News Roundup

Weekly News Roundup

Here are this week’s news roundup. Sorry for the delay as I got by distracted by the arrival of one of the worst hurricanes in the history of New York City. Our neighborhood was ok, thank goodness, but some of my family and friends still don’t have electricity. My prayers for those families who lost a lot in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and my heartfelt thanks to those who are tirelessly helping in the rescue operation and clean-up across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Bunge invests in Cobalt Technologies
US agribusiness major Bunge has invested in biobased n-butanol developer Cobalt Technologies for an undisclosed amount as part of Cobalt’s Series E preferred stock financing. Bunge is also working with Cobalt and its partners Rhodia Poliamida e Especialidades on operating a pilot plant using sugarcane bagasse feedstock at the Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencia e Tecnologia do Bioetanol facility in Campinas, Brazil. The parties will also work together on co-location of a demonstration facility as well as future commercial-scale biorefinery at a Bunge sugarcane mill.

PHA improves PVC performance
Polydroxyalkanoate (PHA) resin developer Metabolix has developed a new series of PHA copolymers that demonstrated significantly improved mechanical and environmental performance characteristics of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The copolymers are said to be miscible with PVC resins and was able to improve plasticization, impact and processing modification of rigid and flexible PVC. Metabolix was working with custom compounder AlphaGary based in Massachusetts, USA.

Bio-based lubricants partnership
US agbiotech company Monsanto and Biosynthetic Technologies LLC have formed a licensing and supply agreement for the use Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybean oil in production of biosynthetic lubricant oils. Biosynthetic Technologies has developed a new class of bio-based synthetic oils under the brand LubriGreen Biosynthetic Oils that reportedly match or exceed the performance characteristics of the highest quality petroleum-based oils currently used in the automotive and industrial lubricant sectors. Monsanto has also invested $7m in Biosynthetic Technologies.

Cargill expands dielectric fluids capacity
Cargill will expand sale of its full line of ester fluids under the brand Envirotemp across Europe by mid-2013 by building a new facility or expand one of its current facilities in Western Europe. A site selection process is said to be underway and will be complete in the coming weeks. Cargill expects to complete similar efforts around the word to satisfy increasing demand.

Evonik expands oleochemicals in Brazil
Germany-based specialty chemical company Evonik is building a new oleochemical-based personal care and household care ingredients in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is scheduled to start in 2014. Total production capacity is expected at 50,000 tonnes/year and is spread across different technologies. The portfolio will include specialty surfactants, conditioning agents, emollients, emulsifiers, thickeners and fabric softening actives amongst others.

GlyEco completes $3.4m funding
Green chemistry company GlyEco Recycling has closed a $3.4m funding to support its growth initiatives such as recent asset purchase of six glycol recyclers, initial plant expansion and upgrades, and phase 1 implementation of its GlyEco Technology, which has the ability to recycle waste glycols.

Stora Enso’s food packaging with bio-PE
Swedish packaging producer Stora Enso has introduced its CKB® packaging board from its Skoghall Mill in Sweden that uses bio-based polyethylene (PE) coating. Stora Enso has partnered with Swedish company Trioplast / Ekmans for the development and launch of the bio-coated packaging board, where the bio-based PE coating was manufactured in Brazil using sugarcane for feedstock. The first consumer products scheduled to come out on early 2013 are packaged fish gratin products of the Norwegian fish and seafood company Domstein ASA, manufactured in Kungshamn, Sweden.

Waste-based hydrogen tests start
Japan Blue Energy Co. (JBEC), Daiwa Lease Co., Toyota Tsusho Corporation, and Mitsui Chemicals, which form the Business Research Group of Hydrogen Innovation Town (“HIT Business Research Group”) have started verification tests for a new technology called BLUE Tower using sewage sludge to produce hydrogen at JBEC’s plant in Izoumo City, Shimane Prefecture. The group plans to expand participating companies for licensing, plant design and construction, logistics and distribution of the BLUE Hydrogen technology.

Aemetis gets 5th cellulosic patent
Aemetis was awarded patent number 8,273,557 entitled “Hydrolytic Enzyme Mixtures for Saccharification of Lignocellulosic Polysaccharides” by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent relates to advanced plant cell wall degradative systems specifically enzymes that bind to and/or depolymerize cellulose. Aemetis said the saccharophagus degradans microbe contains more than 90 enzymes that break down plant material. The cell wall degrading systems can be applied for use in fuels and chemicals production.

Alfa Aesar’s bioproducts catalog
Alfa Aesar, a Johnson Matthey Company, has added over 4,000 new range of bio products on its biochemical product catalog that listed over 33,000 products across a broad spectrum of research applications. The new range includes click chemistry reagents, antibodies, growth factors, electrophoresis reagents, enzymes, signal transduction reagents and much more. The bio product line is now available from all of Alfa Aesars global offices excluding China.


EnviTec opens biogas pilot facility
EnviTec Biogas has started its pilot plant for biogas processing at the Sachsendorf site in Germany, that uses a patented polymer membrane technology called EnviThan. The polymer membranes clean the raw biogas generated in the biogas plant to more than 98%. This reportedly creates highly clean biomethane that can be directly fed into the existing natural gas network – without detours and without causing any additional costs.

Cool Planet Energy’s low-cost gas
Cool Planet Energy Systems said it has been able to produce biomass-based high octane gasoline at the cost of $1.50/gal without the need for government subsidies. Cool Planet’s proprietary two-step thermal processing technology takes biomass such as wood chips, agricultural waste like corn stover, or energy crops including giant miscanthus, and switch grass and converts it into hydrocarbons. A catalytic conversion is then utilized to complete the production. The end result is high-octane gasoline that is said to be fully compatible with today’s standard automobiles and existing conventional fuel distribution systems.

Boeing in cooking oil-based fuel
A newly formed technology center created by Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) has picked Hangzhou Energy Engineering & Technology, Co. (HEET) to conduct the center’s first research project. HEET will focus on ways to convert waste cooking oil into a component of aviation biofuel. The focus of the project for the first year will be to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving significant cost reduction in converting waste oils into jet fuel through improvement of conversion efficiency and associated technology.

Biodico and Navy signs fuel deal
Biodico has formed a deal with the US Navy for the development and evaluation of advanced biofuels and bioenergy. The parties will optimize the operation of sustainable biorefineries producing renewable drop-in liquid fuels, bio-based products and energy using resources at Department of Defense facilities. Work under the new contract will include a range of technologies including but not limited to transesterification, gasification, gas to liquids, hydrogenation, anaerobic digestion, catalysis, and the production and processing of feedstocks and co-products.

Methes Energies Canada gets RIN
Methes Energies Canada has been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Foreign Renewable Fuel Producer, making the biodiesel produced at its Sombra facility in Ontario, Canada, eligible for export to the US. Obtaining the approval enables Methes Energies to sell its biodiesel into the U.S., and provides its U.S. importer the ability to generate Renewable Identification Numbers (“RIN”). RINs are used in the U.S. by obligated parties to comply with certain obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (“RFS2”).

Bunge gets biodiesel approval
Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency has authorized Bunge for the start of construction of a biodiesel plant to be located in New Mutum (250 km north of Cuiabá). The plant has a daily capacity for production of 413.79 meters cubic of biofuel and will be built alongside its soybean crushing business in the site.

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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