It has been a weird December for me as I struggled with a surprising health issue. I am now back to almost full recovery (I am keeping my fingers crossed) and hopefully I’ll be able to post once in a while again although I am trying not to overwork myself this time. The joys of reaching 40!
As far as the bio-based chemicals industry is concern, 2016 saw a lot of major changes in terms project developments (or abandonment), acquisitions, sales, exits, entrance, plant start-ups, plant shutdowns, technology changes – you get the drift.
Here are some of the top news we had in 2016 in no particular order:
- Tesoro bought Virent
- GFBiochemicals acquired Segetis
- Metabolix sold its PHA business to CJ Cheiljedang
- Avantium, BASF formed FDCA JV
- Saudi Aramco acquired Novomer’s CO2-based polyol business
- Solazyme restructured and reinvent itself as food ingredient company, TerraVia.
- DuPont Industrial Biosciences and ADM collaborated on FDME and PTF developments
- Novamont started bio-BDO production in Italy
- Comet Biorefining planned cellulosic sugar production in Sarnia, Canada
- Total and Corbion formed PLA JV, started PLA facility construction in Thailand
- Revolymer merged with Itaconix
- Green Biologics started its bio-based n-butanol and acetone plant in Minnesota
- Covestro started its CO2-based polyols plant in Germany
- BioAmber, CJ Cheiljedang planned on bio-succinic acid production in China
- COFCO to build PLA plant in China
A special report covering my review of the 2016 renewable chemicals industry and a complete list of all the top news that happened last year will be accessed by subscribers of Tecnon OrbiChem’s January Biomaterials newsletter, which will come out later this month. I usually also write my own personal outlook whenever I do a yearly review but there are so many geopolitical uncertainty this year, including the new presidential administration in the US as well as England’s Brexit, coupled with this year’s presidential elections in Germany and France, that I might as well try to give predictions of this year’s crude oil price trend (although EIA’s short term outlook is still placing crude oil price at around $60-70/bbl).
My greatest optimism this year is continued growth of investments in synthetic biology, where some of the companies in this space are more and more looking at the potential in chemicals production. This bodes well for faster developments in the fermentation-based chemicals space. Meanwhile, China seems to be getting back to reviving its own fermentation chemicals industry as corn prices are now loosening up and becoming more aligned with global corn prices. In the EU, it will be interesting to see how the abolition of sugar production quotas will drive the renewable chemicals sector in this region.
That’s all I can pick in my brain today. I wish everyone a productive and healthy 2017!