September 30, 2008
Yesterday, the US Congress approved the Mercury Market Minimization Act of 2008, which would ban the export of elemental mercury, prohibit federal agencies from selling or distributing mercury; and direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide permanent storage for domestic stocks of mercury under certain conditions.
September 29, 2008
The Commission banned all China-sourced products for infants and young children that contain any percentage of milk even though food operators assure that such milk products have not been imported into the European Union.
Here are some of the points that caught my attention in the revised standards called GS-37 (about 20 pages long):
- The prohibition of phthalates and alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs).
- Content of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was limited to 1% by weight for glass and ready-to-use carpet cleaners.
September 26, 2008
Watch out for my sustainable packaging story and the green movement in Japan. I'll also post about ongoing green R&D developments at Rhodia's (a specialty chemical company) research center in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
For now, here's this week's green news roundup:
Bioplastic's best friends
Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) will collaborate with PolyOne to develop biobased plasticizers from corn and oilseeds. Plasticizers are used to make plastics softer and more flexible.
Yesterday, Wal-Mart announced its goal to reduce its global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33% per store by 2013, amounting to more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste globally.
September 25, 2008
Here are some of their selling points:
- The plug-in hybrid achieved 67 MPG, a 60-percent increase over thestandard hybrid's 42 MPG and a 205-percent increase in MPG compared with a standard car at 22 MPG.
September 24, 2008
"This bill’s energy tax incentives will spark clean, homegrown sources of power and thousands of good-paying jobs here at home, too,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). “These tax cuts for jobs, energy and families are coming not a moment too soon.”
September 23, 2008
Hard as it may be, the chemical industry should do its part in developing chemicals that cannot be easily used by terrorists, especially those that are commercially accessible such as fertilizers.
Which is why Procter & Gamble is suing Kraft Foods alleging that it infringed P&G's patented lighter-weight Folgers plastic container when Kraft recently introduced in the US its new 4-pound plastic container Maxwell House coffee.
In KPMG's poll of 301 venture capitalists (VCs), corporate executives, entrepreneurs and bankers, 91% said they expect investments to rise next year, with 50% even stating an increase of 20% or more compared to the 2008 levels, while 34% expect investment levels to increase 10%-19%.
September 22, 2008
Take for example the list of "high concern" chemicals called the Reach SIN list 1.0 provided by the International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec), the Sweden-based nonprofit organisation dedicated to working towards a toxic free environment (according to their website's intro). The list was developed with the collaboration of other environmental groups.
According to ICIS News ( subscription required), nearly 300 chemicals are on the list compared to only 16 chemicals nominated by European member states to be included on a list of "substances of very high concern" (SVHC), as agreed under the registration and evaluation of European chemicals legislation known as Reach.
According to the report, Portland topped the list (again) followed by San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Oakland, California. The Rankings will be featured at the world’s first green cities and communities conference in Geneva, on October 1, 2008, said Sustainlane.
September 19, 2008
Will this crisis affect federal funding and tax credits on the renewables sector? To be sure banks and other lenders will tighten their standards in financing any projects and investments, which unfortunately is always badly needed especially in the clean tech sector.
We will just have to wait and see some of the industry analysts' projections after this crisis...if those financial analysts still have their jobs. For now, here's this week's news:
Lehman effects on solar
The effects of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing on some of Evergreen Solar's stocks is uncertain but Evergreen officials said they are preparing all legal remedies to protect the company and its shareholders.
September 18, 2008
gDiapers, which is being marketed (limitedly) in the US by Australian founders Jason and Kimberly Graham-Nye is composed of three layers: a washable cotton outer layer; a washable waterproof inner layer; and a compostable/biodegradable absorbing insert (think of a large feminine pad) that can be flushed or thrown away. The company said you can even compost the insert in your tomato garden.
"It’s all about seeing things in a different light—a green light. You’ll find clever ads, interesting videos, and tips from Environmentors. We'll be looking for the best ideas and innovations that can help us reinvent how we live in ways that are cool for us and the planet."
September 17, 2008
General Motor sure hoped so because it doesn't want another billion-dollar electric vehicle project to go down the drain as what happened with their EV1 commuter car in mid 1990s, according to this New York Times article.
GM is gearing up the 2010 launch of its plug-in electric vehicle Chevy Volt and showcased the full production version of the car at the company's 100th year anniversary event in its Detroit headquarters.
1. Bioplastic Council by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) - formally launched just yesterday, the new group will provide a forum for resin and additive suppliers, as well as processors and equipment suppliers, to promote the development of bioplastics as an integral part of the plastics industry.
However, the researchers cannot prove that BPA was the direct cause of the diseases and said further study was needed.
September 16, 2008
However, Danisco's biotechnology company Genencor has been active in producing renewable-based chemicals and fuels, and just this week announced a a research collaboration with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company to develop biobased isoprene - a key feedstock in rubber tire manufacture.
The privately-held company, which has the backing of several Silicon Valley venture capital firms, said it was able to create strains of bacteria that has the potential to produce BDO via fermentation in a global-scale manufacturing plant in less than one year.
Just less than a week ago, BASF was also picked as the top sustainable company within the chemical sector by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2008 review.
Coincidence? Most probably, but there is no arguing that companies are profiting from the green trend not only because their customers demand sustainable products but the companies themselves are applying sustainability actions such as energy- and fuel-efficiency, and waste- and byproduct-reductions in their processing and distribution, that lead to lower operational costs.
September 15, 2008
According to Robert Hahn, director of the Reg-Markets Center at the American Enterprise Institute, and Peter Passell, senior fellow at the Milken Institute, coastal drilling in restricted US territories will only lower gas pump prices by a few cents in a long term. However, they also said that the failure to develop these oil resources would cost the state and federal governments hundreds of billions of dollars in royalties and taxes.
September 13, 2008
According to McCaulley, sustainability is a big trend that will continue to grow and dictate the needs of consumers in the cosmetic and personal care market. He noted that major brands that can reduce their carbon footprint is a critical indicator of success.
September 12, 2008
Unfortunately, there has been another recent tainted food problem going around in China and this time it affected infant formulas.
That said, various renewable energy associations are still waiting for Congress to extend tax breaks for alternative energy such as wind, solar, hydrogen fuel, etc., which are set to expire by December 31.
According to today's Wall Street Journal report, several senate leaders are consider a new bipartisan plan to reduce tax breaks for large oil and gas companies all the while extending credits for alternative energy. The bill called Energy Independence and Investment Act of 2008 will be put on the table next month.
More posts coming soon in that subject. For now here's this week's news.
High-tech green cosmetics
Dow Corning and Elevance Renewable Science will jointly develop [and market] natural oil-based personal care ingredients using Materia's metathesis technology. One ingredient, in particular is a naturally derived petrolatum alternatives for use in skin care, color cosmetic, hair care, and underarm products.
September 11, 2008
According to Rupert Day from Milbar Labs, each and every cosmetic and personal care manufacturers have to start thinking about sustainability and green chemistry in their formulation strategy if they want to achieve regulatory compliance in all countries worldwide.
"Start locally but think globally," he said. "Use fully functional actives that are sustainable, next generation ingredients and for synthetics, they must be safe for the consumer and the environment."
Fortunately, the 3-day show is full of green news, events and presentations. For my stories on new green packaging products launched at the show as well as some of the difficulties in using bioplastic in cosmetic packaging, you can access them on ICIS.com [for subscribers only though -- sorry!].
My favorite quote while attending some presentations is from Wylie Royce, vice president of New Jersey-based dyes and specialty chemicals firm Royce International, who said that "dyes bleed like a stuck pig in polylactic acid (PLA) plastic."
Of course this produced some comments about lipsticks and pigs but I'm not getting into that.
September 9, 2008
Here's an excerpt from her speech while the crowd chanted "Drill! Drill! Drill!":
"Take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we've got lots of both [oil and gas]. Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems - as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all."
Maybe you should have checked if your solar panel contractor is legit.
The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) released this advisory a couple of days ago warning consumers to be careful about the growing fraudulent solar installations in the state (and elsewhere for that matter).
September 8, 2008
For example, Germany-based Evonik is really giddy about the bright prospect of solar market in Europe.
The business school just launched their Global Green MBA designed to address the growing issues of corporate social, ethical, and environmental responsibilities all summed up under the word sustainability.
September 5, 2008
I'm sure there are green chemistry brewing around there somewhere. I'll let you know the specifics as soon as I get some information.
For now, I have to leave you with this week's news roundup. Hopefully next week, I'll be able to share some of the green ongoings at the HBA cosmetic show in New York, BIO's Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology being held in Vancouver, and some solar news that came from the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference in Spain.
Delving US geothermal potential
AltanaRock Energy and Weyerhaeuser will explore the potential for developing geothermal projects in California, Oregon and Washington. Altana can convert up to 40% of Weyerhaueser's 667,000 acreage rights to geothermal development leases within two years.
September 4, 2008
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there is no health risk associated with the chemical "although" further testing is required. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed that people are safe from the levels of BPA exposure currently found in baby bottles and metal cans "but" it will continue to monitor scientific findings regarding BPA's safety.
All was calm and good for a few days [or weeks] and even California decided not to pass its SB1713 bill that would have ban BPA 's use in food-contact products for use by children under the age of three.
But then the National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) released its final BPA report yesterday....
iPod addicts will probably developed alcoholic tendency as well now that you can charge your beloved MP3 (or any other portable consumer electronics) with vodka or other household alcohol products hidden in your cupboards.....or office drawers.
September 3, 2008
The agency received four complaints challenging ExxonMobil's television ad that claims natural gas is one of the world's cleanest fuel.
In this instance, solar panel manufacturer Solar Panels Plus developed SPP corn glycol for use as a heat transfer fluid in solar thermal system. The company said the corn glycol is an alternative to traditional petroleum-based propylene glycol.
Segetis, formed in 2006 and funded by Khosla Ventures, just appointed former Cargill employee James Stoppert as its new president and CEO. I remembered interviewing Mr. Stoppert about their corn-based plastics and ethanol a few years ago at Cargill's Nebraska facility, when he headed the company's Industrial BioProducts business unit.
1. Amcor PVC-free films - Amcor Flexibles introduced its chlorine-free blister barrier films made from coextrusion of polypropylene and COC (Cyclic Olefin Copolymer). The films are said to offer a cost-effective alternative to the traditional PVdC (polyvinylidene dichloride)-coated PVC blister film.
September 2, 2008
ICIS Chemical Business, the magazine I work for featured today the Textiles and Fabrics market, and one interesting topic is that chemical industry are said to be looking back to nature for inspiration in the manufacture of high-tech, energy-saving and eco-conscious materials. You can read more about Lucia Carpio's article on this link.
Also check out innovation (that includes green R&D) within the industrial fiber market by Feliza Mirasol.
Since I use the neighborhood laundry mat, I had no idea that there are so many choices to pick! Front loaders, top loaders, machines that prevent allergy & asthma, stackable, portable, dryer with steamer, high energy saver, etc...
What I found in my search of the ultimate lean, green washing machine is that the R&D in this area are not only focusing on lower energy consuming machines, they are also looking to clean clothes without using detergents or water.