December 16, 2014

Port of Rotterdam looking to attract Bio investments

The blog has reported in the past about the Malaysian Biotech hub, Bio-XCell, trying to attract several renewable chemical companies looking to invest capacities in the region such as the recent announcement from Verdezyne.

However, there are other chemical hubs who are looking to expand into the bio-based sector and one of them is the Port of Rotterdam.  Last year, the Port of Rotterdam Authority has partnered with E.ON (power and gas company), Evides Industriewater (wastewater treatment company), Stedin (heat and power infrastructure), Vopak (chemical distributor) and Air Liquid (industrial gases), to create an 80-hectare 'Plug & Play' Bio-based Cluster on the Port's Maasvlakte 2 with the partners aiming to offer services to businesses that would want to set up in the area. Port of Rotterdam is hoping to grow into an international bio port with this project.

December 9, 2014

Bioplastics merger - Cardia Bioplastics, Stellar Films

Australia-based Cardia Bioplastics has signed a proposed merger with Stellar Films Group, which manufactures film-based packaging catering to personal care, hygiene and medical product industries with facilities in Melbourne, Australia, and Port Klang, Malaysia. Under the proposed merger, Cardia Bioplastics will acquire all of the shares and units issued in Stellar Films, and issue ordinary shares in Cardia Bioplastics to the owners of Stellar Films. It is expected that Cardia shareholders will own 42% of the merged group and the owners of Stellar Films will own 58%.

The terms sheet provides for an exclusivity period of 4 months from November 21. The companies originally partnered to produce Cardia's Biohybrid films tailored for the global personal care and hygiene products industry. The Biohybrid film produced on Stellar  Films' proprietary cast film process, reportedly exhibits a high-performance property profile and differentiated through its unique soft touch and warm feel that is ideal for personal care product applications such as nappies/diapers, feminine or incontinence products.

December 8, 2014

Iowa State University in glycerine-based adhesives R&D

The world is again awash with glycerine this year because of growing biodiesel mandates from Southeast Asia and Argentina (not to mention biofuel tax incentives and mandates in the US).  Throughout the years that the blog covered the oleochemical industry, there had been developments, albeit a bit slow, for new uses of glycerine and the American Cleaning Institute (formerly Soaps and Detergents Association) even holds a Glycerine Innovation Award at their annual meeting in Florida in collaboration with the National Biodiesel Board.

For those who are not familiar with glycerine, it is a co-product coming from soap and oleochemical manufacture as well as from biodiesel. Some of the new applications now commercially available for glycerine is in manufacture of epichlorohydrin, propylene glycol, propanediol and methanol. Check out my oleochemical presentation last year for more background on glycerine.

In this news, researchers from the Iowa State University (ISU) are developing cheaper bioplastic adhesives using glycerine as an alternative to acrylic adhesives currently on the market. The project recently received a grant of $1 million from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to show that their technology can be competitive in the marketplace.

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December 5, 2014

Turnaround for Amyris

Despite the current water shortage (due to drought) and electricity problems in Brazil, Amyris seems to be doing well according to the company's third quarter earnings report. Amyris said its Brotas biorefinery plant in Brazil has been running for 3 months without any unscheduled interruptions. The company expects to continue operations until the sugarcane season comes to a close in the coming weeks in southeastern Brazil. By then, the company will reportedly perform planned maintenance before resuming production in early 2015.

In the third quarter, Amyris said it has completed production of its second molecule, a fragrance oil, and has then transitioned back to its farnesene production using a new strain. Based on this new strain, the company expects to produce farnesene at cash costs below $3/liter. 

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December 3, 2014

Evolva buys Allylix

I can't believe it is already almost the end of the year! The blog is grateful for celebrating its 7th year last November and thank you for those who continue to follow it.

Let me start the month of December with this news from Switzerland-based Evolva acquiring California-based Allylix. It has been in October 2012 since I last reported about Allylix, which focuses its R&D on fermentation-based flavors and fragrance ingredients. Evolva will acquire Allylix in return for an overall consideration of 46 million newly-issued Evolva shares. Cargill, Evolva's partner on its stevia program, will invest $4 million in Evolva shares in support of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close by mid-December 2014.

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