News Roundup

Weekly News Roundup

I have so many updates to post but I’ll start with our Weekly News Roundup which was supposed to have come out yesterday but I got distracted with my planned participation at the Plant-based Bio-Industrial Oils (PBIO) conference to be held in March, and my recent announced media partnership with Green Power conferences organizers.

Oh and I am supposed to study for my incoming nursing board exam too. 2013 is definitely starting to be an exciting year! Here are this week’s news roundup before I get distracted again…

SES gasification tech for green chems
Synthesis Energy Systems (SES) has entered into a deal with an undisclosed US-based company to assess the feasibility and optimal uses of SES’ gasification technology for the production of ‘green’ chemicals, which will be commissioned and funded by the said undisclosed US company. Possible feedstock will include used tires, auto shredder residues and refuse-derived fuel to efficiently and cost-effectively produce chemicals such as methanol and methanol derivatives.  SES will be assisted in doing the studies with engineering firm Fluor Enterprises. The study is expected to last four months.

VTT’s peat fiber in composites
VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland has developed methods for processing bio-based composite materials using peat fiber for use in consumer products and construction materials. These materials can be processed using traditional methods such as in compounding, extrusion and injection molding. VTT currently has three patent applications pending related to the peat-based biocomposites. The development has been partly funded by the TULI project of the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes.

Solegear bags investors
British Columbia-based Solegear Bioplastics has received strategic investment from Best Buy Capital, the investment arm of Best Buy Co. Inc., North America’s number-one specialty retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software and appliances. The companies did not disclosed the investment amount. Solegear plans to introduced this year its bioplastic formulation Polysole – a 100% bio-based and compostable bioplastic made of polylactic acid (PLA) base polymer blended with proprietary natural additives.

Solvay’s biomaterials line now in China
The Solviva Biomaterials line of high-performance plastics for implantable applications – manufactured by Solvay Specialty Polymers – is now commercially available in China. The biomaterials line, previously available in the U.S. and Europe, is targeted to meet growing demand in the Chinese market. The products are available in resin for injection molding or extrusion as well as stock shapes for machined components.

Bioformix offers new adhesive
Bioformix is now offering Nexabond 2500, an adhesive designed for wood bonding that is capable of curing at room temperature.  The adhesives are reportedly based on vinyl monomers that can polymerize in seconds or less with minimal energy input to form varied resin backbones. Bioformix says its monomers can also be sourced from sustainable feedstock options such as from fermented sugar.

Nova Institute pilot plant partnership
Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant based in Belgium and Nova-Institute based in Germany have partnered to offer companies and research institutes development and scale-up of biobased products and processes using the Bio Base Europe pilot plant complemented with the economic and environmental analysis of novel processes by Nova-Institute. The partnership is said to be accessible to companies and research institutes from around the world for service projects, strategic collaborations and publicly funded projects.

Europe’s new PLA route project
The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) is leading a research project consortium called InnoREX, which aims to develop a new polymerization route for polylactic acid (PLA) using alternative energies such as ultrasound, laser light or microwave energy within a commercial co-rotating twin screw extruder. The EUR 3.3m project will last until May 31, 2016 and is funded within the European Seventh Framework (FP7) program.

Bio-composite project for UK automotives
UK-based Performance Engineered Solutions (PES) is leading a project called ELCOMAP (Environmentally friendly lightweight composite materials for aerodynamic body panels) which will develop potential alternatives to current composite technologies such as carbon fiber and epoxy resin systems using biocomposites. The £100,000 research project is supported by a £50,000 grant from the Niche Vehicle Network. PES will partner with the AMP Technology Centre, TEKS UK Ltd. and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing.

Glycerin logistics service launched
Benchmark Energy Corporation through its subsidiary Energy Partners LLC (a supplier of crude glycerin) has launched a new division called Energy Partners Logistics and Transportation Management, which aims to deliver solutions that either restore or enhance operating margins for biofuel and glycerin producers. Energy Partners said the largest cost associated with the production of biofuels and glycerin is transportation and the logistical management that encompasses every aspect of delivery to the biofuel and glycerin consumer.

Industrial wax from recycled plastics
Canada-based start-up GreenMantra Recycling Technologies Ltd. will receive up to C$750,000 funding from FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation Initiative to enable the company to complete final commercialization testing of its proprietary technology to produce industrial waxes from recycled plastics. The waxes produced will be used in products as asphalt, wood products, adhesives and polishes. GreenMantra expects to market its products in North America and to license its production process to European customers.

Biocatalyst for acrylamide manufacture
Finnish chemical producer Kemira has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Mitsui Chemicals for acrylamide manufacturing technology using biocatalysts, which reduce energy requirements compared to traditional processing using copper catalysts. Kemira has also completed a capacity expansion for three acrylamide monomer production sites increasing its capacity by 60%. Acrylamide is a key building block for polymers used in applications such as paper, oil, gas, mining industries and in municipal water treatment.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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