June 26, 2013

Tetra Pak signs Bio-LDPE supply deal in Brazil

International packaging company Tetra Pak has signed a supply agreement with Braskem for its sugarcane-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which will be used in all Tetra Pak packages produced in Brazil. The biobased LDPE supply is scheduled to start during the first quarter of 2014 and will be used as a component of Tetra Pak's packages produced in Brazil.

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June 25, 2013

BASF expands bioplastic investments

While BASF is still cautious on the use and marketing of bioplastics, the company admitted that biopolymers do present a growth market opportunity and therefore BASF is planning to expand its business in this area.

BASF announced today that it is currently stepping up research in the biodegradable polymers area primarily biobased foam with properties similar to polystyrene foam for use as packaging for food and electric/electronic goods.

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Lanxess, Genomatica produce biobased PBT

This is the first time that the blog has heard about Germany-based specialty chemical firm Lanxess working on biobased engineering plastic polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) in partnership with US renewable chemicals company Genomatica.

The companies announced today that Lanxess has produced biobased PBT at its 80 ktpy co-owned petro-based PBT production facility in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany, using 20 tons of Genomatica's 1,4 butanediol (BDO) as one of the raw materials. The Hamm-Uentrop PBT facility is a 50-50 joint venture between Lanxess and DuPont.

PBT production facility in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany

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June 24, 2013

Solazyme, Roquette part ways

Solazyme is having a big setback today with the announcement of the termination of their microalgae joint venture with starch derivatives company Roquette. The companies said the decision to dissolve the joint venture, Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals LLC, came from separate opinions on their commercial strategy and timeline for the marketing and manufacturing of microalgae-based products.

Solazyme said on a conference call this morning that the decision was not related to any technical concerns and has in fact noted on their (very) early conference call this morning that their Phase II commissioning of their 50 ktpy plant in Lestrem, France, under the JV began on time. The Phase III project will supposedly start in 2015. The Phase I and II facilities are owned by Roquette and Solazyme said it will be up to Roquette what they will do with the facilities.

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June 20, 2013

Verdezyne seeks Asian market for bio-adipic acid

My apologies for posting this a bit late but it is an interesting development from Verdezyne as the California-based bio-adipic acid developer announced its collaboration with Malaysia's biotechnology investment agency, Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp), to assess Malaysia as the location for its first biochemical production facility in the Asia Pacific Region.

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June 19, 2013

LanzaTech, Siemens on bioethanol production

Technology firm Siemens and its subsidiary Siemens Metals Technologies announced a partnership with LanzaTech for a 10-year collaboration to develop and market integrated solutions for the steel industry utilizing LanzaTech's fermentation technology for converting waste gases from iron and steel mills into ethanol and other platform chemicals such as acetic acid, acetone, isopropanol, n-butanol or 2,3 butanediol.

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CSM changes name to Corbion, focuses on biochems

CSM, the parent company of lactic acid producer Purac, announced yesterday its new growth strategy for 2013-2016 starting with a new company name called Corbion. The new name and strategy marks the company's transformation from a bakery ingredients supplier to a leading biobased products provider focusing on biobased food ingredients and biochemicals.

In biochemicals, the company is betting on fermentation-derived, sustainably-sourced chemical building blocks and currently has portfolio on lactic acid and derivatives such as PLA, and bio-succinic acid with its 50/50 Succinity joint venture with BASF. Corbion is targeting 15-20% average organic growth sales for its biochemicals within the 2013-2016 period mostly in the bioplastics area.

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Calysta Energy, NatureWorks in methane feedstock partnership

As I've tweeted yesterday, there are so many press releases coming out this week because of  ongoing two big conferences -- BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and the ACS Green Chemistry & Engineering conference. Myriant already announced their on-spec bio-succinic acid production at its Louisiana plant while Gevo reported that it has restarted its bio-isobutanol production at its Minnesota plant.

I am now working on news from Verdezyne, LanzaTech, CSM (now called Corbion) and for this post, an announcement from NatureWorks/Calysta Energy.

This is a very interesting announcement from NatureWorks as the company said it has started collaboration with Calysta Energy on the use of methane as alternative feedstock for producing lactic acid instead of the traditional carbohydrate-based raw materials such as corn and sugarcane. Determining the feasibility of methane as a commercially viable feedstock for lactic acid may take up to five years, according to NatureWorks.

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June 18, 2013

Global Biochem, ADM on catalyst collaboration

GBT's polyol production base
Biobased glycols producer Global Bio-chem Technology (GBT) Group of Hongkong announced its partnership with US agribusiness firm Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) for joint development of a catalyst for improving the production of glycerin from carbohydrates.

The companies said successful result of the collaboration could bring significant cost-savings and efficiencies to the production of renewable propylene glycol and ethylene glycol which both companies currently manufacture and market.

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Novamont launches 4th Gen bioplastic

Novamont announced yesterday the launch of their first product under the 4th generation Mater-Bi® line of biodegradable and compostable bioplastics. Unlike the first three generations, the 4th one has monomer components that will use biomass.

Novamont said there will be two innovative technologies will enable the company to produce key monomers from renewable resources: A) vegetable oil transformed into azelaic acid and other diacids through a chemical process; B) sugar-based 1,4 butanediol (BDO) via Genomatica's technology.

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June 14, 2013

Codexis, Chemtex scale-up cellulosic fatty alcohol

News keep coming this week, and this last one is from Codexis on its fatty alcohol project with engineering firm Chemtex, a company of Italy's M&G Group.

Codexis announced its successful scale-up in the production of their CodeXol® detergent alcohols using cellulosic sugars produced using Chemtex's PROESA® cellulosic sugar technology and Codexis’ CodeXyme® 4X cellulase enzyme as wel as proprietary microorganism strain.

Source: CAHA

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UPM, Renmatix biochemicals partnership

Finnish pulp and paper company UPM has partnered with US cellulosic sugar developer Renmatix to further develop Renmatix's water-based Plantrose process to convert woody biomass into low-cost sugar intermediates for subsequent downstream processing into biochemicals. The companies said the partnership's long-term goal is to offer cost-competitive biobased alternatives to select petrochemicals on an industrial scale.

Renmatix's Plantrose continuous process uses water at very high temperatures and pressures to breakdown biomass through supercritical hydrolysis. Under this condition, water can act as both solvent and catalyst creating rapid reactions. The process does not use enzymes.

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June 12, 2013

Bio-BDO commercialization race is on

Sooo many news today! Here's a big one from Myriant about its bio-butanediol (BDO) announcement with engineering and chemical technology licensing company Johnson Matthey-Davy Technologies (JM Davy). I'll post a separate one about cellulosic sugar producer Renmatix and its partnership with Finnish pulp and paper company UPM.

Myriant said it has successfully produced commercial-grade biobased BDO and tetrahydrofuran (THF) at JM Davy's facility at Teesside, England, using bio-succinic acid supplied by Myriant and processed with the JM Davy BDO/THF production technology.

The biobased BDO produced reportedly has an overall carbon efficiency of 87%, which Myriant said is substantially better than the carbon efficiency achieved in the direct fermentation route to bio-BDO. The products including THF and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) are also said to be competitive from a cost and quality point of view compared to petroleum-based BDO/THF/GBL.

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BioAmber's bio-succinic acid in Europe

BioAmber just announced last week its partnership with Brenntag for the distribution of its biobased succinic acid and derivatives in the Americas, and now the company announced another distribution partnership, this time with IMCD Group, targeting markets in the Benelux, France, Iberia, Germany, Poland, South East Europe, Switzerland, the UK and Ireland.

The distribution deal will also target customers in the resins and coatings market.

BioAmber's Pomacle, France, demonstration facility
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METEX updates on bio-PDO, other projects

France-based METabolic EXplorer has been going through a lot of challenges lately especially with their recent restructuring (27 employees were laid off and the blog communicated with one of them) as well as the delay in the company's biobased 1,3 propanediol (PDO) construction in Malaysia.

Last March, the company noted a tough 2012 performance although there were several milestones that were reportedly achieved:
  • METEX said it has cleared a new technical milestones for its 100% biosourced methionine under a collaboration project with Roquette. When I asked about the status of this project with Roquette in May during their Green Chemistry Symposium, the company said it will soon announced something within a month.

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June 11, 2013

Weekly News Roundup

DESCA evaluates green chemistry incubator
The Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA) has formally begun the evaluation process for establishing a regional green chemistry incubator. DESCA is concurrently benchmarking and developing several business models, sources of financing, external resources for outsourced services, and evaluating and comparing real estate options. DESCA anticipates completion of the formal evaluation process for a green chemistry incubator by August 2013.

SES develops waste-based chemicals tech
Synthesis Energy Systems (SES), a global energy and gasification technology company, has developed a novel technology for integrating its gasification technology with renewable waste resources and natural gas technology to cleanly and cost-effectively produce high-value green chemicals on a large scale. The company believes this new approach has primary applicability near large metropolitan areas where it can enable economical production of chemicals such as methanol and methanol derivatives, at normal quantities of 500 ktpy. It potentially offers a long-term solution for the use of ever-increasing amounts of municipal waste generated worldwide.

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June 8, 2013

Global Bioenergies partners with Arkema

Global Bioenergies' bio-reactor
France-based Global Bioenergies is stepping up its biobased isobutene development from laboratory to industrial scale and it has partnered with ARD, a specialist in the up-scaling of fermentation processes; specialty chemical firm Arkema, and two CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) laboratories IRCELYON and UCCS.

Global Bioenergies is now scaling up its 42-liter laboratory pilot production of isobutene to a 500-liter fermenter, which represents a yearly production capacity of 10 tons. The industrial pilot facility will be installed in Bazancourt-Pomacle biorefinery near ARD's agro-industrial complex. The facility will also include a purification unit installed downstream of the fermenter which will allow the production of intermediate-purity isobutene batches. The isobutene will then be transferred to Arkema for its own research.

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June 7, 2013

BioAmber partners with Brenntag

The bio-succinic acid market is really starting their commercialization efforts in full force with several distributor partnership announcements.

This week, BioAmber said it has partnered with one of the world's largest chemical distributor, Brenntag, for the distribution of BioAmber's Bio-SA bio-based succinic acid and derivatives, including bio-based 1,4-butanediol (BDO) in the Americas. Succinic acid can serve as a building block chemical for use in a range of applications including polyurethanes, unsaturated polyesters, coating resins, flavors, lubricants, plasticizers, deicers and solvents.

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June 6, 2013

Market studies galore!

It is time to post several market studies announcements that have been stewing in the blog's draft box. These are mostly prospectus or executive summaries so of course you still have to pay for the full report.


A recent one is from Informa Economics as they look to develop a multi-client bio-butanol study. Within the biofuels application, butanol could solve two critical problems that currently occurs for ethanol, according to Informa:
  • Eliminating the need for refiners to purchase RINs from independent blenders – at prices that have recently been many times higher than in past years – since biobutanol can be blended at refineries and transported in existing pipelines (unlike ethanol, which is usually blended downstream at terminals).
  • Punching through the 10% ethanol (E10) blend wall and eliminating the need for refiners to purchase RINs (renewable identification numbers) from independent blenders at prices that have recently been many times higher than in past years.
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June 5, 2013

AkzoNobel, Solvay deepen bio-partnership

Belgium-based Solvay and Dutch specialty chemical firm AkzoNobel have been very cozy lately as the two companies formed two deals on renewable chemicals this year.

Today, the companies said they have signed a three-year agreement where Solvay will supply refined glycerine-based epichlorohydrin (ECH) between 2013 and 2016 to AkzoNobel. Under the deal, AkzoNobel will increasingly buy volumes of glycerine-based ECH indirectly via the epoxy resins it purchases from Solvay's customers. ECH is a chemical intermediate used to make epoxy resins, which are base ingredients to certain coatings.

By 2016, AkzoNobel aims to source 20% of its total ECH demand as bio-based material. Solvay's glycerine-to-ECH process technology is marketed under the trademark Epicerol®.

Vinythai's Map Ta Phut site in Rayong, Thailand

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June 4, 2013

Avantium, ALPLA on PEF bottles

It has been awhile since the blog had an update from Avantium. The company announced last week its joint development agreement with major plastic converter ALPLA Werke Lehner GmbH for the development of PEF (polyethylene furanoate) bottles.

Avantium is expecting to bring 100% biobased PEF bottles to the market through its partnerships with Coca-Cola, Danone and now ALPLA by 2016. ALPLA will contribute its know-how in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) conversion, bottle design and bottle manufacturing.

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June 3, 2013

Myriant, PTTGC form Auria Biochemical

This is Doris blogging under Tecnon OrbiChem (cool huh?). The blog will soon see views from under TOC analysts reporting on biobased chemicals so stay tune!

Meanwhile, here is a news that I stumbled upon while doing some research on Myriant's recent announcement on its commercial production of bio-succinic acid in Leuna, Germany.

Myriant and its major investor PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) of Thailand announced in May that they are forming a joint venture company called Auria BioChemical Co. Ltd. The goal of the joint venture is to conduct research and development of bio-based chemicals and to eventually invest in a commercial scale production plant in Southeast Asia.

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What is biobased economy?

Good Monday morning! (or afternoon if you're in Europe, evening if you're in Asia) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the newly updated blog will not crash on me. The blog now has the capabilities of posting various video platforms, web applications and most importantly advertising platforms.

I am now trying to catch up on recent news for posting but in the meantime, here is a video from EuropaBio defining what Bioeconomy is about (especially for Europe).

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