Elevance, NL Grease Team Up


Elevance Renewable Sciences will collaborate with NL Grease LLC in commercialization of new high-performance grease technology and materials.

Andy Shafer, Elevances executive vice president of sales and market development, said NL Grease was appealing because of its reputation as an innovator and leader in producing grease for a wide variety of different customers and applications.

One of the things we found attractive with NL Grease was the fact they have a strong private label business that reaches across a lot of different end use applications, Shafer told Lube Report. Automotive, industrial, railroad, construction, oil drilling, agriculture, off-highway – all of those are areas that NL Grease is in today. We can envision our products fitting into many if not all of those different market application areas.

Jim Taglia, president of St. Paul, Minn.-based NL Grease, said Elevance brings significant environmental and materials innovation to the grease industry and should advance the grease market well beyond current technologies. To make very economical, totally biodegradable and replenishable products is good economics, he told Lube Report. Taglia noted he and Elevance Chief Scientific Officer Steve DiBiase are old friends who worked together at Lubrizol, where DiBiase was vice president of research.

Elevance, of Bolingbrook, Ill., creates specialty chemicals from natural oils, using a technology called olefin metathesis. Shafer said Elevance is designing its technology to work in existing equipment at NL Grease, whose grease manufacturing plant is in Kansas City, Mo. We want to not only make the products more environmentally sustainable and perform in a high performance manner, were also looking to make the products in the same equipment with cost effective processing, he explained.

The partnership with NL Grease will involve products both from a joint venture biochemical refinery that Elevance is constructing in southeast Asia, Shafer noted, as well as some contract manufacturing the company would be doing in other locations.

The eventual goal is to make the greases available throughout North America and elsewhere. We would add additional grease suppliers both here and around the world as we expand the business, Shafer said. The intent is to work with NL Grease to further develop and introduce products into the market, and then to expand in an appropriate way beyond that, making sure theres value for all of the parties that we end up working with in the long run.

Elevance and Wilmar International formed a joint venture in 2010 to build a biochemical refinery in Indonesia. It is expected to come online in late 2011 with 180,000 metric tons per year capacity, and ability to expand up to 360,000 t/y. We are on track with all of the construction and activities that are required for it to be online and operating in the fourth quarter, Shafer said.

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