February 25, 2010

Feedstock innovation spurs biodiesel demand

Technological advancements in algae, jatropha, waste grease (maybe even Camelina?) are expected to boost biodiesel revenues worldwide, according to this recent study from Pike Research.

The study reports that by 2020, global biodiesel revenues are estimated to reach $71 billion, up from $18 billion expected this year. Helping the industry are powerful backers such as oil companies and biotechnology companies, Pike research's managing director Clint Wheelock said.

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Sustainability value of chemical companies

I've posted before about the sustainability value of certain chemicals based on their lifecycle analysis - from raw material sourcing to product use/disposal. One recent report about that is a study initiated by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) last year. This study analyzed the life cycle carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions of over 100 individual chemical products and their applications.

This time, a study published in December from Sustainable Value Research Ltd. assesses the sustainability performance of 9 major chemical companies -- BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical, DSM, AkzoNobel, Air Liquide, DuPont, Reliance Industries and Shell Chemicals -- using their Sustainable Value approach over the period of 2004 to 2007.

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Chevron in Solar

It's interesting to see Chevron venturing into the solar market since none of the oil companies (as far as I know) seem to be interested in investing in this area.

Chevron's announcement came in this Tuesday stating that its sister company Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) will build a one megawatt concentrating photovoltaic solar facility on the tailing site of Chevron Mining Inc.'s molybdenum mine in Questa, New Mexico.

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February 24, 2010

Blooming Buzz on Bloom Energy

My boss told me about this start-up company called Bloom Energy that was featured in CBS 60 Minutes last Sunday and of course, I put this on my To-Do post for this week. To my surprise, this company is all over the news today as they announced their high-profile press conference to formally introduce themselves and their fuel cell technology called Bloom Energy Server.

The patented solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) reportedly allows their customers to efficiently create their own electricity onsite 24 hours a day/7 days a week using a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.

[Photo of Bloom fuel cell]

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February 23, 2010

Green chocolates

Why not give your eco-conscious sweetheart green chocolates (they could be the minty ones although not necessarily) that not only taste good but also lower carbon dioxide emissions during its lifecycle?

Premium chocolate producer Lindt says they are now helping producing renewable power with the help of New Hampshire's largest electric utility company PSNH by using Lindt's waste cocoa bean shells as energy feedstock. Lindt will now deliver the shells to PSNH's Schiller Station power plant in Portsmouth to be used as a supplementary fuel source.

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Weekly news roundup

It is not my intention to post the Weekly News Roundup on Tuesdays, which seems to be happening frequently. Oh well, better late than never I guess. According to the god of ICIS Blogs Simon Robinson, the Weekly News Roundup seems to be very popular with the readers so I will aim to be better at posting them at a proper time. (Keeping my fingers crossed).

Solvay new fuel cell plant

Solvay is building a test fuel cell plant worth over EUR 5 million ($6.8m) with a total electric power of 1 megawatt (MW) at the SolVin plant in Lillo, Antwerp, Belgium. The fuel cell will convert hydrogen produced by electrolysis at SolVin’s plant into electricity.

GreenWERCS now available
GreenWERCS, which analyzes the composition of individual products using ingredient data to examine its potential impact on human health and the environment, is now available for chemical manufacturers. Once the product formulation is entered into the system, GreenWERCS provides a product’s ‘green score’ and a visual analysis on how its products rank and where the most immediate opportunities are to reformulate without hazardous chemicals.

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February 22, 2010

Biofuel News Part 2

Other big news announcements from the biofuel industry the past two weeks include a new biojet fuel production facility being built by British Airways; news about biodiesel catalysts; a new enzyme from Novozyme that helps turn waste into fuel; and car rental company Enterprise Holding announcing its North American fleet shifting to biodiesel.

In the transportation sector, British Airways announced last week that it will establish Europe's first bio-based jet fuel plant in partnership with US-based Solena Group and that the fuel will be used to power its fleet starting 2014. The facility in London (exact location still under consideration) will convert 500,000 tonnes of the city's waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel.

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Biofuel news Part 1

ICIS News reporters were very busy in the past two weeks covering the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Florida (Feb. 15-17) and the 2010 National Biodiesel Conference in Grapevine, Texas (Feb. 7-10).

Let's start with the ethanol conference where this year's event drew even more delegates because of the perceived improved sentiment about the US ethanol industry, according to ICIS News. Attendance was estimated at around 1,300 delegates, 750 more than last year's.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) noted at the conference that the industry's biggest challenge this year is getting the ethanol tax incentive program, which gives a tax credit of 45 cents/gal for ethanol blended in gasoline, extended.

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February 21, 2010

Sustainability awardees at Informex

Informex announced last week its "Profiles in Sustainability" awardees and the chosen ones were DSM, Lonza, Iolitec, Segetis and the Wercs.

At the Informex show in San Francisco, ICIS Chemical Business senior editor Clay Boswell reported that both Netherlands-based life and materials science company DSM and Swiss life science company Lonza were honoured for their work to commercialize microreactors...

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February 18, 2010

Gren chemistry news Part 2

There were tons of green chemistry and biofuel announcements since last week and as what I've mentioned before, development activities in the green chemistry field seem to be increasing fast. I'll put a separate post for biofuels as there are big news as well in this area especially for biodiesel.

In the green chemistry sector, OPX Biotechnologies announced last week that they were now able to reduce their bio-acrylic production cost by 85% toward their commercial target of 50 cents/pound using their proprietary EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology. OPXBIO says that the global petroleum-based acrylic market is estimated at $8 billion today.

The company is currently constructing a pilot scale bioacrylic process which will be completed this year.

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February 16, 2010

Green Building Trends

I mentioned that ICIS Chemicals Business featured in its January 18 issue several articles about green/sustainable building trends including my own article about chemical firms increasing their investments and activities in developing/marketing green construction materials.

According to companies such as Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, Celanese, RPM International, and Bayer MaterialScience, the chemical sector has a major role in developing and improving sustainability of the overall building and construction markets. Possible solutions, according to Bayer, include polyurethane (PU) systems for floor coatings; long-life light emitting diode indoor and outdoor lighting systems; PU insulation for roofs, walls and floors, polycarbonate (PC) sheets for roofing constructions, glazing, skylights and facades; PU sealing systems; and solvent-free adhesives.

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January's green chemicals

There was actually a lot of green/sustainable chemicals launched last month, which, unfortunately I was not able to post in a timely fashion. Several of them target the green building industry, speaking of which, I wrote an article about it last month for ICIS Chemical Business. More updates on the green building and construction markets coming soon, for now here are some new green chemicals that might be interesting to check out.

I used the word "sustainable chemicals" meaning they are not really made from renewable-based nor are they tagged as biodegradable except that these chemicals contribute to energy efficiency, promote clean technology use or overall help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

1. DuPont Eco-concrete - DuPont expanded its Eco-Concrete collection of DuPont™ Corian® with six new colors containing up to 14 % recycled post-industrial material while its Eco-Terrazzo collection contains up to 25% recycled post-industrial material.

2. Agilent GHG analyzers - Agilent Technologies introduced two Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Analyzers for simultaneous analysis of methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrous oxide (N2O) in air samples. The analyzers also can be used for soil gas analysis or plant breathing studies, where the samples contain CH4, N2O, and CO2. Both analyzers easily can be expanded to determine sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

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February 15, 2010

Weekly News Roundup

I just had my first major vacation in more than a year and what I found is that you can't really mix work with pleasure. So here I am trying to catch up with the blog after finishing up my green investment article (watch out for that on ICIS Chemical Business' March 1 issue!).

Here are last week's news roundup. There might be more for Tuesday as soon as I can surf the web for additional news.

Verenium and BP partnership
Verenium and BP are looking to extend their cellulosic ethanol development partnership with a multi-year collaboration program. Their joint development program established in August 2008 expired on February 1.

LS9 facility acquisition
LS9 bought an existing production facility in Okeechobee, Florida, to be retrofitted to accommodate LS9's one-step fermentation process that converts renewable raw materials into low-cost, low carbon transportation fuels and chemicals. The facility will produce 50,000-100,000 gallons of UltraClean Diesel by late-2010.

...and production breakthrough
Researchers from LS9, the University of California at Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a microbe that can produce an advanced biofuel directly from cellulosic biomass in a one-step process. This enables the production of advanced hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals in a single fermentation process that does not require additional chemical transformations.

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February 8, 2010


The green blogger is under a very tight deadline today and is already stressed out. She will get back in the next few days (while she's on vacation... bummer!) with the Weekly news roundup, new green chemicals from the month of January, and other news-related posts.

February 4, 2010

Michigan - Dow's solar powerhouse

Dow Chemical picked its corporate base - Midland, Michigan - to build its first full-scale production facility for its Powerhouse Solar Shingle product, which, according to the state of Michigan, could bring more than 1,200 jobs to the state by 2014. Staffing is anticipated to begin in late 2010.

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Green Chemistry news

Green chemistry companies seem to be off to a good start this year with lots of activities going on the past few weeks. We had Joule Biotechnologies building its first pilot plant in Texas, DNP's Bioamber commissioning its bio-succinic acid plant in France, and Cobalt starting its first biobutanol facility in California.

Today, DNP Green Technology also announced the acquisition of US-based bioplastic company Sinoven Biopolymers, which produces high performance biodegradable polybutylene succinate (PBS) plastic. Sinoven will operate as a subsidiary of DNP with sales office in Philadelphia and a manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China.

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February 3, 2010

Big Biofuel news

I was writing about DuPont Danisco's big cellulosic ethanol news from last week when President Obama just announced the government's plans to boost biofuels production in the US.

Coinciding with the speech is the announcement from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about its final ruling on the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). Under RFS2, biofuels production is expected to increase from last year’s 11.1 billion gallons to 36 billion gallons in 2022, with 21 billion gallons coming from advanced biofuels.

The revised RFS2 establishes new specific annual volume standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that must be used in transportation fuel. It also includes new definitions and criteria for both renewable fuels and the feedstocks used to produce them, including new greenhouse gas emission (GHG) thresholds as determined by lifecycle analysis. The regulatory requirements for RFS will apply to domestic and foreign producers and importers of renewable fuel used in the U.S.

The 2010 RFS volume standard calls for 12.95 billion gallons, with cellulosic standard set at 6.5 million gallons, and biomass-based diesel standard 1.15bn gal.

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Weekly News Roundup

I'm back and recovering from a flu-like illness so I apologize for a very empty blog for almost a week! Coming back to work yesterday was pretty hectic as I interviewed four CEOs/president of green chemistry companies and one more to go this afternoon. I'm writing an article about "behind-the-green investment-scenes" and it's shaping up pretty darn good.

There are also big biofuel news that I missed last week such as DuPont's cellulosic ethanol start-up and Shell's deal with Cosan. But on the bright side, I was able to get good information from the Soap and Detergent Association meeting that I attended last week in Orlando. I will post some of them later this week as well as the big biofuel news from last week.

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

BP expands solar module output
BP Solar will increase its solar modules output with an expanded deal with Jabil Circuit. Under the new agreement, Jabil will assemble BP Solar modules for the North American market in Jabil’s plant in Chihuahua, Mexico, which has initial capacity of 45 megawatts. Production will begin in the second quarter.

New solar lab from DuPont
DuPont opened the Meyrin Photovoltaic Application Laboratory at its European Technical Center. It will operate as an open center, enabling technological exchanges and research collaborations between DuPont and customers, industrial partners, institutes and academia.

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