November 30, 2010

Weekly News Roundup

The green blogger is stuffed up to her eyeballs with antibiotics and wishing her newfound knowledge on microorganisms will help her in her own private bacteria (or is it virus?) battle.

For the meantime, here are this week's news roundup:

BASF in CO2-based sodium acrylate
Catalysis Research Laboratory (CaRLa) and hte AG, a company in which BASF has a majority interest have joined research scientists at Technischen Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and the University of Stuttgart in Germany to develop use of carbon dioxide (CO2) on an industrial scale for the production of sodium acrylate based on CO2 and ethene. Sodium acrylate is a key basic ingredient for high-performance polymers like the superabsorbent polymers used in diapers.

Arkema expands bio-polyamide capacity
Arkema is expanding its polyamide capacity at its Changshu, Shanghai plant by threefold by 2013 in order to meet sharply growing demand from its Asian customers particularly in the automotive and energy markets. The capacity increase include products such as its Rilsan® biosourced polyamide 11. The plant will start producing in the first half of 2012, reaching full capacity by summer 2013.

More on this post...

November 23, 2010

Weekly News Roundup

Here are this week's news roundup:

Iberdrola builds biomass power plant
Iberdrola Renovables has begun construction of its first forestry biomass power plant in Oregon, US, which will have an installed capacity of 26.8 megawatts (MW). The power plant is due to be commissioned by the end of 2012.

World's biggest biodiesel plant
Neste Oil started the world's largest renewable diesel plant in Singapore with a capacity of 800,000 tonnes/year. Production of NExBTL renewable diesel will be ramped up on a phased basis. Neste Oil is currently producing the biodiesel from palm oil, rapeseed oil and waste fat sourced from the food industry in Finland.

More on this post...

November 22, 2010

LanzaTech joins DOE in butanediol R&D

I was too sick last week to post anything but I'm recovering enough now to hopefully be able to post last week's news, maybe one interview, and then I'm off for some Black Friday shopping to support the economy and the chemical industry (I will do my best...)

LanzaTech sent me this news on November 17 about their project with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to develop drop-in jet fuel using waste gas-based 2,3 butanediol (2,3-BD) as feedstock.

More on this post...

November 17, 2010

Renewables growth in Latin America

Latin America especially Brazil seems to be an increasingly high growth renewable chems sector not only because of the plentiful (and more logistically organized) sugarcane feedstock source but its burgeoning economy is also an added attraction.

I wrote an article (subscription only) on ICIS Chemical Business about the bioplastic opportunity in Latin America now that Braskem opened its Green polyethylene shop and plans for a sugarcane-based polypropylene facility as well. Amyris will soon produce farnesene-based chemicals in Brazil also using sugarcane feedstock, while Dow Chemical and Solvay are still planning to go ahead with their own sugar-based plastic.

More on this post...

More sustainability goals from CPGs

My article about sustainable consumer packaging on ICIS Chemical Business is now free to access and this led me in noticing several consumer packaged goods (CPG) as well as food and beverage companies really becoming more intent in their sustainability goals of using renewable-based materials as well as reducing waste/material usage.

Interestingly enough, I also received three phone calls in two months inquiring about renewable-based surfactants particularly second generation feedstock (biomass, algae, non-food based oils/fats). These inquiries mentioned ongoing research for CPG companies.

More on this post...

November 16, 2010

DNP Green becomes BioAmber

DNP Green Technology said it has acquired 100% of the shares in Bioamber from Agro-industrie Recherches et Developpements (ARD). ARD, meanwhile has become a shareholder of DNP Green.

Bioamber was established as a 50/50 joint venture between DNP Green and ARD in 2008 to scale up and commercialize a biobased succinic acid technology platform.

More on this post...

Weekly News Roundup

While I'm in the middle of the battle of the bugs (flu bug that is), here are this week's (late) news roundup:

UL certificate for Dow solar shingles
The DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle received Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) safety certification. Over 50 individual tests were conducted to assess the safety of the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles against building code standards, including wind and fire resistance, and electrical code requirements, such as proper wiring and photovoltaic (PV) connections.

Jatropha biofuel alliance
SG Biofuels and Bunge North America formed a partnership to research and develop a model to process jatropha seeds into a biofuel feedstock. SG Biofuels has introduced JMax 100, an elite jatropha cultivar optimized for growing conditions in Guatemala with projected yields 100% greater than existing commercial varieties.

More on this post...

November 14, 2010

Green blog's 3rd birthday

Based on ICIS' calculations, the green chemicals blog's unique visitors is past 150,000 as the blog celebrates its 3rd year anniversary this month.

For our usual yearly statistics report, the blog continues its upward page views numbers from 12,628 in October 2009 to 20,203 last month - the blog's highest monthly record ever. Unique visits for October 2009 was 7,734 compared to 11,454 in October 2010 - also a record number.

From January to October 2009, total numbers were as follows: Unique visits - 56,904; Page Views - 92,713; Unique users - 50,231.

From January to October 2010, total numbers were as follows: Unique visits - 91,879; Page Views - 152,303; Unique users - 77,966.

Here's our yearly chart to make the numbers easier to digest. The blog just wanted to say thanks for the follow and interests and hopefully we'll be able to make it more informative and useful for you, our beloved green chemicals groupies ;-).

November 12, 2010

Biobutanol progress

The last time I wrote something about bio-butanol was in September for an article on ICIS Chemical Business*. Gevo just announced its initial public offering (IPO), DuPont's Butamax joint venture opened its demonstration plant in Hull, UK, and Cobalt Technologies and signed up engineering firm Fluor to design its 1.5m gal/year plant which is expected to start in 2012.

In October, I wrote an article for ICIS News* about my interview with Chinese biobutanol producer Cathay Industrial Biotech, which is planning to build its second biobutanol facility either in China or in the US. Cathay Biotech's vice president Paul Caswell expects the planned facility's capacity to be around 100,000 tonnes/year.

The company is currently producing corn-based n-butanol for chemical applications at its 100,000 tonne/year biorefinery in Jilin Province, China. The facility, which uses the acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation route, started production in 2009 of about 65-70% butanol, 20-25% acetone and 5-10% ethanol.

More on this post...

*Subscription only

How much chems in tissue cardboard tubes?

The first time I saw Kimberly Clark's Scott Naturals Tube-Free bath tissue advertising, the first thought that popped into my head is how much chemicals demand will be reduced if all toilet tissue in the US will not use these cardboard tubes?

More on this post...

November 11, 2010

Bioplastics information overload

I'm throwing every information that I've got over the past weeks (and even months) about bioplastic here as they are already clogging my already overloaded drafts box.

The first one is from Melbourne-based Cardia Bioplastics who announced late last month that it is now seeking international commercial partner for its carbon dioxide-based biodegradable plastic carrier bags "CO2S". The bioplastic is made from a blend of CO2 emissions and starch.

How it works is that the pollutant CO2 is transformed into a polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polymer and then blended with starch using the company's technology.

More on this post...

November 10, 2010

Green chemicals from October

There have been so many new green product introductions for October and November because of various industry tradeshows and conferences where companies prefer to announce new product launch. I already kick-started some of the new bioplastic introductions from the K Show but there were others that I did not get in time so they're now posted here.

Here are our October's green chemicals:

1. Vereniums' ethanol enzyme - Verenium started selling its Deltazym GA L-E5 high performance enzyme for the saccharification of liquefied starch in ethanol fuel production process. The enzyme demonstrates high yields using substrates such as cassava, corn, milo, barley, and wheat.

2. AkzoNobel NPE alternative - AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry has introduced Berol 609, an alcohol ethoxylate blend designed as a drop in replacement for nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) particularly NP9 and NP10 in aqueous cleaning formulations.

More on this post...

Vertichem in the green chem scene

Sorry for the sparse posts folks, I have been very busy with my day job at ICIS Chemical Business plus attending several conferences including last week's Investor Day by Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan.

I was able to interview Dow's VP of Sustainability Neil Hawkins and will post that interview soon. I'll also share some updates on Dow's green polyethylene project plans in Brazil, their solar shingle business and bits and pieces of their strategies in the clean tech areas (wind energy and battery storage in particular).

Yesterday, during another investor day meeting this time in New York, lithium compound producer Rockwood Holdings talked about the huge potential market of electric vehicles and energy storage batteries to their business. I'll also post some information about it.

For now, here is an interesting Canadian company that exploded in the green chem news scene last week.

Toronto-based Vertichem (according to their website) plans to harness the power of hardwood chips to produce specialty chemicals based on lignin (biopolymer), xylose (sugar) and cellulose. The company is looking at sawmills and forestry industries as source of feedstock. Vertichem said it holds exclusive US patents in the process of converting woody biomass into specialty green chemicals.

More on this post...

November 9, 2010

Amyris hooks up with Tate & Lyle

Like other major food ingredients companies such as Cargill, ADM and Roquette, British firm Tate & Lyle is also very proactive in bio-based chemicals segment especially through its joint venture DuPont Tate & Lyle Bioproducts.

Last week, Tate & Lyle announced that it will start contract producing corn-based farnesene for California renewable chemicals company Amyris. A similar deal by Amyris was taken in June 2010 with a facility of Biomin GMBH in Piracicaba, Brazil, which is expected to start farnesene production in the first half of 2011.

More on this post...

[Photo of Tate & Lyle Decatur facility by ecfman]

November 8, 2010

Weekly News Roundup

 It's a week of biofuel news and two of them focusing on Brazil. Speaking of Brazil, ICIS Chemical Business has its Latin America feature last week and my colleague William Lemos wrote about the sweet success happening in the sugarcane-based biofuel and chemical developments in the region.

Also this week, we'll have our monthly new green chemicals roundup as well as little separate post about Amyris and Tate & Lyle's farnesene production deal. Stay tune! For now here are this week's news round-up:

Biobutanol lab in Brazil
Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC opened a biobutanol technology laboratory in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The new laboratory was built to accelerate the path to commercial market entry for cane-to-biobutanol production.

ADM's biodiesel plant in Brazil
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is constructing its second Brazilian biodiesel facility in JoaƧaba, Santa Catarina. Construction of the 164,000 tonne/year facility will begin in March 2011 and is expected to be completed during the first half of 2012.

More on this post...

November 4, 2010

Glycerine-based chems investment in Malaysia

Two companies announced this week their plans to set up green chem facilities in Malaysia using crude glycerine as feedstock.

France-based renewable chems developer METabolic Explorer said on Tuesday that it will construct a 50,000 tonne/year bio-1,3 propanediol (PDO) plant in Iskandar, Malaysia using crude glycerine as feedstock.

This investment is in partnership with the country's biotech hub Bio-XCell Sdn. Bhd. The facility is expected to have an initial output of 8,000 tonnes.

More on this post...

November 3, 2010

Bioplastic news at K Show

The bioplastic industry strengthened its presence at last week's international plastic and rubber trade show "K" held every four years in Germany.

There had been several announcements from major plastic producers at the show and one of them the blog already reported about Braskem's plans to build a sugarcane-based polypropylene. Here is a video from the K Show organizers as they interview Braskem VP Riu Chammas on their green plastic.

More on this post...

November 1, 2010

Weekly News Roundup

Several bioplastic development announced last week at the Olympics of Plastic and Rubber industry tradeshow  "K" held in Dusseldorf, Germany. A separate post will come out for that.

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

Mirel bioplastic in food application
Telles, the joint venture company of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has launched Mirel™ F3002, a thermoforming bioplastic grade for use in food contact applications. This extends Mirel’s product range in the food service and food packaging market sector.

Waste-to-ethanol green signal
Enerkem has completed the U.S. federal environmental assessment requirements for its Mississippi waste-to-ethanol plant, which allows the Company to move forward with the project. Construction work for the plant is expected to begin in 2011.

More on this post...