January 5, 2021
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Business Update
Stronger demand and tighter inventories will likely boost margins for US refineries in the second half of 2021, but the road to recovery is expected to be challenging as more refining capacity could be shut, in addition to the 1.1 million barrels per day of closures that have been announced so far. "Demand is not growing fast enough to take up all the spare capacity in the market," said S&P Global Platts Analytics global head Chris Midgley.
Full Story: S&P Global Platts (free registration) (12/30) 
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The value of chemical merger and acquisition deals remained stable in 2020, despite the pandemic, but smaller M&A deals will likely gain traction in 2021 as companies look to acquire or divest focused assets, say observers. Deals also may surge as government stimulus and support mechanisms end, says Martin Bastian of investment bank Houlihan Lokey.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (12/30) 
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The UK granted temporary authorization last week for the COVID-19 vaccine developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The UK also released guidance that stated some people on rare occasions could be given a mix of two different vaccines.
Full Story: Regulatory Focus (1/4),  Reuters (1/2) 
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Don't be Blind 'Sited': Facility Siting Insights [Free Webinar]
Facility siting studies are a tool for managing the risk associated with siting buildings and tents in a facility. However, siting studies are complex, and that complexity can make it difficult to manage the process and implement effective results. Learn about the "what", "why" and "how" of facility siting. Register for the free webinar here.
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Chemical Technology News
Sumitomo Chemical and Shimane University have teamed up to evaluate combining propane dehydrogenation and menthol synthesis technologies. The project aims to use hydrogen resulting from PDH production and combine it with carbon dioxide to synthesize methanol.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (12/24) 
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Oxford University researchers have found a way to make jet fuel from carbon dioxide in the laboratory by reverse engineering the chemical reactions that transform fossil fuels into CO2. "This process could help relieve climate change and use the current carbon infrastructure for sustainable development," said Tiancun Xiao, a senior research fellow at Oxford's Department of Chemistry.
Full Story: AVweb (1/3) 
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Nanosilica Filled, UV & Heat Curing Adhesive
Master Bond UV22DC80-1 adhesive features exceptionally low shrinkage upon cure, outstanding dimensional stability and abrasion resistance. Watch this video to see how UV22DC80-1, a nanosilica filled, dual cure epoxy based system cures under a UV light source. Watch now.
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Energy, Sustainability & Safety
Agilyx has taken several actions to advance chemical recycling and plastic waste-to-fuel technology this year, including teaming up with ExxonMobil to form a plastic-recycling joint venture known as Cyclyx International. Agilyx is also working with Braskem and A.Eon separately to evaluate advanced recycling projects in North America and Australia.
Full Story: Plastics Recycling Update (12/23) 
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Biological Engineering & Pharmaceuticals
The Lonza Group has gained the approval of Swiss drug regulator Swissmedic to begin manufacturing Moderna Therapeutics' COVID-19 vaccine at a facility in Switzerland, according to the newspaper SonntagsZeitung. Swissmedic is expected to approve Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine soon following its approval of Pfizer and partner BioNTech's vaccine.
Full Story: Reuters (1/3) 
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CRISPR technology helped develop more effective COVID-19 tests last year, but it also paved the way for crops and animals to become more resistant to diseases. The Department of Agriculture is proposing it take over the regulation of genetically modified animals from the FDA to speed up approvals.
Full Story: The Spoon (12/30) 
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Materials & Nanotechnology
The Nanovaccine Institute at Iowa State University is developing a COVID-19 nanovaccine nasal spray that would be given in one dose and require no refrigeration. The vaccine, which could be 18 months away from production, involves the use of viral proteins and nanoparticles made from biodegradable polymers.
Full Story: BioSpace (San Francisco) (12/28) 
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Education & Government Update
The Environmental Protection Agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act by permitting "loopholes" for evaluating asbestos via the Chemical Data Reporting rule and must update the CDR "to address the information-gathering deficiencies identified herein," ruled US District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Edward Chen on Tuesday. The EPA said it's reviewing the ruling.
Full Story: Bloomberg Law (free content) (12/22) 
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Institute News
AIChE's 2nd Virtual Spring Meeting & Global Congress on Process Safety goes online April 18-22
AIChE will present its 2021 Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety as online events April 18-22. AIChE's key technical conferences for practicing chemical engineers and the process safety community, the virtual conferences will build upon the successes and lessons learned from AIChE's 2020 online events and will offer a slate of technical sessions, guest speakers, networking activities, and myriad other opportunities to learn and share. Read the latest.
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Career Focus
In evaluating your career goals for 2021, reflect on what part of remote work you found appealing and which part didn't suit you, such as a need for personal interaction. Then make small steps to lead up to big changes this year, including leading a new project or taking a leadership class, suggests personal development coach Peggy Caruso.
Full Story: CNN (12/28) 
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Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.
Thornton Wilder,
playwright, writer
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About AIChE
More than 60,000 members in 110 countries have joined the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. It is the focal point for information exchange at the frontiers of chemical engineering, including energy, materials, nanotechnology, sustainability, biological engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. Learn more at www.aiche.org or contact us.
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