November 27, 2013

November News Roundup

My apologies for the lack of news. Attending three conferences in a month plus a newsletter deadline has taken its toll, and therefore the coughing and sniffling continues (despite trying to cure it with some after-thanksgiving shopping).

I am gathering all information I had from recent conferences and hopefully I can share some of them in the blog although most of it I have already written on the November BioMaterials newsletter (subscription required). In the meantime, here are press releases I have compiled in the month of November/late October excluding earnings reports.

Avantium, CompactGTL partnership
CompactGTL and Avantium announce their successful collaboration in Fischer-Tropsch and syngas-to-products chemistry. The work was done as part of CompactGTL’s programme of continuous improvement and was executed at the laboratories of Avantium in Amsterdam. CompactGTL is a UK based company, backed by Coller Capital, which has developed the world’s only industry approved and operating, small scale, modular GTL technology that handles the problem of associated and stranded gas.

Kemira, Wilmar in dimer wax JV
Kemira Oyj and Wilmar International Limited have, through their subsidiaries, signed a joint venture (JV) agreement for the manufacture of AKD wax in China in two joint ventures. The JV entities in China will be owned 50-50 and will integrate the current facilities of Kemira in Yanzhou and the relevant Wilmar facilities in Lianyungang. Closing of the transaction is currently expected to take place in the third quarter of 2014. Wilmar is a global leading producer of stearic acid, which is the key raw material for AKD production. The JV will be an expansion down the oleochemicals value chain for Wilmar.

Biogas from Sasol, GE wastewater tech
Sasol and General Electric’s GE Power & Water have developed new water technology that will clean waste water, while also providing biogas as a by-product for power generation. This new technology, known as Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor Technology (AnMBR), will be further developed at a new demonstration plant at Sasol’s R&D Campus at its Sasol One Site in Sasolburg. Sasol currently uses aerobic microbes to treat GTL and coal-to-liquids (CTL) effluents in ORYX GTL, Qatar and Synfuels, Secunda facilities.

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November 20, 2013

Brand companies in bioplastic feedstock alliance

Brand companies such as the Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Ford, Heinz, Nestle, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Unilever have joined the World Wildlife Fund to launch the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA). Many of these companies, by the way, are here at Ecochem conference talking about their experience in the bioplastic area. I have already heard presentations from Nestle, Nike and Coca-Cola. I have yet to hear from Procter & Gamble.

According to the press release announced yesterday, the primary focus of BFA is to guide the responsible selection and harvesting of feedstocks such as sugarcane, corn, bulrush (? I am not familiar with this one), and switchgrass that are used to make plastics. BFA intends to bring together leading experts across various industries and organizations to help guide the evaluation and sustainable development of bioplastic feedstocks.

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November 18, 2013

M&G Chemicals to invest in Chinese Bio-MEG

In Tecnon OrbiChem's October Bio-Materials report, I mentioned the near-term possibility of M&G licensing its biomass-based MEG technology using Beta Renewables' PROESA after the companies, including Novozymes, started operations of their joint venture cellulosic ethanol facility in Crescentino, Italy, last month.

I didn't realize it would be sooner as M&G announced today its decision to construct a $500 million second generation biorefinery in the region of Fuyang, Anhui Province of China, to convert one million metric tons of straw biomass into bio-ethanol and bio-glycols using the PROESA technology.




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November 15, 2013

Coca-Cola's PlantBottle in Ford Fusion

I am definitely excited to hear Coca-Cola's presentation next week at the Ecochem conference in Switzerland and maybe get an update on the sales of their PlantBottle™ as well as updates on JBF's bio-MEG project in Brazil. For those who are not familiar with PlantBottle™, it is a bio-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resin currently made with sugarcane-based monoethylene glycol (around 30% by weight) and the rest with petroleum-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA).

Today, Coca-Cola announced that its PlantBottle™technology is being applied for the first time beyond PET packaging, and is now being used as part of the interior fabric of a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid research vehicle. Scientists and engineers at the two companies co-developed the first-ever fiber that can be woven into durable, automotive-grade PET fabric using the PlantBottle™material. The bio-based PET fabric is used for seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door panel inserts and headliners.



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November 14, 2013

Elevance launches personal care product lines

If the blog remembers correctly, Elevance has already been selling personal care ingredients since 2008 such as soy petrolatum with its partner Dow Corning. This week, Elevance announced the commercial availability of its first personal care product lines: "Elevance Smooth" - a line of plant-based, multi-functional polymers, and "Elevance Soft" - a line of plant-based emollients, both for use in a wide range of personal care applications including skin, hair and cosmetic products.


Sales of Natural Personal Care Products by Region, 2013
Source: Kline & Company

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Avantium's 100% biobased T-shirts from recycled PEF bottles

The first time I covered Avantium's PEF (polyethylene furanoate) resin, which is being offered as an alternative to PET (polyethylene terephthalate), one of the industry concerns about this new bio-based material is if it can fit into the existing PET bottle infrastructure including its recyclability.

This recent news from Avantium is proving that PEF bottles could also have similar end-of-life solutions as that of PET bottles.

Avantium announced today that it has demonstrated the recyclability of PEF bottles into PEF fibers, which were then processed into 100% bio-based T-shirts (I would love to get a sample of that shirt *wink* *wink*). The PEF T-shirts were made by the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University using conventional polyester processing technology and equipment.



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November 13, 2013

FTC cracks down biodegradable plastic claims

The US Federal Trade Commission recently announced enforcement actions on several environmental marketing claims addressing biodegradable plastics. This is part of the FTC's program to ensure compliance with the agency's revised Green Guides. The Guides enable businesses to market their products accurately, providing guidance as to what constitutes misleading environmental claims.

The FTC files a complaint on the District Court of Columbia against Ohio-based ECM Biofilms Inc, which allegedly markets its additives, under the trade name MasterBatch Pellets, to make plastic products biodegradable claiming that the plastic products with the additives will break down in nine months to five years in nearly all landfills or "wherever else they may end up." ECM also issues its own Certificates of Biodegradability of Plastic Products, according to the FTC.

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November 11, 2013

Walmart launches 100% bio-based cleaners

I have to wade through a lot of earnings reports this week so before I get caught up with my preparation for Tecnon OrbiChem's November newsletter, and for my trip next week attending Ecochem in Switzerland, I hope to be able to post more than one article this week (keeping my fingers crossed!).

This one is an announcement by Walmart about the launch of a new line of all-natural cleaning products under the brand "Great Value Naturals" that are reportedly as effective as leading conventional cleaners. The cleaning products are made from plant-based, all natural Evolve(r) cleaning technology that are 100% chemical-free (is this possible? No such thing as chemical-free I always say...), toxin-free, biodegradable, and non-allergenic. The products' packaging also used recyclable materials.



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November 10, 2013

Ecochem twitter coverage

This has been a crazy worldwide twitter month for the blog! I hope you were able to check out the blog's twitter coverage recap of the World Bio Markets USA in San Francisco (Day 1 and Day 2). I will post in the first week of December, the twitter coverage recap of the BCN Retreat held last week as well as the incoming Ecochem coverage that will be held next week.

Here are some of the key companies that will present and exhibit at the Ecochem conference in Basel, Switzerland. Exciting! Let me know if you want to meet! I will be moderating on Day 3, Stream 3.



November 4, 2013

October News Roundup

It seems October is chock-full of news and November is all about conferences. On Wednesday, I will be presenting at the Biorefining Conversions Network (BCN) Retreat in Canada and will be tweeting under #BCNRetreat. On November 19-21, I will be covering the Ecochem conference from Switzerland under #Ecochem. It will be difficult to post a lot this month given my travel schedule but the blog will try. Hopefully, I will still have energy to eat turkey by Thanksgiving!

Oh, and for those who sent me inquiry emails since last week, I promise to get back to you next week after my Canada trip.

Valmet supplies LignoBoost plant to Stora Enso
Metso Corporation's pulp, paper and power business, which in the future will be known as Valmet, will supply a LignoBoost lignin separation plant to Stora Enso's Sunila mill near  Kotka in the southeast of Finland.  The plant, which will produce 50 ktpy of dried lignin, is to be integrated with the pulp mill to separate and collect lignin from the black liquor. Stora Enso's biorefinery project is scheduled to start for the first quarter of 2015. The Sunila mill can process 370 ktpy of softwood pulp.

NatureWorks sells PLA for durable goods
NatureWorks now offers three new Ingeo high performance biopolymer grades designed for injection molding and extrusion applications. The new grades allow faster cycle times and production rates, an improvement in heat deformation temperature, and a 3-4 fold increase in bulk crystallization rate. Applications for these new biopolymers can include consumer durable and semi-durable products like food service ware.

Saint-Gobain's bio-based lab tubings
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics has become the first manufacturer to introduce a bio-based phthalate-free product for use in laboratory applications. The company has introduced its next-generation Tygon S3 tubing made from bio-based plasticizer. The product's new formulations are biodegradable and is free from the common plasticizer DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate). The new Tygon S3 formulations include Tygon S3 E-3603 general laboratory tubing and Tygon S3 E-LFL Long Flexible Life Tubing.

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November 2, 2013

Next Bio event: BCN Retreat in Canada

On November 6, I will be presenting at the annual Biorefining Conversions Network (BCN) strategic retreat in Alberta, Canada. I will also do my live twitter coverage using #BCNRetreat. Check out the agenda below and see if any of the presentations, aside from mine of course ;), will pique your interests.

I will blog last week's #WBMUSA13 twitter coverage and this one after I get back from Canada (and get some decent sleep).