March 31, 2009
The group's new report says that the five companies made a combined profit of $100 billion last year but they just invested an average of 4% of their total 2008 profits in renewable and alternative energy ventures.
Early March, New York's Suffolk county legislators voted to ban the plastic in baby bottles and sippy cups, making them the first governmental body in the country to pass a BPA ban.
March 30, 2009
At the event, they will globally launch their Eco-A-Wear, said to be the first environment-friendly fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, and Eco-Circle, said to be the world's first closed-loop recycling system for used polyester products.
March 29, 2009
Gianni Ciserani, P&G president, Western Europe said last week at the 7th Annual European Business Summit that the detergent uses less chemicals, less water and less energy.
"A small dose delivers brilliant cleaning even at wash temperatures as low as 15 degrees. The product contains 20% less chemicals per wash and the pack uses 45% less plastic than a common liquid detergent."More on this post...
In their 2009 Spring Cleaning survey, more than four in ten (44%) say they are buying less expensive cleaning products; one-third say they are buying fewer cleaning products. Other respondents say economic factors influenced them to make their own cleaning products at home (22%) or clean less frequently (17%).
The survey also reported consumers are increasingly seeking sustainability-related benefits in their cleaning products, as 61% of those surveyed looking for those features in 2009 compared to 38% reported in 2008.
Maybe that is why there seems to be more pressure for cleaning products manufacturers to be greener and launch more new environment-friendly products.
Here is a video from Today show talking about the growing advocacy for cleaning products manufacturers to reveal the ingredients they use.
According to advocacy group America's Watchdog, toxic imported Chinese dry wall are being discovered all over the state of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and New Orleans. Some of the signs that a house (especially that was built or remodeled in 2005 to 2008) has the potentially toxic imported Chinese dry wall include the following:
March 28, 2009
Before tackling a massive amount of green information and piled e-mails, here are some of the news my trusted Google Reader provided for me for this week's news roundup:
Braskem breaks ground on green plastic
Braskem will formally break ground on its green polyethylene plant project in Brazil on April 22. Commercial operations are scheduled to begin in 2011. The plant will have production capacity for 200 thousand tons per year.
Accelerating hydrogen vehicles to market
Linde said its new Ionic Compressor technology will help accelerate the commercialization of hydrogen-powered vehicles of all kinds. The technology is now being introduced to North America for fork lift trucks.
March 24, 2009
March 23, 2009
You can check out my article on this on ICIS Chemical Business' March 9 issue featuring commentaries from BASF, Dow Chemicals, Nova Chemicals and Ashland. Terry Knowles, a consultant from UK-based IRL, also talked about the greening of paints and coatings in his report, "Construction coatings get greener."
The City Council said their Bring Your Own Bag campaign conducted between April 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009 had been successful in changing consumer behavior at large supermarkets.
Follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/Greenchicgeek.
And now, here are this week's news roundup:
Glycerine fuel contract
XcelPlus Global Holdings secured initial contracts for 200 million gallons of its "green" fuel-oil supplement, GlyClene. The fuel can be made from any crude glycerol, regardless of the feedstock, including yellow grease. The company continues in negotiations with prospects in the poultry processing, electronics, paving materials and carpet industries, all of them large consumers of fuel oil.
Biodiesel equipment alliance
Engineering services ENGlobal and Greenline Industries, a major supplier of small-to-medium scale biodiesel production equipment, formed an alliance to pursue opportunities in the sustainable energy and biodiesel marketplace.
March 20, 2009
The new recycled biodegradable shrink films can be found on tamper evident seals of ConAgra's branded products such as Fleischmann's Blue Bonnet and Parkay, and for printed shrink labels in Reddi Whip and PAM cooking spray.
ConAgra said the new technology was developed in partnership with Plastic Suppliers, Bluepack, and NatureWorks LLC.
March 19, 2009
According to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, revenues for the global biorenewable chemicals market reached $1.63 billion last year and is expected to increase to $5 billion in 2015.
Here's a commentary from my colleague Ivan Lerner about the foolishness of this law and its effects on our cultural heritage. This was published on March 9 Endpoint issue of ICIS Chemical Business.
Lead, and they shall follow
By Ivan Lerner
IT WAS with horror that I heard the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, which went into effect on February 10, was recommending that books from before 1985 be destroyed.
The excuse for this atrocious activity came in the form of that tidy, contemporary, catch-all phrase that is meant to shut down any opposition or potential arguments: it's being done to protect the children.
I can understand DuPont's enthusiasm for the solar market since sales of their photovoltaic materials and technology seem to be doing good. The company expects to nearly triple its annual photovoltaic sales to more than $1 billion in 2012. DuPont said it has been dabbling in photovoltaic materials development and manufacturing for 25 years now.
March 18, 2009
I think being gushy and optimistic is good. A lot of green growth outlook sees beyond 2010 so they tend to downplay expected flat or declining results for this year. However, we do have to be wary about ambiguous reporting which is definitely a greenwashing method in my opinion.
March 16, 2009
Finally, here is a report that might put back a little bit of realism into the equation.
Researchers from the University of Texas-Arlington, York College of Pennsylvania, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and University of Illinois launched a study called Seven Myths About Green Jobs which calls into question the widespread claims on potential economic, employment and environmental benefits promoted by groups such as the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), the Center for American Progress, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) among others.
This is above and beyond what the cleaning industry intends as they launched their voluntary Ingredient Communication Initiative for companies to list their product ingredients - excluding dyes, fragrances and preservatives – online, on product labels, via toll-free number or using some other non-electronic means.
The plastics were usually discarded in landfills or is abandoned, burned or buried on Northwest farms and nurseries.
For now, here are this week's round-up:
Air Products purifies CO2
Air Products signed a cooperative deal with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to design and construct a carbon dioxide (CO2) purification system in support of an oxyfuel technology development project, which is part of DOE’s furthering development of new and cost-effective technologies for the capture of CO2 from the existing fleet of U.S. coal-fired power plants.
Buy sustainable palm oil credits
Green household products producer Seventh Generation became the first North American company in its industry to purchase sustainable palm kernel oil certification credits to offset company wide use of the ingredient across its entire product line. By purchasing the credits, Seventh Generation is paying a premium to palm kernel oil producers that use more environmentally responsible practices to produce and harvest palm kernel oil.
March 13, 2009
NatureWorks said they are looking for a potential new facility in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas, and is evaluating the availability of plant-based feedstock required for the bioplastic.
[Photo of Cargill Blair, Nebraska facility]
No wonder many couples just try to avoid having kids if they have to go through all of these worries.
This latest study by the group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are charging well-known brand children's bath products of being contaminated with formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, which are said to cause cancer.
The group specifically mentioned brands such as Johnson's Baby Shampoo, Sesame Street Bubble Bath, Grins & Giggles Milk & Honey Baby Wash, Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash, Baby Magic Baby Lotion, and American Girl shower products.
March 12, 2009
France-based Arkema said it has already concluded a successful collaboration with Germany-based hte (the high throughput experimentation company) on trying to convert glycerol to acrylic acid and acrolein by screening a variety of new suitable catalysts.
This news, however, is too interesting to pass up as I am what you call a "sleep connoisseur". Maybe I should join the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) - yes there is such a group and in fact they just established the first mattress/bedding industry “Green Initiative.”
March 11, 2009
ACC says a US reporting system such as this is needed as a basis for discussion, development and implementation of a national climate policy.
"Consistent with our forward-looking approach to climate issues, ACC member companies track greenhouse gas emissions data and report it to ACC as a requirement of membership under our Responsible Care® program."Emissions from ACC member companies between 1990 and 2007 already fell 13.2% exceeding Kyoto Protocol Requirements, the group said. Companies under the Responsible Care program have publicly reported their GHG emission data since 2005.
March 10, 2009
Shell's Eco-Marathon invites students from all over the world to design and build the world's most fuel-efficient vehicle and produce the fewest emissions.
Teams can enter two main categories:
- Futuristic prototypes - which are streamlined vehicles where the primary design consideration is reducing drag and maximizing efficiency
- Urban Concept vehicles - which are built to more conventional 4-wheel roadworthy criteria (new to the Americas event in 2009)
The group along with Deloitte Consulting released a roadmap growth report entitled Destination 2025, which recommended the support of renewable energy and renewable materials markets as well as in medical devices, biologics and pharmaceuticals, animal health and food markets.
Sample recommendations for the renewable materials and renewable energy industries include:
Well, Walt Disney is making sure their theme parks will be family-friendly and environment-friendly as well as they announced their long-term sustainability goals in their first-ever corporate responsibility report.
Some of their 3-5 year environmental goals (among others) include zero waste, zero net direct greenhouse gas emissions, reduce indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity consumption, minimize water use, and minimize product footprint.
March 9, 2009
Oncolin Therapeutics recently ditched 75% of its ownership in its biotech subsidiary Intertech Bio as the company does not have enough green dough to fund an early stage biotech company.
With the current recession, isn't it more risky to address climate change when it could cost more money for businesses?
In the video below, economist Nicholas Stern talked to consulting firm McKinsey on how we should move fast in addressing climate change and therefore help the economy as well by making green investments.
Genencor - a division of Danisco - says it begun delivering its bioisoprene to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The two companies collaborate on designing an integrated production system for BioIsoprene™ product, and said that they are on schedule to meet both technological and commercial milestones within the agreement.
On other news, there are continuous debate going on regarding the Obama administration's carbon emission plans as well as a vocal "No We Can't" from various business and manufacturing groups on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
You can read more about EPA's move in Joe Kamalick's February 26 Insight article on ICIS (subscription required). If you want information for free, here are this week's green news:
Epoxy boost from wind
Hexion Specialty Chemicals will build a new epoxy resin production facility in Esslingen,
Germany, which are vital materials used in the production of windmill blades for the wind energy market. Hexion says it is one of the leading global suppliers of specialty epoxy resin systems to the wind energy market.
Canadian biotech funding
Biotech company Performance Plants Inc. (PPI) will receive up to $5,565,063 in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which will be used to advance PPI's trait technologies that improve conversion of cellulose into cost-effective biofuels and biochemicals.
March 6, 2009
ADM is reportedly proceeding with the construction of its 100,000 ton/year glycerine-based propylene/ethylene glycol plant in Decatur which was previously expected to be finished late last year. The facility is now expected to be completed in the fourth quarter this year.
According to Emerging Energy Research (EER), there is plenty of room to spare for wind turbine manufacturer wannabes because of high demand and supply chain backlogs. The current turbine market is dominated by Vestas, GE, Gamesa, Enercon, Suzlon and Siemens accounting for 70% of the market's turbine installation last year. New competitors that make inroad last year include Sinovel, Dongfang and Clipper, according to the consulting firm.
For now you can access my full report on Elevance's green chemistry round table from ICIS.com's website. If you don't want your fingers to get tired from too much clicking, you can read my initial intake on that meeting from the cut-and-paste ICIS news below (which I hope will not get me into trouble):
March 4, 2009
This technology is actually targeted more for bottled milk producers (and suppliers/distributors) rather than milk consumers. BASF said it has developed the world's lightest half-liter polystyrene bottle specifically geared for milk product containers because of the special properties of the plastic - maybe the acid in orange juice will melt the bottle???
Nalco's subsidiary Nalco Mobotec recently announced a joint venture deal with Canada-based SONIC Technology Solutions to expand the use of fly ash from coal-powered stations as a cement substitute or concrete additive.
I will try my best to understand some of this studies as trying to learn how the C&T system works sometimes makes my head spin.
According to consulting firm Point Carbon, the numbers crunched by White House's Office of Management and Budget for a carbon cap program is unrealistic and its estimated price for carbon allowances not reflecting the market's real price.
President Obama’s budget presumes a price for US carbon allowances at $13.70 in 2012. Presently, European Union Allowances (EUAs) are priced at €10.50 (US $13.35), according to Point Carbon.
“A carbon price of $13 per ton would produce an increase in the cost of gasoline of $0.12 per gallon, a six percent increase over current retail gasoline prices," said Point Carbon. "This would also result in a 6.8% increase for average retail electricity rates although more coal heavy regions might see higher increases."
March 3, 2009
I got interested in biobutanol development when I heard DuPont and BP are working on this for fuel application. Apparently, biobutanol is said to be much better than bioethanol as a fuel because it packs more energy per gallon, it can be transported in existing pipelines, easier to mix with gasoline and can even be used alone in internal combustion engines, and most of all, it can be managed in the existing gasoline distribution network - why is the main challenge for fuel ethanol suppliers.
[Photo of Green Biologics' team at its UK lab]
You heard it right. Not only is soybean oil being used to make your pork deliciously fried, it can also address dust and odor problems within hog facilities. In a study conducted by Purdue University and University of Missouri researchers, soybean oil-treated swine barn showed an average 20% decrease in methane emissions and a 19% average reduction in carbon dioxide emissions during a 12-month period.
The VP said the economic-recovery package that President Obama signed into law more than a week ago contains over $20 billion for investment in a cleaner, greener economy, including $500 million for green job training. He noted that green jobs will help build a strong middle class, which is America's economic engine.
"Green jobs pay 10 to 20 percent more than other jobs," said vice president Biden. "They also are more likely to be union jobs. Building a new power grid, manufacturing solar panels, weatherizing homes and office buildings, and renovating schools are just a few of the ways to create high-quality green jobs that strengthen the foundation of this country."More on this post...
For now, here is an interesting update on the coal ash spill in Tennessee, which happened on December 22, 2008. A failed dike at Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Kingston Fossil plant caused a released of about 5.4 million cubic yards of coal fly ash that now cover about 300 acres mostly TVA's property.
Of course the nearby Roane County is concerned. Who wouldn't be?? Fly ash could contain levels of harmful metals such as arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, chromium VI, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
So the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg is right on the scene and filed an environmental lawsuit against TVA on behalf of 109 citizens in Roane County and surrounding areas.
March 2, 2009
1. Polyone BPA-free compound - PolyOne unveiled its first commercial compounds made with Eastman Tritan(TM) copolyester. The compounds are free of bisphenol-A and said to provide numerous processing advantages as compared with other transparent polymers.
2. Florida Tire Recycling - Florida Tire Recycling Inc. launched its Closed-Loop Product Lifecycle Solution program designed to recycle, reuse and reclaim 100% of discard waste tires.
By the way, I hope you all like the new blog layout. Hopefully it'll get better with more features (such as blog links) in the future. For now here is this week's news roundup:
CO2 capture pilot plant
Siemens and E.ON Kraftwerke are to build a pilot CO2 capture plant at the E.ON power plant Staudinger in Grosskrotzenburg, Germany. The pilot plant is scheduled to start operation in the summer of 2009.
ZeaChem Inc. selected CH2M HILL as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractor for its first biorefinery. Set to begin construction in 2009, the biorefinery is slated for a proposed site in Boardman, Oregon.
But that's just me.
For work-related purposes, here's what's going on in Washington that will affect the clean technology industry and maybe even green chemistry R&D within the next several years.
In President Obama's proposed budget that came out last week, he promised to increase funding on renewable energy projects, some, in the expense of greenhouse gas emitters, oil companies and toxic chemical spillers. Specific details were not put out yet until the president's final proposal in April.
Under the Department of Energy's proposed budget, funding will increased on renewable energy production primarily from tax breaks and loan guarantees. The budget also increases funding for energy conservation in government buildings and private homes as well as provide more money for cleaner coal-fired power plants, and to transform the country's aging electric grid.