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A new method for the use of carbon dioxide as a raw material ranks among the year 2019’s best innovations in Germany. This helped a team from the materials manufacturer Covestro and RWTH Aachen to make it to the final round of the renowned German President's Award for Innovation in Science and Technology (“Deutscher Zukunftspreis”), which was presented at the end of November 2019 at a Gala evening in Berlin by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The new technologies make CO2 usable in plastics production and thereby reduces fossil resources like petroleum.

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JEC Asia 2019 welcomed more than 200 exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations to more than 6,600 attendees from 49 countries in Seoul, Korea. According to the organiser JEC Group, from global brands to visionary startups, these companies set the composite world abuzz with the promise of innovation, knowledge, and networking. Once again, JEC Asia gathered a significant number of academic researchers and institutions, industrials in a spirit of innovation, to prove that the sector is rapidly growing. But this year, the Korean composites “Golden Triangle” has shown even more dynamism and a very strong ambition to become a leading country in composites, said the organiser.

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On 23 November 2019, BASF officially launched its smart Verbund project in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, and commenced building its first plants. According to the company, this marks a milestone of BASF’s USD 10 billion investment project announced in July 2018. The first plants will produce engineering plastics and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to serve the increasing needs of various growth industries in the southern China market and throughout Asia.

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Texon announced that it has joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) – the leading alliance for sustainable production in the apparel, footwear and textile industry. As a member of SAC, Texon joins more than 240 global brands, retailers, and manufacturers as well as government, non-profit environmental organisations, and academic institutions, which are collectively committed to improving supply chain sustainability.

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According to the Kassel-based German company Hübner GmbH & Co. KG, if a fire occurs in a train or bus – whether as the result of overheating, a short circuit or some external influence – it often takes some time before passengers can be evacuated. Therefore, vehicles must be constructed in such a way that passengers and personnel are not exposed to poisonous smoke and fumes during this period and that first responders are also not endangered. To this end, the company has developed a new polyurethane-based material. In case of fire, it turns into a frothy foam, preventing the spread of smoke and flames.

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On 15 November 2019, US Representatives Tony Cárdenas and Larry Bucshon introduced the Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Value of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act. Through a coalition of partners, led by the Plastics Industry Association (Plastics), the bill H.R. 5115, would allocate federal grants to states and municipalities to invest in improving their recycling programs and infrastructure, including upgrading plants that receive and process recyclables and enhance the recovery and collection of materials.

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Michelin and Faurecia announced that they have formalised the creation of Symbio, A Faurecia Michelin Hydrogen Company, a joint venture combining all their hydrogen fuel cell dedicated activities, with the aim of becoming a world leader in hydrogen mobility.

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BASF New Business GmbH announced that it has formally agreed to acquire the online 3D printing service provider Sculpteo to continue to expand its position as a service provider in the additive manufacturing sector. The agreement was signed on 14 November 2019 and is expected to become effective in the next few weeks pending regulatory approval by the relevant authorities.

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Read about the 62nd CPI Polyurethane Technical Conference that was organized by the Center for the Polyurethane Industry and held in October in sunny Orlando, FL, USA once again highlighted the impact of polyurethanes on the world today. We also report on the recent Foam Expo Europe that took place in Stuttgart and the big K 2019 show organized by Messe Düsseldorf that focused heavily on circular economy.

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2018 marked the first Chinaplas exhibition in Hongqiao, Shanghai, and the show was a great success. Chinaplas 2020 is scheduled to return to the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Hongqiao, Shanghai, China, on 21 – 24 April 2020. The event is expected to present 340,000 m2 of exhibition space, bring together 3,900+ global exhibitors and 180,000+ visitors. According to Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd., the show organizer of Chinaplas, economic and political uncertainty remains a top challenge for today’s global manufacturing industry. A host of factors including trade friction, economic slowdown, and weakening demand from China are dampening manufacturing growth and leaving some sectors in a decline. In the meantime, China is pushing to transform its manufacturing industry to focus on higher quality and domestic market while encouraging foreign investment.

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