Showing posts with label Benzene International. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Benzene International. Show all posts

September 28, 2017

Another Tender War

Work on white-topping of roads is set to begin and around 30 roads stretching 93.47 km will be white-topped in two phases. The tender process for the project, which has been divided into two packages, has been completed.

The first package has been handed over to NCC which involves six roads and six circles. The second package involves 24 roads and the contract has been handed over to Madhukan. The companies have been given 11 months to complete the project.

“Roads will be white-topped on the lines of Nrupathunga Road. Work will start by October,” said Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner N Manjunath Prasad.

He also said the stretch along Mysuru Road-Sumanahalli Junction-Goraguntepalya-BEL Circle-Hebbal-KR Puram will be taken up soon since the traffic here is heavy. “We are trying to reduce the inconvenience caused to motorists as much as possible and hence we have instructed the contractors to complete the project within six months,” said Prasad.

“We need to completely bar vehicular movement during the project. We will create alternative routes during this period in consultation with the traffic police,” said K T Nagaraj, BBMP chief engineer, (projects).

He also said work will 
be taken up according to the availability of the paver machines which are used for white-topping.

Around six circles are being white-topped in the project. The circle near Ramakrishna Ashram, Lalbagh West, North and East gates, near Siddapura Teacher’s College and Bhashyam Circle will be white-topped. A total of Rs 21.24 crore is being spent on this. “These works come under Package 1,” said Nagaraj.

White-topping, or concretisation, gives roads a life of up to 25 years and results in fuel savings of 14%. The Centre for Smart Cities (CSC) Research had recommended that white-topping helps in reducing traffic and increasing the lifespan of the road. The state government has allotted Rs 2,000-3,000 crore under the Nagarothana scheme for this project.

Source- Deccan Herald

September 27, 2017

Road Upgrade

Council to spend $1m on road upgrade

Last week, official manager Mark Blackburn voted to hire Palmerston-based contractor JLM Civil Works for the job.
“I think this is a straightforward contract,” he said.
A report by Melissa Moss, Environment and Strategic Support Officer, recommended awarding the tender — worth $1,058,389.64 — to the company.
Also vying for the contract was local company Ciarla Constructions, who tendered $1,413,054.80; and BMD Urban which has its head office in Queensland.
Ms Moss said each contract was weighted on local industry; past performance experience; resources and methodology knowledge and skills. “All Contractors assessed by the tender evaluation committee were identified as being capable of performing the works to the standard described in the tender documents,” she said.
“After evaluating all tenders against both the price and non-price criteria, the tender submitted by JLM Civil Works Pty Ltd, was considered to offer best value for money.”
Ms Moss said three tenders were submitted, though nine were downloaded.
Former chief executive Ricky Bruhn, who quit last week, said it was the second time the project had come before council.
“We got a better response this time round,” he said. 
“We’re hoping to start this project as soon as possible — before the rain starts.”
In July, Palmerston Council voted not to accept any tender for the Yarrawonga and Wallaby Holtze Road upgrade, as none were deemed suitable.
At the time, Mr Blackburn voted to tender the project again, as the only tender recieved exceeded the current budget allocation.
The revised tender included outcomes from a flood mitigation/drainage study carried out by the NT Government.

September 22, 2017

Elevated road to avoid local traffic

The cost of the entire project has been estimated at ₹1,800 crore, a NHAI official said.

GURGAON Updated: Sep 20, 2017 21:57 IST
Dhananjay Jha
The elevated road will start from Gurgaon-Delhi border and end near the Basai railway overbridge in Sector 100.
The elevated road will start from Gurgaon-Delhi border and end near the Basai railway overbridge in Sector 100. (HT File)
In what could spell major relief to city commuters and homebuyers living sectors 80 to 115 along the Dwarka Expressway, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is all set to construct a 10km elevated road. The tenders for the project were floated on Monday.
The elevated road will start from Gurgaon-Delhi border and end near the Basai railway overbridge in Sector 100. The cost of the entire project has been estimated at ₹1,800 crore, a NHAI official said.
Dinesh Yadav, general manager, NHAI, said, “The Dwarka Expressway will be executed in phases. In the first phase, tenders have been floated for the 10km road which will be elevated. The purpose of the elevated road is to separate local traffic from the expressway’s long distance traffic.”
In October 2016, the NHAI took over the Northern Peripheral Road, which is also known as the Dwarka Expressway, from the Haryana government and named it NH 248-B.
The NPR’s custodian authority earlier was the Haryana Urban Development Authority for 18-km portion in Gurgaon between Delhi border and Kherki Daula toll plaza. After NHAI took over it, the length was extended up to near Shiv Murti, Mahipalpur.
Before the NHAI took it over, the Huda had completed the 16.5km portion in Gurgaon and also an RoB on Delhi-Rewari railway track at Basai.
“We have been waiting for the completion of the Dwarka Expressway as the delay has adversely affected other development work in new sectors. We hope the NHAI will complete the expressway and bring us relief. I believe tens of thousands of homebuyers like me are waiting for the completion of their dream homes,” said Prakhar Sahay, a homebuyer.
“This is an important development as it will provide easy access to various sectors and help bridge the connectivity gap along the NPR,” said Pankaj Bansal, Director, M3M Group.
Ravish Kapoor, Director of Elan Group, also hailed the development and called the project “an engine to boost growth in new Gurgaon” by improving better connectivity to the expressway.
The NHAI has been constructing underpasses at Hero Honda Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Signature Tower and Iffco Chowk. The highways authority constructed a flyover at Hero Honda Chowk and construction is underway for the two elevated U-turns at Iffco Chowk while another U-turn underpass is proposed on the highway near Ambience mall.

September 21, 2017

Tender Sytesm Vs Cops

Systemic delay in repairing roads.Systemic delay in repairing roads.

HYDERABAD: The long-drawn tender process followed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for relaying dug-up roads should either be done away with completely or streamlined to put the city's road infrastructure back on track, feel traffic cops.

Pointing out that currently it takes at least six months to complete just the tender process for restoration of dug up roads, which the city just cannot afford, traffic cops said there are several instances of road stretches being dug up repeatedly and not being re-surfaced, leaving behind un-motorable roads as the civic body's tender process takes its own sweet time.

As per the current system, when an agency seeks permission from GHMC for road digging, cost of required restoration work has to be submitted by the agency to the civic body before taking up the work. However, the tender process for restoring roads starts only after digging is completed.

"While it not possible to refuse permission for any development work, in most cases the contractor just dumps mud or loose gravel on the stretches. It is the gap between the completion of work and the actual filling of the road that results in traffic woes. We have suggested that the procedural fulfilling of tender be done away with and the road be filled immediately after the work is done," said AV Ranganath, deputy commissioner of police, traffic (Hyderabad II).

In fact, Malkajgiri, Anandbagh, Banjara Hills (Road No 5), Ayyappa Society , Secunderabad, LB Nagar, Bowenpally , Madhavpuri Hills, Chandanagar, PJR Enclave, KPHB and Sultan bazaar are examples of areas where such dug up road stretches have become a never-ending nightmare.

"The Maharani Jhansi Road from Putlibowli Chowrasta to Afzalganj has been in a poor condition for the past two ye ars. Only surgical repair work by pouring bitumen is done after the frequent digging work," complained resident Balasubramanyam Perugu.


Yingo !! Faashtu Traaku antay Naakishtamochhinonkisthaa .. annattu .. Gadhay Dora & Son (P) Ltd ku gaavaalay .. Ovvallathono Jeppichhi, Nijamganay Sathrolaipoyindhi "processu" anjeppi S... Read MoreArey O Sambha

Chandramohan Singh, a resident of Marredpally , said, "The road from Reliance Fresh super market to the check post in West Marredpally was repaired about six months back but is back to its potholed self. Even the road near Lions Hospital, which was dug up for laying drainage pipes, has not been restored."

While GHMC authorities admitted the tender process takes at least two months, they said that in the case of Malkajgiri the delays stretched to nearly a year because the payment was completed only recently by Water Board, which has taken up pipeline laying work. "Once the work is completed, estimates are drawn up and sent for sanction. Then a tender is called for and a contractor is decided. The process requires at least two months.While dealing with other departments we can't press for payment beforehand," said M Shanker, deputy chief engineer, maintenance, GHMC.

Source- Times of India

September 8, 2017

Project Delays

Chennai: The much-awaited Maduravoyal-Port elevated corridor taken up by National Highways Authority in 2007 is likely to be delayed further as it is finding it difficult in identifying consultants, said a state official.

The state and the Centre are responsible for the delay in the project till 2015. The project cost is expected to escalate by at least 15 per cent, the official said.

Five years after suspending ongoing work on the elevated road connecting Chennai Port with Maduravoyal, the state government softened its stand and gave its willingness to allow the project to proceed with certain changes in the alignment along Cooum river, but now the project is pending with NHAI.

According to the National Highways Authority of India sources, the original project cost was about Rs 1,815 crore and the delay means an additional expense of at least Rs 100 crore extra from the original plan.

The state government in 2016 suggested a design change for the elevated corridor on the Cooum river bed from two pillar to single pillar to ensure smooth flow of water beneath. Subsequently union minister for road transport and highways Pon Radhakrishnan conducted field inspections and reviewed the project.

From the date to now there is not much progress in the project, said the state official adding that departments like state highways and Chennai Port are waiting for the early completion of the project as it would decongest a good whole part of Central Chennai and western suburbs, the official noted.

“The Maduravoyal project should have been completed at least four years ago. Both the State and Centre has been ducking over the project thus exposing their incapability to complete a road work.

Chennaiites are suffering traffic snarls and the highways and the corporation has failed big time to address the traffic woes,” said former Chennai mayor M. Subramanian.

Efforts to contact NHAI senior officials for the delay in the project proved futile, but NHAI sources maintained that a re-tender has been floated to identify a new consultant to work on the design change and also exit ramps that would come up along the 19 kilometre project.

Source -Deccan chronicle

September 7, 2017

What Keeps u Moving ?

Event-driven projects 'shielding Mena economies'

DUBAI, 21 hours, 28 minutes ago

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region has undergone an enormous change over the past two decades, with unprecedented growth in economies and construction markets as countries in the region leveraged booming oil prices to invest in infrastructure and transform their cities into modern metropolises, according to an industry expert.

But over-reliance on oil revenues has caused government spending (and consequently growth) to fall as the oil price dropped, leaving the countries of the region seeking to reprioritise spending towards diversifying their economies and funding social investment, said Mace, an international consultancy and construction company.

Despite a rebound in GCC contract awards in H1 2017 of 14 per cent from a four-year low in 2016, results are still down 20 per cent from the same time last year, showing a challenging market, stated Mace's Mena cost consultancy business in its H2 tender cost report.

This competitive pricing environment has led to relatively stable tender price inflation across the region, ranging from 0.4 per cent in Kuwait to 2.5 per cent in Saudi Arabia, it said.

Event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies have proven a saving grace against this difficult backdrop, as has continued government investment in infrastructure and energy projects across the region, it added.

"Continuing the trend from 2016, the first half of 2017 has been competitive for the Mena construction market due to the low oil prices resulting in restricted government spending across the region," remarked Fergus Rossiter, the director of Mace Cost Consultancy (Mena).
"However, as the work for upcoming major events starts to ramp up, notably Expo 2020 in the UAE and the Fifa Football World Cup in Qatar, we are starting to see an increase in tender prices, which is further fuelled by recent increases in material prices, such as reinforcement steel," he noted
"We are yet to see the full impact of the current blockade has on the construction industry in Qatar, particularly as it relies heavily upon a large quantity of materials being imported from Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he added.

Across the region tender prices have remained relatively stable, however there are considerable variations to be observed within the markets: some regions are reporting a softening in prices, while others experience some capacity constraints which are pushing them up.

Overall, the pricing environment remains very competitive with tender price inflation ranging from only 0.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent for 2017; client organisations are likely to continue to push to get the best possible prices, said Mace in its report.

Lower global commodity prices and increased competition for fewer privately and government financed projects is filtering through to increasingly competitive pricing in many markets, and despite there being plenty of work to fill order books, contractor and consultant prospects are vulnerable to tender periods taking longer to conclude, if at all, especially given recent government spending cutbacks due to the low oil price, it stated.

Contractors on key infrastructure or event-driven projects are less likely to be impacted by this, given the critical nature of these projects to the region’s ongoing economic diversification, however for the mainstream construction market, the competitive environment along with few capacity constraints in labour or materials and low commodity prices are all adding up to clients pressing for lower costs, it added.

According to Mace, factors such as the introduction of VAT across the region from 2018, as well as other taxes which may be levied as governments seek to consolidate their finances, are likely to put upward pressure on tender prices as contractors factor in these additional costs.

This effect will be particularly strongly felt in Saudi Arabia, with the highest tender price inflation at 2.5 per cent reflecting rising costs from newly imposed taxes and removal of subsidies for water and electricity, amongst others, as the Kingdom seeks to consolidate its finances.

Qatar is also expected to see some inflation in tender prices to reflect the greater materials cost risk, as new tenders force contractors to contractually bear the brunt of the costs of the blockade on the country, said the report.

Egypt is not considered in the Meed tender price index, but can be expected to see significant tender price inflation this year of at least 5 per cent, due to both the relatively hot construction market and the massive currency depreciation over the past year.

However some countries are faring better than others, with the UAE and Qatar boosted by their event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies, whilst Saudi Arabia and Oman struggle with reduced oil revenues, said the report by Mace.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE remain the biggest markets for construction projects, with the emirates looking likely to overtake the kingdom as the biggest next year, as their construction industry outperforms, stated the industry expert.

When considered with the completion dates edging closer for key event-driven projects such as the World Cup in Qatar, or the Expo 2020 in Dubai, strong demand-driven factors will counteract some of the damage from reduced government spending to the industry.

Locations less impacted by low oil prices are expected to outperform, with Dubai and Bahrain looking to beat Abu Dhabi or Kuwait. In addition, significant investment in port, road, railway and airport infrastructure across the region continues, with for example $37 billion worth of road projects being pursued across the GCC, it added.-
TradeArabia News Service

September 6, 2017

Road Projects

Contractors finalised for a number of road projects in FS 
15:22 (GMT+2) Tue, 05 Sep 2017
Contractors finalised for a number of road projects in FS  | News Article
The Free State Department of Police, Roads, and Transport says there are a number of roads in the province that still need to be fixed.

MEC Sam Mashinini today said that these roads, including the one between Odendaalsrus and Wesselsbron, are not covered in the current financial year and needs attention. He added that since the end of July the department has finalised tenders for successful contractors for a number of road projects in the province. The handover site meetings for, among others, the Kroonstad-Steynsrus, Vredefort-Hoopstad, Vredefort-Viljoenskroon and Bothaville-Viljoenskroon roads commenced yesterday. He says the department needs to maintain these roads once it is completed.
“One of the problems that I am currently giving attention to, is how best do we make sure that the roads in the province are maintained over the long term. I have deliberately asked the different stakeholders to say how,  once the road between Bothaville and Viljoenskroon is completed, we can maintain it. That road is economically viable in terms of the farms there. That road is mostly used and that’s why we are targeting it,” says Mashinini.
He adds that the department’s objective is to build capacity by investing in human resources through skills development. He says the department wants to create a sustainable economic climate in the province and to deliver public infrastructure by using labour intensive technology.
He says from 2008 until last year they have had an intake of 173 contractors of which 83 graduated. In total 78 is still active and engaged in projects in the province.

July 4, 2016

India to help Build Nepal Road

Tasked to improve road connectivity in remote parts of India's Northeast, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) is now venturing into Nepal where it has been assigned to guide the construction of over 600 km of postal roads in the Terai region bordering India.

A postal road is a road designated for the transportation of postal mail.

According to an MoU inked between India and Nepal, the decision was taken after a similar attempt by the Nepal Government failed to make progress due to negligence of the contractors in 2010.

"The Postal Road in the Terai region of Nepal will boost the country's much awaited road network. Under this current project the NHIDCL will be tasked to guide the construction of 19 postal roads of an outlay of 600 km," one of the top officials at NHIDCL told IANS declining to be identified.

He said the construction of 19 postal roads are under six packages for different parts of the Terai region.

"Basically we will be playing the role of consultants in the entire project. The biddings and all the tendering work of the road construction will be done by Nepal. Our work will basically be to see that the work does not witness failure like earlier," the official said.

According to the official, the decision for handing over the guidance work was decided during the recent visit of Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Oli to India.

Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told IANS: "Yes, It has been proposed to the Nepal Government for appointing NHIDCL as the consultant for the postal road projects. Though the precise MoU between the NHIDCL and Nepal Government is likely to be inked next week... all things are decided."

He said contractors from both Nepal and India can do the bidding for the postal roads projects.

The NHIDCL authority, who did not wished to be named, said the postal road has been prioritised for the development of Terai/Madhes region by expanding the road network. The 600 km work is only for the first phase. Both the countries will decide the agenda for the remaining works also."

Stating that the project was being financed by India, he said that the money will be given to Nepal for the execution of different stages of work, which will be over looked by the NHIDCL.

According to sources, the cost of the first phase of road construction in the Terai is estimated to increase to Rs 9 billion from the earlier Rs 7 billion. The total project cost will also rise from the previous estimate of Rs 29 billion. Around 130 bridges have to built along the 600 km highway.

Asked if NHIDCL has been given any other foreign projects, the authority said: "The creation of NHIDCL was for creation of difficult roads. The Government has full confidence on us and we are ready to undertake any project in any part of the world under any circumstance. However, there are no immediate foreign projects as of now."

NHIDCL, created in 2014, has recently been given the task of constructing over 4,000 km of roads in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation was established after Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Public Works Department of the states failed to carry out road construction in many remote parts in hilly terrain.
Source - Indian Express

January 25, 2012

Bitumen Shortage in South Africa

A shortage of bitumen  which is used to produce asphalt for road surfacing has affected about 35 SA National Roads Agency Ltd projects, in addition to other major road construction projects, including the John Ross Parkway upgrade in Richards Bay and highway construction in Durban.
The shutdown of the Sapref refinery in Durban for unexpected maintenance is set to exacerbate SA’s bitumen shortage, further delaying construction and pothole repairs.Bitumen is a by-product of oil refineries and is used to produce asphalt for road surfacing. But due to high demand, in addition to planned and unplanned shutdowns of oil refineries, the bitumen shortage has worsened. 
There have been bitumen supply constraints since the World Cup construction boom. Up to 35 SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) projects have been affected by the shortage, in addition to the John Ross Parkway upgrade in Richards Bay.
“Sapref’s shutdown is certainly going to have an impact and will make the current bitumen supply situation worse,” said Saied Solomons, chief executive of the SA Bitumen Association (Sabita).
“That’s the biggest oil refinery in the country… The Enref (Engen) refinery in Durban also only recently came back on line after the fire and maintenance shutdown late last year. However, there is very little new bitumen coming onto the market at the moment.
“The situation is dire and is significantly impacting on the industry. It is not just big construction and asphalt companies that are being affected but small companies too, which is having a ripple effect on other business sectors.”
Solomons said the association was in talks with refineries, as well as the departments of Transport and Energy, about solutions to the problem.One costlier alternative was to import bitumen, and some construction and asphalt companies had banded together to import about 4 500 tons recently.
“South Africa uses roughly 420 000 tons of bitumen annually now… It is difficult to say what the supply shortfall is at the moment. However, what I can say for sure is that the demand/supply at the moment is extremely tight,” said Solomons.
Brian Henwood, consulting engineer at Henwood and Nxumalo, which is working on the John Ross upgrade, said the situation was worrying.“The bitumen shortage has had a huge impact on business in the road-building industry, as all road projects have experienced problems because of the lack of supply.
“The bitumen shortage could start impacting on the sections of the new east-bound carriageway that are nearing completion,” he said.
Last month, in a written response to questions by the DA in Parliament, Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele said more than R1 billion worth of work would not be able to be completed by Sanral contractors in the 2011/12 financial year.
“Sanral, the Department of Transport’s roads agency that accounted for 70 percent of the road bitumen usage in South Africa during 2010, is severely affected by the shortage of bitumen… Various steps have been taken to address the short, medium and long term implications of the shortage of bitumen,” said Ndebele.
“The Department of Transport and Sanral have been actively engaging with the Department of Energy in an attempt to highlight to them the various problems related to the supply of bitumen from the existing refineries in South Africa and to find solutions for the medium to long term.
“Sanral has also been actively engaging with the road construction industry to directly import bitumen from overseas to overcome the local short-term supply constraints.

By Suren Naidoo and Marie Strachan
Source -

October 11, 2011

Ethiopian Bitumen Market

A US Fortune 500 company, DuPont is preparing to enter potential markets in Ethiopia created by the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). The company, placed 84th on the fortune 500, has initially focused its attention on the construction of roads.

The GTP includes plans to extend asphalt roads by over 100000Km across the country said Richard Ntombella, senior sales and technical officer for DuPont Sub-Saharan Africa. He added that improving road infrastructure is integral to the GTP and the economic development of the country.
“With the Road Network as the main supply chain for exporting and importing goods, it is essential that the infrastructure is capable of supporting GDP growth, as it plays a critical role in the development of other industries” said Ntombella at a the DuPont seminar held at Sheraton Addis to introduce its asphalt technology, Elvaloy.

The Asphalt materials previously used in road construction in Ethiopia have failed to withstand the demands made by heavy traffic and weather conditions explained Ntombella. Elvaloy has long been in use internationally as an additive to bitumen to help resist deterioration in the asphalt according to DuPont.
The Addis Ababa Roads Authority (AARA) and the Ethiopian Roads Authority are considering introducing the use of Elvaloy in upcoming road construction programs, according to sources. Both authorities were represented at the seminar conducted by DuPont.

The Dupont subsidiary in Ethiopia, pioneer, has been in business in Ethiopia as a supplier of high yield seeds for the past twenty years according to representatives of the organization.
Source: The Reporter

April 13, 2011

Oil from Bitumen - Vice Versa

All these days, the industry was busy extracting bitumen from the Oil Sands and now the other way round. Oil from Bitumen and this also happens in Canada, where the largest Oil Sands deposit are sitting ... Pls read the full story.

GreenCentre Canada, a green chemistry incubator located at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario has spun out a new company, called Switchable Solutions. Switchable Solutions is trying to commercialize a new type of industrial solvent invented by the University’s researchers.

Switchable Solutions Logo. Click image for the largest view.

This is not your usual chemistry solvent. Ready? The new chemical mixes with oil in one phase, then when you inject carbonated water into the mix the carbon dioxide reacts with the solvent and presto, the solvent doesn’t like mixing with oil anymore. Now in the second phase, it prefers to mix with water. To separate the solvent from water for recycling the solvent, simply bubble in regular air and the two fluids separate. Way to easy.

Dominik Wechsler, chief product scientist at Switchable Solutions, says, “It’s all done at room temperature.”

Now if you’re trying to extract the oil from bitumen or other natural biomass or even from synthetic products, a lot of process heat is needed, which means lots of natural gas, coal or oil is used. Getting to room temperature from the chills of Canada is much easier than getting to process heat like dry steam past 600ยบ.

Dr. Philip Jessop GreenCentreCanada. Click image for the largest view.

Dr. Philip Jessop, the Queen’s university professor who discovered the chemicals explains calling them switchable hydrophilicity solvents. That is to say the chemicals can be easily manipulated to become soluble in water or non-soluble in water depending on how much CO2 is introduced or taken away.

Solvents, many of which are toxic, often highly volatile chemicals create considerable environmental risks. That would be why Jessop’s invention was named one of the Top 20 chemistry breakthroughs in Canada in the past 100 years.

In North America, the market for solvents is roughly $20 billion annually. Industry and people rely heavily on organic solvents in many industrial processes and applications. The short familiar list includes using acetone to remove glue or fingernail polish, hexane, also a neurotoxin, is used to remove stains, dichloromethane is used to remove paint and carbon tetrachloride isn’t even available to consumers its so dangerous.

GreenCentreCanada Tour. Click image for the largest view.

For the most part solvents are used for separating oils from non-oily substances. In the controversial Canadian Oil Sands the main separation method is to burn huge quantities of natural gas to give the oil-laden sand a steam bath. Producers are experimenting with volatile solvents such as butane as a way to remove the sticky bitumen from sand. If these new phase change chemicals can work at scale major problems involving oil extraction in Canada will be laid to rest.

An unappetizing fact is producers use hexane to extract oils from soybeans, flax seeds and even algae. Removing the hexane or many other solvents from the bio oil requires energy-intensive heating for distillation resulting in a some volume of the solvent escaping as vapor that is difficult to collect and can contribute to air pollution.

How the new chemical process works is simple. Mix it with the bitumen or your biomass and it strips the oil free. Add water to the dissolved potpourri of oil, sand or bio matter, introduce CO2 and the solvent mixes with the water instead, leaving a neat layer of oil on top to drain off.

Then to separate the solvent from the water, simply bubble in air. The water and solvent can then be used over and over again to remove oils from the other impurities. There’s less need to burn natural gas for process heat other than to get to room temperature and no need to create toxic tailing ponds, distillation facilities, or air purification systems.

Wechsler knows the Canadians are on to something big saying, “It’s pretty much a closed-loop system. At the moment we’re still doing lab experiments, but we’re looking for a partner in the oil sands community to move this product forward.” Chances are he’ll get a very welcome meeting when the lab work shows how to build and run a pilot facility.

That’s not all. The chemical also is a solvent for the Dow Chemical trademarked Styrofoam or common polystyrene. This stuff is ubiquitous, and everywhere. From food bottles and shopping bags to foam packing peanuts the whole world piles up tons of this light and still (think cubic kilometers) bulky material, mostly in landfills.

The switchable hydrophilicity solvents dissolve the polystyrene, after which a low-heat filtering process removes food residue and other solid contaminants. What’s left behind is a pure polystyrene powder that can be turned into new products again.

If your sick of collecting other folks bags and bottles and other plastic junk littering the world, it looks now like recycling can work very well indeed on one of the handiest and problematic plastics in history.

This is great, great news.


February 28, 2011

Used Toners to Tar ..The Kiwi Way

Three Kiwi companies are investigating if waste residue toner recovered from recycled cartridges can be re-used in New Zealand roads, in research that could cut the volume of crude oil imported into the country to make bitumen.

The project, which is a unique collaboration between Ricoh New Zealand, Croxley Stationery and Downer, could result in diverting as much as 15 tonnes of waste residue toner a year away from landfill and into roads.

Early testing has seen the successful inclusion of waste toner, left over from photocopiers and other Ricoh devices, in both bitumen and PMB (polymer modified bitumen). PMB has a high resistance to wear and tear and is used in heavy traffic areas, but the polymer additive is very expensive. The addition of the waste toner to this material is significantly cheaper and also a world first.

Ricoh New Zealand managing director Mike Pollok says the project is a fantastic fit with the company's focus on reducing environmental effects from its business.

"Ricoh is committed to taking responsibility for the whole-of-life impacts of its products, and finding a destination for un-used toner is a great step forward."

The Ministry for the Environment awarded $45,800 from the Waste Minimisation Fund to the project.

Croxley's subsidiary the Toner Recycling Centre (TRC), which operates a cartridge collection and recycling programme for document solutions companies including Ricoh, collects the old toner cartridges.

TRC currently recycles more than 500,000 cartridges annually. Should the project be successful, other manufacturers would be invited into the scheme to achieve the goal of 100 per cent recycling of waste toner in New Zealand.

The trial will continue testing waste toner in both PMB, the preferred option, and asphalt.

Downer, one of the country's leading designer and builder of roads, is helping to fund the research. Should the project be successful, waste toner which is currently sent to landfill could be converted into a useable product, making the cartridges and toner within them 100 per cent recyclable.


July 21, 2010

Oilsands- Koreans Teams up

By Dan Healing, Calgary Herald July 21, 2010 2:04 AM

A $7-billion-a-year Korean construction firm has been contracted by Korea's state oil company to build an oilsands project in northern Alberta, a first for both companies.

GS Engineering & Construction Corp., which builds oil, gas and petrochemical plants, as well as buildings, roads, bridges and harbours around the world, has been awarded the $300-million contract to build the 10,000-barrel-a-day BlackGold Phase 1 project by Korea National Oil Corp.

Regulatory approval for the steam-assisted gravity drainage facility, estimated to cost a total of $400 million to $450 million, was received last year and the company recently filed the paperwork for a 20,000 bpd expansion.

The deal is part of continuing trend by Asian companies to invest in the oilsands to ensure their future energy needs, although there is no current direct bitumen conduit from Alberta to Asia.

KNOC has said it aims to double its worldwide production to 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2012 -- Korea is the seventh largest oil consumer in the world at 2.3 million barrels a day and the fifth largest oil importer.

The BlackGold facility is expected to produce first bitumen by late 2012 or early 2013, and will be operated by Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust, which KNOC bought for $1.7 billion in December.

"We've been looking at it and now we feel comfortable proceeding with that project," said John Zahary, Harvest president and CEO, adding the technology will be classic SAGD, where steam is injected into the formation with a horizontal well to melt the heavy, sticky oil, which is collected in a second horizontal well.

It's expected to have an average steam-oil ratio of around 3-1, similar to other in situ thermal projects in the area south of Fort McMurray.

The company has not decided whether to use pipeline or truck to get the product to market. "There are number of different options," said Zahary. There is no plan to upgrade the bitumen in-house.

Services sector analyst Jeff Fetterly of CIBC World Markets said the introduction of foreign players in oilsands construction creates an "interesting dynamic" as the pace of resource development heats up in northern Alberta.

"The sense I get and the feedback I get talking to most of the service companies leveraged to the maintenance side or the construction side of the business is there will probably be more than enough work to go around for everyone," he said. "There is a lot of specialist knowledge in terms of understanding where you're developing this project and the region you're working in where the domestic companies are at an advantage, but it's also a function of what the capacity is going to look like."

He pointed out that a foreign general contractor will likely dole out hands-on work to local companies.

But Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said there's no guarantee the project will create jobs for Albertans, adding that unions in Korea have criticized GS's safety record.

"This may end up being the worst of all worlds for Albertans," he said. "We face the prospect of losing jobs in both construction and upgrading if this project is allowed to proceed."

On its website, GS lists one North American office, in Houston, and 10 in Asia and the Middle East, including two in China. It says it had record revenue and earnings in its last fiscal year, generating 569 billion won ($492 million) in operating profits on revenues of 7.8 trillion won ($7 billion).

KNOC acquired the Black-Gold leases in August 2006.

Other Asian stakes in the oilsands are held by Chinese and Japanese interests.

China Investment Corp. has a 45 per cent stake in Penn West's Peace River oilsands assets, Petro China has invested $1.9 billion in Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., Sinopec has a 50 per cent interest in the Northern Lights oilsands project and recently bought a nine per cent stake in Syncrude Canada, while China National Off - shore Oil Corp. has a 16.7 per cent interest in privately held oilsands developer MEG Energy.

Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd., owned by a Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company, applied in April to expand its 8,000-barrels-a-day pilot SAGD oilsands project at Hangingstone by 35,000 bpd.

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