April 30, 2009

Check out Green Energy World Map

Where in the world is Al Gore??

Unfortunately, you will not be able to track him down with this new green search engine (complete with map) site but the cool thing about "reegle" is that users can click on a specific location and get the latest events, news, and a sampling of green energy development projects in that area.

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April 29, 2009

Price is king even in green

Be green all you want but admit it - the amount in your wallet (especially at times like this) is more important than your green conscience.

A study from consulting firm Deloitte confirmed the same sentiment among shoppers although Deloitte said some of the low green purchasing numbers are also driven by lack of marketing initiatives.

More than 6,400 shoppers in 11 major retailers were interviewed in the study and out of that only 22% actually bought green products even though 95% are open to considering buying green.

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Arizona gets into the sun market

It's about time that Arizona invests in solar technology given that they have plenty of raw materials to start with.

Nonprofit group Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is spending $4 million for five new solar investments and the establishment of their Solar Technology Institute (STI), which aims to catalyze solar technology breakthroughs and commercialization of products and services to boost growth in the state.

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April 28, 2009

Solar energy still bright

Investments might be down a bit this year but it seems the outlook for the solar energy industry is still pretty darn bright, according to this study from SRI Consulting.

SRI said the global solar energy market is projected to more than double to reach $70 billion by 2013. Solar cell efficiencies of organic photovoltaic technology are said to have reached over 5% but silicon based cells in the commercial photovoltaic industry are still the predominant technology because of higher efficiencies reaching over 25%.

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Move away DEET! Here comes catnip insect repellent

For the first time in eight years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a new biopesticide, this time made from catmint plant - a feline's favorite catnip, according to its developer DuPont.

The refined Oil of Nepeta cataria can reportedly repel a broad range of biting insects with effectiveness similar to synthetic ingredients such as DEET.

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Cow dung brick from Indonesia

First we had the elephant dung paper products, and now Indonesia's Prasetiya Mulya Business School developed high-quality bricks made from abundantly available cow dung.

The school won this year's top $25,000 top prize at the 10th annual Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) hosted by University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business. This year's competititon had a record 300+ submissions from more than 100 universities in 23 countries.

GSVC aims to promote the creation and growth of successful social ventures worldwide supporting people and planet while being profitable.

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April 27, 2009

Recycling market declines

Market research firm IBISWorld reported that amid growing green businesses, the recycling market seems to be the only one that has really been hit by the economic recession.

Compared to green industries such as natural products, biotechnology, environmental consulting, hydroelectric and renewable power generation, the recycling market this year is expected to decline after growing 6.3% for the past five years until 2008, IBISWorld said.

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Natural polyol in Mexican green sandal

Dow Chemical, Wal-Mart Mexico and Grupo Ravi have joined forces to create "Green Comfort" sandal for women in Mexico. The companies said the shoe soles and insole is made up of Dow's natural oil-based polyols.
"The eco-sandal is produced with vegetable pigmented leathers, zero solvents in the manufacturing process and is sold with 100% recyclable and recycled packaging."
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Europe favors eco-tire labeling rule

The European Parliament proposed last week for tire manufacturers starting November 2012 to label the fuel efficiency/performance as well as the wet grip and noise performance of tires (or 'tyre' as they spell it in Europe).

According to EU lawmakers, the new tire label will use a fuel-efficiency classification similar to the energy label for washing machines and fridges, with performance rated from 'Class A' (best) to 'Class G' (worst).

Tire suppliers are also expected to provide a "fuel savings calculator" on their websites so that consumers can assess the potential average savings of fuel, CO2 and costs of the tires.

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Weekly News Roundup

The buzz last week was the adoption of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulation by California Air Resources Board. The LCFS targets reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels to 16m tonnes/year in the state by 2020. The standards are also expected to be a template for federal policy makers as they seek to implement national renewable fuel standards.

Unfortunately for current biofuel producers, the state w
ill measure not only a fuel’s direct greenhouse gas emissions, but also life cycle and indirect land use emissions related to its production. With the standards, California aims to drive faster development and use of next generation biofuels made from cellulose, biomass, algae, waste, etc. as well as drive the availability of plug-in hybrid, battery electric and fuel-cell powered cars and promote investment in electric charging stations and hydrogen fueling stations.

Pros and cons comments for the LCFS can be read here. But before you click that, here are last week's news roundup:

More sunshine for Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is expanding its solar power program in California with new 10 to 20 additional solar panels in several Wal-Mart facilities within the next 18 months. Wal-mart said the projects will create about 130 (temporary???) jobs, including engineering, design, and installer technician jobs. Smaller numbers of workers will be engaged during the periods leading up to and following peak construction.

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April 24, 2009

Food companies graded on BPA

After several baby bottle manufacturers announced their plans to phase out polycarbonate baby bottles that might contain bisphenol-A, the pressure is on for food and beverage manufacturers to do the same in their packaging.

A new report from investment advisory firm Green Century Capital Management and noprofit group As You Sow said food and beverage companies are not doing enough to seek alternatives to BPA, which is used to line food and beverage cans.

According to the study, Hain Celestial, Heinz, and Nestle are the only companies that plan to phase out BPA in some of their products. Heinz is said to be the only respondent already using a substitute to BPA in some of its can linings.

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April 23, 2009

New green chemical developments

In honor of post-Earth Day I am trying to clean up and consolidate all my Inbox's green news releases and so bear with me as I post more updates, this time on new green chemical research and developments.
  • A University of Toronto research team from the Department of Chemistry has discovered useful "green" catalysts made from iron that might replace the much more expensive and toxic platinum metals typically used in industrial chemical processes to produce drugs, fragrances and flavours.
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Earth Day roundup

Like most green bloggers and reporters will tell you, Earth Day is a good time to clean up one's email inbox if you don't want incoming emails bouncing back.

This article from Greenbiz.com talks about the good, the bad and the ugly as companies come out in full force hawking their green wares and spreading the message of their greenness to the world wide web.

Here are also a few examples of them:

Airline industry:
  • Delta Commemorates Earth Day 2009 by Matching Customer Donations to Offset Carbon Emissions
  • Pledge Green with JetBlue: Do Your 'One Thing That's Green' To Help Protect Our Environment
  • Virgin America Teams Up With California State Parks Foundation For Earth Day
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April 22, 2009

Top Green Oilers

Oil companies are usually environmentalists' biggest nemesis but the website Greenopia admitted that you can't live without 'em...yet.

So they ranked the top ten most sustainable oil companies based on their production efficiency, oil spill efficiency, sustainability reporting, alternative energy investments, climate change position and resource efficiency.

And here are the results:

1. British Petroleum - said to have one of the most transparent and complete sustainability reports as well as taking its slogan "Beyond Petroleum" seriously.

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Linde develops hydrogen from glycerine

Glycerine [or glycerin] is actually the first topic that I covered when I started working for the chemical publishing industry so this subject is somewhat near and dear to my heart.

A lot changed in this industry since September 2000 and one of them is the development in new glycerine application.

According to gas company Linde, they were able to make a sustainable production of hydrogen using the biodiesel byproduct glycerine. The company plans to build a demonstration plant this year in their Leuna, Germany, chemical site.

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Rampant greenwashing?

Now that you read (hopefully you did) about my recent posts about several new eco-friendly products recently launched in the market; Kimberly-Clark's new green tissue and diapers; Frito-Lay's biodegradable packaging and PepsiCo's Eco-Fina water bottle, my question is do you think many of these product and technology launches are just greenwashing??

According to TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, 98% of green products they surveyed are guilty of at least one sin of greenwashing especially in toys, baby products and cosmetics.

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Eco-Kooks?

I find sometimes that Earth Day, which is being celebrated today all over the world, is becoming too hype and full of marketing BS for my taste.

But that's just me...

In a more amusing but maybe sinister tone for some, being eco-friendly and green is becoming extreme as reported by this Washington Post article. Extreme green living is already causing tension among families, divorces and being equated as a religion by some.

Here are cited examples by the article:
  • In Takoma Park, a sister refuses her brother's idea to keep a five-gallon bucket in the shower to catch the water that bounces off her and then use it to do the laundry.
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April 21, 2009

KC recycles tissues, launch natural diaper

US consumer products company Kimberly-Clark (K-C) launched early this month its line of Scott Naturals composed of bath tissue, towels, napkins and flushable wipes that contain a blend of recycled and virgin fiber.

40% recycled fiber in bath tissue, 60% in towels, and 80% in napkins to be exact.


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Weekly News Roundup

My apologies for the late weekly news roundup as I am trying to recuperate from an exhausting (but still fun!) trip in California.

Coming up in future event coverage is the 100th year meeting of the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) in Orlando, Florida. Stay tune for that starting May 4-6. For now here are last week's roundup:

Green pharma JV

SiGNa Chemistry, a developer of stabilized reactive metals for safer, more efficient industrial chemistry formed a partnership with Pacific World Discovery, a pre-clinical chemistry service provider. The collaboration will allow both companies to better serve customers across key areas such as fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

New enzyme contract
Verdezyne, a privately-held synthetic biology company developing processes for the industrial chemicals and fuel markets signed a deal with Novozymes where Verdezyne will optimize selected genes that encode industrial enzymes. These enzymes will then be manufactured in microbial systems.

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April 20, 2009

Shell Eco-Marathon Wrap-up

I had a fun time at Shell's Eco-marathon Americas event although I forgot how exhausting it is sometimes just to be around teenagers (my age is showing lol!).

More than 500 students from different high school and universities across the US as well as from Brazil, Mexico, Canada and even from India showed their creativity, skills, camaraderie and teamwork in developing the best energy and fuel-efficient vehicle, with some of them even made from eco-friendly materials.


Even the event itself is greener this year, according to Shell organizers. Shell said they supplied organic shirts and caps made from recycled cotton for all participants; bio-degradable toiletries such as lip balm and sunscreen to the teams; water bottles, tote bags, pens and flash drives made from recycled material; and minimizing the use of printed materials by distributing information electronically.

This year's event was composed of 44 teams, who are all trying to break the 2008 fuel efficiency record of 2,843 miles per gallon (mpg) bagged by Mater Dei High School of Evansville, Indiana. Last year's Shell Eco-marathon Europe recorded a 7,957 mpg from Lycee La Joliverie of France.

Shell will launch for the first time the Eco-marathon Asia in Malaysia next year.

One important thing to note is that the high schools teams competing against college teams are definitely impressive. Also took note of the fact that many women are participating in this kind of event. It makes me feel proud to be a chemical engineer.

Here's a recap of the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas winners. With these types of ingenuity and skills, I don't think anybody could be losers. Congratulations all!

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April 18, 2009

Wanted: Engineers and scientists

As they always say, kids are our future and Shell definitely hopes that their Eco-marathon events will inspire participating students to eventually join the scientific and engineering fields and help them figure out how to source new energy, efficiently use traditional energy and at the same time solve the growing climate problems.

Graeme Sweeney, vice president of Shell's Future Fuels and CO2 noted the need for various sources of energy because of the expected surge in demand especially coming from developing countries - where the number of vehicles are expected to double by 2050.

Sweeney said there's currently a shortage of engineers and scientists but the good news is that more and more young people are now interested in helping solve the global energy and climate change problems.



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Shell on wind, solar and hydrogen

Shell's first love (when it comes to renewable energy investments that is) is definitely in biofuels these days but that doesn't mean the company is abandoning wind energy and solar as was hinted in news reports in the past several weeks.

During Shell's Eco-Marathon Americas event in Fontana, California, I was able to interview Shell Future Fuels and CO2 vice president Graeme Sweeney and he emphasized that the company's renewable energy strategy hasn't changed.

He said that Shell is still operating about 550 megawatt of wind energy capacity in total mostly in North America (others in Europe) while in the solar sector, Sweeney noted Shell's continued stakes in a thin-film solar manufacturing company in Germany and in Japan-based Showa Shell which last year expanded its solar cell manufacturing capacity.

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April 17, 2009

Shell Eco-Marathon Day 1

A very busy day in Fontana, California, attending Shell's Eco-marathon Americas. About 44 teams from 6 high schools and 29 universities across the Americas came today to challenge each other on whose fuel-efficient, low carbon emitting vehicle has the highest mileage.

One team even came from India, where their car got stuck in LA customs. Fortunately it arrived today just in time for the race. Shell said it had to scramble to prove to customs that the car would not be used for commercial purposes.



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April 16, 2009

New eco-friendly products

I'm off to California today for Shell's Eco-marathon and unfortunately, I think I just got bitten by a flu bug. Hopefully, I'll be able to get my voice back in time for a very early morning interview with Shell's Future Fuels and CO2 vice president Graham Sweeney. Stay tune for this one. It will be interesting to hear Shell's strategies in the renewables sector.

For now, here are interesting new products in the market that these companies are marketing as green:

1. Field marking paint - Pioneer Athletics said its VOC-free Brite Stripe Ultra-Friendly field marking paint earned the US Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment (DfE) designation.

2. Green concrete - Ekocrete, Inc. announced the availability of a new "green" concrete that uses 90% recycled and by-product materials without sacrificing strength or durability. Ekocrete uses crushed recycled concrete for aggregate.

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April 15, 2009

Green-slapped Gwyneth Paltrow

Now to the more serious side of green issues...

It seems that green protagonist celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow is getting red in the face from recent scaremongering accusation and green-washing sort of claim.

In February, the Times Online reported that while championing green issues, Paltrow's London house is said to be wasting 1,020kWh of heat/year. The Times emphasized on its report that Paltrow backed the American “Act Green” energy conservation campaign. It also reported several top green environmentalists with leaking energy houses.

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Who is Pepsico's plastic maker?

I am trying to guess whose plastic technology PepsiCo uses for its new Eco-Fina water bottle, which is said to be the lightest half-liter water bottle in the market.

The new bottled water is now available in retail stores nationwide this month. Pepsico said it weighs 10.9 grams and is made with 50% less plastic than the previous half-liter Aquafina bottles.

Here's another nicely made video of PepsiCo's new Eco-Fina (no it doesn't compost like the previous SunChips bag post).



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Growing compostable bag use

Confusion might still lingers on what bioplastics really mean but their use is definitely growing.

In the compostable bag sector, SunChips maker Frito Lay announced that they are going to launch in 2010 the world's first fully compostable chip bag of its kind, with the bag fully decomposing within 14 weeks - when placed in a compost bin or pile. See the vid below!



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Wood or plastic?

The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association put out a press release yesterday about the possible toxic hazards of plastic pallets because they contain the flame retardant deca-bromine. Non-fire retardant plastic pallets, meanwhile, can pose fire hazards according to the group.
"We recognize that alternative materials each have their place, and competition breeds innovation and quality improvements," said Bruce Scholnick, president of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association. "But if new technologies prove to be harmful or risky, it needs to be excluded from use. There are alternative fire retardants. Let's face it, they may be more expensive, but what price does one put on human health and our environment?"

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April 14, 2009

Check your taxes for green bucks!

Try to squeeze every last penny you can get from the government by checking out some of the tax incentives under federal and your own state laws.

Here are some of the US federal tax incentives on green home improvements, eco-friendly cars and other energy efficiency projects by the Tax Incentive Assistance Project.

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Global carbon market jumped 256%

Market research firm SBI said that the global carbon market achieved a 256% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past five years and recorded nearly $118 billion of global carbon emissions transactions in 2008.

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Greening your drugs

Thanks to Tom Nicolay of Research Advantage for the tip on the booming botanical and plant-derived drugs market.

According to market research firm BCC Research, the global market for botanical and plant-derived drugs was worth $19.5 billion last year and is expected to reach $32.9 billion in 2013 for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%.
"Evidence of plant-derived compounds taking on a more significant role in the pharmaceutical market today is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s carving out of a new drug approval pathway for botanical drugs in 2004, and approving the first botanical based on these guidelines in 2006." - BCC



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Weekly News Roundup

The green blogger is back from her long weekend vacation and lost $20 for playing slots. She consoled herself by buying a 50% discounted purse.

Not much news last week probably because of the religious holidays. Watch out for my post about Shell's Eco-marathon this coming weekend! Hopefully there will be lots of exciting news (which I will twitter) as college kids across the Americas compete in Fontana, California, for the most fuel-efficient (and fewer emission) vehicle built by their own hands.

For now here are last week's news roundup:

Green gas from Texas
Clean Energy Fuels signed a 15-year deal for the sale of biomethane produced at the McCommas Bluff landfill in Dallas, Texas. Beginning in April 2009, the biomethane will be sold at fixed prices that increase in 2010 and 2011 and then remain fixed over the remainder of the agreement. Shell Energy North America will act as the purchaser and supply the biomethane to the end-user.

Bayer in hybrid cars
Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) formed a collaboration with Velozzi, a start-up automotive OEM. Velozzi is designing multiple lightweight, plug-in, multi-fuel hybrid electric vehicles that will utilize a number of materials and application technologies from BMS.

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April 10, 2009

More about green jobs!

Sustainable or not, green jobs are definitely sprouting across the country especially in Washington (according to New York Times blog Green Inc.).

The journal Science reported about the endless list of green science jobs in every employment sector whether it's in academia, non-profit, government, quasi-public or within various industries themselves (retail, manufacturing, energy, financial...you name it!).

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A new fuel cell player in town

Remember the rumor last year about BASF's big fuel cell investment here in the US?

Well, BASF says it is gearing up for the inauguration of its new fuel cell manufacturing plant in Somerset, New Jersey - said to be the world's only facility that can fabricate complete Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) which is the heart of the fuel cell.

The company says the facility will provide critical components to the renewable energy market under the BASF's Celtec brand.

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US anti-chemical campaigns intensify

ICIS News (subscription required) reported on Wednesday about the intensifying anti-chemical attacks from state-legislative and advocacy groups and that according to the American Chemistry Council, it is getting harder for the chemical industry to contest them.

Josh Young, ACC director of state affairs spoke at the 2009 Global Chemical Regulations Conference (GlobalChem) that was held in Baltimore early this week.
“Typically, these campaigns will position the issue in terms of children and mothers’ health and focus on one or two products at a time. It is hard to win over a state legislator, get him to do the scientifically correct thing, when his vote will be characterised as ‘anti-children’,” Young said.

ACC said that there are already 11 bills pending in eight states to establish green chemistry mandates, 12 bills in 10 states on green cleaning products, and 47 bills in 21 states seeking to ban bisphenol-A (BPA) in consumer products.

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April 9, 2009

Soy foam market expands

Although soy chemicals (excluding biodiesel) account for a very small portion of soybean oil consumption, this news regarding expansion of soy-based chemical development is still a very good news for the US agriculture industry.

According to the United Soybean Board (USB), soy-based foam made from soybean oil polyol is now being incorporated by more than 30 furniture companies. Cargill and Pittsburgh State University's Kansas Polymer Research Center (KPRC) partnered to develop the first commercial soy-based polyols used in flexible foams for furniture.

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April 8, 2009

The price of green jobs? Learn from Spain

The group Western Business Roundtable sent an email yesterday about a Spanish study concluding that for every green job created in Spain resulted in the loss of 2.2 other jobs.

The study finds that only one in 10 renewable energy jobs created in Spain were of a permanent nature. Two-thirds consisted of temporary jobs in construction, fabrication and installation jobs; one quarter were positions in administration, marketing and projects engineering; and only one of ten was related to more permanent operations and maintenance of renewable power systems.

The study was prepared under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

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BPA: alternatives and tradeoffs

Thanks to a tweet tip from Safer States, I found this cool report from consulting network Gerson Lehman Group about possible alternatives to bisphenol-A (BPA).

According to Michael Brown, president of chemical consulting firm StrategyMark, alternatives such as acrylic, polyester, and polypropylene are worthwhile exploring in a number of applications such as non-packaging water sports bottles, baby bottles, water dispensing bottles, appliance containers (e.g. food processors), etc.

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April 7, 2009

On sale in 2010: $1/watt solar

Solar modules can soon be bought for $1 per watt, which will be cheaper than the cost of electricity from grid excluding subsidies.

Chinese solar manufacturer QS Solar said it is aiming to sell this cheaper solar module by 2010. Module prices are said to be under pressure since third quarter last year because of oversupply.

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Wind energy lifts epoxy demand

Looks like epoxy producers are sticking to the wind energy sector like glue (lol!).

I've been hearing several epoxy resin investments floating in the air (ok I gotta stop) and came up with the following announcements from Dow Chemical, Hexion, BASF and Energy Composites.

Last month, Dow Chemical's Dow Epoxy System (DES) established an on-the-ground manufacturing facility in China by utilizing a state-of-the-art site from another Dow business. DES will also start producing blends in a Dow Epoxy site in South Korea. The investments target two key markets - wind energy and infrastructure in Asia.

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1Q 2009 cleantech investment drops

Market research firm Cleantech Group reported that venture investment in the clean technology sector fell 41% to around $1 billion for the first quarter of 2009 compared to the 4Q '08.
“We knew the numbers were coming down. Capital markets overall have dropped the past two quarters and cleantech as a subset is not immune to that,” said Brian Fan, Cleantech Group senior director of research. “We didn’t record a single $100 million deal. That’s very unusual. We haven’t seen that for several years.”

North America accounted for 68 percent of the 1Q09 investment total, while Europe and Israel accounted for 28 percent, China for 2 percent and India for 1 percent.

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April 6, 2009

Ethanol update: The good and the bad

THE GOOD NEWS:
A new report from the International Energy Agency said that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings from corn ethanol production and use have more than doubled between 1995 and the projected level in 2015.

The report said that GHG reductions have grown from approximately 26% in 1995 to over 39% today while projected GHG reductions from ethanol will reach nearly 55% in 2015 with the advent of new technology, process efficiencies and improved yields.


[Graph from US Department of Energy]

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The darker side of solar

You know why traditional chemical manufacturing processes are considered very energy efficient these days? Because they have been doing these processes for decades.

This cannot be said for newer manufacturing methods such as solar panel production, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Timothy Gutowski.
"The seemingly extravagant use of materials and energy resources by many newer manufacturing processes is alarming and needs to be addressed alongside claims of improved sustainability from products manufactured by these means," he says.

Professor Gutowski said the inherent inefficiency of current solar panel manufacturing methods could drastically reduce the technology's lifecycle energy balance, "that is, the ratio of the energy the panel would produce over its useful lifetime to the energy required to manufacture it."

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Africa's lions poisoned by pesticide

I was horrified by last week's CBS' Sixty Minutes report (see video below) about lions in Kenya being poisoned by cattle herders and ranchers using the insecticide Furadan.

Furadan is currently manufactured by US chemical company FMC for crop protection. FMC said it has stopped all Furadan sales in Kenya since May last year but reporters from 60 minutes said they can still find Furadan in several Kenyan Agro-Vets stores shelves. The show said Furadan are being sold in neighboring countries (where lions are also disappearing).

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Weekly News Roundup

This week, ICIS Chemical Business featured India and for my part wrote an article about India's well-known plant - castor - which has been and still is one of the most promising raw material for chemical use. You can read about my interview with Dow Chemical India, BASF, Arkema as well as US castor oil derivatives distributors Alnor Oil and Acme Hardesty.

Also watch out for my incoming article on April 27 about new industrial and chemical use of fats and oils (e.g. grease, tallow, vegetable oils - particularly soy). For now, here are this week's news roundup:

Dow Corning's new solar center
Dow Corning selected JinCheon, Korea as the site for further expansion of its solar business with the development of a second Solar Solutions Application Center. The facility will enable engineers and scientists to work with customers to develop, evaluate, and pilot materials solutions used to manufacture solar panels. The Center is scheduled to open in late 2009 and pilot production equipment could come online by early 2010.

Dow carbon capture collaboration
Dow Chemical and power generation company Alstom are collaborating in the design and construction of a pilot plant to capture carbon dioxide from the flue gas of a coal-fired boiler at the Dow-owned facility in South Charleston, West Virginia, USA. The pilot plant is expected to be operational by 3Q 09.

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April 3, 2009

Rhodia recycles polyamide

We've heard about Teijin's recycling programs ECOPET (PET bottle recycling to polyester) and ECOCIRCLE (used polyester products recycling).

Now, France-based specialty chemical company Rhodia is developing its own recycling technology with mountaineering equipment company Millet. The two companies plan to launched a recycling project that will recycle used mountain climbing rope into engineering plastic materials for the manufacture of mountain sports equipment.
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A new breed of financial market

Amid the current mess the financial industry is in, democratic congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland thinks this is the right time to create an independent, tax-exempt US-owned bank that will provide a range of green financing support.

The Congressman introduced last week the Green Bank Act of 2009 that would fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects within US. The bank will have an initial capital of $10 billion through the issuance of Green Bonds by the Department of Treasury, with a maximum authorized limit of $50 billion in Green Bonds outstanding at any one time.

He emphasized that it will operate at the highest levels of efficacy, accountability and transparency. Depends on who's going to handle the bank I'd say...remember Madoff??

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April 2, 2009

The world's first corn cob ammonia plant

Farmers who were struck high with fertilizer price in the past 12-24 months might cheer at this news about California-based SynGest planning to construct the world's first corn biomass-based ammonia plant in Menlo, Iowa.

The SynGest Menlo plant will use 150,000 tons/year of Iowa corn cobs to produce 50,000 tons/year of bio-ammonia, enough to fertilize 500,000 acres of Iowa corn farm, says CEO Jack Oswald. Production is expected to begin in 2012.

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Huntsman on a green hunt

Huntsman is busy churning out eco-friendly chemicals... maybe to make the company more attractive to other "potential" buyers after being dumped by Hexion?

(Ok I admit I've been busy watching reruns of the recent "The Bachelor" so Huntsman folks, pls. don't sue me LOL!)

Last month, Huntsman launched three new products: a bio-based glycerine carbonate, an enzyme-based textile bleaching solution in partnership with Genencor, and a new repellent and soil release finishes for the textile industry.


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March list of new green chemicals

March saw quite a lot of new green chemicals and Huntsman seems to lead the pack. That is why I have a separate post for them.

As for the rest, here they are in no particular order:

1. Rohm and Haas microbial control - Rohm and Haas introduced KATHON™ CF 400 microbicide, a new concentrated, metal-free formulation for microbial control. KATHON™ CF 400 is targeted toward the water treatment industry to prevent or remedy fouling in cooling towers or air washers.

2. Dow specialty surfactants - Dow Chemical launched in Europe its ECOSURF EH specialty surfactants, a new generation of high performance, readily biodegradable surfactants designed for use in hard surface cleaning, textile processing, inks, paints and coatings, and agricultural chemicals.

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April 1, 2009

Sears to sell Teijin's eco suits

At Teijin's press conference in New York yesterday, the Japanese chemical company announced that big US retailer Sears has partnered with them and will start selling on May 15 (in 500 stores) a washable business suit made from Teijin's Eco-A-Wear fabric.

The fabric is composed of 54% recycled polyester, 42% wool and 4% stretched spandex. Teijin's recycled polyester by the way is made from used polyethylene terephtalate (PET) bottles. According to them it took 25 2-liter bottles to make one suit.

Sears will sell the jacket for $175 and the trousers for $75, which is not a bad price at all (according to the guys that I asked around and the gurus from a textile magazine).

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