Bioplastic, Company initiatives, News Roundup

Updates: Verdezyne, Purac, Dow

Hello blog readers. As you probably noticed by now, I have been absent lately from posting because of a very good reason. As of this week, I now possessed dual degrees — Chemical Engineering and Nursing —  and I am wondering how to combine these and still be able to do the work I love —  research writing within the business of chemistry (and medicine??). A lot to think about as I start this new year with new goals.

But the blogging has to continue. Let’s start with industrial biotechnology firm Verdezyne, which I have not had any updates since mid-2012.

Last month, Verdezyne said it has partnered with Universal Fiber Systems LLC and its operating companies Universal Fibers and Premiere Fibers, to develop sustainable carpet fiber and apparel yarns using Verdezyne’s bio-based adipic acid.

Universal Fiber Systems is a global multi-polymer fiber producer, and markets its yarn systems globally to the residential, commercial, automotive and high-performance apparel industries.

Recalling past posts about bio-based adipic acid, Nexant presented several possible routes for the production of this chemical:

  • Direct fermentation to adipic acid
  • Bio-based benzene –> KA Oil –> adipic acid
  • Muconic acid –> adipic acid
  • Bio-based butadiene –> adipic acid
  • Glucaric acid –> adipic acid

Other companies working on this area or looking to expand in this area include Rennovia, DSM, Amyris (which acquired a bio-based adipic acid technology from the former Draths), Genomatica, BioAmber, and Aemetis.

In another Verdezyne news, the company has sold last month its proprietary xylose isomerase technology (patent 8,114,974 and 8,093,037) to DuPont Industrial Biosciences. The technology  which enables the metabolism of 5-carbon sugars for use in commercializing biofuels and biochemicals. According to DuPont, the Verdezyne technology is a natural fit for the company’s cellulosic portfolio.

With regards to Purac Biomaterials, the company has finalized its acquisition of a building in Tucker, Georgia, which will be a future second manufacturing facility for Purac next to its existing one in Gorinchem, the Netherlands.

Purac said the new plant will produce its FiberLive resorbable material used for human implants. The material is made of resorbable glass fibers and resorbable polymers and is said to be up to six times higher than cortical bone comparable to metal. Start-up of the facility is scheduled for early 2014.

Finally, Dow Chemical announced last week that is will collaborate with Canada-based Klean Industries to recover energy, chemicals and oil from waste plastics. Klean Industries said it’s advanced thermal conversion technology, developed and used commercially in its 50 tonnes/day plastics-to-oil recycling plant in Japan, can capture the inherent value in oil-rich packaging plastics.

Klean Industries’ facility in Japan can process mixed plastics including PET, PVC at up to 20% of the in-feed supply in addition to the more predominant polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene. The facility produces over 4MWe of green electricity, according to the companies.

Dow said it plans to collaborate with Klean on the possibility of developing low-impact recovery facilities across North America to support Dow’s drive to improve the sustainability profile of plastic packaging.

While Dow is looking to improve its sustainability profile in plastic packaging, the company however, is postponing the second phase of its planned sugar ethanol-based polyethylene (PE) project in Santa Vitoria, Brazil, with its joint venture partner Mitsui & Co. The bio-PE plant was expected to have a capacity of at least 350,000 tonnes/year

According to this article from Chemical Week, the partners’ decision to delay the bio-PE project is driven primarily by escalation in costs to design, construct, and operate the facility, as well as uncertainties around land ownership legislation in Brazil. Dow Chemical’s shale-gas based strategies in the US Gulf Coast is also contributing to the postponement decision.

Dow is currently planning to invest around $4bn in the US Gulf Coast to build a new, world-scale ethylene production plant for start-up in 2017. Dow is also construction a new, world-scale on-purpose propylene production facility at its Texas operations for start-up in 2015.

This is the second time that Dow’s plan for a world-scale bio-PE plant has been postponed. Dow first attempted to build the bio-based LLDPE plant in Santa Vitoria with ex-partner Crystalsev in 2007, but the deal fell apart as Crystalsev decided to leave the JV because of the economic downturn in 2009.

Right now, Braskem is the only company commercially producing biobased PE at its 200,000 tonnes/year facility in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The company is looking to expand its biobased PE with around 400,000 tonnes/year-scale, a new bio-based polypropylene (PP) plant with a capacity between 30,000-50,000 tonnes/year.

There were reports in mid-2012 that these projects have been delayed but according to Braskem late last year, the company did not yet set definite deadlines for these projects, which were still being considered for approval at that time.

The blog wonders if Braskem will still push through with these projects.

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.


5 Responses to “Updates: Verdezyne, Purac, Dow”

  1. Congratulations Doris on your degree. That is a great combination and I am sure you will go on to much future success in whatever you do – Neil

    Posted by naburns | January 8, 2013, 6:22 am
  2. Congrats on your graduation! Best of luck finding a great job, but we’ll miss your valuable reporting if you get too busy to keep up the blog.

    Posted by Jerry Jeff | January 8, 2013, 10:44 am
  3. All that hard work paid off – congratulations and a very Happy New Year.

    Posted by Kathryn Sheridan | January 8, 2013, 1:49 pm
  4. Hi Jerry and Kathryn,
    Thanks! Keeping my fingers crossed that this new degree will be useful somehow.

    Posted by Doris de Guzman | January 9, 2013, 9:59 pm

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