string of investments made by Albemarle at Company and joint venture plants around the world to introduce sustainable environmental and safety improvements into its organometallics operations.

In 2007, Albemarle invested in a similar new process in the manufacturing plant of its joint venture in Osaka, Japan, Nippon Aluminum Alkyls, where the plant celebrated its first-ever, zero-emissions year of operation. In 2005, Albemarle financed a new incinerator at its aluminum alkyls manufacturing plant in Feluy, Belgium.

"This innovation is typical of the creative and sustainable initiatives that are taking place every day at Albemarle," said Albemarle president and chief executive officer, Mark C. Rohr. "We are working on every front to maintain and expand our leadership in the polymer and chemical catalyst area- from new technology and process improvements to advances in the safe handling and environmental stewardship of our products. It's all about innovation and growth for our customers, while doing what's best for the environment and human safety."

Albemarle Corp., headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly engineered specialty chemicals for consumer electronics; petroleum and petrochemical processing; transportation and industrial products; pharmaceuticals; agricultural products; and construction and packaging materials. The Company operates in three business segments-Polymer Additives, Catalysts and Fine Chemicals, and serves customers in approximately 100 countries.

Source: Albemarle Corp.

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