By George Gill
Elevance Renewable Sciences will collaborate with NL Grease
LLC in commercialization of new high-performance grease technology and
Andy Shafer, Elevance’s 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, we’re 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 there’s value for all of the parties that we end up working with in the
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.