September 30, 2009

More biosuccinic players

Several other chemical companies want to jump into the development of biobased succinic acid, and have announced deals this week

German chemical company BASF today announced that it is joining Dutch-based lactic acid producer CSM for the development of biobased succinic acid. The companies plan to produce commercial quantity and volumes in the second quarter of 2010.

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September 29, 2009

Pro palm oil strikes back

Non governmental organization World Growth strikes back at green groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth stating that their campaigns against the production of palm oil in Southeast Asia are damaging the economic and environmental benefits that this industry is giving to developing countries.

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Ford wants bioplastic in cars

Ford researchers are hoping to develop 100% petroleum-free automotive plastics to make it to make cars totally compostable - as long as they don't compost while being driven of course. In fact, decomposition is one of the 3 main challenges that Ford is trying to overcome since bioplastic (e.g. polylactic acid) is designed to decompose quickly.

Maybe bioplastic developers can design a time-activated material where vehicles have expiration date and that's when decomposition process starts??

Other challenges that Ford researchers are looking for solutions include less moisture absorption (since natural fiber-reinforced plastics are more likely to absorb moisture causing durability concerns), and odor problems.

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September 28, 2009

Weekly News Roundup

The green blog will be sparse this week due to deadlines from my other job (writing for ICIS Chemical Business). Coming soon (hopefully very soon) for the blog is my recent coverage of BASF's green education building summit; update on the wind market; China and green; and recent reports about enzymes and soy chemicals.

Stay tune! For now here are this week's news roundup:

Dow Chemical in 3rd gen biodiesel
Cavitation Technologies (CTI) has formed a deal with Biocombustibles y Energias Alternativas (ALS), which is also a partner of Dow Chemical, to develop third generation biodiesel technology projects in Argentina and throughout Latin America. ALS has identified several projects where CTI technology can greatly improve process yields and profitability using CTI and DOW proprietary technology.

Teijin's recycling in China
Teijin has launched in China its first-ever program for collecting and recycling used garments in collaboration with sports apparel company Li Ning Company Ltd. Teijin will use its ECO CIRCLE recycling technology for the chemical recycling of polyester.

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September 25, 2009

Canada strengthens green chemistry

Canada's Ontario government wants green chemistry in their industrial landscape, and is investing $13.6m (on top of a $9.1m award earlier this year) in the establishment of a research center to develop and commercialize green chemistry technology.

The GreenCentre Canada is said to be the first of its kind in North America bringing together leading green chemistry researchers, industry partners, and commercialization professionals to develop cleaner, less energy-intensive solutions for traditional chemical products and manufacturing processes.

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September 24, 2009

Chem enegy efficiency: What about us?

Chemical companies are clamoring to proclaim their energy efficiency success and I got several emails asking why they were left out from my ICIS Chemical Business' August 17 article "Optimizing Energy - Chemical firms lower energy use with new technologies."

Since the blog has unlimited space (I think) and that article only has 2 pages to fit, here are several other energy efficiency initiatives from chemical companies within the past year:

Rhodia:
The company said it was able to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions at its Blue Island, IL, production facility simply by “challenging assumptions about standard industrial practices,” according to Operations and Maintenance Manager Nathan Mills.

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September 23, 2009

Is the solar slump over?

Seems to me that solar is shining bright again from the recent activities I saw the past few weeks. Interestingly enough, most of the news are coming from chemical companies that developed new materials to make photovoltaics more efficient and cheaper.
  • BASF presented its Seluris range of cutting fluids products for cutting, etching, texturing and doping mono- and polycrystalline solar cells; and COLO-Fast® polyurethane casting system for more economical and secure framing of photovoltaic and solar panels.
  • Dow Electronic Materials launched its ENLIGHT™ photovoltaic products, which the company said, increase solar cell efficiency and yield, improve device performance at low cost, and enable faster adoption of solar energy as a renewable energy alternative. The products are used on PV cleaning, imaging, texturizing, and metallization. Dow Chemical's adhesives and functional polymers business also presented its Adcote™ solventless adhesives for photovoltaic backsheet applications.

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Grade your plastics!

Starting September 30, manufacturers, purchasers and government agencies can soon evaluate how green and sustainable plastics are via a new "Plastic Scorecard" developed by nonprofit group Clean Production Action (CPA) and sustainability consulting firm Pure Strategies.

The Scorecard rates plastics from F to A+ on a set of criteria that simultaneously advance sustainable raw materials, green chemistry and closed loop systems, according to CPA.

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September 22, 2009

Greenest Companies in America

September seems to be the month of who's who and top rankings. ICIS Chemical Business (the company I work for) released last week its Top 100 Chemical Companies; Cleantech Group and the Guardian had its list of 100 global clean technology companies; the International Fuel Quality Center (IFQC) updated its ranking of the top 100 countries based on sulfur limits in on-road diesel; and Dow Jones also updated its list of top sustainable companies worldwide under its annual Sustainability Index.

This week, Newsweek launched its first ever list of Top 500 greenest companies in the US based on companies' actual environmental footprint, policies and practices.

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September 21, 2009

Green chem startups to watch

Undertaking a list of who's who in the green chemistry start-up field is a little bit difficult to do as for one thing, promoting their business takes money, and they would rather invest their money in developing their technologies first before spreading out their name. Of course, they still have to get out and get money from the investment world so that's when we (the media) hear snippets of information of who are entering this growing sector.

Here, for example, is a new company based in Menlo Park, California, called Rennovia, (thanks to my informant from the green underworld *lol*). This early stage green chemical development company recently raised $6 million in startup funding from 5AM Ventures and Versant Ventures, as noted in their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

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Weekly News Roundup

The green blog needs a vacation...badly! I am getting a lot of information which I can't even post in the blog due to multitudes of deadlines. But I will try really, really hard to post some of them this week. In the meantime, check out my article this week about China's renewable energy market on ICIS Chemical Business. My article on next generation liquid biofuels will be out on October 5, so stay tune for that.

Another announcement is that ICB has a new facebook page (which I designed myself) where you can check out all our blogs, article links, videos and even twitter snippets. Be a fan! (Pleeaase! lol!).

For now, here are this week's news roundup:

BP divests India wind biz
BP is selling its wind power interests in India, BP Energy India Private Limited (BPEIPL), which owns and operates three wind farms in India with a total generating capacity of approximately 100 megawatts, to Green Infra Limited. BP said it will concentrate its global wind development activities in the US.

Owen's green glass fiber plant
Owens Corning will re-start its glass fiber reinforcement manufacturing facility in Vado, Italy, during the fourth quarter, which has been converted to the company's patented boron and fluorine-free Advantex® technology platform. The platform offers smaller environmental footprint compared with standard E-glass processes.

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WWF endorses industrial biotech

Environmental group WWF is giving a green thumbs-up approval to industrial biotechnology stating that not only could it reduce up to 2.5 billion tons/year of CO2 emissions by 2030, it could also help create a true 21st century green economy.
“Low carbon biotech solutions are a good example of hidden or invisible climate solutions that are all around us already today but are easy to overlook for policymakers, investors and companies.” says John Kornerup Bang, Head of Globalization Program at WWF Denmark and coauthor of the report.




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September 17, 2009

Valero to produce fat-based green diesel

The green blogger is certainly familiar with US tallow and grease producer Darling International given that she pestered them every week between the year 2000 and 2006 for pricing information. Hopefully, their new venture into the renewable diesel market with oil company Valero Energy (via its subsidiary) will work out.

According to Darling, the joint venture plans to build a 135 million gallons/year renewable diesel production facility on a site adjacent to Valero's St. Charles refinery in Louisiana. The plant will use waste grease and maybe other feedstock.

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[Photo source: IStockphoto.com]

September 16, 2009

Recycled plastic for the army

The beauties might get their bioplastic (see last post on Miss USA) but the brawns are commending the use of recycled plastic in their military bridges.

According to an email from Axion International, they have just completed construction of two 100% recycled plastic bridges for the US Army stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The bridges are specifically engineered to allow for the crossing of armored military vehicles.



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September 15, 2009

Beauty pageant promotes bioplastic

The green blog has been neglected these days and to compensate (especially for the male readers..lol) here's a very important news about bioplastic invading the beauty pageant industry.

According to the Miss America Organization, it has partnered with Nature's Bottles to promote their bioplastic-based bottled water made from NatureWorks' Ingeo polylactic acid resin.

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September 14, 2009

Weekly News Roundup

A very exhausting but productive weekend for the green blogger covering Lanxess' first World Rubber Day celebrating the centennial anniversary of synthetic rubber. There was talks about issues on rubber recycling and possible development of biobased synthetic rubber but for Lanxess, that is not yet in their portfolio, according to CEO Axel Heitmann.

Lanxess, however, noted that the use of synthetic rubber in materials use in renewable energy markets such as wind turbine, photovoltaic cells and fuel cell are increasing with growth seen between 5% and 10%/year. Reducing fuel consumption by improving rolling resistance of tires is also synthetic rubber's recent developments when it comes to contributing to sustainable mobility, the company said.

More about Lanxess in my incoming article for ICIS Chemical Business. For now here are this week's news roundup:

Activated carbon for Hg clean-up
MeadWestvaco Specialty Chemicals has formed a strategic alliance with Albemarle to supply the company activated carbon for its portfolio of total mercury removal solutions to the power industry. The alliance launches MeadWestvaco as a commercial supplier to this emerging market.

Hybrid resin patent

Cereplast has been granted patent protection for its Hybrid Resins® from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The resin's composition formulation is designed primarily for durable plastic application, which was initially developed by two researchers at the University of Arkansas.

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September 9, 2009

Salute to green warfighters

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is making sure they're fighting for our nation's cause the right way...by going green.

DoD's Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) recently awarded algal-based biofuel developer Solazyme and camelina-based biofuel manufacturer Sustainable Oils contracts for R&D and manufacture of their products.

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Solarized new workers

An interesting and very cool idea coming from Florida-based Solar Energy Initiatives Inc. on setting up job training for laid off/out-of-job workers as solar energy installation and maintenance technicians in Jacksonville.

The company's "Renew the Nation" campaign is being funded in part ($396,000) by the federal stimulus program American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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[Photo from University of Buffalo]

September 8, 2009

Analyzing green waste

These are definitely information not to be wasted (lol!) if you are into renewable energy and bio-based chemicals.

Market research company BCC Research estimated the global market for thermal and biological waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies at $19.9 billion last year. It is expected to increase to $26.2 billion in 2014, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%.

Europe is said to be the largest with 48% share followed by the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 31% of the global market. North America and the rest of the world account for 11.0% and 10% of the global market, respectively.

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Asia explores more oleochem downstream

Here's another preview of the incoming ICIS World Oleochemicals Conference in Berlin on October 20-21.

Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, who will present at the conference, recently put out a study about the Southeast Asian oleochemicals market and how this market is expected to expand downstream activities from the basic fatty acid and fatty alcohol to meet demand from the Asian consumer

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Weekly news roundup

The 3-day long weekend comes to an end (pity...) and school is back (pity me...) The battle on climate change bill will again be back on track in Congress although the health care reform will most probably overshadow that. An ICIS insight piece from Washington correspondent Joe Kamalick last week states...
"The once healthy climate change bill soon might be a candidate for end-of-life counselling, its fate perhaps already sealed by a death-panel of congressional Democrats more fearful of constituents’ ire and fire than global warming."

Let me know what you think about this. Meanwhile, here are this week's news roundup:

India ships biodiesel
AE Biofuels through its subsidiary, Universal Biofuels Pvt. Ltd., has completed a $3 million shipment of biodiesel to a large European customer produced from its 50 million gallon per year biodiesel production facility located in Kakinada, India.

Algae Asian negotiation
Negotiations are underway with BioCentric Energy Holdings for an exclusive licensing agreement for the manufacture and use of BioCentric's Patent Pending Algae Pro Closed loop Photobioreactor System in Asia. Terms, licensing fee and the country in question are confidential at this time.

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September 4, 2009

New Green Chemicals

You think I'd forget this segment of the blog didn't you? I was afraid the last weeks of summer will not produce enough green chemical product launch for August and will have to scrap this one for the month but fortunately, innovation is still active even during the lazy weeks of summer.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Honeywell green refrigerant - Honeywell said its new low-global-warming-potential refrigerant HFO-1234yf for mobile air conditioning can now be imported and used in Japan without volume or use restrictions.

2. DSM bio-engineering plastic - DSM launched EcoPaXX™, a bio-based, high performance engineering plastic based on polyamide (PA) 410, a long chain polyamide based from castor oil.

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Green car inside out

Preceding ICIS Chemical Business' automotive feature on October 5, here's a glimpse of some of the green technologies being developed (and commercialized) by chemical companies for the automobile industry.

DuPont just announced today that its joint venture company DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products now have the approval of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for the use of its 100% renewably-sourced Susterra® propanediol (PDO) as a base coolant for all automobile coolant systems.

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[Photo from watchmojo.com]

September 3, 2009

Eyewear looking at green chems

Eyewear manufacturers like what they see when it comes to renewable-based chemicals.

According to Japanese chemical company Teijin, their new plant-based heat-resistant bioplastic BIOFRONT will be the first bioplastic to be used for all plastic parts of an eyeglass frame. The frames were developed in collaboration with Tanaka Foresight Inc., which Teijin said manufactures and sells around 60% of all plastic eyeglass parts in Japan.

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Farewell and hello to biofuels

It saddens us to see one of ICIS' pioneer blogs, Big Biofuels Blog, by Simon Robinson closing down but the good news is that the Green Chemicals blog will now officially cover biofuels as well as part of ICIS' efforts to send out more information about the business of green chemistry and sustainability.
Look out for future posts on algae, waste-based biofuels, new alternatives (biobutanol, cellulosic ethanol, jatropha biodiesel), and so much more! Coincidentally, I just finished my article for ICIS Chemical Business about China's renewable energy sector (that include biofuels) coming out on September 21, and will soon start about next generation fuel for automotive coming out on October 5.

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September 2, 2009

Greening vending machines

A new energy efficiency standards released by the Department of Energy (DOE) will soon reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 9.6 million metric tons from 2012 through 2042 coming from around 2.3 million beverage vending machines in the US.

This is almost equivalent to removing more than 2 million cars from the road for a year, according to the DOE.

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[Photo from Allposters.com]

Corn glue for plywood

Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the corn byproduct corn germ, which is usually converted into animal feed can also be used as a protein extender for plywood glues.

Glue extenders reduce the amount of main binder, or resin, used in such glues and enhance their adhesive action, the researchers said.

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September 1, 2009

Union demand HF ban

Trade union United Steelworkers (USW) is calling for the phaseout of hydrogen fluoride, an acid used as a catalyst in the alkylation unit for high-octane petroleum production, stating that the chemical is health hazard to workers in petroleum refineries.

The demand for the ban comes at a time when several petroleum refineries this year had incidents of HF release including last month's incident at ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Ill. According to the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), recent reported releases include those at the CITGO refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, on July 19, 2009, and at the Sunoco refinery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 11, 2009.

USW said solid-state catalysts offer a safer alternative but are currently at the pilot plant stage and have not been used commercially yet for the alkylation process.

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Got HP printer? Use soy toner!

This month, soy-based toner under the brand AgriTone is now available in replacement cartridges for select laser printers, according to the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC).

In partnership with Battelle, OSC develop the soy toner technology, which is licensed by Advanced Image Resources, Inc. (AIR). The company manufactures a soy-based resin, called BioRez, which contains 60% biobased products. The resin is said to be a vital component in the production of the toner.


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Weekly News Roundup

Ok, I did promise to post another news roundup yesterday but unfortunately I had to scramble to get back into the "work" mode after a week of vacation bliss. This week is also my deadline for my China alternative energy article (coming out on September 21) as well as preparing for an alternative transportation fuel article that will come out in ICIS Chemical Business' October 5 automotive feature. Stay tune for those!

But the blog still have this week's news roundup...

Biomass ammonia coming soon
SynGest has chosen The Weitz Company to provide engineering, procurement and construction services (EPC) for its first plant to manufacture BioAmmonia (anhydrous ammonia) fuel and fertilizer from corn cob biomass near Menlo, Iowa.

Corn pellets for fuel
Next Step Biofuels has started commercial-scale production of PowerPellets™
from corn stover at Loup Valley Alfalfa’s pelleting facilities in Burwell, Neb. Next Step plans to sell corn stover PowerPellets to coal-fired power plants and
cellulosic bio-refineries worldwide.

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