April 29, 2011

Cereplast symbol launched

Cereplast announced last week the launch of its new bioplastic symbol, which came from a graphic design student at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, -- the winner of Cereplast's "Make Your Mark" competition.

The new bioplastic symbol will be stamped on products made from Cereplast's bioplastic, which will serve as an identifying mark of bioplastic material.

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Weekly News Roundup

The blog is thinking of moving back the Weekly News Roundup to Friday instead of Monday...maybe this will work...maybe...

Amyris now operates commercial plant
Renewable chemicals firm Amyris has completed its first industrial-scale facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil, producing its farnesene product Biofene. Amyris expects production to begin in May using sugarcane syrup as feedstock. Its Biofene will then be sold into industrial applications or used as intermediates to form renewable products such as squalene, base oil and finished lubricants/diesel.

Gevo and Mustang on bio-jet fuel
Gevo signed an engineering and consulting deal with Mustang Engieering to convert Gevo's bio-isobutanol to parafinnic kerosene for use as jet fuel. Gevo expects to initiate jet engine testing with engine manufacturers once it completes a final "fit for purpose" testing at the Air Force Research Laboratory expected in June.

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April 28, 2011

Green innovation at Bayer MaterialScience

ICIS now officially opens its annual Innovation Awards, which is handled by co-blogger and colleague John Baker. This year, the award has a new category called Best Innovation for Sustainability sponsored by Dutch chemical firm DSM.

This category intends to recognize companies that have been innovative in their approach to embracing sustainability practices in product development and production to ensure long-term business continuity and environment quality (I am quoting John's words here...).

I had an interview  a couple of weeks ago with Bayer MaterialScience's chief administrative officer Robert Kumpf who is also the head of Bayer North American Corporate Sustainability Community Council. He talked about sustainability-related development programs at BMS here in the US as well as some of the company's innovative new products and processs related to sustainability. I should have told him to try entering this year's ICIS Innovation Awards.

As like other corporate strategies, Bayer's sustainability challenge is to balance between economics, environment and social responsibility (you might have hear it as People, Planet, Profit in another sustainability language). Corporate social responsibility and innovation are two major aspects in the company's sustainability strategies especially for Bayer MaterialScience, said Kumpf.

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Genomatica partners with Mitsubishi on bio-BDO

Mitsubishi Chemical and Genomatica are two busy bees this week as fresh from the presses, Genomatica just announced its joint venture partnership with Mitsubishi for the production of bio-BDO as well as other renewable-based chemicals.

The blog mentioned this week the possibility of Mitsubishi selling a 100% renewable-based polybutylene succinate (PbS) -- made from succinic acid and 1,4 butanediol -- and I guess this will come sooner than later with this latest partnership announcement coinciding along with Mitsubishi's recent deal with BioAmber on bio-succinic acid supply and planned production in Thailand.
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April 26, 2011

P&G expands sugar-packaged Pantene sale

Procter & Gamble is now heavily marketing its sugarcane-based packaged Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion hair care products starting in Western Europe this summer. If readers recall, P&G announced in August last year its intent to use Braskem's sugarcane-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic for packaging on its Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl and Max Factor brands.

According to Braskem, P&G is a long-time customer of the company's traditional PE plastic products. P&G said the newly packaged hair care products will be marketed to the rest of the world over the next two years.

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Mitsubishi picks BioAmber for succinic supply

Ok, so I was wrong when I assumed Myriant Technologies will be involved with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation's (MCC) planned bio-polybutylene succinate (bio-Pbs) joint venture with PTT Limited.

Just got the news this morning that BioAmber was picked as the exclusive succinic acid distributor for Mitsubishi's PbS. According to the press release, BioAmber, its Asian distribution partner Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi are also planning to conduct a feasibility study to build a succinic acid production facility next to Mitsubishi's planned renewable-based PbS production plant in Thailand.

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April 25, 2011

Genomatica's cellulosic BDO in Europe

As previously mentioned, Genomatica recently announced its plans to construct a 40,000 tonne/year bio-butanediol (BDO) demonstration facility in Rivalta, Italy, this time using cellulosic feedstock in collaboration with engineering firm Chemtex, a subsidiary of Italian PET producer M&G (Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi).

By the way, M&G is currently building what the company claimed to be the world's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, with a 13m gal/year capacity expected to start production next year. Chemtex is using its PROESA process technology to produce the cellulosic ethanol, and Genomatica said it will also use the PROESA process for its bio-BDO production.

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Rivertop to start pilot plant construction

This post was from my Q&A with Rivertop Renewables' new president and chief financial officer Jere Kolstad (ex-CEO Jim Stoppert reportedly still continues as an advisor). The company recently announced its plans to start building its 100,0000 lb/year semi-works plant in the Fall this year at its headquarters in Missoula, Montana, as well as expanding equipments at its current laboratories. The company will initially produce glucaric acid at the semi-works facility.

Within a year of starting the pilot production, construction of a 60m lb/year commercial plant is expected, said Kolstad.
"We will first produce commercial product through contract manufacturing and will invest in piloting equipment for the grant-funded semi-works facility once market share is build and equipment financing is in place. Market demand could be sufficiently demonstrated as early as this year," said Kolstad.
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April 19, 2011

Cobalt Technologies builds biobutanol facility

The world of green chemicals had gone amok with demo facility announcements...

First we had Genomatica's press release yesterday about its plans to build a bio-butanediol (BDO) demo facility in Italy in partnership with Chemtex; last week, Rivertop Renewables announced its plans to start construction of its semi-works glucaric acid facility in Missoula, Montana, this Fall; and today, biobutanol developer Cobalt Technologies announced that it will build a demo facility in Alpena, Michigan.

Let's start with today's news on bio-butanol and we'll post a separate one for Genomatica and Rivertop Renewables.

The green blogger had the pleasure of talking with Cobalt Technologies late last year for a biobutanol article published at ICIS Chemical Business (subscription required). According to the press release, the company is collaborating with biorefinery technology firm American Process Inc. (API) to build a 470,000 gal/year n-butanol demo facility, where the biobutanol product will be pre-sold to chemical industry partners.

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Dow enters bio-acrylic acid with OPXBIO

Dow Chemical might not be as loud as DuPont or DSM in their bio-based chemicals intent but they have been very active in investing in this area. In the plastics arena, Dow is still intent on producing sugarcane-based polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). In fact, my colleague Anna Jagger wrote an excellent story about the company's strategy in this market.

But the big news here is Dow looking at the bio-acrylic acid developments and announced last week its intent to collaborate with bioacrylic acid developer OPX Biotechnologies (OPXBIO). Dow is a very big acrylic acid producer (and consumer) and it makes sense for the company to look into diversifying its sources.

By the way, supply of propylene - the main feedstock for petroleum-based acrylic acid - is currently very tight these day, according to ICIS. Acrylic acid capacity in the western markets is also constrained as no new capacity has been added in this region for the past few years -- read this excellent (free!) story on acrylates from ICB's March 25 issue.

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April 15, 2011

Weekly News Roundup

The Green Blogger is close to a burnout and will try to take it easy for the next few days (despite three article deadlines for the week yikes!).  I also got some information on the OPX/Dow deal as well as Q&A from Rivertop Renewables' new president Jere Kolstad. It will be posted soon. Another news from Genomatica just came out as I was writing this...that will also be posted soon (no rest for the weary!)

In the meantime, here are last week's news roundup:

Codexis in aluminum project
Codexis and its partner CO2 Solution Inc. is collaborating with aluminum manufacturer Alcoa in a new pilot program focusing on using carbon capture technology to treat and reuse aluminum manufacturing byproducts such as alkaline clay, bauxite residue and other alkaline industrial residuals. The project will be funded by Alcoa along with $13.5m in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

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April 13, 2011

Bio-lubes in the spotlight

I've been noticing a lot of bio-lubricants collaboration announcement recently and we might as well try to get a little bit of insight into this market. By the way, you might have already heard about big news from OPX Biotechnologies and Rivertop Renewables announced on Monday. I am getting more information about them and will post soon.

Back to bio-lubes, Elevance Renewable Sciences also announced on Monday that it has partnered with Kansas City, Missouri-based NL Grease LLC in the commercialization of new renewable-based high-performance grease (a semi-solid lubricant for those not familiar with it) using Elevance's metathesis technology. The companies expect to start selling to the North American grease market this year.

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April 7, 2011

More plant bottle packaging for Coca-Cola drinks

The bioplastic bottle battle continues as Coca-Cola announced on Monday that it has converted its Dasani PET (polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles and its Odwalla single-serving fruit juice HDPE (high density polyethylene) bottles to its recyclable PlantBottle packaging.

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April 6, 2011

First Biopreferred commercial products

I know the blog is late putting out this news but it's worthwhile to mention some of the first companies and products that were included in the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) newly-certified biobased products.

If readers recalled, the USDA put out an announcement in January about their new voluntary product certification and labeling program for qualifying biobased products (and chemicals). The label identifies biobased products as those composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients coming from renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials and will have a prescribed percentage amount of biobased content certified to meet the USDA standards.

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Weekly News Roundup

Thank you for making my @ICISgreenblog twitter achieved past the 1000 mark!! I hope to be more active (in twitter and blog) as soon as school is out. 

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

Cargill buys ethanol plant from Tate & Lyle
Cargill has purchased Tate & Lyle's corn wet mill ethanol plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa, which has the ability to grind 150,000 bushels/day of corn and has the capacity to produce 115m gal/year of ethanol. Cargill said the facility will fit into their bio-product portfolio and plans to replicate their biorefinery success in Blair, Nebraska and Eddyville, Iowa.

Solix secures funding, changes name
Solix Biofuels has secured in excess of $16m for its first part of Series B financing round from investors such as Bohemian Ventures, The Southern Ute Alternative Energy Fund and I2BF Global Ventures. The new funding will drive the commercialization of Solix's industrial algae growth system, the AGS™. Solix also changed its name to Solix BioSystems.

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News from Elevance and LanzaTech

Got two news yesterday from LanzaTech and Elevance Renewable Sciences.

New Zealand-based LanzaTech said it has partnered with Taiwan-based LCY Chemical Corporation (LCY) to develop and produce chemicals from bio-based C2-C5 feedstock, which could replace LCY's current petroleum-based portfolio such as TPE, PP, solvents and methanol derivatives. LCY is also looking to expand in bioplastics and biofuels.

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April 4, 2011

PTT, MCC forms bio-PBS JV

Sorry about the alphabetical soup headline, blame my weird sense of humor =)

The blog covered PTT Limited and Mitsubishi Chemical Company (MCC) before about their planned bio-polybutylene succinate (bio-Pbs) partnership. MCC announced to its investors in December that it is planning to establish operation in Thailand w/ PTT for the production of its bio-Pbs using "low-cost raw materials to enter new markets." Target production in Thailand is around 20,000 tons/year by fiscal year 2015.

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