June 19, 2011

Weekly News Roundup

My last post before I leave for my Asian trip...I'll be back in July!

Cosan and Amyris in green base oil JV
Brazilian sugar producer Cosan and US-based renewable chemical company Amyris has formed a new company called Novvi S.A. based in Brazil, which will develop, produce and market renewable base oils made from Amyris' farnesene molecule Biofene. The base oils are said to have performance characteristics comparable to petroleum-based Group III and Group IV base oils.

LanzaTech partners with Mitsui
New Zealand-based LanzaTech will introduce its proprietary gas fermentation technology throughout the Mitsui Group and concurrently execute a separate deal with Mitsui & Co. Plant Systems Ltd - Mitsui's engineered plants business group.

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Green chem funding abound

Investors seem to be more than happy this year to fund renewable-based chemical technologies and projects. For the first six months, there had been a lot of financing rounds closure, grants from various government and state agencies as well as funding from chemical/petrochemical/oil firms.

By the way I wrote an article on ICIS Chemical Business last January (for subscribers only) on overview of green chem investment funding in 2010 and investment outlook for 2011. So far, there had been quite a lot of investment activities this year (see list below):
  • Agilyx bags investment from Waste Management.
  • Avantium raises EUR 30m to advance furanics building blocks development
  • BioAmber Closes $45 Million Series B to Fund Succinic and Adipic Platforms
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New Green chemicals - Long edition

The blog has not been posting green chemicals product launch for months due to time constraint. So I've compiled all that I received in this list...(in company alphabetical order).
  • Afton Chemical Announces Greenclean Detergent Technology in North America for Diesel Fuel.
  • Arkema Sustainability Additives Group Introduces New Impact Modifier
  • BWA New Synergistic Non-oxidizing Biocide
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Green products on the shelf

According to a research by Genencor published in May, consumers now readily accept biobased products that offer sustainability benefits. In a survey done by the company, the report noted that 8 out of 10 consumers in the US and Canada would definitely.likely purchase biobased household products if comparable on cost and effectiveness with non-biobased.

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Soy chemicals on scene

The blog will be offline for the next two weeks as I travel to Singapore and Philippines for both work and play. Yeah!

I'm going to try to post as much as I can before Monday, so here's one about soybean-based chemicals - one of those markets I've been covering since 2000 when I was the "oils, fats, & wax" editor for the former Chemical Market Reporter =).

US-based science and technology organization Battelle said it has licensed its soybean-based polyols used for making foams, coatings and adhesives to Malaysia-based Emery Oleochemicals, which will exclusively produce the chemical in North and South America and Western Europe.

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June 17, 2011

Gevo invests in 2nd isobutanol plant

Gevo announced this week that it is getting closer to its goal of having 350m gal/year isobutanol capacity by 2015 with its recent investment in another ethanol plant owned by its new joint venture partner Redfield Energy of Redfield, South Carolina.

The 50m gal/year ethanol plant will be retrofitted around late 2011 by Gevo to produce 38m gal/year bio-isobutanol, which is expected to start commercial production by fourth quarter of 2012.

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June 16, 2011

Amyris partners with Wilmar in surfactants

This is an interesting development on the green surfactants sector with the news that Amyris is partnering with Singapore-based palm products (and oleochemicals) producer Wilmar.

According to Amyris, it will establish a development, production and commercialization venture with Wilmar which will use Amyris' Biofene molecule in surfactant manufacture. Surfactants are used in a variety of consumer and industrial applications - the largest of which are in detergent products.

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Genomatica achieves BDO demo scale

Genomatica said it has successfully produced bio-1,4 butanediol (BDO) from its first demonstration-scale 13,000 liter fermentation tank located at Tate & Lyle's facility in Decatur, Illinois, 3 months after the companies announced their partnership.

The company did not disclose how much BDO was produced at the facility. The blog also asked Genomatica's target commercial production capacity planned in late 2012 as well as where the location of this plant will be. No answer for these questions either.

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June 15, 2011

Bioplastic bottle update: Virent, Gevo, Avantium

The blog saw a lot of interests in our post about green PET bottle in March. Fortunately, we seem to have several recent news connecting to renewable-based PET again so let's analyze some of them here:

The one big news that we have is Virent's announcement that it was able to produce sugar-based paraxylene (PX) at one of its pilot facility in Madison,Wisconsin. For a 100% bio-PET manufacture, here is a crude flowchart that I made on potential bio-based chemicals suppliers within the chain. Of course, there are several other companies out there that are probably developing similar technologies but these are the ones in my radar so far.

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June 14, 2011

Biofuel News Roundup

I'll post the weekly news roundup later this week. In the meantime, my biofuel news since from last month are piling up....By the way, I just finished an article on how oil firms such as Shell, Petrobras and BP have been investing multi-million to multi-billion dollars in Brazilian ethanol. This will come out on ICIS Chemical Business' June 20 issue under Biofuels column (subscription only).

  • Virent makes gasoline from cellulosic biomass (I am writing a story on Virent's biogasoline and bio-paraxylene projects, which will come out on June 27 ICB issue).
  • Shell and Cosan officially launched $12bn biofuel JV Raizen
  • US-based Diamond Green Diesel LLC, Darling International's joint venture project with Valero Energy, has secured financing for the planned construction of its renewable diesel facility in Norco, Louisiana. Financing will be provided internally by a subsidiary of Valero Energy.
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Solazyme IPO analysis

Let's visit a bit on how Solazyme has been doing since it went public on May 26. I received this interesting analysis from the Buckingham Research Group on their June 7 coverage of Solazyme but unfortunately, I will not be able to share the report completely so I'll just post some of the more interesting analysis from this equity research.

Solazyme's initial IPO price was $15-17 when filed and has subsequently raised to $20/share, which then rose 20% post-offering to between $24/share. The offering size was also increased 10% from 10m shares to 11m. The company has a market cap of $1.1bn eventhough it has minimal product sales yet.

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June 9, 2011

Elevance to build 1st North American biorefinery

Elevance Renewable Sciences has finally chosen the site for its first commercial-scale biorefinery in North America as it bought a biofuels facility in Natchez, Mississippi, owned by Delta Biofuels.

In a press release last Tuesday, Elevance said it will convert the 800,000 sq. ft facility into a world-scale biorefinery and derivatives operation with multi-phase project for the next five years.

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Weekly News Roundup

Hello blog readers,  missed me? =)

My invincible therapist told me to go on a blog-free vacation for a few days hence the lack of social media communications lately. I might have to pay the price these next few weeks though as so many news (as usual) came out while I was away. The big one is from Virent, which announced this Monday their successful production of sugar-based paraxylene. That's an interesting news for the bio-based PET bottle manufacturers.

I will have an interview with Virent's CEO Lee Edwards tomorrow.

Other news that came out this week are from Elevance Renewable Sciences, Avantium, LanzaTech and Shell formally closing its Raizen JV deal. The blog will sift through each of them as soon as possible. For now, here are last week's news for the roundup:

Gevo retrofits commercial-scale isobutanol plant
Gevo has begun the retrofit of its ethanol facility in Luverne, Minnesota, to produce 18m gal/year of isobutanol. The retrofit is expected to be complete next year summer, which will make the facility the world's first commercial-scale biobased isobutanol plant.

NuPlas to develop 2nd gen PLA
UK-based Nuplas intends to develop and supply second Generation polylactic acid (G2 PLA) using a patent-protected technology that converts lactides to PLA. Lactides are produced from carbohydrates from various crops via lactic acid.

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June 2, 2011

Zeachem partners with P&G

As expected when it comes to dealings with Procter & Gamble (P&G), the green blog did not really get any worthwhile additional information to add to the recent press release announced by Zeachem this morning.

Zeachem said it has formed a multi-year joint development deal with P&G in bio-based chemicals (and other products) beyond C2s. If you've heard about Zeachem before, you probably know that they have been focusing on biomass-based ethanol and ethyl acetate using hybrid poplar as feedstock.

As per Zeachem's agreement with P&G, the company was not able to divulge exact products or platform involved in this development deal, according to a spokesman for Zeachem.

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June 1, 2011

Bioplastics at Olympics 2012

UK's National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials (NNFCC) noted that compostable plastics will be widely used next year at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The NNFCC and British Printing Industries Federation have been working with the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic games to ensure compostable food packaging is part of the event.

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Eni-Novamont builds biorefinery in Italy

The blog just recently mentioned Italy as a growing hotspot for bioplastic investments and less than a day after that, Italian bioplastic producer Novamont announced that it has partnered with Eni subsidiary Polimeri Europa for a joint venture, which will build and manage a EUR500m ($704m) biorefinery at the Porto Torres petrochemical facility in Italy.

Novamont already mentioned late last year its plans to expand its bioplastic production capacity from 80,000 tonnes/year to 150,000 tonnes/year. This latest announcement will not only include a new bioplastic plant but also facilities to produce bio-monomers, bio-lubricants and bio-intermediates/additives as well as bio-fillers for elastomers. The companies did not disclose how much capacity the new bioplastic plant and the overall biorefinery will have. They also did not mention any timeframe for the biorefinery projects.

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Weekly News Roundup

A really, really late news roundup from last week....

Metabolix bags $6m grant from DOE
Metabolix has been awarded a $6m grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE), which the company will use for its research on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) in switchgrass to allow co-production of chemicals and densified biomass. Metabolix also plans to further develop a new platform chemical called crotonic acid directly from PHA-containing switchgrass. Aside from Metabolix, the US DOE also awarded a total of $47m to organizations such as Cellana LLC, Domtar Paper Company, Exelus, University of Florida, University of Kansas Center for Research, University of Kentucky, and the US Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station, to fund R&D projects that will support biofuels, bioenergy and biobased products from biomass.

Air Products in Carbon Capture deals
Air Products has signed agreements with Valero Energy and Denbury Onshore to proceed with a planned carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project in Port Arthur, Texas. Air Products will design, construct and operate the CCS system from its two steam methane reformers located within Valero's refinery. Around 1m tons of carbon dioxide are expected to be captured and delivered via a pipeline for injection into Denbury's enhanced oil recovery projects in Texas.

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