Clariant opens new catalyst R&D lab in Brazil

Clariant opened a new research and development (R&D) laboratory in Brazil for catalysts for the chemicals and oil and gas industries, the company said on Tuesday.
Located in Suzano, Brazil -- the company’s largest manufacturing plant in Latin America -- the laboratory begins operations with a complete infrastructure, top equipment and a well-qualified team of researchers dedicated to develop new generations of catalysts as well as providing technical support to customers in the region.

“The projected growth of the gas industry in Brazil is very impressive and Clariant will contribute to that growth”, said Stefan Heuser, senior vice president and head of BU Catalysts.

“With this important investment we follow our strategy to provide strong support to our local business partners," he added. "Here in Brazil we will jointly develop new and innovative solutions with our catalysts and adsorbents."

Brazilian gas supplies are poised to soar, and domestic production will triple from current level of 65 million cubic meters/day to around 180 million in 2020 with significant portion from off-shore platforms, according to Clariant officials. 

Brazil oil production is about 25% of the global deep water production in 2011, and pre-salt exploration could increase this percentage significantly. According to ONIP (National Petroleum Industry Organization), demand for goods and services for the oil and gas industries should at least reach $400 billion through 2020.

Clariant’s adsorbents can be used to purify natural gas, which comes out of the well with impurities such as sulfur, mercury, arsine and other compounds harmful to the environment and the plant equipment. The ActiSorb GP Series adsorbents remove those contaminants before feeding the gas into the pipeline to meet the mandatory specification.

After more than 60 years providing solutions for the removal of contaminants from natural gas and other hydrocarbon chains, Clariant said it sees the increase in production from the pre-salt reserves and large potential of shale gas as a platform for growth in Latin America and worldwide.

In addition, tightening of fuel specifications in South America and the necessity of processing more challenging feedstocks are driving hydrogen catalyst demand.

Clariant’s catalysts business is one of the market leaders in hydrogen catalysts, with optimization of high-performance catalysts representing a critical tool to increase hydrogen supply in refineries. The catalyst business also offers a number of sulfur-removal products, including a gasoline desulfurization catalyst that is being used in more than a dozen new units worldwide.
“We will provide a complete range of solutions for the catalysts market with the support of our applied research and technical support infrastructure,” said Harald Dialer, head of syngas catalysts for Clariant.

Fully operational in June, the new R&D laboratory was established from the acquisition of relevant catalysts assets of the Brazilian company Oxiteno in mid-2012, which included patents and research labs.

With the transfer of assets to the Suzano industrial park and the installation of the new unit, Clariant noted that it has invested additional resources to improve its infrastructure and the services offered to its customers, as well as identify opportunities to develop tailor-made solutions for the regional market.

The Suzano lab is part of a global network of 11 R&D facilities.

“The new research group further strengthens Clariant´s technology portfolio in gas purification and syngas-related applications," said Marvin Estenfelder, head of catalysts R&D for Clariant.

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