Exit and Growth Strategies for Middle Market Businesses

M&A News From the Plastics Industry

By Jim Zipursky | Dec 16, 2016

plastics industryA new process developed by Exxon Mobil and the Georgia Institute of Technology could eventually reduce the costs of manufacturing in the plastics industry while slashing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. The process uses a new polymer-based membrane to filter para-xylene, a building block for polyester, from complex hydrocarbon feedstocks instead of the energy-intensive heating process currently used. If it proves to be commercially scalable, the technology could reduce the energy costs of plastics production by $2 billion annually. The process might also decrease carbon dioxide emissions by up to 45 million tons per year. More testing is required to determine of the membranes can withstand the rigors of real-world production conditions. If further research is successful, a pilot program may be put in place to test a plant-scale demonstration of the technology. The initial research was published in Science in August 2016.

Industry Indicators

  • US nondurable goods manufacturers’ shipments of plastics and rubber products, an indicator of plastic and rubber products production, fell 0.1% year-to-date in August 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.
  • The spot price of crude oil, a key raw material in plastic and rubber manufacturing, rose 10.0% in the week ending October 7, 2016, compared to the same week in 2015.
  • US nondurable goods manufacturers’ shipments of chemical products rose 2.3% year-to-date in August 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.

Posted by Jim Zipursky.

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