February 28, 2012

Purac starts Thai lactide plant

The Netherlands-based Purac sent to the blog this press release today stating the successful start-up of its new 75,000 tonnes/year lactide plant in Thailand, which started construction in March 2010.

According to the company several batches of PURALACT lactides have already been produced and actual deliveries to customers are scheduled to start early 2012. For those who are new in the bioplastic business, lactides are precursor for polylactic acid (PLA) resins but it can also be used as a building block for intermediate chemicals.

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February 27, 2012

Big green chemical news

So many news came out today and I haven't had a sip of my already-lukewarm coffee yet!

First stop, Elevance and France-based specialty chemical company Arkema announced that the companies partnered to develop and produce renewable-based specialty plastics. Elevance will supply the raw material such as its 9-decenoic methyl ester from their biorefineries (one being built in Indonesia via its Wilmar partnership, and another being planned in Natchez, Mississippi).

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February 26, 2012

Roquette starts bioplastic plant

Here's a short post as I give myself a break from studying for Wednesday's exam. France-based Roquette announced last week that it started its 25,000 tonnes/year starch-based thermoplastics production facility at its Lestrem site.

The resins, which is being marketed under the trade name Gaialene, are produced by grafting polyolefins onto modified starches.

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February 23, 2012

LS9 prepares fatty alcohol sales

It was a fantastic 2-day marathon attending the Jefferies Global Clean Technology conference. I was able to file 5 news articles on ICIS (subscription-based):
Unfortunately, I am not able to post these stories for free but the good news is that I have more stories to post where these came from (hopefully after my school exam next week Wednesday).

In the meantime, let's talk about LS9, and I've "whined" before that I really did not have any clue on what specific products they are aiming to commercialize even after their scale-up announcement last November.

The company is now ready to talk "future product sales" and even has a fancy new website to show for it (also got a brochure from the conference about their company). According to LS9 CEO Ed Dineen at the Jefferies conference, the company is hoping to hit their commercialization target (they are about 85% right now) by the end of this year.

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February 22, 2012

Boosting economy with biobased products

US producers of bio-based products will be happy to know that President Obama signed a presidential memo yesterday that requires the federal government via the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) BioPreferred Program to track and increase its purchases of products made from plants and other renewable agricultural materials.

The memorandum directs federal agencies to take decisive steps (such as small business assistance, increase biobased product categories, education and outreach) to dramatically increase the purchase of biobased products over the next two years. This Memorandum is expected to result in a 50% increase in the number of new products that are designated as biobased within a year.

Here is a short video from USA Today on the news about President Obama's biobased products memo.

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February 21, 2012

Weekly News Roundup

I had a great time attending Jim Lunt's bioplastic seminar yesterday in Orlando, Florida, and hopefully can share some of the presenters' insights in the next several days. In the meantime, two articles (out of three that I filed) came out on ICIS News last night and for those who are subscribers, you can access them on this links:
You can also check out the blog's twitter updates that came from the seminar yesterday under the #ITR12.

Tomorrow and Thursday, the green blogger is going to attend the Jefferies CleanTech Conference and hopefully will have wifi available for tweeting. Follow my tweets at @ICISGreenblog.

For today, let's explore recent news in the renewable chemicals, cleantech and biofuels world.

Anheuser-Busch, Blue Marble Bio in partnership
Beer company Anheuser-Busch and Blue Marble Biomaterials plan to collaborate on a pilot biorefinery at a North American Anheuser-Busch facility, which will convert spent grains and biogas from the brewing process into chemicals that can be used in applications, such as food, cosmetics, and personal care products. Blue Marble Bio has already been testing small batches of Anheuser-Busch grain in its pilot facility since last year.

Battelle, Biobent Polymers in soy plastics
The United Soybean Board (USB) has awarded funding to Battelle and Biobent Polymers, a Marysville, Ohio-based bioplastics company, to commercialization Biobent's new bio-composite polymers made from soy. The bioplastics can be used as a replacement for virtually all polypropylene and polyethylene.

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February 17, 2012

Amyris cuts production target

I actually saw tweets last week about Amyris' announcement to scale back its 2012 farnesene "Biofene" production but I wasn't sure if I should wait further for the company's fourth quarter earnings results, which will be out on February 27, before posting this.

However, given that I will cover NatureWorks' bioplastic conference "Innovation Takes Roots" in Orlando on February 20, and the Jefferies Global CleanTech Conference on February 22 and 23, PLUS, Gevo and Solazyme will also post their quarter earnings results in the next few days, there will be lots more news piling up my draft box (Codexis' earnings result that came out on February 7 is already waiting in there...)

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February 16, 2012

NatureWorks, BioAmber form JV

Sorry about the delay in the posting of the story. The blogger had to move to another cubicle...again...I think we have been moving from floor to floor (or cubicle to cubicle) every year at work.

Anyway, here is the story I submitted to ICIS News about NatureWorks and BioAmber announcing today the formation of their joint venture, AmberWorks. I will write a separate, more detailed article for ICIS Chemical Business, which will be published on February 27.

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Unsustainable word?

I just filed my story about the AmberWorks JV on ICIS News, and will soon post it on the blog as well.

In the meantime, let me share this hilarious graph send to me by the blog's good friend from the American Oil Chemists Society (I am not sure if it is wise to mention the name). This graph was to remind me of our future plans to have a drinking contest on how much "sustainability" word we can stomach during a particular conference.

I'll probably die of intoxication before the first break time starts.

February 15, 2012

Ajinomoto, Toray on Biobased Nylon

Just had my first school exam for the semester tonight so hopefully my lack of blog posting this week was justified. I saw this news on Wednesday morning about Ajinomoto partnering with Toray on the development of nylon raw material 1,5 pentanediamine (1,5 PD) using plant-based amino acid lysine via Ajinomoto's fermentation technology.

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February 10, 2012

ACC to launch Biobased Chemistry Network

Here is a very short notice from the American Chemistry Council on their plans to launch a Biobased Chemistry Network. There was no press release on this and the blog just stumbled on this information at ACC's Smart Brief site.

All the blog can comment is, it's about time the trade group recognizes this growing sector. Make sure to attend the webinar!

Biobased chemistry is a developing and expanding area of the business of chemistry. ACC is launching a new network to provide a forum for companies and ACC to share information on existing programs and policies affecting biobased chemistry, as well as emerging developments. To launch this new network, ACC is hosting a webinar on Feb. 21 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to introduce the network and solicit member company feedback on future activities. For more information, e-mail Emily Kolarik: emily_kolarik@americanchemistry.com

Bankrupt CHOREN sells tech to Linde

Germany-based gas producer Linde via its engineering business Linde Engineering Dresden has acquired the Carbo-V technology of the insolvent biofuel producer CHOREN (insolvent means bankrupt by the way).

The Carbo-V technology is a multi-stage biomass gasification process, which was CHOREN's main asset. Linde said it will offer the technology as licensor and also as an engineering and contracting company for commercial projects.

CHOREN filed for insolvency in July 2011 because of financial difficulties in starting up its synthesis gas demonstration plant in Freiberg, Saxonia. CHOREN processes biomass such as wood and wood wastes into synthesis gas, and in turn into ethanol.

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Scottish biobutanol producer launched

The blog previously posted in August 2010 about these researchers from the Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland who have have developed biobutanol using whisky byproducts for feedstock.

It turns out that a few a weeks ago, these researchers launched a new company called Celtic Renewables to commercialize their biobutanol process for biofuel application after receiving government funding at each stage of their product development.

Celtic Renewables' initial research project received £267,000 from Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept Programme, as well as a £70,000 Scottish Enterprise SMART: Scotland grant to assist the technology scale-up and commercial feasibility.

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Biofuel News Roundup

So many biofuel news that came out last week...

Novozymes' seaweed-to-biofuel R&D
Novozymes is collaborating with India-based Sea6 Energy to develop a process for the production of biofuels from seaweed. The research alliance will use enzymes to convert seaweed-based carbohydrates to sugar, which can then be fermented to produce ethanol, fine chemicals, proteins and fertilizers. Novozymes will research, develop, and manufacture enzymes for the conversion process, while Sea6 Energy contributes its offshore seaweed cultivation technology.

Enerkem, GreenField Ethanol JV
Enerkem and GreenField Ethanol has formed a joint venture partnership to build and operate a 38m liters/year waste-to-biofuels plant in Varennes, Quebec. The plant will use non-recyclable waste from institutional, commercial and industrial sectors, and from construction and demolition debris. The Government of Quebec is investing $27m in the partnership.

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February 9, 2012

Weekly News Roundup

I'm starting to prepare my bioplastic presentation for BIOPLASTEK 2012 on March 30 as well as studying for my first school exam this semester so bear with my empty blog this past few days. On February 20, I'm also attending Jim Lunt's pre-conference seminar on NatureWorks' Innovation Takes Roots annual event in Orlando, so hopefully, I'll be getting a lot of bioplastic information to share (and tweet).

Here are this week's news roundup. I'll have a separate post for biofuels news, speaking of which, Enerkem and Ceres just filed their IPOs. We'll see if their S-1 form will have anything on industrial chemicals as well.

Roquette, Rhodia in bio-cellulose acetate
Roquette and Rhodia Acetow have partnered to develop new starch derivatives-based polymer cellulose acetate and cellulose acetate fiber. Trials of starch acetate production is expected to be carried out from early 2012 providing several tons available for testing in diverse industrial applications that include paper, paint, dye and pharmaceuticals.

DaniMer partners with EnerPol
Bioplastic producer DaniMer Scientific has partnered with EnerPol, an upstream oil and gas technology firm, to promote DaniMer's degradable polymers that can be used in the oil and gas extraction process. DaniMer recently expanded its polymer application into the oilfield services sector through the development of a series of new biodegradable polymers.

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February 2, 2012

Chemicals from cashew nut shell

Who knew you can use liquid extracted from cashew nut shell and use it for chemical feedstock?

The blog received this news from BioBased Technologies (a US biobased polyol producer) about their partnership with Palmer International, a US company working with Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) for over 50 years. The firms is developing a new bio-based polyols from CNSL in rigid foam systems.

The blog was immediately intrigued about CNSL given the unfamiliarity of this material. After a bit of googling, the blog came across this document submitted to the US EPA (dated June 2002) from New Jersey, US-based Cardolite Corporation about CNSL. Cardolite is another company working on CNSL for decades.

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UPM builds tall oil-based biorefinery

Tall oil is another industry that the blogger started covering 11 years ago but unfortunately, has not been up-to-date with this market since 2009. If you want to know more about tall oil, I suggest contacting TAPPI, a big association for global pulp, paper, packaging and converting industries or the Pine Chemicals Association, which also has members from all over the world.

Most of the companies involved in the tall oil market are in the pulp and paper industry given that crude tall oil is obtained from treating skimming of black liquor (a byproduct of sulfate pulping) with sulfuric acid. I got this information from the American Chemistry Council:
Tall oil is essentially a mixture of oleic and other unsaturated fatty acids and rosin acids. More than 90% of the tall oil produced is distilled or fractionated for upgrading to fatty acid, rosin, and tall-oil pitch. The latter contains rosin anhydrides, estolides, miscellaneous hydrocarbons, and distilled tall-oil heads. The remaining crude tall oil is refined with acid or sold as crude tall oil. In its modified forms as salts, esters, and adducts, rosin is used in a variety of industrial applications. Major uses include printing inks, paper sizing, and adhesives as well as chemical intermediates, rubber, and coatings.

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February 1, 2012

Gevo, Butamax patent saga continues

There are not really a lot of bio-isobutanol producers out there -- the blog counts three right now and two of them are at each other's throats when it comes to patents.

Last month (I can't believe it's February already!), Gevo announced that it has received another patent (8,101,808) from the USPTO covering the company's separation technology used to produce propanols, butanols, pentanols, and hexanols. The claim also address how ethanol plants can be retrofitted to produce higher alcohols.

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