Chemtura Expands Antioxidant Output


Chemtura announced it will undertake expansions of its antioxidant capacity at chemical plants in Canada, Italy and Taiwan. Officials said the company is responding to demand growth resulting from the push for greater fuel efficiency in automobiles.

Philadelphia-based Chemtura produces alkylated diphenyl amine liquid antioxidants for lubricants at plants in Elmira in Ontario, Canada; Latina, Italy; and Kaoshiung, Taiwan. It plans to boost capacity at those locations by 20 percent, 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, all by 2015.

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As the automotive industry sets more stringent regulations and requirements for fuel economy, there will be an unmet demand for antioxidants in the marketplace by 2017, Kerim Wewer, head of asset management in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Chemtura Europes Industrial Performance Products division, said in a Thursday press release. We intend to ensure a continuous supply of antioxidants to the industry through these capacity additions along with future expansions.

Officials declined to disclose the cost of the expansions or the capacity of each facility. They did note that the Elmira plant has the greatest capacity.

ADPA antioxidants are one of various chemistries that the lubricant industry uses to help slow the process of oxidation, one of the main factors limiting lubricant performance life. According to specialty chemicals supplier Chemtura, nearly 75 percent of global lubricant antioxidant output goes to automotive applications.

Governments around the world are raising fuel economy requirements for on-road vehicles. One of the most popular strategies adopted by automakers is to reduce engine sizes, but many are also adding turbochargers to provide vehicles with additional power when needed. This increases power density in engines, resulting in higher temperatures that tend to accelerate the oxidation of engine oils.

Analysts predict the industrys demand for antioxidants will grow around 5 percent annually through 2018, Chemtura said.

The requirement for superior oxidative stability in automotive formulations is critical and underpins this strong growth, Chemtura Automotive Market Manager Michele Ottavio said.

Regional outlook for finished lubricant demand is mixed – with analysts forecasting healthy growth in Asia, flat demand in North America and declining consumption in Europe. Even so, lubricant antioxidants should see strong demand in all regions, Wewer said.

Through 2020 demand in all three regions will remain strong, he said. We see the strongest growth in Asia, followed by North America and the European Union in absolute terms.

Chemtura markets its ADPA antioxidants under the Naugalube brand name.