Archive for the ‘Chemicals’ Category

Recycled rubber (BEST PRACTICE)

October 7, 2009

 Interest in the recycled rubber sector will be sparked on 4 November when the feds and states announce a revolutionary tyre recycling system.

It has taken close on 4 years. The new arrangements will involve a $1 tax on imported passenger tyres, with the proceeds (possibly $12-15m per year) being spent on R&D for local firms. The aim of the new program is to increase the recycling rate to 95% or thereabouts. Currently old tyres are burned in cement kilns, buried at tip sites or thrown into dams.

 The big opportunity is for councils and development agencies to attract companies to establish facilities to manufacture rubber crumb and the downstream products such a rubber matting and footpaths, underlay for soccer, hockey grounds etc, road safety barriers. In rough terms, developed nations generate one tyre/head of population per year.

Recent improvements in processing technology (UK, Germany) mean that a viable processing plant can be established with feedstock of one million tyres annually. Long distance haulage of used tyres in not economically viable, so regions of one million plus should be able to sustain their own vertically-integrated recycled rubber industry. Regional towns will be attractive locations for downstream product manufacture – Warragul (Vic) is a first-mover.

 The proposal for a $1/tyre tax to stimulate R&D and processing activity is new to Australia, and other nations should track our progress. Contact us if you’d like to develop a recycled tyre activity.


Europe’s chemicals industry calls for cluster lifebuoy

February 20, 2009


Much of industrialized Europe owes its success to the dynamic growth of its chemicals companies, especially in the post-war period.

As Europe moves inexorably into a major recession, it is interesting to note that networks and clusters are being recommended by key EU agency.

The European chemicals industry employs 1.2 million people and is a world trade leader. In February 2009, the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the European Chemicals Industry tabled its final report. It analyses the industry’s key challenges and makes 40 recommendations to this end.

 The key challenges for the industry are:

 The increasingly difficult energy and feedstock situation with a high impact on costs.

 Climate change, and global environmental challenges.

  Strong competition from emerging countries and barriers to market access in these countries.

The HLG highlighted three key factors for the continuing success of the chemical industry:

1. More innovation and research and strengthening networks and clusters to secure its competitiveness and sustainability. More innovation needs greater private commitment and a favourable policy framework.

2. Responsible use of natural resources and a level playing field for sourcing energy and feedstock. Constant efforts to improve efficiency and to provide innovative solutions to energy saving targets

3. Open world markets with fair competition to fully unlock its potential.

See: Pressemitteilung / Press release / Communiqué de presse

Clusters and Zones on radar in Algeria

September 22, 2008

The Algerian Government is considering the creation of a competitiveness cluster in the region of Cap Djinet.


The agenda is led by the group Cevital. The National Agency for the Development of investment will soon submit it to the National Council of Investments.


The aim is to develop partnerships with foreign companies in steel, aluminium, automotive, chemical/petrochemical and paints. The agenda might involve an Integrated Activities Zone where companies, universities and technological partners could work in synergy.


Source: SPL Info

Singapore petrochemicals cluster (BEST PRACTICE)

June 24, 2008


Output of Singapore’s chemicals industry is now US$59.4 billion – 34% of Singapore’s manufacturing output.

Merrill Lynch says its petrochemicals segment hasn’t been affected by the oil price hike – on the contrary. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) predicts Asian demand for petrochemicals would outstrip the combined demand of the US and Europe within two years. To understand, just consider the end products – plastic bags, packaging, textiles, car parts, electronics – and their relevance to Asia’s increasingly wealth.

Singapore has been actively building its petrochemicals capabilities since it opened SE Asia’s first petrochemicals complex in 1984. Today, there is even a dedicated island – Jurong Island – hosting 95 companies including heavyweights ExxonMobil Chemical and Shell. Companies benefit from industry integration – sourcing raw materials and selling products over the fence, and sharing common pipeline services and other utilities.

The latest boost is synthetic rubber supplier Lanxess AG’s decision to invest in a €400 million butyl rubber facility to meet demand from auto tyres.

Technology is a critical enabler, and Singapore is investing heavily in petrochemicals R&D to become a “first implementer” of technologies, as well as a technology creator. It has its sights set on new process routes and novel applications. Indeed, Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research fosters research talent e.g. the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, sited on Jurong Island, does research work in biocatalysis, catalyst screening & optimisation, bioprocess engineering, and protein engineering.

Go to

South Australia’s investment hubs

May 13, 2008


Each month we have been identifying the main hubs that could be positioned as a national investment attraction framework – to date we have 12 in Queensland, 20 in NSW, 11 in Victoria, 5 in Tasmania. So far, no violent disagreement, and our blog has had many hits from overseas folk.


Turning to the land of the crow, its defining feature is space, and the dominance of Adelaide. But there are sizeable production nodes outside Adelaide, and some could be attractive investment hubs given the food industry take-off, and the feds and state government get their act together – see article above.


Northern Adelaide – the hot spot, almost 70% of SA’s manufacturing industry. Various industrial parks and serious players e.g. defence (ASC, Tenix, BAE); automotive (Holden, Bridgestone, Futuris); electronics (Codan, Clipsal); food processing; optics & opthalmics; chemicals & mineral products (Adelaide Brighton).


Southern Adelaide – significant capacity in automotive (Tenneco, BSTG, Wylie); mining services (Minsup, Amdel); food and wine. World-class lifestyle attributes.


Adelaide CBD – quality education & research infrastructure, well-entrenched mining services and ICT and biotech companies, and a suite of new companies coming through. A natural for a creative industries hub.

Barossa Valley – processing centre for wine industry. Includes Roseworthy research centre and

Waite Institute spin-offs. World-class food, tourism and lifestyle. Gawler and Adelaide Hills provide the bookends.


Fleurieu Peninsula – fast growing region, adjacent to southern Adelaide. Tourism, food & wine, aged care. Includes Murray Bridge, an increasingly attractive home for agricultural equipment and transport services.


Upper Spencer Gulfhas a lease of life by virtue of the mining boom and Roxby Downs. Four nodes: Port Pirie – lead, zinc, silver and services; southern Flinders Ranges – tourism, arts. Whyalla – steel & rolled products, heavy engineering maintenance, iron ore, chemicals (Santos, OneSteel). Port Augusta – transport, mining services, retail centre. Downer EDI and Transfield.


Eyre Peninsula – Port Lincoln is a nationally significant aquaculture hub (tuna, oysters, kingfish). Region is also a substantial grain producer. Adventure tourism.


South East – relatively self-contained region with strong linkages to Victoria – runs from Mount Gambier to the Coonawarra and Limestone Coast. Competitive advantages lie in timber, pulp, horticulture and wine.

SA Riverland previously covered under ‘Victoria’s investment hubs’ on this blog.


European industry sector analyses uncovered!

October 16, 2007

We have stumbled onto a series of very useful European industry analyses, thanks to the INSME newsletter. The analyses have been undertaken on behalf of Europe Innova.  

The industries covered are aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, chemicals, eco-industries, energy production, food, gazelles, ICT, machinery and equipment, textiles.

The analyses address a whole range of issues, such as the degree of (international) competition, forward and backward linkages with other industries, specialization patterns, sectoral innovation systems, patterns of innovation, new technology paradigms, demand for skilled labour. 

Download the reports at:

Singapore – anchoring regional HQs around clusters

July 18, 2004

A speech last year by Mr. Ko Kheng Hwa, MD of the Singapore Economic Development Board, provides an excellent insight into Singapore’s use of clusters to facilitate inwards investment. Excerpts follow.

’We are delighted that Syngenta, a global leader in agribusiness, has chosen Singapore as its regional base although we do not have any farms here. EDB has been successful in anchoring headquarters of many companies in our key industry clusters such as electronics, chemicals, biomedical and engineering.

EDB is also attracting a wide range of companies from industries beyond our key clusters to set up their regional headquarters here – luxury goods, professional services, retail services etc. Companies continue to value greatly our conducive business environment, highly skilled workforce, excellent infrastructure and openness to foreign talent and companies.

Syngenta’s decision to anchor its regional headquarters in Singapore is a strong endorsement of our attractiveness as a premier HQ location. Syngenta will be able to leverage on Singapore’s excellent infrastructure and highly skilled manpower to bring its innovations to numerous farmers across Asia Pacific as well as to drive its regional growth strategies. 

Singapore is uniquely situated at the centre of the huge food bowl of the Asia Pacific – from China, India, South-East Asia to Australasia. The region exports a huge US$87 billion of agricultural products a year. This represents big business opportunities for Singapore, although we do not grow food in Singapore.  

The EDB has stepped up its efforts to promote R&D, manufacturing, supply chain management and HQ services in the agri-food cluster. Singapore also prides itself on high food safety standards, excellent brand name and reputation for trust and reliability.

Companies can also capitalise on these strengths in activities such as product development, blending, testing and certification of food products customised to meet the varied taste buds of the Asian consumers.’