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Marcus Oil & Chemical Press Release 11-16-2004
Marcus Oil & Chemical, a division of HRD Corp. has been awarded a US patent on the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil. The patent (US 6,811,824) covers use of a broad range of hydrogenated oils and their application on all cellulose articles. Marcus Oil has been involved in the production and marketing of synthetic waxes since 1987. “Our involvement in waxes has given us a good understanding of the market dynamics” says Chairman Abbas Hassan. “As a result of what we saw in terms of a long term declining supply of petroleum waxes, we began a research program to look at both synthetic and natural waxes that might provide viable alternatives. Our efforts in the area of hydrogenated vegetable oil waxes have shown promising results in several large application areas for which we have filed for intellectual property rights, both in the US and abroad.”

The newly awarded US patent is the result of research by Marcus Oil & Chemical to find a renewable, environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum waxes. Marcus Oil discovered that certain highly hydrogenated vegetable oil waxes have similar barrier properties to petroleum waxes and have the additional advantage of being repulpable under mild alkaline conditions normally found in repulping plants.

“We see tremendous potential for these waxes both in the US and overseas” says Mr. Hassan. The raw materials that these waxes are derived from are plentiful and renewable, being derived from such vegetables as soy beans, corn, canola and other readily available vegetable oils. “There is tremendous interest in ‘green’ products in countries like Germany where regulations regarding protecting the environment are quite strong. We even discovered that the use of repulping chemicals may be reduced when repulping paper coated with hydrogenated vegetable oil wax. When saponified, the wax becomes a surface active agent and further enhances ink removal from the recycled paper. These waxes can also be blended with additives to modify properties such as flexibility, adhesion and stability, thus providing viable alternatives for a large range of coating applications in the paper coating industry” says Mr. Hassan.

The need for alternatives to petroleum waxes was also highlighted at the recent NPRA meeting in Houston where the Wax and Wax Issues Session presented a paper by Geeta Agashe of Kline & Company titled “GTL Specialties and the Potential Impact on the Wax Market”. The paper highlighted a significant global shortage of conventional petroleum waxes in the near future due to depletion of high wax crude, changes in lube oil refining and increasing demand for waxes.

Mr. Hassan indicated that in addition to the recently awarded coating patent, the work conducted by his company in the area of vegetable oil waxes has resulted in several additional patents pending covering a wide range of application areas including adhesives, emulsions, inks and dry wall applications. “We discovered some unique properties of these waxes that we believe will have significant benefits in certain application” Says Mr. Hassan. It was also noted that hydrogenated vegetable oil waxes can provide a cost competitive alternative to conventional petroleum based waxes due to the relative abundance of soy and other vegetable oils as well as excess hydrogenation capacity.

In the area of adhesive, Marcus Oil has discovered that hydrogenated vegetable oil waxes can be used with existing polar tackifiers and resins, there-by enabling adhesive formulators the flexibility to develop a broad range of adhesive compounds. Certain of these waxes have a very narrow molecular weigh distribution that make for a sharp melt point. This is a desirable property in hot melt adhesive applications where set speed is important. Additionally the vegetable oil wax has the benefits of being repulpable. “This can have a tremendous advantage to repulping operations that often have to utilize expensive techniques to separate out the ‘stickies and tackies’ that result from repulping conventional adhesives. We believe this represents the first available technology that allows for formulating a high quality repulpable hot melt adhesive that can be cost competitive with conventional –hard to recycle- hot melt adhesives” says Mr. Hassan.

In the area of emulsions, Marcus Oil & Chemical indicates the food grade status of the hydrogenated vegetable oil wax is a distinct advantage in fruit coating applications where emulsions are used to extend shelf life and reduce moisture loss from a wide variety of produce. “Making emulsions using hydrogenated vegetable oil wax is relatively easy given the high saponification value of these waxes. We did discover that one must pay close attention when making the emulsion so as to not over saponify the wax. The emulsions require very little if any surfactant, which extends the application areas and also provides a cost benefit” says Mr. Hassan. Water based wax emulsions are widely used in a variety of applications including paper coatings, polish and flexographic inks where Marcus Oil & Chemical sees good potential for hydrogenated vegetable oil waxes.

Drywall or gypsum board is another area where Marcus Oil & Chemical has filed for patents and sees much potential for hydrogenated vegetable oil wax. Petroleum and mineral waxes have traditionally been used in an emulsion form to manufacture water resistant drywall. Hydrogenated vegetable oils waxes were tested and found to be an effective substitute wax. “We also discovered that select hydrogenated vegetable oil wax had properties that allowed for easy and cost effective grinding. We incorporated dry powder wax into the gypsum formulation and found some interesting results that indicate the costly process of emulsifying the wax may not be needed. We also saw the need for enhancing moisture resistance of drywall especially in regions where high humidity exists. There have been many reports of extensive structural damage due to insufficient moisture resistance of drywall” says Mr. Hassan.

The ease of grinding these new waxes also lead Marcus Oil & Chemical to a patent pending application involving the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil wax in ink formulations where mar and abrasion resistance is needed. Mr. Hassan indicated “The cost of grinding hydrogenated vegetable oil wax is much less than that of grinding conventional petroleum waxes. We discovered that when incorporated into ink formulations they can do the job of much more expensive waxes at a much lower cost”.

HRD is in the process of completing its IP actions and is planning on aggressively marketing hydrogenated vegetable oil waxes for these and other applications.


Marcus Oil & Chemical Enters Vegetable Oil Wax Market

By Doris de Guzman- Chemical Marketing Reporter

The market for vegetable oil wax could gain further grounds with the recently approved patent on the use of vegetable oil wax from Marcus Oil & Chemical, a division of Houston, Tex.-based HRD Corp. Several patents are still pending covering a wide range of application areas such as adhesives, emulsions, inks and dry wall applications.

The company says it was always on the lookout for alternative resources as petroleum wax price continues to go up and supply remaining under pressure. US petroleum wax consumption is said to be over 2 billion pounds per year and imports continue to increase as refined petroleum wax in the US continue to dwindle.

“Our involvement in waxes has given us a good understanding of the market dynamics,” says HRD chairman Abbas Hassan. “We see a declining supply of petroleum waxes and began researching vegetable waxes that might provide alternatives. Our efforts have shown promising results in several large application areas for which we have filed for intellectual property rights both in the US and abroad.”

Interest in vegetable oil waxes is growing due the relative abundance of soybean and other vegetable oils. In addition, excess hydrogenation capacity in the industry could lead to vegetable oil wax's cost competitive advantage over petroleum wax, says Mr. Hassan. Another bonus is the wax's environment-friendly feature.

“There is a lot of interest in green products in countries like Germany where environment regulations are quite strong,” says Mr. Hassan. “We discovered that vegetable oil waxes can actually enhance the recycling process unlike petroleum waxes which are a problem to recycle. The use of chemicals to help recycle paper may even be reduced with these waxes,” he adds.

In the area of adhesives, Marcus Oil found that vegetable oil waxes can be used with existing polar tackifiers and resins, enabling formulators to develop a broad range of adhesive compounds. Vegetable oil wax also has the benefits of being repulpable.

“This can have a tremendous advantage to repulping operations that usually have to use expensive techniques to separate out the ‘stickies and tackies' that result from repulping conventional adhesives,” says Mr. Hassan. “We believe this represents the first available technology that allows for formulating high quality repulpable hot melt adhesives that are cost competitive with conventional and hard-to-recycle hot melt adhesives.”

The company sees good potential as well in paper coatings, polish and flexographic inks in the area of water based wax emulsions. In fruit coating application, the food grade status of the wax is said to be a distinct advantage where emulsions are used to extend shelf life and reduce moisture loss from a wide variety of produce.

Drywall or gypsum board is another area where Marcus Oil has filed for patents. Petroleum and other waxes have traditionally been used in a water-based form to manufacture moisture resistant drywall. Vegetable oil waxes, when powdered, were tested and found to be an effective substitute wax in gypsum formulation.

The ease of powdering vegetable oil waxes also led Marcus Oil to a patent pending application involving the use in ink formulations. Mr. Hassan noted the cost of grinding vegetable oil wax to be much less than that of grinding conventional petroleum waxes when incorporating in ink formulations.

Marcus Oil says several adhesives and major paper companies have already expressed interests in the products. The company is in the process of completing its intellectual property actions and plans to aggressively market vegetable oil waxes for the aforementioned as well as other applications.

“We haven't done any commercial trials yet with these new materials and so we are now looking for the right partners to do this step,” says Greg Borsinger, consultant for Marcus Oil. “Prices for vegetable oil wax is currently at a premium over petroleum wax but if we can get one or two big applications to drive up volume, we envision prices coming down to be competitive with where high grade petroleum waxes are today,” he adds.

Several vegetable oil wax suppliers say they expect double-digit growth for the market within the next several years as investments in research and development continue within the vegetable oil refining industry, associations and individual companies.

In the US , agribusinesses such as Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge are already major participants in the industry. Cargill currently markets vegetable oil wax under their Nature Wax product line mostly for candle applications.

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