Perstorp declared force majeure on April 12 for supply of pentaerythritol mono and related materials, citing a pressure vessel leak that halted some operations at Perstorp Chemicals GmBH’s Plant C in Bruchhausen, Germany. Among the materials affected are two chemicals used in production of lubricants.
Penta is an alcohol made of molecules with four equally reactive primary hydroxyl groups in a symmetrical structure. According to Malmo, Sweden-based Perstorp’s website, this makes penta mono a desirable base polyol and building block for a variety of applications such as resins, synthetic lubricants and antioxidants.
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“The actions required to restore the equipment and enable start-up of the pentaerythritol mono production are now carried out by Perstorp’s technical team,” the company said in a news release. “As a result, Perstorp Chemicals GmbH has currently a significantly reduced capacity to produce and supply pentaerythritol mono ….” The German subsidiary therefore cannot produce and supply several different chemicals, including Pentaerythritol ICX and Voxtar.
Pentaerythritol ICX is another polyhydric alcohol used as a building block in lubricants, the company notes on its website. Voxtar is a renewable penta made from biobased acetaldehyde and biobased formaldehyde, in 40% and 100% renewable grades. According to Perstorp, the product can replace penta as a drop-in across applications such as synthetic lubricants and printing inks as a renewable alternative.
“As a consequence hereof, force majeure is hereby declared as regards to Perstorp’s supply of mentioned products, which will be reduced due to the force majeure event,” the company stated. “This applies to both direct customers of Perstorp Chemicals GmbH, but also to customers of other Perstorp entities purchasing products emanating from Bruchhausen.” The company said it is conducting an ongoing impact assessment and has established a team to address the situation. It plans to provide an update as soon as possible on its capacity in the short term and when it expects to resume full production.
Perstorp was new to the penta market in 2015, having acquired its penta business from Japan’s Koei Chemical Co. Perstorp has three penta production sites in Sweden, Germany and the United States.
In March 2019, the company announced it would boost its annual penta production capacity at its Bruchhausen plant by 13%. As part of that, the Voxtar production was also introduced.
In November 2019, the company announced it began construction of a world-scale penta production plant in Gujarat, India, in October to improve its ability to meet demand for the chemical, especially in Asia markets. That plant is designed to produce 40,000 metric tons per year of penta starting in 2022.