Albemarle and ICL form polymeric flame retardant JV for the EPS and XPS market -- K Trade Fair


Albemarle and ICL form polymeric flame retardant JV for the EPS and XPS market

According to a joint announcement, the flame retardants are designed to replace hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). The joint venture and its partners will own and operate an existing 2,640 t/y Netherlands plant and an 11,000 t/y plant in Israel, which is scheduled to begin operating sometime in the next three months. Both plants are at ICL sites. The joint venture will enable additional capacity to be brought to the market to meet the growth needed for the EU and the rest of the world following the phase out of HBCD from these markets. The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in 2015. "The joint venture will allow Albemarle to continue providing its GreenCrest branded product to customers while joining forces with a proven manufacturing partner in ICL,” said Troy De Soto, Albemarle's vice president, Fire Safety Solutions. "The combined experience and know-how related to bromine and bromine derivatives of Albemarle and ICL will ensure a reliable, high quality alternative offering to HBCD in the EPS/XPS segment. In addition, Albemarle brings its financial backing and GreenCrest product manufacturing experience to the venture.” Albemarle began commercial qualifications of its GreenCrest sustainable polymeric product in 2013 and started commercial supply in April 2014 from the Netherlands plant. Positive customer feedback has confirmed that the GreenCrest product is suitable for commercial uses in EPS and XPS applications. HBCD is found worldwide in the environment and wildlife, and has been the leading flame retardant used in expanded (EPS) and extruded (XPS) polystyrene foam applications, but is being phased out in the EU, Japan and other countries. HBCD is often found in human breast milk, blood and body fat. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the substance accumulates in animals and people and has a "toxic characteristic”. There is concern about its effect on people's health based on animal testing that indicate potential developmental, neurological and reproductive effects.