May 28, 2010

Eastman's 50 yr. old BPA-free Tritan

It was fascinating to learn that Eastman's polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fiber modifier, Tritan, was originally developed in the late 1950s and was shelved until 2003!!

This is according to my colleague, Ivan Lerner, who attended Eastman's opening ceremony of its newly expanded 60,000 tonne/year Tritan copolyester facility in Kingston, Tennessee, on May 13. In his ICB Endpoint blog, Mr. Lerner musingly noted the Law of Unintended Consequences regarding Eastman's Tritan and the issue of bisphenol-A.

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May 27, 2010

Green surfactants on the rise

I've learned several new information about the development of new green surfactants from the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) meeting, which of course I'll share here. But first, an announcement from Cognis about their green surfactant alkyl polyglucoside (APG®) caught my attention.

Cognis announced yesterday that it has officially opened its new production facility for its APG® surfactants at its site in Jinshan, China. The company claims to be the world’s largest supplier of the original APG® surfactant, which is made from vegetable oil or starch.

Cognis has two other APG facilities, one in Dusseldorf, Germany and the other in Cincinnati, US. Applications for the surfactant include formulations for bath and shower gels, household cleaners, dish washing and laundry detergents and in agrochemical formulations.

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May 26, 2010

Lanxess invests in bio-butanol firm Gevo

I am so happy to get this news as I will be able to add this information to my upcoming article about chemical companies investing in biotechnology.

German specialty chemical company Lanxess has just plunked $10m in bio-butanol developer Gevo, which is based in Denver, Colorado. Gevo and Lanxess plan to jointly develop and produce renewable-based isobutene, a key raw material in the manufacturing of butyl rubber. The companies said they intend to produce the chemical by dehydrating isobutanol.

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Weekly News Roundup

Just finished my article about bio-based materials for automotive parts and I have plenty of left-over to share for the blog.

Before I do that, I am also compiling all information I've gathered last week at the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) meeting, which hopefully I'll be able to post. And on top of that, I am starting on a new article about traditional chemical companies such as DuPont, BASF, DSM, Braskem, Solvay, Wacker Chemie, and Arkema investing on/developing biotech-based industrial chemical processing....(My brain needs energy-efficiency processing asap!)

So here are this week's news roundup before my brain goes into force majeure:

Arkema on green chemistry
Arkema says it plans to increase sales of bio-based products from 7.5% of total sales to 10% by 2012 through project developments currently underway. The company is currently looking into producing acrylic acid from glycerol, and to market carbon nanotubes manufactured from bio-ethanol.

Novozymes partners with Ceres
Energy crop company Ceres and enzyme company Novozymes have entered a research collaboration to co-develop customized plant varieties such as switchgrass, miscanthus and sorghum, and enzyme cocktails for the production of cellulosic biofuel.

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May 25, 2010

Update on REACH

It's been awhile since I wrote anything about the European chemical legislation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances). Under Reach regulations, substances that are manufactured or imported into the EU in quantities of more than 1,000 tonnes/year and hazardous substances must be registered up to the November 30 2010 deadline.

My colleague Anna Jagger recently had an interview with Geert Dancet, executive director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which supervises REACH. According to Dancet, companies currently have four months to add information to incomplete registration dossiers but ECHA could extend this to six months from 1 October 2010.

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Top Green blogger stories

School is over for now (yey!) and I am back (somewhat) in my blogging form. While I scan last week's news, here are some of the green stories I did for ICIS Chemical Business -- just to prove that I'm really working and not really playing hooky with the blog (lol!)

Walmart's green goals will impact chemical supply chain
Walmart is taking initiatives to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via their supply chain. Chemical companies say "bring it on!" and are even taking steps to help Walmart achieve their sustainability goals.

Sustainability helps cosmetics companies beat the recession
The sustainability theme in cosmetics and personal care remains a big driver for chemical companies in bucking economic woes since last year. Interviews from Cognis, Dow Corning, Croda, Akzo Nobel, Bayer Materialscience, and chemical distributor Univar.

Development of BPA alternatives is increasing
While the safety of bisphenol A is being hotly debated, development of alternatives is on the rise. One is corn-derived epoxy resin by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) that may be able to replace bisphenol A (BPA)-based epoxies.

Bioplastic industry remains strong despite recession
The global bioplastics industry has proven its flexibility in navigating the recession, as companies restructured, delayed projects or significantly cut costs. Interviews from Cereplast, Novamont, Teijin, NatureWorks, Telles, BASF.

Green chemistry companies attract more investors
More and more companies dealing with renewable-based chemistries and industrial biotechnology are coming out of the woodwork, as interest from the investment community continues to surge. Interviews from DNP Green Technology, Segetis, Genomatica, Zeachem, OPX Biotechnologies, Elevance, Verdezyne.

May 16, 2010

Weekly News Roundup

I am here in Phoenix, Arizona, already baked brown under this afternoon's hot sun and preparing for the AOCS (American Oil Chemists Society) annual meeting. I hope to do some tweeting as well but that depends on the mercy of the WiFi gods. I'll try to post some info this week but I already have photos of cactus as alternative in case I couldn't make it.

By the way, AOCS is offering a free live webcast of their annual keynote presentation on Tuesday, May 18 at 7:15am (US MST). This year is going to be from Richard Theiler, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, from The Dial Corporation.

Try to tune in for that. For now, here are this week's news roundup:

Eastman opens new Tritan plant
Eastman opened its new plant in Kingston, Tenn., which is exclusively dedicated to the production of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. Demand for Tritan has been increasing as it targets product applications such as infant care and bottled water products aiming to replace BPA-contained polycarbonates.

First algae customer
Algae technology developer OriginOil has signed multi-phase commercialization project with MBD Energy Limited, which is OriginOil's first algae-producing customer. OriginOil will supply MBD Energy its Quantum Fracturing™ and Single-Step Extraction™ systems, which will be integrated into MBD’s proprietary growth system, the Algae Synthesizer, to enhance algae growth and perform oil extraction.

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May 14, 2010

EPA to start regulating GHG

So I finally finished my article about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to regulate under the Clean Air Act (CAA) greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources. This is very timely given that agency published its final rule yesterday (and my deadline is this week).

Here's a little bit of a snapshot of the GHG rule. EPA's GHG pollutants by the way include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. This is compared to the usual CAA pollutants such as lead, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. The CAA’s current default emissions thresholds for these pollutants are 100 and 200 tons/year (tpy).

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May 13, 2010

Climate Bill reactions

I am trying to wrap up my article on EPA's GHG rule on stationary sources when I just saw on twitter that the EPA is expecting to announce its guidelines for that rule today. Aarrrrgh!!

So while my article is in limbo, we'll take a brief look on the newly introduced 1,000 page climate bill entitled "American Power Act" by Senators Kerry and Lieberman.

The bill would impose a cap on US emissions of carbon dioxide and six other greenhouse gases beginning next year and would require a reduction in emissions to a level nearly 5% below the nation’s 2005 pollution volume by 2013.

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May 12, 2010

P&G Launches Supplier Scorecard

Here's a video from Procter & Gamble's purchasing officer Rick Hughes talking about their newly launched Sustainability Scorecard for their suppliers. This will definitely impact their surfactant and plastic packaging supply chain.

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Ubiquitous bioplastic part 2

Sorry about the sparse posts folks, I'm working on two articles this week: One about the very important greenhouse gas regulation for stationary sources by the EPA; and the other is about bio-based products being incorporated in automobiles (got a response from Ford-- woohoo!)

Before I get mired in GHG politics again (watch out for the new Kerry-?-Lieberman climate bill today!), here is part two of my bioplastic musings this week. This time, its about various bioplastic products coming out or have just came out to the market...

1. Bioplastic 3-D glasses - Cereplast said their biobased resins are now being used in the world's first biodegradable/compostable 3D glasses offered by Oculus3D as part of its OculR 3D viewing system to movie theaters.

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May 10, 2010

Big Oleochemical updates

Big merger and acquisition news in the land of fats and oils-based chemicals (or what the industry calls oleochemicals).

Last week, there was rumor floating around that BASF is looking to buy specialty chemicals company Cognis, which already shed its commodity oleochemicals business (now called Emery Oleochemicals) to both Malaysian Sime Darby and Thailand-based PTT Chemical.

ICIS Chemical Business, by the way, just published an article about Emery Oleochemicals and what they are up to this year.

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Weekly News Roundup

Next week, I'll be covering the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) 101st annual meeting and expo in Phoenix, Arizona (I'll make sure to bring my passport just in case...). Follow my tweets at @ICISchemicalbiz and I'll also be filing for ICIS News (for those who have subscription).

So, what to expect from there? A lot ranging from food, nutrition, biofuels, industrial oils, surfactants, oilseeds, biotechnology, processing...but I will only focus mostly on lipid-based industrial chemicals development especially glycerine and soybean oil chemicals, also updates in biodiesel, as well as a little bit of sustainability in surfactants and detergents, and a dash of bioplastics and bio-based plasticizers...sounds good?

I hope so. For now here are this week's news roundup:

Elevance expands facility
Elevance Renewable Sciences has expanded its office and lab facilities in Bolingbrook, IL. The office has grown by 28% and the lab expansion includes the addition of 3 different sized parr vessels, glove boxes for air sensitive catalyst research and a pilot-scale laboratory unit. Elevance also completed its first toll production involving the conversion of a 40,000 pounds of renewable-based feedstock into specialty and commodity chemicals.

Petrobras in Portuegese biodiesel
Brazilian oil company Petrobras have joined Galp Energia to produce 250,000 tons/year of biodiesel in Portugal. Production is expected to start in 2015 and will be aimed to supply the European market, with priority to the Iberian market.

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May 9, 2010

April green chemicals

Another late post for this month's new green chemicals. I'll try to do better next month but no guarantees!

1. Dow biobased plasticizers - Dow Chemical launched DOW ECOLIBRIUM™ Bio-Based Plasticizers, a new family of phthalate-free plasticizers for use in wire insulation and jacketing that are made from nearly 100% renewable feedstocks.

2. Safety-Kleen recycled coolant - Safety-Kleen Systems introduced "Khameleon Universal," a new antifreeze and coolant formulation using recycled ethylene glycol.It is available in 55-gallon drums and in bulk where available.

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May 7, 2010

Ubiquitous bioplastic

I've been noticing several bioplastic products cropping up such as a restaurant plastic bag called "BioBag" made from Novamont's Mater-Bi, and today during my lunch, I was sipping my "extreme berry" smoothie at this burger joint in Midtown NYC when lo and behold, my smoothie cup has this logo that says "GreenWare" with the website below it. I checked it out and it's not a profanity website, thank goodness lol!

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May 4, 2010

GlycosBio expands in Malaysia

Chicago-based Glycos Biotechnologies announced today that it is building a biochemical plant as well as a biotech R&D facility in Malaysia under a collaboration with the country's biotech hub Bio-XCell Sdn. Bhd., a government-supported industrial ecosystem focused on the advancement of biotechnology in Malaysia.

Recalling from a previous post on GlycosBio, the company licensed in 2008 a fermentation process developed by Rice University that can convert glycerine into high value organic acids such as formate, lactate, and succinate. GlycosBio are also working on biocatalytic production systems for renewable-based chemicals and fuels from starting materials other than crude glycerin.

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DuPont Tate & Lyle expands bio-PDO

There are so many green news today that include Codexis, GlycosBio, Elevance and DuPont. We'll first focus on DuPont as it has been awhile since the blog last heard of any biotech-based chemical news from them.

DuPont's joint venture, DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, LLC, announced today that it is expanding production of bio-based 1,3 propanediol (Bio-PDO™) by 35% at its Loudon, Tennessee, facility, starting in June, and expected to be complete by second quarter 2011. Last I recall, DuPont's current bio-PDO capacity is around 45,000 tonnes/year.

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May 3, 2010

PolyOne's new green resins

Plastic company PolyOne has been very busy last month launching new sustainable plastic products at the plastic trade fair ChinaPlas 2010 held last April 19-22. By the way, I have several bio-plastic updates lined up especially covering general overview of the market from several consulting firms. Now if only I have my doppelganger to work on that...

Back to PolyOne, it seems that many bio-based plastic developers and plasticizers are really targeting the Asian plastic market. Recall my previous post about Cereplast and DNP?

At the tradeshow ChinaPlas, PolyOne launched the following:
  • OnCap™ BIO Impact T, a transparent impact modifier for polylactic acid (PLA), which is a polyester derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane.
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[Photo of PolyOne's GLS HFFR TPEs for Wire&Cable]

Chemicals profit in solar

DuPont, Dow Corning, BASF, Wacker Chemie, Solutia (and other chemical companies) have been announcing left and right about recent developments and projects within the solar market -- especially solar encapsulants.

According to DuPont, encapsulants are among the most important materials to solar module manufacturers for high-volume module sealing and integration.

DuPont has collaborated with Oerlikon Solar in the development of a new ultra-thin white reflective solar photovoltaic encapsulant sheet. The DuPont™ PV5223 white reflective polyvinyl butyral (PVB) encapsulant is said to enable easier manufacturing of next-generation thin film photovoltaic modules that not only capture sunlight coming in, but also reflect more sunlight back through the module, delivering more power.

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[Photo of DuPont's solar encapsulant sheet]

Weekly News Roundup

I'm officially stressed out from school and work, and thinking of a nice, sandy white beach to recuperate. My apologies if the blog suddenly blanks's the web virus' fault. Don't worry it's not contagious!

But before all that will happen, here are this week's news roundup:

Arkema's bio-polyamides JV
Arkema and Toyobo have formed a partnership to develop high temperature polyamides made from renewable resources. The new products' unique properties make them particularly suitable for highly technical metal replacement applications in consumer electronics and automotive applications.

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