LyondellBasell Industries NV (NYSE: LYB) opened its 70,000-square-foot Houston Technology Center to develop process technologies and chemical catalysts for its intermediates and derivatives business, the company announced on Sept. 30.
Research and development activities at the facility will focus on improving catalyst and process technologies to reduce manufacturing costs, improve yields, and lower capital costs of new construction for LyondellBasell's global chemicals business. Proprietary technologies supported at the site include propylene oxide, butanediol and derivatives, glycols and glycol ethers, acetyls, olefins and solvents. Manufacturing plants supported by the center include three Houston-area facilities in Channelview, Bayport and La Porte, Texas, as well as Botlek and Maasvlakte, Netherlands, Fos-sur-Mer, France, and a joint venture in Ningbo, China.
The center will employ some 80 people, 22 of whom relocated from the company's former facility near Philadelphia, with the balance hired locally. The new facility is adjacent to the company's largest U.S. manufacturing complex in Channelview, east of Houston.
"The Houston Technology Center will support research to improve our current processes and catalysts and provide the capability to develop further technology enhancements in support of LyondellBasell's intermediate and derivatives business," Massimo Covezzi, senior vice president of research and development, said in the release.
"Having a research center for our intermediates business on the U.S. Gulf Coast in proximity to our manufacturing, commercial and engineering operations creates a critical mass that did not previously exist. We have leading technologies in propylene oxide and acetyls and this action reaffirms our commitment to maintain our industry leadership in these areas," Patrick Quarles, senior vice president of intermediates and derivatives, said in the release.
LyondellBasell is among the industry leaders in chemicals and polymers technology. The company has more than 5,000 patents and patent applications worldwide covering manufacturing processes, products and catalysts. This year the company is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Karl Ziegler and Giulio Natta in cooperation with LyondellBasell predecessor companies. Their discoveries led to the production of polyethylene and polypropylene and modern plastics that are lighter, stronger and more durable.
Other LyondellBasell R&D centers include Cincinnati, Ohio, which focuses on polyolefin product application and development in North America; Frankfurt, Germany, focused on polyethylene and metallocene catalysts; and Ferrara, Italy, focusing on polypropylene and Ziegler-Natta catalysts.
LyondellBasell Industries NV is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies and a member of the S&P 500. LyondellBasell manufactures products at 58 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels. The company is based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.