March 28, 2012

Live blogging at Bioplastek 2012




Big green chemical news

Again, my apologies for the sparse blog. Too many things going on with work and school. As you've probably seen by now, I am currently here in Arlington, Virginia, to blog live at the BIOPLASTEK Conference. The session will start soon but in the meantime, here are news that came up within the past 24 hours from OPX Biotechnologies, BioAmber and Myriant.

OPXBio said it was able to successfully demonstrate its fermentation process for producing bio-acrylic acid in a 3,000-liter scale. The company has been working with the Michigan Biotechnology Institute for the scale-up.

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March 22, 2012

Avantium, Danone partner in PEF bottles

Here's another news that will probably create a buzz at the BIOPLASTEK 2012 meeting next week in Washington D.C. and within the bioplastic community attending the humongous international plastic tradeshow NPE coming in April in Orlando, Florida.

Avantium announced today that it has partnered with Danone's research organization to jointly develop recyclable PEF (polyethylene furanoate) bottles for Danone's global bottled water business. The carbohydrate-based polymer PEF is being touted by the company as an alternative to PET (polyethylene terephthalate).


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March 20, 2012

Vinythai starts glycerin-to-ECH plant

Solvay's subsidiary Vinythai noted last month that it has successfully commissioned its 100,000 tonnes/year epichlorohydrin (ECH) plant in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, that uses refined glycerin for feedstock via Solvay's Epicerol technology.

ECH is an essential feedstock for the production of epoxy resins and is also increasingly being used in applications such as corrosion protection coating, in electronics, automotive or aersopace markets.


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Green Surfactants Update

USDA-ARS chemists working on new biosurfactant yeasts
I am starting to work on my biobased surfactants article for ICIS Chemical Business' April 23 Surfactants issue to be distributed at the ICIS 2nd World Surfactants Conference in New Jersey.

In the new technology session, presenters will include Solazyme, LS9, Elevance Renewable Sciences, Codexis, P2 Science and Amyris as well as viewpoints from cleaning products manufacturers P&G Chemicals and Seventh Generation.

I will tweet from that conference (hopefully there's wifi available) via @ICISChemicalBiz. In the meantime, here are two interesting developments on biobased surfactants that the blog has been keeping in its draft for months now.

One is this company called AGAE Technologies LLC, which has shipped its first laboratory research-grade biosurfactant called rhamnolipid that is used in environmental remediation, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, etc. AGAE started in May 2011 and has licensed this biosurfactant technology from the Oregon State University.

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March 16, 2012

Weekly News Roundup

I'm bummed out by the result of my exam grades today....On the other hand, I got my new (and first) Ipad!! Yipee!

Rivertop Renewables starts contract manufacturing
Rivertop Renewables has contracted DTI, a fine and specialty chemical contract manufacturer in Danville, Virginia, to pilot at initial 850 lbs/run the manufacture of Rivertop's glucarate-based products. Product made in this initial phase will be used to fulfill Rivertop’s commercial contracts for bio-based corrosion inhibitors. Remaining volumes will be used by the company and its customers to develop and test glucarate applications in other industrial and consumer markets. Subsequent runs will enable Rivertop and DTI to scale to a capacity up to 10m pounds/year of contract-manufactured products. This next scale of production is projected to come online in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Metabolix licenses bioplastic blend patent
Metabolix has granted a non-exclusive license to NatureWorks for patent 5,883,199 titled "PLA-based Blends," to make, use and sell blends of polylactic acid with certain other polymers including polybutylene succinates (PBS) polymers. The University of Massachusetts Lowell is the owner of the patent and Metabolix is the exclusive licensee in the relevant field.

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March 15, 2012

Allylix bags BASF investment

The flavors and fragrance (F&F) market seem to be benefiting from renewable chemicals developments from players such as Amyris, Allylix and Blue Marble Biomaterials...and chemical firms also supplying the F&F market are taking notice.

BASF announced on Monday that its venture capital business has invested $13.5m in Allylix, which BASF said allows them to leverage their aroma chemicals, nutrition and cosmetic chemicals competency. BASF is one of the biggest global producer of aroma chemicals by the way.

According to a study released last year by US accounting firm Marcum LLP and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, the market for aroma chemicals and essential oils are [either] both a rapidly expanding market segment [or] and a highly profitable product segment.
"The highest growth companies in the study, those that experienced over 6% growth year-over-year, generated 20% of their overall revenue from the sale of aroma chemical and essential oils while “low-growth” companies (those with 1-2% growth year-over-year) generated half as much of their revenue from this product segment."
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Increasing bioplastic capacity

Miss me? Sorry for the long hiatus on posting, too many things going on including exams and finishing my presentation for the BIOPLASTEK conference, not to mention magazine deadlines.

My bio-PX/PTA story just came out this week in ICIS Chemical Business' Green Chemicals issue, which seems to be mostly focusing on bioplastics. Here are some of the bioplastic stories on this week's issue including a nice map of some of the recent bioplastic developments across the globe:
Now onto the news.

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March 5, 2012

Biofuel News Roundup

Compilation of biofuel news that came up within the past few weeks ...

Zeachem bags Itochu investment
Japan-based Itochu Corporation has acquired shares in Zeachem and the companies have teamed up to acquire partners in Japan as well as in the US to expand Zeachem's technology worldwide. The two companies plan to create a new business through project investment and development in the bioethanol and renewable chemicals sectors.

...and gets $12m USDA contract
ZeaChem has successfully completed contract negotiations to receive $12m of the total $40 million grant from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Regional Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP). The USDA project will establish regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and bio-based products. Zeachem will implement the AFRI project at its existing 250,000 gal/year integrated demonstration biorefinery, located at the Port of Morrow, near Boardman, Ore.

Shell builds pilot plant using Virent tech
Royal Dutch Shell has built a next generation biofuels pilot plant at Shell’s Westhollow Technology Center in Houston, USA, to produce drop-in biofuels using a thermo-catalytic process technology licensed from its commercial partner Virent, which is similar to the process being used at the Virent pilot plant in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. The Westhollow plant will use a range of feedstocks, starting with sugars and with the completion of an expansion currently under way, non-food cellulosic alternatives to produce a range of products, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

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March 2, 2012

Weekly News Roundup

I have to start working on my Bioplastek presentation soon or the organizers will never forgive me! Apologies for the expected less posting this month. There are also several earnings that came out the past week or so and I'll try to post if there are any other relevant news from Solazyme, Codexis, Gevo, Amyris, EcoSynthetix, and Metabolic Explorer.

For now here are our week's news roundup:

DRT, MWV in pine chemicals partnership
MWV Specialty Chemicals, a division of pulp, paper and packaging company MeadWestvaco, has partnered with France-based pine chemicals producer DRT. Under the partnership, MWV will purchase and market pine chemicals products (such as rosin, turpentine additives, esters and fatty acids) from DRT in North America and Europe. DRT will focus on core markets and manufacturing expertise but it will also market MWV's adhesive resins in Europe.

BiotechCorp in sago palm for chem feedstock
Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and CRAUN Research Sdn Bhd are collaborating to transform sago palm into a strategic crop where sago starch and biomass can be used as feedstock for biobased chemicals application. CRAUN Research has several works already being undertaken ranging from bioremediation, biofuel generation, and hydrolyzing sago biomass into fermentable sugar. Sarawak is reportedly the world’s biggest exporter of sago starch, exporting about 45,000 tons/year mainly to Asia region.

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