July 28, 2011

Codexis, Chemtex on detergent alcohols deal

This week is definitely a killer when it comes to press announcements and it is not even Friday yet!

Codexis just announced an hour ago their detergent alcohols collaboration deal with technology and engineering firm Chemtex, a company owned by Italy's Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi (the same company that has a bio-butanediol collaboration with Genomatica).

The companies will develop and produce second generation detergent alcohols trademarked CodeXol made from cellulosic biomass. Readers might recalled the blog's post in March about Codexis' development in this sector.

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Busy Amyris this week

Last post for the day, I hope, as I have to write an article about Mitsubishi Chemical's bio-chemicals strategies for ICIS Chemical Business' August 15 issue.

This one is all about Amyris' various activities this week. I must say I'm really impressed with their media relations department (and press agency) as the company churned out 4 press releases within two days.

First is the company's announcement of a commissioning of its second industrial-scale Biofene facility this time in Leon, Spain, owned by Antibioticos S.A. Amyris is already producing its Biofene molecule in Piracicaba, Brazil, owned by Biomin do Brasil Nutricao Animal Ltda.

As usual no fermentation capacity was disclosed although according to Antibioticos' website, which is one of the top penicillin producers in Europe, its Leon facility had 3.2m liter total fermentation capacity and 600,000 liter total chemical capacity.

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Gevo to build hydrocarbon demo plant

Gevo is at full speed ahead for the development and commercialization of downstream products coming from its bio-isobutanol.

The company announced on Tuesday its agreement with Texas-based Arabian American Development Co. to build a hydrocarbon demonstration plant in Silsbee, Texas owned by its specialty petrochemicals subsidiary South Hampton Resources (SHR) Inc. According to SHR's website, the company accounts for 60% of North America's C5 solvents market.

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Croda installs solar panels in NJ

I like this photo of Croda Inc.'s new 305 kilowatt solar panel system installed at its Edison, New Jersey, US facility.  The system is anticipated to provide more than 50% of the power required for the facility, which is equivalent to powering 42 average sized homes or saving over 27,500 gal/year of gasoline, according to the company.

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Metabolix in green C4 partnership

Metabolix announced yesterday that it will form a joint development deal for its polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)-based C4 chemicals -- initially butanediol (BDO), tetrahydrofuran (THF), gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and polyester engineering resins (PBT) -- with Korea-based industrial biotechnology company CJ CheilJedang.

The blog posted in March about Metabolix's development in this area where the company said it was aiming to deliver product samples of its biobased C4s to potential customers before the end of the first quarter this year.

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July 26, 2011

Cathay Industrial Biotech files for IPO

As mentioned in the blog yesterday, Shanghai, China-based bio-butanol producer Cathay Industrial Biotech filed an S-1 form last week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hoping to raise up to $200m in an initial public offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

I can't explain the company's corporate structure but maybe this diagram will help:

Cathay Industrial Bio currently produces corn-based n-butanol for chemical applications at its 100,000 tonnes/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.

The company claimed to be the world's largest bio-butanol producer based on active production capacity this year (backed by report from consulting firm CMAI). It's n-butanol is currently used as an industrial solvent and as a chemical intermediates for the production of paints, resins, coatings, plasticizers, herbicides, pharmaceuticals and food grade extractants.

The blog also previously mentioned the company's bio-dibasic and dicarboxylic acid businesses via fermentation of paraffins.

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July 25, 2011

Weekly News Roundup

Another renewable-based chemical company, this time based in China, entered the IPO scene. Bio-butanol producer Cathay Industrial Biotech filed an initial public offering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on July 19 aiming to raise up to $200m.

The company plans to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol CBIO. We will post more about the company, which the blog covered before. I'm not sure we can talk to Cathay Industrial Bio's VP Paul Caswell again during its IPO period but I'm sure the S-1 filing will bring a lot of information.

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

Amyris' sugar diesel in Sao Paulo buses
Amyris' subsidiary Amyris Brasil will begin supplying sugarcane-based diesel to 160 city buses in Sao Paulo, Brazil. the buses will run on a blend of 10% renewable diesel starting August. The supply contract runs through the end of 2012. Amyris said it expects to achieve $10-12m in annual diesel sales.

Elevance raises $50m in private offering
Elevance Renewable Sciences has raised $50m in private offering as reported in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The company declined to say what it plans to do with the money.

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July 22, 2011

Dow, Mitsui JV in sugar polymers

The Dow Chemical-Mitsui biopolymers joint venture has created a lot of buzz in the chemical, renewables and business communities given that:
a) this is Dow's biggest investment in Brazil (even though the company did not disclose any financial info),  
b) this is Dow's biggest and largest investment in renewables,  
c) this follows the previous Dow-Crystalsev biopolymers collaboration that fell through, and  
d) Braskem's green polyethylene investments are getting successful (according to Braskem).

According to Dow's press release, the JV (pending regulatory approval) will operate a sugarcane plantation, build a sugarcane-to-ethanol facility and then all of these will be integrated into a biopolymers facility producing sugarcane-based polyethylene plastics for use in high-performance flexible packaging, hygiene and medical markets.

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July 21, 2011

Plastic-to-energy tech gains ground

I wrote an article (subscription only) for ICIS Chemical Business (published on June 6) about the increasing development of recycled plastics being used as energy source or alternative chemical feedstock. Companies included in the article are Dow Chemical, Agilyx, JBI Global, and comments from the American Chemistry Council's Steve Russell (VP of the ACC plastics division).

Dow Chemical announced on May 23 that  it was able to successfully recovered 96% of available energy - an equivalent to 11.1 million Btu’s of natural gas - after incinerating 578 pounds of used plastic (linear low density polyethylene scraps) in a kiln at one of dow's waste treatment facilities. Dow's plastics sustainability leader Jeff Wooster said that the project started in 2010.

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July 19, 2011

Introducing Global Bioenergies

I am still waiting for Dow Chemical officials to answer my questions regarding their announcement today about their joint venture with Mitsui on sugarcane-based plastics in Brazil.

In the meantime, let's talk about France-based Global Bioenergies, which also announced today their collaboration with Poland-based rubber manufacturer Synthos on the development and commercialization of bio-based butadiene for rubber manufacture.

Global Bioenergies said it will receive from Synthos R&D funding, multi-million euro development fees and royalty payments on sales of bio-butadiene for the manufacturing of rubber. Synthos also plunked EUR1.4m ($1.98m) for a 3.6% stake in Global Bioenergies.

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July 18, 2011

Chemical firms invest in Li-ion

The blog's colleague Nigel Davis wrote a recent insight about chemical companies racing to enter the lithium ion batteries market.

Nigel pointed out BASF's recent announcement of a three-digit million euros investment in to R&D and production of battery materials over the next five years. BASF's first electrolyte formulations for Li-ion batteries will be on sale by the end of this year. The electrolytes are complex mixtures, based on organic carbamates, that are needed to transport charge inside the battery and help improve performance.

BASF is constructing a plant to produce a range of battery materials in Elyria, Ohio, in the US. Part of its multi-million Li-ion investment will be the $50m earmarked for Li-ion battery cathode production, which is due to start in 2012. In May, BASF formally entered the electrolytes for lithium ion batteries market with the formation of its global electrolytes team in its intermediates division.

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Weekly News Roundup

My biobased rubber chemicals article for ICIS Chemical Business will soon be published on August 1 and it turned out better than I expected if I do say so myself.

As part of that article, I will soon post in the blog my Q&A with France-based renewable chemicals developer Global Bionergies, which is currently developing bio-isobutene. For now here are this week's news roundup:

Codexis scales up cellulase enzymes
Codexis has scaled up its cellulase enzymes production to 20,000 liter at Fermic S.A. de C.V., a contract fermentation and synthesis company in Mexico City, Mexico. This represents the first manufacture of an enzyme product using the Codexis CodeXporter(TM) enzyme expression system. The enzymes are used to convert non-food biomass to fermentable sugars, and ultimately to sustainable products including biofuels and bio-based performance ingredients in household goods such as laundry detergents and shampoos.

Clariant and Elevance enter deal
Elevance Renewable Sciences and the additives business unit of specialty chemical company Clariant are collaborating in the development and commercialization of renewable-based plastic additives. No other information was disclosed but the blog assumes some of the products involved has something to do with waxes (see quoted official from Clariant).

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July 15, 2011

Advanced Biofuels group launches video Ad

Here's a pretty nice online video from the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) launched today. The group said this is the first of a series of online advertisements promoting the uses of advanced biofuels across the US.

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Calling consultants out there!

The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership contacted me if I know any consultants out there that are interested in their project below. The truth is I don't really know who to recommend so I'm going to give everybody their chance to contact the group -- just don't contact me on this unless you want to say thanks =).

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Autos increase use of bio-chems

Toyota and Ford are neck-to-neck (or maybe it should be hood-to-hood) in adopting renewable-based materials and chemicals for their automobiles.

Ford announced that it has teamed up with Recycled Polymeric Materials (RPM) for the use of gaskets and seals made from 25% post-consumer particulate from recycled tires and 17% soybean-based materials on Ford's 2011 model vehicles such as F-150, Escape, Mustang, Focus and Fiesta.

More than 2.2m pounds of rubber from recycled tires has been made into the RPM seals and gaskets while 150,000 pounds of soy has been used to create the materials, according to Ford.

Add caption

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July 12, 2011

NatureWorks markets new lactides

US polylactic acid (PLA) plastic producer NatureWorks will soon offer high-purity, polymer grade Ingeo meso-lactide under the brand Ingeo M700 lactide in commercial quantities (about thousands of tons) to be available in 2013.

Samples will be available in 2012, said NatureWorks. The lactide can be used as an intermediate for copolymers, amorphous oligomers and polymers, grafted substrates, resin additives/modifies, adhesives, coatings, elastomers, surfactants, thermosets, and solvents (whew! I didn't know you can do a lot of stuff with lactides...)

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Biofuel News Roundup

More two weeks worth of news...just trying to clear up my draft list =)
  • PetroAlgae Partners with CRI Catalyst to Optimize Conversion of Biomass to Renewable Fuel
  • DSM strengthens yeast technology leadership for 2G biofuels
  • Petrobras acquires 50% of biodiesel plant in Rio Grande do Sul
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More green chemical news

I am taking a short break from writing an article for ICIS Chemical Business about bio-based chemicals for rubber manufacture, which is giving me a massive headache given the unfamiliarity of this industry.

Here's a question for bio-butanediol (BDO) developers: How come nobody is mentioning the potential market for butadiene given the projected supply tightness of this C4 key raw material for synthetic rubber manufacture? I read that butadiene was once manufactured from BDO during World War II.

The blog will explore more about green rubber chemicals covering bio-isoprene (players include Genencor/Goodyear, GlycosBio, Global Bioenergies), bio-isobutene (Gevo/Lanxess) and renewable-based processing aids for rubber manufacture (Elevance/Hutchinson).

For now, let's talk about OPXBIO's recent $36.5m funding, Blue Marble Biomaterials' new biorefinery and LS9's several press releases within the past few days.

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July 10, 2011

Weekly News Roundup

 A compilation of a two-week news roundup...

Elevance in renewable rubber compounds
Elevance Renewable Sciences and Hutchinson Worldwide will collaborate in the use of Elevance's renewable-based products for use as processing aids in Hutchinson's rubber compounds. The collaboration will combine rubber formulation expertise and manufacturing capabilities of Hutchinson with Elevance's metathesis technology and products.

AE Biofuels enters renewable chems
AE Biofuels has completed acquisition of Zymetis, a Maryland-based industrial biotechnology company that develops products for the renewable chemicals and advanced fuels industries. Zymetis holds four granted patents and more than ten pending patents on the Z-microbe™, a marine organism that was originally discovered consuming plant cellulose at a high rate in the Chesapeake Bay.

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July 7, 2011

Expanding bioplastic collaboration

The chemical/plastic industry seems to be opening more and more to bioplastics collaboration as seen with the recent news from Gevo and Toray on bio-PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and today with Avantium and Solvay's announcement to jointly develop green engineering plastics.

Gevo announced on June 27 that it has successfully produced 100% renewable-based PET using its isobutanol to make paraxylene (PX) in collaboration with Toray Industries. For more about the chemical chain to produce bio-PET, see the blog's post on June 15.

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2011 Green Chemistry awardees

The green blogger is back from vacation and hopefully did not miss a lot of important news from the past two weeks (such as Gevo's announcement of its isobutanol-paraxylene collaboration with Toray).

Before anything else, the blog congratulates this year's EPA Presidential Green Chemistry awardees  - BioAmber, Genomatica, Kraton Performance Polymers and Sherwin Williams as well as Professor Bruce Lipshutz of University of California, Santa Barbara.

The US EPA (Environment Protection Agency) has been giving out the awards for the past 16 years recognizing innovative chemical technologies developed that are making significant contribution to pollution prevention in the US. The EPA says the Green Chemistry Challenge program promotes research and development of less-hazardous alternatives to existing technologies that reduce or eliminate waste, particularly hazardous waste, in industrial production.

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