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South Korea said Wednesday (8 January 2020) it will spare no efforts to revitalize the country's petrochemical industry facing a prolonged slump amid growing protectionism and competition.

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The International Rubber Conference – IRC 2020 will be held under the theme “Sustainable Technology, Innovation and Mobility” from 15 – 17 October 2020 at the Chennai Trade Centre in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The event will comprise a conference and an exhibition. It is being organised by the Indian Rubber Institute (IRI) under the auspices of the International Rubber Conference Organisation (IRCO), an association of rubber societies from around the world which plan the calendar for the annual IRC.

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Jeff Uhrig has been appointed as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Novomer, Inc., effective from 18 November 2019. The appointment was announced by Anthony Eisenhut, Chairman and Co-Founder of Novomer. Uhrig will oversee day-to-day business operations and direct efforts to further develop and commercialise Novomer’s catalyst technology.

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New breakthroughs and the main challenges in the field of nanopolymers were among the key topics of discussion at the 2019 Nanoaugmented Materials Industry Summit (NAUM’19) in Kyoto, Japan, from 5 – 6 November 2019. According to the event organiser OCSiAl Group, the number of graphene nanotube-enhanced polymer applications is growing fast, building an ecosystem of greater efficiency and durability around us – e.g. in wind turbines, tyres, anti-static packaging and clothes, home and industrial electronics, as well as car parts.

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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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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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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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