Chemicals group Dow is to begin a restructuring programme that will mean more than 2000 job losses. Where the cuts will bite won’t be clear for several months, but the 6% reduction in its workforce – together with closing some uncompetitive plants – is expected to save $300 million (£235 million) annually.
Chief executive Jim Fitterling said the cuts had to be made to ‘maintain competiveness while the economic recovery gains traction’.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has driven strong growth in demand for its polymers in flexible food, industrial and consumer packaging, as well as in health and hygiene applications, that was offset by reduced demand for the higher margin functional polymers used in vehicles and construction. Sales of polyurethanes and construction chemicals fell 28%, and performance materials and coatings were down 21% in the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2019.
Reporting second quarter net losses of $225 million, Fitterling said the company expected ‘a gradual and uneven recovery’. It has restarted three polyethylene plants that were temporarily closed, although two elastomer facilities in the US remain idle.
Later this week, other major chemicals companies will reveal how they’ve fared in the second quarter. Financial services firm S&P Global says that in north America, ‘the timing and extent of a recovery is still murky’. It expects an increase in activity in the automotive and construction sectors to contribute to a recovery in demand for chemicals.
By: Angeli Mehta
Source: Chemistry World
France has launched an offshore green hydrogen production platform at the country’s Port of Saint-Nazaire this week, along with its first offshore wind farm. The hydrogen plant, which its operators say is the world’s first facility of its type, coincides with the launch of another “first of its kind” facility in Sweden dedicated to storing hydrogen in an underground lined rock cavern (LRC).
The project sets up the Hydrogen Valley in Rome, the first industrial-scale technological hub for the development of the national supply chain for the production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen for the decarbonization of industrial processes and for sustainable mobility.
At first glance, hydrogen seems to be the perfect solution to our energy needs. It doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide when used. It can store energy for long periods of time. It doesn’t leave behind hazardous waste materials, like nuclear does. And it doesn’t require large swathes of land to be flooded, like hydroelectricity. Seems too good to be true. So…what’s the catch?