News Roundup

January News Roundup

It’s Superbowl Sunday and I got bored so back to blogging (36-0 Seahawks at this point). Anyway, I just confirmed last week that I will be attending the Palm and Lauric Oils Conference (POC) in Kuala Lumpur on March 3-5, so for those who will be attending, let me know if you want to meet.

Here are some news roundup from last month (and before that). I will be posting Solazyme’s latest news soon, as well as what’s going on with the Farm Bill proposal in US Congress. Stay tune!

Toyota uses bio-PA in bio-alloys
Toyota Boshoku Corporation, a manufacturer of automotive interior systems, and Toyota Central R&D Labs, have developed a high-impact bio-based plastic alloy incorporating castor-derived polyamide 11 (PA11) and petro-based polypropylene.  The performance of the bio-alloy reportedly surpasses polycarbonate alloys.  The bioplastic is being incorporated in interior decoration parts such as automotive door trims, installment panels or as a collision energy absorber.

ACC forms Waste Plastics-to-Oil Alliance
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has formed within its Plastics Division, a new group, called Plastics-to-Oil Technologies Alliance, that will work to increase awareness of the benefits of plastics-to-oil technologies, enhance the industry’s voice through expanded membership, and demonstrate broad support for plastics-to-oil technologies through expanding network of allies. Founders include Agilyx, Cynar, RES PolyFlow.

Valmet supplies prehydrolysis system
Valmet will supply a prehydrolysis system to Bioprocess Pilot Facility BV’s (BPF) bio-pilot plant in Delft, the Netherlands.  The system is designed for a capacity of 40 kg wheat straw per hour. The start-up of the system is scheduled for August 2014.  Prehydrolysis is an initial process step in several biorefining processes.

Aphios bags cellulosic biomass patent
Aphios Corporation was granted US Patent no. 8,540,847 entitled “Methods and Apparatus for Processing Cellulosic Biomass” for its Aosic enabling technology platform. In the Aosic process, biomass is contacted with SuperFluids such as carbon dioxide with or without small quantities of polar cosolvents such as ethanol. Pressure is released and fibers are made more accessible to enzymes as a result of expansive forces of SuperFluids and carbonic acid hydrolysis. Additional fiber separation is achieved by ejecting biomass through mechanical impact devices. Carbon dioxide is recovered and recycled; pressure energy is recovered in a turbine.

BioNitrogen completes feasibility study
Cleantech company, BioNitrogen, has finished the engineering feasibility studies for plans to convert biomass into urea fertilizer at its proposed facility in Hardee County Florida.  The biomass is transformed into urea through a gasification technology process and catalytic conversion.  The plant is expected to have an output of 124,200 tpa of urea using more than 240 ktpa of biomass. The next stepp is to begin initial cost estimates for the ammonia and urea equipment necessary for the project.

Plentex acquires Biovite Australia Pty
Plentex Limited will acquire Biovite Australia Pty Ltd, a biotechnology company involved in discovery, R&D, proof of concept, and commercialization of bio-actives for use in human health, animal health and agriculture, using algae for feedstock.  Biovite has developed a range of pharmaceutical anti-fungal products currently being sold in Australia and overseas markets.

INVISTA, Lenzing in cellulose denim fabrics
INVISTA and Lenzing are collaborating on the development of cellulosic denim fabrics with significantly improved shape retention using INVISTA’s LYCRA dualFX fabric technology and Lenzing’s TENCEL cellulose fibers, which is made with wood pulp.  The companies decided to work together to promote the fabrics in the marketplace, providing joint promotional materials as well as supply chain support and marketing information.

Lehigh Tech expands R&D
Lehigh Technologies has invested significantly in new mixing and analytical equipment for its Application and Development Center.  The expansion enables Lehigh to drive further adoption of its sustainable micronized rubber powder (MRP) material in green tire applications. The company has also made significant investments in silica-silane mixing and dynamic mechanical analysis capabilities. MRPs reportedly lower costs, increase the sustainability profile of end products and deliver performance without sacrificing the reliability and performance offered by traditional raw materials.

Floreon bags investors
UK-based bioplastic developer Floreon, has secured multiple new investors through an Enterprose Investment Scheme (EIS), which is designed to help high potential growth start-ups raise financing, offering a range of tax relief options to investors who purchase new shares in these companies.  Floreon has managed to secure new investors via the scheme, and the company is now valued at GBP 5 million. Floreon has been developing a specially formulated compound that is added to the standard PLA bioplastic.  The company claims the new bioplastic offers benefits such as being up to 4x tougher than standard PLA, and requiring less energy to produce than petro-based PET.

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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