June 22, 2012
specializing in technology commercialization and business development.
Wrapping up a week at BIO. Collection of interesting things seen and heard.
The Biofuels and Biobased Chemicals track kicked off boldly with a panel
comparing the outlook for Industrial Bio with Pharma Bio. Pretty scary
when you consider it took 30 years before recombinant drug cos. reached
meaningful profitability. Superstars Amgen and Genentech aside,
biotechnology was still crawling out the abyss in 2006. What did we
learn? Companies need to be honest and investors need patience.
Leveling the playing field. I’m always shocked when I see numbers for
government subsidies to the oil industry. John Hamer of Burrill reminded
me oil subsidies run ~$2.6B/year. Tough to wean an industry off subsidies
it’s enjoyed since 1926.
Benefits of renewable diesel more than just RINs. A panel covering
sustainability and GHG certification discussed biodiesel use in mines.
Good to see air quality (reduction in particulate, carbon monoxide, etc.
from diesel generators) and worker health benefits acknowledged.
The right stuff and single molecule “drop-ins.” Fuel standard
complexities can be maddening. Andrew Held, Virent, gave a brief primer
on jet fractions. Yep, those light ends are there in case you need to
restart the engine midair.
Moore’s law of biotechnology. I’ve been looking for the right way to
explain industrial biotechnology to clients for some time. How is it
tools that could previously only be used for products costing $10,000/kg
can now be used to make specialty chemicals, polymers… and even fuel? See
Nature 458: 719-724 (2009). Special thanks to Heather Youngs at EBI.
Scott Vitters, with Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle program, described successes
and obstacles in the company’s renewable packaging efforts. Coke
currently sells 1.8 billion servings/day with 50%-60% of their “value”
delivered in PET packaging. The company says it’s committed to 100%
renewable material at some point.
Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, architect of the $700 billion
Troubled Asset Relief Program, that saved numerous banks and other
financial institutions in 2008, appeared in Tuesday's Key Note with holes
in the soles of his shoes. Austerity for all!
Final thoughts: Isn’t it a little strange that the renewable fuels
industry is the only industry that must meet LCA requirements? And it
doesn’t get paid for the GHG reductions? Did you know there’s something
called “the Ethical Oil movement?” I guess green moms are just going to
say “No!” to Nigerian distillate.
June 17, 2012
June 14, 2012
"The complex will further create opportunities for technology and science-driven companies in the green chemical sector; which is central to the development of the bio-based economy. More significantly, it is one of the many crucial initiatives driven by BiotechCorp as a commitment to advance the bio-chemical sector and to secure a targeted RM4 billion of investment in the industrial biotechnology sector by 2013 to drive the Commercialization Phase of the National Biotechnology Policy (NBP)." - Dato' Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal, CEO of BiotechCorpThe agencies expect to get a total of M$6.8bn investment from foreign companies. Operation of the complex is expected to start by early 2014. The site will also use renewable energy coming from cellulosic feedstock instead of natural gas.
|Signing ceremony between BiotechCorp, ECERDC and the Terengganu State Government|
June 13, 2012
"As the judge has not made a decision for or against the preliminary injunction to date, it's understandable that she wants to make sure Gevo sticks to its current business plan. For Gevo, that means we continue to optimize Luverne operating parameters, continue engineering work and preparation for construction of Redfield and most importantly we sell our renewable isobutanol to Sasol and the U.S. Air Force." -- Brett Lund, EVP, General Counsel for Gevo.In my interview* with Gevo last month, the company said it expects the Luverne facility to reach full capacity run rates by the end of 2013. The company will start retrofitting another ethanol plant in Redfield, South Dakota, with capacity to produce 40m gal/year of bio-isobutanol. Speaking of lawsuits unrelated to the Gevo-Butamax saga, the blog also received recent news on this front from Neste Oil.
The Finnish biofuel player filed a patent infringement suit against US-based Dynamic Fuels, Syntroleum and Tyson Foods. Dynamic Fuels, which produces animal fats-based diesel, is a joint venture between Syntroleum and Tyson Foods.
June 12, 2012
This is an insight piece today taken from the ICIS website...
INSIGHT: Sustainability or CSR - is it all just good PR?
12 June 2012 16:11 [Source: ICIS news]
By Nigel Davis
LONDON (ICIS)--Some chemical companies simply get on with it while others like to talk more openly about what they do – in a closely managed way, of course.
The two approaches are reflected in producers’ attitudes towards public relations and towards sustainability and sustainability reporting. Particularly in the west, some have embraced sustainability openly; even going to great lengths to produce good looking and, they think, persuasive financial and sustainability reports. Others simply do not bother.
These differences have to do with history, ownership and cultural differences, Eric Johnson of Atlantic Consulting suggests in his book ‘Sustainability in the Chemical industry’, published earlier this year by Springer. But it doesn’t mean that they operate in different ways.
Johnson has amassed the data and considered chemical producers’ attitudes towards sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and public relations. Not everyone will be welcome his conclusions: that sustainability reporting is just PR in another form. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. The chemical industry has never attracted the most welcome attention. And it can do with all the friends it can get.
June 8, 2012
terminated effective June 30, 2012.
The question here is Shell's commitment in cellulosic ethanol, and if Codexis will still have Shell for its research collaboration partner after this news.
June 7, 2012
Eyeweb is made with injection-molded bio-based sunglasses composed of castor oil-based polyamides. Arkema is the only company I know right now that is supplying castor-based polyamides for use in sunglass and eyewear frames.
"This new bio-based formulation is competitively priced with block co-polymers, with pricing not linked to crude oil derivatives. In addition, rheology of DaniMer 92721 enables the adhesive to operate in existing adhesive systems at temperatures under 325 deg F. Results from industry standard protocol testing show the product enables zero contamination in PET recycle streams."DaniMer said it will provide details and announce the commercial launch of their new label adhesive at the Nova-Pack 2012 Conference in Arlington, Virginia, which is being held today and tomorrow at West Arlington Gateway Hotel.