February 28, 2011

Blogger on the road

The green blogger is on the road this week partly on vacation and partly working (the story of my life these days...). I'll try to post once in a while when I can access the internet. By the way, just to remind those who might be interested to sign up for the Green Chemistry panel I am co-moderating this week on Thursday in New York. Webcast is also available.

February 22, 2011

Snippets from Seventh Generation interview

This week is going to be tough given that a) it is a short week, b)I have two feature articles that I'm working on with deadline next week, c) I have two school exams this week.

I am also preparing for next week's Green Chemistry Panel Discussion on March 3, which I will be co-moderating. Before my brain shuts down from overloaded information, let me post this "better-late-than-never" videos that I took from the recent American Cleaning Institute (ACI) meeting.

The first video is from my interview with Seventh Generation's Martin Wolf, director of product and environmental technology. The company's long-term goal is to ulimately use100% renewable-based chemicals and materials for its products. But of course, that is easier said than done especially when it comes to laundry detergents. Seventh Generation is using 100% renewable materials for its spray cleaners (which are easier to formulate as their ingredients are not as complex).

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February 21, 2011

Big green news last week

As mentioned before, there had been several news announcements last week from companies that the blog has been covering quite frequently. For ICIS Chemical Business (ICB) subscribers, I am actually writing a few on them for the magazine (and already wrote some articles for ICIS News last week). But you can access them freely from each of the companies' media sites. Read on...

Lanxess extends Gevo deal
Lanxess has invested $17m and increased its stake to 9.1% in US bio-isobutanol producer Gevo. Lanxess is also giving Gevo exclusive first right to supply the company with specified quantities of bio-isobutanol for a 10-year period. Lanxess is developing a dehydration process to convert the bio-based isobutanol to isobutene, a raw material for making butyl rubber.  Gevo is currently retrofitting a 22m gal/year ethanol capacity in Luverne, Minnesota, to produce 18m gal/year isobutanol in the first half of 2012.

Myriant in BDO partnership
Bio-succinic acid producer Myriant Technologies and UK-based engineering firm Davy Process Technology formed a partnership in the use of bio-succinic acid as a feedstock for the production of butanediol (BDO), tetrahydrofuran and gamma-butyrolactone. Davy plans to integrate Myriant's bio-succinic acid process technology to its BDO technology to minimize cost of recovery and purification of the succinic acid for bio-BDO production. Davy is expected to license this new production technology to current and future customers.

Comment: I am planning on writing a related bio-BDO article for ICB and will get more information soon. During the Infocast Biobased Chemicals conference last week, Myriant's COO noted that Davy's BDO process technology of using maleic anhydride currently accounts for half of the world's BDO production. Myriant did not disclose how much they expect to profit from this partnership.

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February 18, 2011

BASF, Bayer CO2 news

Here are two companies who recently put out some interesting news regarding carbon dioxide.

First is Bayer which just started its pilot plant in Chempark Leverkusen, Germany, producing polyurethanes using carbon dioxide as feedstock. As I've mentioned before, there are other companies that are looking into CO2-based polymers such as Novomer, which is currently working with DSM on CO2-based polycarbonate resins.

The blog first mentioned Bayer's CO-based PU project last year. The company's pilot plant produces kilogram-scale polyether polycarbonate polyols (PPPs) that will be processed into polyurethanes and will involve the chemical bonding of CO2. The key technology for the process is catalysis.

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GE in foam recovery

Before I start posting news from BASF, Lanxess, Segetis, Elevance, OPXBio, Myriant, Rivertop Renewables (and the list goes on and on...), here's an interesting development from GE Appliances & Lighting, which became the first appliance manufacturer to partner with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program.

According to GE, 9m refrigerators are disposed in the US annually and only a fraction has the insulating foam in their walls and doors recycled. Under the RAD Program, GE will supply used appliance volume to the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), where the organization will also recover 95% of the insulating foam in refrigerators.

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Biofuel news roundup

A lot of biofuel news as well so I have separated them from the Weekly News Roundup. Big announcements include the finalization of Shell and Cosan's sugar ethanol joint venture and ADM's palm production investment in Brazil.

Shell and Cosan launch Raizen
Royal Dutch Shell and Brazilian sugar company Cosan formally introduced its ethanol joint venture Raizen. The new company plans to produce over 2.2bn liters/year of sugarcane ethanol from 23 ethanol plants, and to market 20bn liters of fuels to various transportation and industry markets and to its network of over 4.500 service stations. Raizen also owns 16.3% of Codexis' shares.

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Weekly News Roundup

Miss me? ;-). The blog had a very fruitful week attending the 2nd annual Biobased Chemicals Summit in San Diego, California, hosted by Infocast. I even brought a milder weather to New York today from San Diego! There were soooo many green chemical news and announcements this week, I'll try to post them as much as I could but first here are last week's news roundup (better late than never).

Emery Oleochemicals in personal care
Malaysia-based Emery Oleochemicals partners with Korea-based AK ChemTech Co. for the development and production of palm oil-based specialty esters and chemicals for home and personal care application. The joint venture represents Emery's goal in expanding towards high-value oleo-derivatives segment.

Clorox discloses ingredients
Clorox said is it now disclosing information about its dyes, preservatives and a palette of fragrance ingredients used in all cleaning, disinfecting and laundry products in the US and Canada. Clorox is all adding a notice to all product labels that its ingredients list is available at www.CloroxCSR.com.

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February 9, 2011

Genomatica dives into municipal waste

From trash to treasure is the motto here as Genomatica announced its joint development deal with Waste Management to produce intermediate and basic chemicals from syngas made from municipal solid waste.

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 BASF flexes its Eco muscles

After its acquisition of Cognis (which specializes in natural-based specialty chems), BASF seems to be announcing a lot more renewable-based chemistry investments this past two months - first with the startup of its Ecoflex biodegradable plastic plant in Germany, and now a license deal with biodegradable plastic producer Metabolix.

According to a February 4 press release, BASF received a license from Metabolix under U.S. Patent No. 5,883,199, titled “Polylactic Acid-Based Blends,” to produce and market PLA and PBAT (a biodegradable poly-butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) co-polyester compounds under the BASF trade name Ecovio®.

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Gevo IPO at $15/share

Bio-isobutanol producer Gevo finally announced the pricing of its initial public offering (IPO) of 7.15m shares at $15/share for a total of $95.7m after deduction of underwriting and other expenses . The common stock will trade on the NASDAQ global market under the symbol GEVO.

As of this writing, shares of the company are up at $16.75/share.

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February 8, 2011

CM&E Green Chemistry Panel in March

I guess I have to eventually show my non-caricature face to the public and get out more from my glorious blogging anonymity. I am excited to announce (although I am also nervous to do this for the first time) that I will be co-moderating a Green Chemistry Panel Discussion/Webcast on March 3 hosted by the American Chemical Society's Chemical Marketing & Economics (CM&E) group - NY chapter.

The panel will include Bill Barclay, chief technology officer at Martek Biosciences (which you will recall, the company is being acquired by DSM); Chris Cerimele, head of chemicals practice at Houlihan Lokey; and Peter Shepard, executive vice president at Novomer.

My co-moderator is the green blog's esteemed colleague (and a blogger of his own right), Neil Burns, managing partner of Neil A Burns LLC. I'm hoping he'll do more of the talking actually so I can write down notes (haha!).

Here are further information for the event. I hope to see you there!

Weekly News Roundup

Sooo many news this week and I have so many things to tie up first before my trip to San Diego attending the Biobased Chemicals Summit. Big ticker news are from LS9 and BASF but I'll separate the BASF news in another post. Still on the line-up are my interviews with Carbon Sciences, Seventh Generation and probably something from my interview with Procter & Gamble Chemicals. Stay tune!

Here are this week's news roundup:

LS9's 2nd project with P&G
LS9 started a second development and commercialization partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G). No details were reported but the companies said the second project expands on the companies' first project in using LS9's renewable chemicals portfolio to P&G consumer products.

Chempolis' China biorefinery JV
Chempolis Ltd and Henan Yinge Industrial Investment Co., Ltd will form a joint venture in Luohe, Henan province, which will build a biorefinery based on Chempolis formicofib™ technology using wheat straw as raw material. The biorefinery will produce annually 160 000 tons of non-wood papermaking fibres and biochemicals.

Phase 2 algae project complete
Green Plains Renewable Energy's joint venture company BioProcess Algae has completed construction of Phase II of its commercial scale Grower Harvester(TM) bioreactors in Shenandoah, Iowa. The Grower Harvester bioreactors were successfully started up in January of this year.

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February 3, 2011

BASF started new Ecoflex plant

 My ICIS colleague John Baker noted on its Chemicals and Innovation blog the start-up of BASF's newly expanded Ecoflex biodegradable plastic plant in Ludwigshafen. The plant's production capacity has increased from 14,000 to 74,000 tonnes/year.

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Segetis expands capacity

Minnesota-based Segetis announced yesterday that it is expanding its production capacity for its levulinic ketal-based solvent and non-phthalate plasticizer products - which will be under their green chemical platform trademarked as Javelin technology.

More on this post....

February 2, 2011

Weekly News Roundup

In less than two weeks, we'll be covering Infocast's Biobased Chemicals Summit. The blog is hoping to meet new people and add new companies on my list.

I'm hoping to post some of my coverage on last week's American Cleaning Institute annual meeting on the blog soon. For now here are this week's news roundup:

Arkema establishes polymers for PV research
Arkema and CEA teams from INES (Institut National de l'Energie Solaire) have joined forces to create in France the first private/public mixed research laboratory dedicated to the development of polymer materials for the various photovoltaic module technologies. This cooperation venture will be in place for an initial 4-year period.

Metabolix Oilseeds gets funding
Metabolix Oilseeds, Inc., has been awarded $203,000 in research funding by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture through its Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). The company will use the funding to accelerate its ongoing research and development of oilseed crops, specifically Camelina sativa, as a potential source for bioplastics and other petroleum substitutes.

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February 1, 2011

Biofuel News Roundup

Too many biofuel news last week!! I'm still working on the weekly news roundup....

EPA approves E15 on older cars
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waived a limitation on selling gasoline that contains more than 10 percent ethanol for model year 2001 through 2006 passenger vehicles, including cars, SUVs, and light pickup trucks. The waiver applies to fuel that contains up to 15 percent ethanol – known as E15.

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Biofuel does not benefit military - study

Here is an interesting study from RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, which reported that there is no direct benefit for the US military in using renewable fuels.

As you've read from the blog from time to time, there had been increasing investment developments in biofuels for military use. Here are some examples:
  • U.S. Navy to develop technology for the conversion of biobutanol into full performance jet and diesel fuels in collaboration with Cobalt Technologies.
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Shell exits algae biofuels

Is algae losing its green bubbling allure? Shell seems to think so as it sold its stake in algae biofuel developer Cellana to its joint venture partner HR BioPetroleum (HRBP).

Cellana was formed by Shell and HRBP in 2007 to build and operate a demonstration facility to grow and produce oil from algae for biofuel application. The company's demonstration facilities are said to be the most advanced among algae-to-biofuel companies in the US.

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