January 23, 2014

BioAmber, Vinmar on a 100ktpa bio-BDO

Here's an exciting news from bio-succinic acid producer BioAmber. The company announced yesterday afternoon that it is planning to build a 100,000 ton/year bio-BDO plant somewhere in North America to be commissioned in 2017. The company has signed a take-or-pay contract with Vinmar International to purchase 100% of the bio-BDO produced at the new plant for 15 years. BioAmber will be obligated to sell exclusively to Vinmar, a privately held marketing, distribution and project development company based in Houston, Texas.

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January 22, 2014

Study on compostables in recycling

For years, the waste management industry claims that bioplastics can cause a serious disturbance in the established recycling streams such as PE and PET.

The trade association European Bioplastics released a study in December stating that up to 10% compostable plastics (such as PLA, PBAT, starch blends) mixing with conventional plastics in post-consumer recycling streams show no or negligible impact on the mechanical performance of the recyclates.

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January 14, 2014

Scotland launches industrial biotech plans

I am catching up on some of my blog drafts since October 2013 while there seems to be a lull in renewable chemicals news this month.

This one was announced by Scotland's main economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, while I was at the Ecochem conference in Basel, Switzerland, in November last year. Scotland is laying out financing for its growing industrial biotechnology sector.  The project called "The National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology - Towards a Greener, Cleaner 2025" aims to increase existing industrial biotechnology turnover from £189 million last year to £900 million by 2025.

Owly Images

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January 7, 2014

Cellulosic biofuels projects still on track

The blog has not been able to post most of the biofuel announcements in the past three months, unfortunately, as most of the blog's focus is now on renewable chemicals instead. However, you can visit the blog's home page where I will post updated compiled newsfeed of biofuel announcements each month.

For now, it seems several cellulosic ethanol projects will remain on track for commercialization despite the uncertainty of this year's proposed biofuel volume requirements under the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). The US Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to decrease the advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volume standards for 2014 compared to the levels required in 2013 mostly attributed to lowered projected demand for the use of gasoline this year. The EPA has also received several requests from the petroleum/oil refining and associated industries to partially waive the statutory volume for 2014. The proposal is currently open for public comments until January 28, 2014.

Of course, there had been numerous comments coming from both the petroleum side and the biofuel side regarding the EPA 2014 RFS proposal. One of the major arguments from the biofuels industry is that it will slow down the development momentum for the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels. This year is also critical as there are several cellulosic biofuels start-up being planned this year as well as those who have already started-up last year and are now trying to ramp up production or improve their plants' performance metrics.

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January 4, 2014

Private investors coming back?

Covering the renewable chemicals sector for the past several years, I've noticed that many of the investment announcements seem to increased usually in December, when I guess, private investors are more mellow and in a gift-giving mood.

There is an optimism in the air that 2014 will be a better year in terms of securing funding both from public and private investors. The renewable chemicals sector is gaining traction (and investments) from traditional chemical companies such as DSM, BASF, DuPont, Braskem, Dow Chemical, M&G Chemicals, Lanxess, Solvay, Evonik, AkzoNobel, Mitsubishi Chemical, Toray, Mitsui, PTT, etc., recognizing the commercial potential of several bio-based chemicals and materials.

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USDA Video: Biobased Products Important to the Bioeconomy

The blog is introducing a video pick of the week

Last month, Deputy Program Manager for the USDA BioPreferred Program Kate Lewis led a virtual conversation via the Google Hangout with some of the industry standouts working with USDA to create new markets for biobased products such as Verdezyne, Biosynthetic Technologies, Seventh Generation, ISSA (The Worldwide Cleaning Association), and OBIC (The Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center).

The participants spoke about the importance of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to the biobased economy, and also held a Q&A session with listeners all over the world.

Here is a recap video of the hangout. Lewis also had a summary of the event on the USDA blog. There were some technical sound challenges here and there but overall, the video was very informative. Enjoy!

January 3, 2014

Bio-isobutanol approved by UL

Producers Gevo and Butamax have both announced the approval of bio-isobutanol for gasoline storage and dispensing equipment by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The independent product safety and testing company has approved the generic use of up to 16% isobutanol in UL 87A pumps by any manufacturer meeting ASTM specifications, providing all of the service stations across the US with the assurance that isobutanol blended gasoline will work in their current gasoline pumps without the need to purchase new equipment.

January 2, 2014

A New Year Greetings (and news)

Happy New Year!! The blog had a great first year on its new platform and according to Wordpress, it was viewed at about 160,000 times in 2013 leading to a total of 183,000 times since the blog's start-up in September 2012.

In 2013, there were 313 new posts, growing the total archive of the blog to 383 posts. The busiest day of the year was November 15 with 1,266 views.  The most popular post that day was Avantium's 100% bio-based T-shirts from recycled PEF bottles.

Readers came from all over the world (about 154 countries in total) with most visitors from the US, France and Japan.  Posts that got the most views in 2013 is about guar gum alternatives, oleochemical updates, bio-acrylic acid, Coca-Cola's partnership with JBF Industries and the partnership announcement between Solazyme and Mitsui.

The blog is looking forward to share more about developments and exciting news within the renewable chemicals sector. In the meantime, let me post this roundup of news announced in December (and some from late November).

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