March 26, 2013

Anellotech readies bio-BTX start

I just heard back from Myriant about their recent partnership announcement with Bayegan and I am going to update my last post about it soon. In the meantime, let me put out this news from Anellotech, which for some mysterious reason, have escaped my news radar for the past week or so.

It has been two years since I interviewed David Sudolsky, President and CEO of Anellotech. The company is developing a thermochemical catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) process for making aromatics using non-food biomass.

According to the company, it is planning to produce large quantities of biobased benzene and toluene (about 100 kilograms) to strategic partners for downstream product development purposes before the end of 2013. I would love to know who are those strategic partners :).

Similar sized xylene samples can also be made available, according to Anellotech.

The company plans to start its pilot-scale operation within its new 11,000 square feet Pearl River, New York, headquarter during the second half of 2013. Anellotech has also established a new laboratory in Pearl River with a dedicated team of over 20 engineers, scientists and business people.

Anellotech's facilities in Pearl River, NY 

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March 25, 2013

Myriant to expand bio-succinic sales

So I tweeted out yesterday at the AFPM meeting that Myriant is around in San Antonio and this news today is probably why.

The company announced at the AFPM that it has partnered with Turkish chemical trading company Bayegan Group to commercialize their bio-succinic acid in markets across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa (or what they call "Territory" for the combined regions).

Myriant's first commercial bio-succinic acid plant to start this year.

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March 21, 2013

Algae 2013 Survey

The Algae Biomass Organization recently released its 2013 industry survey conducted in January where more than 470 people within the algae industry submitted their opinions and projections on the industry's growth, barriers to advancement and policy priorities through 2020.

According to the survey, respondents this year more optimistic that algae fuels will be price competitive within the decade; that production and hiring will increase in both the short and long term; and that improved federal policy could significantly benefit the industry's development of algae-based fuels, feeds, fertilizers and other products.

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Big biofuel news: KLM, Kior, Sapphire

While I'm battling some sort of a bug, which hopefully will go away before my trip to the AFPM meeting this coming weekend, here are some big news from the biofuel industry coming from KLM, Kior and Sapphire Energy.

Let's start with KLM, which announced on March 8 that it is now operating a weekly flight (Flight KL642) from New York to Amsterdam operated by a Boeing 777-200 powered by biofuels supplied by Dynamic Fuel.

Since September 2011, KLM has already been operating a series of biofuel-powered flights on the Amsterdam-Paris route. The company said their goal is to operate 1% of all their flights with biofuel in 2015. The New York-Amsterdam flight will use yellow grease (recycled cooking oil) as feedstock for the biofuel component. KLM said each of the flights will reduce 24 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

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March 19, 2013

From Pike Research: Green Garbage

Pike Research's Mackinnon Lawrence estimates the theoretical potential for biofuels production from global waste to be around 35bn gal/year today.  This would more than double current production of biofuels worldwide while extracting untapped value from nearly 1.5 billion tons of waste.

Garbage (or, as the industry refers to it, municipal solid waste, or MSW), is a rising star in the fast-emerging advanced biofuels landscape.  Projects in development today aim to produce the spectrum of alternative fuels, but among them renewable jet fuel remains the biggest prize.  

Despite this potential, just 12 named projects are in the pipeline today, worth an estimated 200 million gallons of new production capacity. 

March 18, 2013

Bio-1,3 PDO market update

Photo source: DuPont
The blog saw this news about Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport (STL) claiming to be the first in the US to use a biobased de-icing fluid using Kilfrost DFSustain Type 1 bio-propanediol (PDO). The deicing operations were carried out by Airport Terminal Services, which serves several major airlines at Lambert and other airports across North America.

According to ATS, it currently de-ices 30% of STL commercial aircraft traffic. DFSustain is currently in use by major international carriers such as All Nippon Airways, Air New Zealand, and LATAM airlines. ATS claimed it has the ability to blend the deicing fluid specific to the local weather conditions through a Type 1 glycol blending system installed at Lambert.

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Video: Bio-on and its PHA story

I rarely see news about Italian polyhydroxyalkanoic (PHA) producer Bio-on so this video in English subbing is a great source of information (it's a 20+ minute video but very entertaining). The last news the blog reported about Bio-on was when its partner Italian lighting company FLOS launched last year a designer lamp made with PHA as an alternative to polycarbonate. 

March 17, 2013

Weekly News Roundup

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! In honor of the color green, the blog is posting its weekly news roundup in an unprecedented early schedule :). There really had been so many announcements that came out last week that I am unable to post them individually. Hopefully, I'll give justice to some of them here.

By the way, I will be attending the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturer's (AFPM) annual International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio, Texas! I am very excited to tweet from there starting Sunday, March 24, and maybe get something good to share to the blog readers.

I still have to work on my press registration but hopefully that will come through. For now, here are this week's news roundup:

Codexis launches new enzymes
Codexis has introduced its next generation CodeXyme 4 and CodeXyme 4X cellulase enzyme packages for use in producing cellulosic sugar for production of biofuels and biobased chemicals. The cellulase enzymes have been found to convert 75-85% of glucan and xylan into C6 and C5 sugars at 10-15g enzyme/kg of glucan. Codexis is scheduled to scale up its CodeXyme 4X cellulase strain at commercial scale in the second quarter of this year. The cellulase enzyme will also be used in pilot production of bio-based CodeXol detergent alcohols in collaboration with Chemtex in Rivalta, Italy by mid-year.

Amyris, Firmenich expands deal
Amyris and flavors & fragrances (F&F) company Firmenich have expanded their collaboration to develop additional target F&F ingredients that Amyris will develop and manufacture in exchange for significant funding over the next 6 years. Firmenich will market and distribute any ingredients resulting from the collaboration exclusively in the F&F market. A previous collaboration deal was established in November 2010 where Firmenich funded Amyris's R&D to produce up to 3 F&F ingredients with an initial fragrance oil targeted for commercialization in early 2014.

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March 15, 2013

Biobased coatings/adhesives news

I don't usually get many news covering biobased chemicals for coatings and adhesives and the last big one was about the partnership between Henkel and Danimer on developing bio-based hotmelt adhesives for consumer packaging.

And maybe I can also add the blog's recent post about biobased methyl methacrylate since it is also an intermediate in the manufacture of coatings and adhesives.

However, these recent news from several companies are also aimed at developing bio-based intermediates for coatings and/or adhesives applications.

Lactic acid producer Purac has joined specialty chemicals company Perstorp in a research and development deal for caprolactine lactide co-product targeting the coatings and adhesives market. Possible uses for the renewable caprolactone lactide co-products include as polyols and as hotmelt adhesives.

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March 14, 2013

Bio-MMA development expands

I have reported about the development of biobased methyl metacrylate one only one time in November 2011 when Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC) and its subsidiary Lucite International announced that they have developed bio-based methyl methacrylate (MMA), a chemical used in coatings, transparent plastics and adhesives.

This week, a start-up Minneapolis-based company called Ascenix BioTechnologies reportedly has licensed a technology from the University of Minnesota that can produce sugar-based isobutyric acid that can be then be used to further convert into MMA.

Source: IHS

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Zeachem starts cellulosic ethanol output

There are soooo many news that came out this week, I just can't do a longer analysis on each of them. But I'll try to post as much of these news items as I can.

First stop is Colorado, US-based Zeachem. The company's announcement this week is really just a confirmation that their Boardman, Oregon, biorefinery demonstration plant, which was completed late last year, is able to produce commercial-grade cellulosic chemicals and ethanol. The facility, which has a capacity of 250,000 gal/year, uses dedicated wood biomass such as poplar trees for feedstock supplied by its partner GreenWood Resources. The company said their biorefinery can also use other non-food biomass such as switch grass.

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March 12, 2013

Newlight, Biomer on PHA deal

PHA plastic developer Newlight Technologies has partnered with Germany-based biopolymer developer Biomer to expand sales of greenhouse gas-based PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) plastics with Newlight's acquisition of Biomer's intellectual property including functional modification of PHAs.

Newlight said it will combine its high yield greenhouse gas-to-PHA conversion and functionalization technologies with Biomer's expertise in the functional modification of PHA plastics to generate high-performance, cost-effective, sustainable PHA materials.

Newlight Technologies headquarter

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Biofuel News Roundup

A lot of activities going on within the biofuel sector -- M&As, the EPA's proposed RIN changes, increasing biofuels use in aviation  -- and coming from the ag industry, continued developments for new industrial crops suitable for biofuel use. The latter, I will try to post more especially information coming from my recent attendance at the Plant Bio-Industrial Oils conference last week.

Meanwhile, also check out some of the tweets today coming from the ongoing World Biofuels Market conference in the Netherlands.

Bunge Brazil starts biodiesel plant
Bunge Brazil has inaugurated its $60m biodiesel plant with a capacity of 150m liters/year, located in Nova Mutum, Mato Grasso. The facility, built next to an existing soybean crushing facility, will supply biodiesel in the Midwest, Southeast and Northern parts Brazil.

Extreme Biodiesel in oil recycling
Extreme Biodiesel has initiated discussions to acquire a Southern California based oil recycling company, which has developed a business model built on the successful conversion of used cooking oil that can be used as feedstock for biodiesel manufacture. Extreme Biodiesel also recently announced that its proprietary biodegradable glycerin based form and asphalt release product has successfully concluded its initial real world testing, with positive results.

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March 11, 2013

Weekly News Roundup

I hope some of the blog readers were able to follow our live tweets from the Plant Bio-Industrial Oils conference last week, which was held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I was able to get back to the old days covering agbiotech and fats/oils markets, and I found so many interesting developments going on in this area especially new oilseeds being cultivated for industrial applications.

I will put an overview of the conference including interesting information that I was able to get from there as soon as the conference organizer, Ag-West Bio, puts up some of the presentations for free on their site. Stay tune for that!

In the meantime, let me post this week-long delayed news roundup:

Braskem invests in biotech
Braskem has acquired a High Throughput Screening (HTS) system from US-based robotics company Hamilton to support Braskem's research in metabolic engineering. The robot will be used in projects involving the genetic manipulation of microorganisms known as synthetic biology for the development of new renewable polymers. The HTS system will allow researchers' work to be multiplied by 100 to 1,000 times in the same period of time.

Purac buys biotech research firm
Purac, a subsidiary of CSM, will acquire the Netherlands-based BIRD Engineering B.V., a biotech contract research company, specifically in the field of industrial microbiology. BIRD has experience with various micro-organisms, mostly bacteria and yeasts, and has expertise in the field of the development of new strains, and development of fermentation processes. The acquisition will include the intellectual property and 7 key employees of BIRD Engineering.

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March 6, 2013

LS9's Dineen jumps to Siluria

I'm noticing a small trend of ex-CEOs of renewable chemical firms jumping to head start-up companies that are using natural gas for feedstock.

One recent one that I just came across is Ed Dineen, former CEO of LS9, who will now will head Siluria, a company that develops technology and processes for converting natural gas to chemicals and fuel, according to this article from San Francisco Business Times.

The blog first reported about Siluria in October 2010 when I interviewed ex-CEO (and now reportedly delegated as president) Alex Tkachenko. Siluria was a Silicon Valley-based start up company that begun in 2008 as a spin-off from Cambrios Technologies co-founded by MIT bioengineer Angela Belcher.

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March 5, 2013

What are the real costs of biofuels?

Hi folks. Sorry for the sparse blog posts as I've been traveling these past few days, one for possible employment position, and today, I am currently at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for tomorrow's Plant Bio-Industrial Oils Workshop.

I will be doing a live blog for this event so this should be exciting as it's been a while since we had this type of post. If you're on twitter, you can follow the hashtag #PBIO2013.

Meanwhile, let's talk about this interesting chart below about the Department of Defense's (DoD) biofuel purchases in the past few years.

This chart was taken from a paper written by Captain Todd A. "Ike" Kiefer from the Department of Strategy at the US Air Force Air War College. This paper was also published this month in the US Air Force journal - Strategic Studies Quarterly.

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