Bioethanol produced by Borregaard will be delivered to motorists who fill Bensin95 at Statoil petrol stations in eastern Norway.
Borregaard has entered into an agreement with Statoil concerning sale of all the company can deliver of available bioethanol, which is a quantity of 44,000 litres per month. Statoil will be picking up its first load this week.
Borregaard is the world's largest manufacturer of 2nd generation bioethanol, with a production of around 20 million litres per year. The bioethanol that is produced in Borregaard's biorefinery is produced by extracting sugar from wood, which is then fermented to make ethanol. At present, Borregaard delivers bioethanol from its Sarpsborg facility for heavy goods vehicles and buses in the Oslo region. The contract with Statoil means that the company can also deliver the additive for use in cars:
"This means that we now deliver around a quarter of our bioethanol production for fuel. Our products have a good climate footprint, with a reduction in CO2 of at least 80%, compared with conventional fuel. Based on our current production, it may be possible to increase deliveries to the fuel market," says Pål Espen Ramberg, Borregaard's manager for ethanol production.
"By mixing bioethanol with normal petrol, the highest possible numbers of motorists will be able to drive on environmentally sound Norwegian bioethanol. This is a positive development and a step in the right direction. We are certain that this is an important and specific measure that will reduce emissions from the transport sector for many decades to come," says Dag Roger Rinde, Managing Director of Statoil Norge AS.
The ethanol is mixed with the petrol that is delivered from Sjursøya in Oslo to Statoil petrol stations in eastern Norway. All of the bioethanol that Statoil Norge uses complies with the European standard for ethanol used as a petrol additive, and all vehicles that can drive on Bensin95 can use Bensin95 containing five percent bioethanol.
The contract with Statoil contributes to an exciting collaboration and is in line with the long-term investment areas at Borregaard. The company has developed a new process for production of bioethanol and biochemicals from various biomasses (including waste products from agriculture) and is in the process of building a NOK 130 million pilot plant to develop this process. Borregaard has been given NOK 58 million in funding for this project from Innovation Norway's support scheme for environmental technology, which emphasises the development of 2nd generation biofuels.
For the first time in history, Norwegian, wood-based bioethanol is to be added to petrol for Norwegian consumers.
Laurel BioComposite, LLC opened a new pilot plant this month and shipped Bio-Res pellets from its first production run to a major customer for trials.
The manufacturer will test the odorless bio-material to develop enhanced adhesive applications for home products. These trial results will contribute to the database established by customer-tested Bio-Res-based injection molded parts which show a 10 percent increase in stiffness and tensile modulus.
These improved performance properties are due in part to the material's ability to lower specific gravity when compared to conventional fillers like calcium carbonate and talc. Bio-Res cost-effectively raises the renewable or "green" content of plastic products by as much as 40 percent. The product provides a direct replacement for traditional petroleum-based resins in a variety of manufacturing processes for plastics.
Made from corn-based distillers grain, a non-edible by-product of ethanol plants, Bio-Res is produced using a two-tank batch system. Distillers grain is fed to the tanks which sequentially feed a single positive displacement pump that discharges to a decanter. Once the material completes the drying process it is milled and made ready for shipment to a pelletizing operation. During processing Bio-Res sequesters carbon dioxide and does not use toxic compounds. The plant is currently producing 250 pounds of the bio-material an hour. Production could reach 1,000 pounds an hour by the end of the year based on customer demand.
Bio-Res is available in a powder or pellet form and mixes easily with polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid and PHA. Bio-Res pellets are made of 60 to 80 percent bio-material. Injection molders can insert the pellets directly into injection molded parts to reach desired levels of bio-content. The material can also be blended with various resins. Bio-Res is especially suited for use in a range of industries including shipping, lawn and garden, agriculture and automotive applications.
The interest in bioplastics has strongly increased over the last year, noted the association European Bioplastics. This trend was once more confirmed by the attendance record at the 6th European Bioplastics Conference. More than 400 visitors came to Berlin on 22 and 23 November to listen to the 29 exciting speeches from renowned industry experts. Furthermore, the accompanying exhibition and networking-formats met with high response.
With around 420 visitors from more than 250 companies and institutions from all over the world the European Bioplastics Conference once more established a record and remained the leading bioplastics industry event and the industry‘s information and networking platform number one. This year, more than 80 per cent of the participants came from Europe, 10 per cent from Asia, and the better part of the remaining 10 per cent from North and South America.
In his keynote speech Maurits van Tol, DSM Bio-based Products & Services, commented the worldwide potential of bioplastics: "Mass production of bioplastics is around the corner, and such large scale plants with their better cost structure will increase the chances of bioplastics in the relevant markets. The long awaited breakthrough of bioplastics in the worldwide market is near."
Another positive comment came from Werner Ressing, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology who considers bioplastics an important pillar of economic growth: "Bioplastics offer numerous opportunities to increase the economic value added of the German and European economy."
The presentations showcased the potential of bioplastics from many different perspectives. A number of innovations were introduced - new materials, additives and end-of-life approaches. The session on 'bioplastics and sustainability' offered insights into environmental communications as well as into certification concepts.
A highlight of the 6th European Bioplastics Conference was the Bioplastics Magazine‘s 'Annual Global Bioplastics Award'. This year the panel of judges selected Danone GmbH (Germany) to be the winner. By using different bioplastics for the packaging of its brands Activia and Actimel, Danone made a significant contribution to moving bioplastics from a niche packaging product to a mass market product.
In view of the increased interest in bioplastics over the past year and with this successful event, Andy Sweetman, Chairman of European Bioplastics, offered a positive outlook for 2012: "The development of the bioplastics industry is picking up speed. We need clear framework conditions in Europe and a strong united voice to demand them. In 2012 the role and work of our industry association European Bioplastics, will become more and more important in order to support our young industry. Established and leading formats, such as the annual conference are of major importance to guarantee a rich and multi-facetted exchange of knowledge about bioplastics."
Dr John Williams, Head of Materials for Energy and Industry at the NNFCC, gave a presentation on "Feedstock Sustainability and Bioplastics: How other Bio-Markets Influence the Bioplastics Chain". To download his presentation click here.
Global biopolymer leader Braskem and bioplastics specialist FKuR have signed a distribution agreement for Green PE. Taking effect immediately, FKuR will be the official distribution partner for Braskem´s Green PE in Europe. This latest development follows the compounding contract which was signed between the two partners for tailor made compounds based on Green PE, already announced in September 2011.
This new business field is another milestone that helps make our “FKuR - plastics made by nature®” strategy a reality. As a leading player in the European Bioplastics market we are happy to be part of Braskem’s innovative campaign for changing resource utilisation,” said Dr. Edmund Dolfen, FKuR’s CEO.
“Our ´Green PE´ has the same technical properties as regular PE made from crude oil. But it is a unique and ground-breaking product made from natural resources. For Braskem, it was important to find a partner who has extensive knowledge in promoting bioplastic specialties in a commodity market,” declared Fabio Carneiro, Renewable Chemicals Commercial Officer at Braskem.
With its European sales force, FKuR will be an additional technology and technical contact support, development advisor and logistic partner for Europe.
Furthermore, tailor-made compounds made from Braskem’s Green PE will be available under FKuR’s brand name TerraleneTM.
In September 2010, Braskem became the world’s first producer of LLDPE and HDPE from renewable resources. The ethanol used to make Green PE is made from sugarcane produced in Brazil. The renewable resource ratio per product can reach up to 100%, depending on the application. As a result of Braskem’s technology and raw material source, each ton of green polyethylene produced captures up to 2.5 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another advantage is that Green PE is 100% recyclable using existing processes. In addition, because Green PE is not biodegradable, the CO2 captured during the sugarcane cultivation process remains sequestered for the plastic's entire life cycle. Finally, Braskem’s Green PE has the same technical properties and processability as fossil-based polyethylenes. This means that Green PE processing does not require any new investments in equipment or technical adjustments, which represents a distinct advantage for the manufacturing industry.
Versatile drinking cups with a green profile
At this year’s Luxe Pack in Green Iggesund is presenting single-use drinking cups made of paperboard coated with biodegradable bioplastic. Invercote Bio is the name chosen by Iggesund for the combination of its own paperboard and the Italian company Novamont’s Mater-Bi. Both materials are certified as biodegradable.
“Popular opinion believes it is a waste of resources to use virgin fibre-based board in single-use products,” explains Jonas Adler, who is responsible for these products at Iggesund Paperboard. “In fact, this practice is environmentally sound, not least because these cups can be used in all the waste streams stipulated by the European Union. The cups can be recycled as a material, recovered as energy, composted or used to produce biogas. Few other materials can offer these benefits, and the result is savings both in handling costs and a reduced need for storage facilities.” The cups being shown by Iggesund are converted by SCATOLIFICIO DEL GARDA S.p.A. and have an ingenious double-walled construction designed to protect the user’s hand from hot beverages. But Iggesund’s future plans for Invercote Bio extend far beyond just drinking cups.
“We envision a wide range of applications in the food distribution and large-scale catering industries,” Adler says. “With Invercote Bio, there is no need to separate the food waste from the packaging, which offers major advantages at the waste handling stage.”
Adler is convinced that the market for compostable products is growing and will continue to do so. One example of this trend is the stipulation by the organisers of the London 2012 Summer Olympics that all the catering materials must be compostable, so it will be easy to produce biogas from the waste.
“At the moment Invercote Bio is being bought by customers who want a biodegradable material for its environmental features. When people realise the potential for improved profit during the waste handling stage, then sales will really take off,” Adler concludes.
Puma has been making some serious changes to its sustainability initiatives and has come out the front-runner in many areas. The company recently told Greenpeace that it would phase out all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020. Earlier this year, it was the first company to put a financial value on environmental impact.
Last year the company launched its Clever Little Bag, a reusable bag to replace shoeboxes made from 65 percent less paper and energy. Now it wants to lead the way in materials technology and tackle what happens to their goods once people no longer want to use them.
Unlike Patagonia which encourages its customers to buy less, Puma wants its clothes to be compostable. By closing the loop, the company hopes to reduce its impact and is confident that compostable clothes and sneakers will be the future. The company is also focusing on products that can be easily recyclable. The Guardian reports that Puma CEO, Franz Koch, explained that the company is working with its partners to develop products with a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ design. He elaborates that:
“It follows two circuits, the technical and the biological: I can use old shoes to make new ones or something completely different, such as car tires. In the biological cycle, I can make shoes and shirts that are compostable so I can shred them and bury them in the back garden. We are working on products that meet these two criteria.”
Compostable clothing may be something out of the future, but if you closely follow industry news, it is not that bizarre. German fashion designer and microbiologist Anke Domaske experimented with milk to produce a skin-friendly, compostable fabric. She now has a Hanover-based company called Qmilch. A Japanese microbiologist has come up with a Spud Coat, a raincoat made of bioplastic derived from potato starch – it is 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. It even comes with a seed-bomb integrated into its fabric that will sprout a vegetable garden once the coat breaks down. At Miami Swim Week this year, Linda Loudermilk debuted a completely compostable swimsuit made from plant starch.
Compostable clothing certainly is an innovative idea and one, if promoted by a major brand, that could soon become mainstream. Reusing and reducing are still the most important ideals in the sustainability trinity but as recycling is the third, it cannot be ignored. Although Koch did not specify when the company would launch these products, it is obvious from his statements that they could be ready for release in the near future. It would be interesting to see how the fabric tests out against athletic activity and also how compostable it will be for amateur gardeners.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are developing very tiny electrochemical sensors that can monitor the rate of degradation of biodegradable, magnesium-based medical implants. These could possibly prevent extra surgical procedures in persons requiring medical implants.
One of the main reasons for medical implants is fractured bones. Implants will stabilize the structure of the bone and also help in the healing process. Medical implants have traditionally been made of non-biodegradable materials, such as titanium. Now, biodegradable implants that are magnesium-based are available. When non-biodegradable implants are used, a follow-up surgery is necessary to remove the implant after the cure. Magnesium-based biodegradable implants, on the other hand, can degrade within the body and avoid the need for a removal surgery.
The head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, William Heineman led the research team comprising of Xuefei Guo and Julia Kuhlmann, graduate students and an undergraduate researcher, Timothy Meyung.
A way to monitor the rate of degradation of a magnesium implant is required, which has led to this study for a miniature sensor. Meyung stated that he has been conducting research on solid-state ion selective electrode designs. The present design included use of carbon nanotubes as ion-to-electron transducers. These hold promise for miniaturizing ion-selective sensors, he added.
To determine the effectiveness of the miniaturized sensors they have to be tested in an in vitro Corrosion Characterization System, which will imitate the human body’s environment. The project has received funds through an Engineering Research Center grant from the National Science Foundation.
The prize has been awarded to Danone in recognition to his exceptional commitment with the use of bioplásticos in the containers of his products. The sixth Prize of Bioplásticos, this year awarded exclusively by the magazine of the only organ of the industry of bioplásticos, went to the known mark of feeding Danone GmbH. Marianne Schweiger, engineer senior of development of packaging of Danone received the prize the past 22 November during the 6 ª European Conference of Bioplásticos of Berlin.
The annual prize of bioplásticos established in 2006 by the publication 'European Plastics News'. This prize recognises/recognizes the paper exerted by an owner of a mark or a alone person and recognises/recognizes the contribution contributed by the companies, products or services to a greater development of the bioplásticos through the innovation or specific concepts of imaginative marketing. This year, five judges that belong to the academic world, to the press and to the commercial associations of America, Europe and Asia, selected to this known mark in Haar, near city to Munich, from a long list of ideas of first level and innovations. The judges considered that Danone, like owner of the international mark, did a significant contribution to the movement bioplásticos from a product packed of niche for a product of massive market with the launching of Activia and Actimel in containers bioplásticos (PLA and HDPE Green). This means that nowadays more than half of the products Danone in the German market pack in bioplásticos.
Toray Succeeds in Production of the World's First Fully Renewable, Biobased Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Fiber
Toray Industries, Inc. has succeeded in producing laboratory-scale samples of the world’s first fully renewable biobased PET fiber by using fully renewable biobased PET derived from biobased para-xylene from Gevo, Inc. , a leading company in renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels.
Gevo has succeeded in converting isobutanol, produced from biomass by employing its own highly effective production method that uses synthetic biology, to synthesize para-xylene employing conventional chemical process used in commercial operations.
Toray used terephthalic acid synthesized from Gevo’s biobased para-xylene and commercially available renewable mono ethylene glycol (MEG) as raw materials, and successfully produced the PET samples by applying a new technology and PET polymerization in June this year. This biobased PET has exhibited properties equivalent to petro-based PET in laboratory conditions.
Toray has also succeeded in the production of a fiber using this fully renewable biobased PET for the first time in the world.
PET has one of the highest production volumes among petrochemical products in the world. Around 40 million tons of polyester fiber, for which PET is the source, is produced worldwide annually. Polyester fibers are widely used in our daily life as well as in industry, and it is one of the core products manufactured and sold by Toray.
The success of this trial, albeit under laboratory conditions, is proof that polyester fiber can be industrially produced from fully renewable biomass feedstock alone. This is a significant step that would contribute to the realization of a sustainable, low-carbon society.
Toray is planning to exhibit this laboratory-scale fully biobased PET fiber samples at Eco-Products 2011, which will be held at The Tokyo Big Sight in December 2011.
Under its management policy that all business strategies must place priority on the global environment in an effort to help realize a sustainable low-carbon society, Toray has been promoting the development of biobased polymers while expanding the businesses related to biobased materials such as poly lactic acid (PLA). The expansion of biobased polymers is an important initiative central to the Group’s Green Innovation projects under its new medium-term management program “Project AP-G 2013”, launched in April this year.
Under the corporate slogan "Innovation by Chemistry", Toray will enhance its efforts to develop advanced materials to contribute to the progress of a sustainable, recycling society.
In an effort to cut down on workplace waste and costs, France-based Gobilab introduces The Gobi, a reusable water bottle made with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. Tritan is a new-generation copolyester with a balance of properties that help extend product life, including lasting clarity and dishwasher durability. Tritan is also free of bisphenol A (BPA).
The Gobi holds 400 milliliters (13.5 ounces), or the equivalent of three disposable cups, and can replace hundreds of plastic cups per employee each year, saving on workplace waste and overhead costs. Recognizing employees in the European workplace throw away many disposable cups daily, Gobilab developed The Gobi.
“To ensure product sustainability, we analyzed the environmental impact of every stage of the development process prior to introducing The Gobi made with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester,” said Florence Baitinger, one of three Gobilab creators. “Eastman helped facilitate this process by providing data and test results regarding the life-cycle assessment of Tritan. Overall, Eastman proved to offer the best option for product safety, sustainability and performance.”
BPA-free Eastman Tritan™ copolyester was selected for The Gobi because it met all the design needs related to clarity, toughness and dishwasher durability. In addition, Gobilab valued that Tritan is odor- and stain-resistant, so The Gobi will maintain its aesthetic appeal over time.
“We were interested in creating an appealing, sustainable solution,” Baitinger said. “We found that existing reusable water bottles looked too sporty for everyday, indoor use. We decided to design something more appropriate for the office. The result is a luxurious, personalizable water bottle employees can use safely, over and over again.”
The Gobi also features a pink, green or blue base made with thermoplastic polyurethane that can be customized by inserting an image, photo or message. When the bottle is filled, the liquid magnifies the image, photo or message. The personalization allows users to differentiate The Gobi with company or school colors. The sturdy base also lets employees take The Gobi to meetings without the risk of tipping and spilling.
The bottles are available online at the Gobilab website.
For more information about Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, visit www.tritantough.com or www.eastman.com/brands/eastman_tritan.
For more information about Gobilab, visit www.gobilab.com.
About Eastman Chemical Company
Eastman’s chemicals, fibers and plastics are used as key ingredients in products that people use every day. Approximately 10,000 Eastman employees around the world blend technical expertise and innovation to deliver practical solutions. The company is committed to finding sustainable business opportunities within the diverse markets and geographies it serves. A global company headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., USA, Eastman had 2010 sales of $5.8 billion.
For more information, visit www.eastman.com.
Founded in June 2010, Gobilab is an independent business run by three partners who work with strategy, corporate social responsibility and websites. Gobilab’s goal is to raise societal awareness of environmental issues by offering innovative alternatives to products and services that have a great impact on the environment.
For more information, visit www.gobilab.com.
Leftover lettuce, old bunches of flowers, potato peelings, coffee grounds: the average kitchen generates lots of organic waste. This can be turned into nutrient-rich compost in an industrial composting plant, but only if it is collected separately in advance – and that can be a bothersome and unhygienic task. Throw the leftovers straight into the bin and you will be confronted with a foul-smelling residue after emptying it. Lining the bin with a paper bag means liquid soaks through, the paper tears. This dilemma results in large quantities of compostable material ending up in the normal rubbish and subsequently being incinerated, using lots of energy in the process. Alternatively, biodegradable waste is disposed of in regular plastic bags, which must be painstakingly removed at the composting plant.
BASF has a solution to this problem: the compostable plastic Ecovio® FS. In an industrial composting plant, this innovative material biodegrades within four weeks. Bin liners made from Ecovio FS are strong and tear-resistant, even if the waste inside is wet. Liquid from tea bags or fruit leftovers does not seep through – reducing unpleasant odours and putting an end to laborious bin-scrubbing. Once full, the bag can simply be put out for collection with its contents.
The plastic’s properties first underwent extensive investigation in pilot projects at composting plants in Germany, Canada and Australia. But would the new compost bags pass the test when used on a large scale? To find out, BASF and its project partners examined the bags under real-world conditions. The study took place in Bad Dürkheim in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, from April to June 2011. Around 65,000 households each received ten Ecovio FS bio-waste bags free of charge, and could buy more if needed. Consultancy IBK-Solutions GmbH was responsible for analyzing the compost. “The results were very positive,” says Erhard Freunscht, the Bad Dürkheim council member responsible for waste management. “Residents really took to the new bin liners, as was clear from the number of bags put out for collection. And after around three weeks, the bags had biodegraded – a complete success from our point of view.”
The key to Ecovio FS’s outstanding compostability lies in its composition. The material comprises a partly petroleum-based, compostable plastic called Ecoflex® FS, and polylactic acid made from corn starch. Polylactic acid, which is derived solely from renewable raw materials, tends to be brittle in its pure state. But when combined with Ecoflex, a flexible plastic is created that can be used to manufacture a variety of products, including bin liners. In the controlled conditions of an industrial composting plant – high temperature and humidity, defined oxygen levels – microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria break the plastic down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. In other words, they transform the bag and the bio-waste into valuable compost.
“Both components of Ecovio – Ecoflex and polylactic acid – are biodegradable,” explains Professor Andreas Künkel, Head of Research for Biopolymers at BASF. “For a material to be biodegradable, it is unimportant whether the feedstock is plant- or petroleum-based. What matters is the structure of the molecules. Because this synthetic polymer has been engineered for outstanding biodegradability, microorganisms can easily digest it.” Ecovio FS’s superior biodegradable properties are recognized internationally, and it conforms to all relevant standards for compostable and biodegradable plastics in Europe, North America and Asia.
Bio-waste bin liners are by no means the only application. Paper cups can be covered with a thin layer of Ecovio FS, making them both waterproof and compostable. The same applies to shrink films for drink bottle packaging. And not only bin liners but also shopping bags can be manufactured from Ecovio. Agriculture, too, stands to benefit: by using biodegradable mulch films for their crops instead of conventional polyethylene film, farmers can simply plough it into the ground instead of painstakingly collecting it after the harvest.
International demand for biodegradable plastics is on the rise, with experts estimating an annual market growth of around 20 percent in the next few years. And BASF, a leading manufacturer of bioplastics, has significantly expanded its Ecoflex and Ecovio production capacity to keep pace. In future these plastics should make organic waste collection much easier – so more ends up as compost and less in landfill.
The Info Box
What are bioplastics?
The term “bioplastics” describes two groups of products – “bio-based” and “biodegradable” plastics.
Biobased plastics are made either wholly or partly from renewable raw materials and include polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoates, starches, cellulose, chitin and gelatine. Biobased plastics can also be biodegradable – but this is not always the case. Non-biodegradable biobased materials include biocomposites and composite materials made from wood and plastic.
Biodegradable plastic : Special bacteria release enzymes that break down the material’s long polymer chains into small parts that the bacteria subsequently digest and turn into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. To be designated biodegradable in line with the European standard DIN EN 13432, at least 90 percent of the material must have decomposed within 180 days under controlled conditions – high temperature and humidity, and defined oxygen levels. Once these standards are met, the product may display the seedling logo signifying compostability. Biodegradable plastics do not have to be made from renewable raw materials; they can also be petroleum-based. The raw material is unimportant; what matters is the chemical structure of the plastic.
When is using bio-based and/or biodegradable plastic a good idea?
There are no clear-cut advantages or disadvantages to using fossil-based or renewable raw materials per se. It is best to decide on a case-by-case basis, taking environmental concerns, cost-effectiveness and social impact over the entire product life cycle into account. BASF’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis has shown time and again that bio-based plastics are not always more eco-efficient than their petrochemical-based counterparts. If relatively little water and fertiliser are required, and transportation routes are short, using plant-based raw materials can be best for the environment. But if a large amount of energy is needed to process the materials, this beneficial effect can soon be reversed.
Biodegradable plastics are not necessarily more eco-friendly than other plastics. But for certain applications, they are the best solution – such as mulch films for agriculture, compostable food packaging or shopping bags. The latter have been available at discount supermarket Aldi Süd for the past few years: shoppers can use them a number of times before reusing them at home as compostable bin liners.
Agreement with the Brazilian petrochemical company envisages the supply of raw material for 2,000 seats made of 100% renewable plastic for the Dutch stadium
Braskem, the leading thermoplastic resin producer in the Americas and the world's largest producer of biopolymers, established a partnership with Amsterdam ArenA to supply Green Plastic to be used in the production of seats for the multifunctional Dutch stadium. In addition to the 52,000 existing seats, two thousand new seats manufactured with Braskem's plastic made from ethanol will be installed in the coming months. By the end of the next two years, all 54,000 seats will be made of plastic from 100% renewable raw material, using Brazilian technology. The announcement will be made on Friday, the day the Netherlands celebrate its national Sustainability Day.
The installation of the "sugar seats" - as these seats are being called - is part of the strategy to turn the Amsterdam ArenA into a landmark of the world's most sustainable capital. The stadium was inaugurated in 1996, and its remodel will not adversely affect the events, like today´s friendly soccer match between the Netherlands and Switzerland. The entire remodeling project follows sustainability guidelines. In 2015, the stadium will be ecologically neutral, producing no carbon footprint.
Braskem produces Green Plastic since September 2010, when the Company inaugurated the world's largest plant of ethylene made from ethanol in city of Triunfo (Rio Grande do Sul state), with annual production capacity of 200 ktons of polyethylene. Unlike fossil plastic, Green Plastic presents a positive environmental result: each ton of plastic produced avoids the emission of 2.5 tons in carbon dioxide (CO2).
"The use of Green Plastic at the Amsterdam ArenA is fully in line with Braskem's strategy of becoming the world's leading company in sustainable chemicals", said Marcelo Nunes, Braskem's Renewable Chemicals Director. "Braskem's partnership with Station Amsterdam complements other alliances already consolidated in recent months, uniting companies that seek sustainable solutions", added the executive.
The project of the green ethylene plant, which was developed with Braskem's proprietary technology, received investments of R$500 million. The product is supplied to important clients in Brazil and abroad, such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Toyota Tsusho, Natura, Tetra Pak, Danone and Chanel, among others.
Unitika Fiber, a Japanese fibre and textile manufacturer, has developed a special fibre using our high-performance Rilsan® PA11 polyamide, which is made from renewable materials. This fibre, called Castlon, is designed to meet the textile industry’s growing demand for plant-based materials—without compromising on performance.
Rilsan® was used by the textile industry on a large scale 50 years ago, but has since shifted into other applications. Today it looks set to make a comeback. Three years ago, Unitika Fiber, a Japanese fibre and textile manufacturer, began developing synthetic fibres for woven fabrics using Arkema’s Rilsan® Polyamide 11. Thanks to joint R&D efforts between Unitika Fiber and Arkema’s Kyoto Technical Center, scientists were able to develop a new, high-tech thread called Castlon.
Castlon found its first industrial application in March 2009 when it was used in car floor mats. Other applications should soon follow. “Manufacturers of high-performance clothing and sports equipment should be very interested in this fibre” remarks Shigetsugu Kuriiwa, polyamide pellet bio-product applications market manager at Arkema Japan. In October 2009, Unitika Fiber stepped up the development and manufacture of Castlon by opening a new unit at its Okazaki plant, where the group consolidates its production.
Castlon has been successful because it is lightweight, long-lasting, and resistant to stains and shocks. The fibre has all the characteristics that made Rilsan® Polyamide 11 such a hit in other industries. Moreover, Castlon is a plant-based material, making it “naturally” competitive in a market that is concerned about sustainable development.
Rilsan® Polyamide 11 is made from castor oil, and castor crops—unlike cotton—can be grown without irrigation and in semi-arid climates. In addition, the castor plant does not require intensive use of pesticides, nor does it compete with food crops. Indeed, Unitika Fiber chose the name Castlon as a reference to the fibre’s plant origins. “Unitika Fiber wanted to develop a high-performance fibre made from bioplastics and our Rilsan® PA11 met this need perfectly", explains Shigetsugu Kuriiwa. "Many thanks to the skills of our technical polymer R&D staff, Yoshiyuki Shimonishi, development manager and Sophie Chunn, development engineer for successfully coordinating this effort".
Old and new energy crossed paths in the American midwest last week: a new cellulosic ethanol refinery called Project LIBERTYis on the way in for Emmetsburg, Iowa, while the U.S. State Department appears to have shut the door on the notoriousKeystone XL oil pipeline project through Nebraska. The new refinery is being built by the POET biofuel company and it will be the first commercial scale biofuel plant in the U.S. to produce ethanol from dried leaves, stalks and other corn waste. Project LIBERTY represents another step forward in America’s long, slow transition out of high-risk fossil fuels such as the tar sands oil that would have gone through the Keystone pipeline, but it also reveals that there can be some unexpected stumbling blocks along the way.
Biofuels and Rural Economies
First, the good news: Project LIBERTY is only in the early site preparation phase of construction and it is already beginning to create new agricultural jobs in the area, bearing out one key focus of President Obama’s biofuels policy. Aside from the temporary work created during construction, the Twin Cities’ Star Tribunereports that farmers in the Emmetsburg area are hiring extra help to bale and store tens of thousands of tons of dry corn stover (the stalks and other detritus left over from harvest) that will be used in massive quantities by the new refinery when it opens in 2013.
A Bump in the Road for Biofuels
Unfortunately, according to a press release from POET last week, the preliminary stover baling operation has hit a snag. Farmers in the area did gather up an impressive 61,000 tons after this year’s harvest but they haven’t delivered it to the refinery’s storage site. They are waiting for word on the status of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in the 2012 federal budget. A delay could put a major glitch in POET’s ongoing research into the most efficient and sustainable ways to handle large amounts of stover. Republican representatives in Congress have stated their willingness to monkey wrench President Obama’s economic initiatives in order to win the next election, so it’s little wonder that Project LIBERTY Director Jim Sturdevant seemed a little nervous in that press release, closing with a polite but urgent reminder that “Research is paramount to what we’re doing in Emmetsburg.”
Corn Stover and Sustainability
Research into stover handling will be a key factor in Project LIBERTY’s long term viability because, while it is tempting to think of post-harvest leftovers as “free” biomass, crop waste can’t be removed willy-nilly without affecting the long term health of the soil. Jim Lane of Biofuels Digest covers that issue in a recent article onbiofuel profitability, noting that about a ton of stover has to be left in the field for every 2-3 tons harvested, in order to protect the soil. The farmers supplying POET are being somewhat more conservative according to a company-affiliated blog. So far they are removing only about 25 percent of available stover, though that number that could eventually rise (or fall) as more research is gathered.
Biofuels and Fossil Fuels
Sturdevant emphasizes that Project LIBERTY is a direct stakeholder in local farmland preservation, noting that, “Not only do we have to keep a consistent flow of biomass to the facility, we need to ensure that farmers know how to harvest in a manner that maintains soil health.” That’s a clear contrast with the devastation incurred by other energy harvesting operations such as tar sands oil extraction and mountaintop coal mining, so it will be interesting to see what kind of support the farmers of Emmetsburg get in the next federal budget compared to the support traditionally rendered to the fossil fuel industry.
EcoSynthetix Inc. (TSX: ECO), a renewable chemicals company that produces a family of commercially proven bio-based products, today announced that it has commissioned a new 80 million pound production line within the existing facility in Oosterhout, The Netherlands, bringing the Company's current annualized capacity to 155 million pounds. It is the first of two new 80 million pound lines that the Company expects to bring on line by the end of the year. The new Oosterhout line was completed on time and on budget.
"Having additional capacity in our Netherlands facility puts us in a stronger position as we build our customer base globally," said John van Leeuwen, Chairman and CEO of EcoSynthetix. "The strength of our mill trial activity gives us the confidence to continue to build capacity to ensure that we have the capability to meet customer needs. With performance parity relative to competitive products, a significant price advantage and an extremely cost-pressured end market, we believe it is a matter of "when" rather than "if" large-scale adoption of our ECOSPHERE® BIOLATEX® binder takes place within the coated paper and paperboard market."
The new line employs the latest state-of-the-art emulsifier technology, providing EcoSynthetix with higher throughput and improved margins relative to its original two lines. The Company's fourth line is expected to be installed later this year in Tennessee, bringing the total annualized production capacity to 235 million pounds.
The installation of the Oosterhout line follows on the heels of EcoSynthetix commissioning its BIOLATEX® binder pilot plant located at the Company's Centre of Innovation in Burlington, Ontario. The pilot plant is being used for research and development purposes to support new product development. It supports the Company's plans to further penetrate the paper and paperboard industry and expand into new markets, as it continues to displace petrochemical polymers with a low cost, bio-based alternative.
About EcoSynthetix Inc. (www.ecosynthetix.com)
EcoSynthetix Inc. is a renewable chemicals company specializing in bio-based products that can be used as inputs in industrial manufacturing for a wide range of consumer products. The Company's products offer a reduced carbon footprint and are marketed primarily on the basis of lower cost, stable pricing and equal or superior performance. EcoSynthetix's lead product, ECOSPHERE® BIOLATEX® binders, is used commercially by a number of the global top 20 manufacturers in the coated paper and paperboard industry.
'The Global Biodegradable Plastic Packaging Market Will Reach $1.85bn in 2011' Says Visiongain Analyst
The Biodegradable Plastic Packaging Market 2011-2021 is Visiongain's new packaging report. The biodegradable plastic packaging market is gradually gaining significance in the vast global packaging industry. Whilst the recession impacted demand for all types of packaging; upcoming environmental issues and diminishing fossil reserves have raised concerns, resulting in steady growth for biodegradable plastic packaging. Visiongain expects the global packaging market and in particular, the biodegradable plastic packaging market to demonstrate solid growth. Visiongain calculates that the global biodegradable plastic packaging market will reach $1.85bn in 2011.
The emerging economies, which in total maintained positive growth during the crisis, will continue to register strong growth, driving demand for sustainable, eco-friendly biodegradable plastic packaging products in the coming decade. Rising concerns over environmental hazards, carbon footprint emission and waste reduction targets specified by different countries and the trend towards 'green packaging', are the factors likely to boost the market for biodegradable plastic packaging solutions. Contributing further to the growth of the biodegradable plastic packaging market are the factors including consumers and retailers acceptance for eco-friendly packaging; reformation in regulatory trends; support for biobags and biodegradable packaging from retailers; and escalating oil prices boosting the demand for alternative packaging materials.
The biodegradable plastic packaging market was immune to the recent economic downturn as consumers' increasing concerns about personal, as well as environmental, health and wellness continues to drive the need for biodegradable packaging innovations. Moreover, technological advancements related to lightweight packaging will further boost the demand in the industry. Furthermore, key industry players and manufacturers are opting for better materials made from renewable sources for packaging purposes thus keeping them out of the landfills.
Environmental-friendliness and sustainability have become basic qualifying criterions for all packaging products. In this regard, the biodegradable plastic packaging market is at a distinctive advantage since biodegradable plastic naturally has properties which make it one of the easiest materials to recover and recycle, or else decompose in nature. Biodegradable plastic packaging has a competitive advantage over other packaging materials, which makes it easier to recycle, reduce and reuse to raise its eco-friendly profile.
Visiongain forecasts the biodegradable plastic packaging industry to exhibit solid growth, driven by three major drivers - escalating demand for environmentally friendly, sustainable packaging of goods, healthier lifestyles worldwide and rapidly developing emerging markets with growing consumer demand for biodegradable plastic packaging across all submarkets.
U.S. based Myriant Corporation (“Myriant”) and Japan based Sojitz Corporation (“Sojitz”) have signed an agreement for the creation of a sales and marketing partnership to distribute biobased succinic acid in Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan (the “Territory”).
Under the terms of the agreement, Sojitz and Myriant will collaborate in the sales and marketing of biobased succinic acid exclusively in the Territory for applications such as plasticizers, polymers, urethanes and solvents. The agreement combines the strength of Myriant’s biobased succinic acid manufacturing platform with Sojitz’s strong market presence. Sojitz, a US$50 billion company, has a strong presence in chemical sales and marketing and distribution throughout Asia with over 25 sales offices.
“Sojitz’s significant presence in the market provides Myriant with “Best in Class” representation which we expect will drive significant long term value for our biobased succinic acid platform produced in the Territory,” said Dr. Cenan Ozmeral, Chief Operating Officer of Myriant. Sojitz has demonstrated a clear commitment to the market, having invested already in a wide array of products in the field of biobased chemicals. With Sojitz’s sales force and expertise in chemical sales and marketing, we are confident that our partnership will expedite Myriant’s commercial efforts in the Territory.
“This is another significant example of Myriant’s ability to capitalize on global markets where we have demonstrated a clear leadership in the production of cost-effective biobased succinic acid for a wide variety of applications. The combination of Sojitz’s sales and marketing as well as their intent to expand our production capacity were the twin catalysts for this agreement,” said Stephen J. Gatto, Myriant’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“Our plan is to set up a commercial biobased derivatives plant that we expect to come online in 2015, which will consume 150 million pounds of Myriant’s biobased succinic acid,” said Mr. Izutani, General Manager of Functional Materials and Fine Chemicals Department of Sojitz. “By establishing our partnership with Myriant, Sojitz is enhancing its presence in the green chemicals industry in Asia. By gaining access to Myriant’s biobased succinic acid, Sojitz will be in a position to grow its business of green chemical derivatives. We have spent over two years analyzing various technologies for production of biobased succinic acid, and after a detailed review we found, with high confidence, that Myriant has the most cost effective process while delivering the highest quality product.”
Myriant utilizes proprietary technology to provide innovative, performance-based renewable chemicals utilizing low-cost sugars. In December 2010, Myriant broke ground on its 30 million pound commercial succinic acid facility in Lake Providence, Louisiana. The company’s D(-) lactic acid started production at commercial scale in June 2008 for use in polylactic acid. Myriant has agreements with Uhde GmbH for engineering, Davy Process Technology for the integration of Myriant’s succinic acid process with the Davy butanediol process for the production of bio-based butanediol, and PTT Chemical for the commercialization of Myriant’s technology in South East Asia. Myriant is headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. Details are available at www.myriant.com
Sojitz Corporation is a trading corporation based in Tokyo, Japan. It operates globally in a wide range of businesses through its Machinery Division, Energy & Metal Division, Chemicals & Functional Materials Division, and Consumer Lifestyle Business Division. The Sojitz Group, centered on Sojitz Corporation, consists of 501 companies including 143 subsidiaries and affiliates in Japan and 358 overseas. The number of consolidated employees totaled 16,270 (as of June 30, 2011). Details are available at www.sojitz.com
BioAmber, a next-generation chemicals company, and Mitsui & Co., a leading global trading company, have partnered to build and operate the previously announced manufacturing facility in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. The initial phase of the facility is expected to have production capacity of 17,000 metric tons of biosuccinic acid and commence commercial production in 2013. The partners intend to subsequently expand capacity and produce 35,000 metric tons of succinic acid and 23,000 metric tons of 1,4 butanediol (BDO) on the site. Bioamber and Mitsui also intend to jointly build and operate two additional facilities that, together with Sarnia, will have a total cumulative capacity of 165,000 tons of succinic acid and 123,000 tons of BDO. BioAmber will be the majority shareholder in the plants.
BioAmber and Mitsui plan to build and operate a second plant in Thailand, which is projected to come on line in 2014. The partners are currently undertaking a feasibility study for the Thailand plant with PTT MCC Biochem Company Limited, a joint venture established between Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and PTT Public Company Limited. BioAmber and Mitsui & Co. also plan to build and operate a third plant, located in either North America or Brazil, which will be similar in size to the Thailand project.
The partners are combining their respective strengths. BioAmber has developed a proprietary technology platform that combines industrial biotechnology, an innovative purification process and patented catalysts to convert renewable feedstocks into chemical that are cost effective replacements for petroleum-derived chemicals. BioAmber is currently producing and selling succinic acid at a plant in France and has proven the quality and cost competitiveness of its technology without subsidies, using commercial scale fermenters. Mitsui & Co. is one of the largest general trading companies in the world, with a broad presence in the global chemicals market. In addition to its extensive distribution capabilities and market access, Mitsui & Co. is strongly committed to the renewable chemicals industry and has secured renewable feedstock in Brazil, Thailand and other countries as part of its strategic focus on renewable chemicals. In the year ending March 31, 2011, Mitsui had total revenues of $55 billion and net income of $3.6 billion. The company has over 40,000 employees on a consolidated basis and operates 153 offices in 65 countries.
“Our goal is to play a leading role in the growth of renewable chemicals, as evidenced by our recent joint ventures with BioAmber in North America for biosuccinic acid and The Dow Chemical Company in Brazil for biochemicals,” said Masanori Ikebe, General Manager of Mitsui’s Specialty Chemicals Division. “We believe that biosuccinic acid and bio-BDO will experience rapid growth over the next decade, and BioAmber’s technology leadership is an excellent fit with Mitsui’s strength across the supply chain,” he added.
“BioAmber’s partnership with Mitsui & Co. is a strong endorsement of our technology platform,” said Jean-Francois Huc, CEO of BioAmber. “Mitsui is an ideal partner thanks to its long-term commitment to renewable chemistry, its extensive reach into chemical markets and its strategic access to sustainable feedstocks. Mitsui also has the financial strength to support our expansion and help us compete internationally,” he added.
About Mitsui & Co.
Mitsui & Co. Ltd. is one of the largest general trading companies in the world, with 153 offices in 65 countries. Utilizing these global operating locations, networks and information resources, Mitsui is multilaterally pursuing business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing, through to the development of major international infrastructure and other projects in the following fields; Iron & Steel products, Motor Vehicles, Marine & Aerospace, Chemicals, Energy, Food & Retail, Consumer Service, Information, Electronics and Telecommunications, Financial Markets and Transportation Logistics. For more information visit: www.mitsui.co.jp/en
About BioAmber Inc.
BioAmber is a next generation chemicals company. Its proprietary technology platform combines industrial biotechnology, an innovative purification process and chemical catalysis to convert renewable feedstocks into chemicals for use in a wide variety of everyday products including plastics, food additives and personal care products. BioAmber produces bio-succinic acid in what it believes to be one of the world’s largest bio-based chemical manufacturing facilities. For more information, see www.bio-amber.com.
Cereplast, Inc. (Nasdaq:CERP), a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable plastics, has extended its agreement with Italy-based ColorTec S.r.l to supply bioplastic resin to the Italian and Slovenian markets effective November 4, 2011 through December 31, 2012. Under the terms of the agreement, ColorTec is projecting to purchase $20 million of materials in 2012.
"With the signing of this significant agreement, ColorTec intends to purchase $20 million of product in 2012 and becomes Cereplast's main distribution partner in Italy," said Frederic Scheer, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, Inc. "The expansion of this agreement reflects the increasing demand for our bioplastic products in Italy, where we have recently completed the purchase of a manufacturing plant, expected to start production in 2012. We look forward to continuing our already strong relationship with ColorTec to expand our footprint in Italy."
"We have been serving Southern Italy and will be broadening our reach to capture increasing demand in Northern Italy," stated Gaetano Paolillo, chief operating officer of ColorTec. "We find that Cereplast bioplastics provide superior properties compared to other bioplastic resins, providing better performance and improved strength. As such, we expanded our relationship with Cereplast."
Based in Italy, ColorTec is a leader in designing and developing masterbatches for adding colorant to bulk, uncolored resins. Its color and additive masterbatches are used in all major plastic processing methods, including blown and cast films, blownware, injection molding, extrusion coating, wire and cable, pipe and conduit, fiber spinning, among others.
About Cereplast, Inc.
Cereplast, Inc. (Nasdaq:CERP) designs and manufactures proprietary biobased, sustainable plastics which are used as substitutes for traditional plastics in all major converting processes - such as injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding and extrusions - at a pricing structure that is competitive with traditional plastics. On the cutting-edge of biobased plastic material development, Cereplast now offers resins to meet a variety of customer demands. Cereplast Compostables® resins are ideally suited for single-use applications where high biobased content and compostability are advantageous, especially in the food service industry. Cereplast Sustainables® resins combine high biobased content with the durability and endurance of traditional plastic, making them ideal for applications in industries such as automotive, consumer electronics and packaging. Learn more at www.cereplast.com. You may also visit the Cereplast social networking pages at Facebook.com/Cereplast, Twitter.com/Cereplast and Youtube.com/Cereplastinc.
Telles, a joint venture of Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX) and Archer Daniels Midland Company, today announced the appointment of Entec Polymers LLC and Channel Prime Alliance as distributors of Mirel™ for the North American market.
Channel Prime Alliance focuses on providing consistent products and services to meet its customers’ requirements for plastic products across North America. With more than 25 years of industry expertise, Entec is a licensed compounder, recycler and distributor of thermoplastic resins, with a heavy focus on specialty products and applications through all major conversion technologies.
“The Mirel family of bioplastics is an important addition to our portfolio,” said Joe Muhs, General Manager at Channel Prime Alliance. “Mirel will enable us to provide our customers with biobased and biodegradable solutions to meet the increasing demand for sustainable plastic products.”
“We are seeing an increased demand for thermoforming, sheet, and film grade packaging products made with biobased materials like Mirel,” said Andy Vocaire, Manager of Packaging Business Development at Entec. “Our distribution arrangement with Telles enables us to more quickly bring products to the market in order to meet this demand. Mirel bioplastics will play an important role in our growth strategy, and in helping our customers achieve their sustainability initiatives.”
About Channel Prime Alliance
Channel Prime Alliance focuses on plastic, rubber, and elastomer products distribution across North America. We strive to provide consistent products to our customers through service that meets or exceeds their requirements. We also work to maintain the highest level of customer satisfaction ratings. Channel Prime Alliance currently commands a sales force of 42 professionals throughout North America to accommodate our customer's requirements.
About Entec Polymers LLC
Entec Polymers began serving the engineering resins community in 1985. Its mission is to offer cost effective material alternatives to the plastics processing industry by providing distribution services for a variety of products from industry-leading manufacturers. In less than 20 years, Entec had grown to become one of America’s leading resins supplier. Sales professionals with technical expertise help our customers find the best total solution for every project.
About Mirel Bioplastics
Mirel is a family of bioplastic materials that have physical properties comparable to petroleum-based resins, yet are biobased and biodegradable in natural soil and water environments, in home composting systems, and in industrial composting facilities where such facilities are available. The rate and extent of Mirel’s biodegradability will depend on the size and shape of the articles made from it. However, like nearly all bioplastics and organic matter, Mirel is not designed to biodegrade in conventional landfills.
Commercial grades of Mirel are available for injection molding, thermoforming, sheet extrusion and film applications. For more information, please visit www.mirel.com.
Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation-driven bioscience company focused on providing sustainable solutions for the world’s needs for plastics, chemicals and energy. The Company is taking a systems approach, from gene to end product, integrating sophisticated biotechnology with advanced industrial practice. Metabolix is now developing and commercializing Mirel™, a family of high performance bioplastics which are biobased and biodegradable alternatives to many petroleum-based plastics, through Telles, a joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company. Metabolix is also developing biosourced industrial chemicals and a proprietary platform technology for co-producing plastics, chemicals and energy, from crops such as switchgrass, oilseeds and sugarcane.
For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com.
Eastman Renewable Materials, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eastman Chemical Company, announced that it has acquired the assets of TetraVitae Bioscience, Inc., located in Chicago, Ill. TetraVitae is a leading developer of renewable chemicals, including bio-based butanol and acetone. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“This announcement is a demonstration of Eastman’s continued investment in innovation and our commitment to delivering sustainable solutions to our customers,” said Dr. Greg W. Nelson, senior vice president and chief technology officer. “I am confident that TetraVitae’s patented bio-catalysis technology will provide Eastman an excellent platform for the development of a range of bio-based processes that will strengthen our sustainable product offerings.”
“This technology is an excellent example of connecting science and sustainability,” said Godefroy Motte, senior vice president and chief regional and sustainability officer. “This acquisition is an important step in our sustainability journey and will go a long way toward helping us meet our goals for sustainably-advantaged products.”
Eastman recently released its 2011 Sustainability Report, which outlines the company’s current progress as well as measurable economic, environmental and social goals. To learn more, visit www.eastman.com/sustainability.
Eastman’s chemicals, fibers and plastics are used as key ingredients in products that people use every day. Approximately 10,000 Eastman employees around the world blend technical expertise and innovation to deliver practical solutions. The company is committed to finding sustainable business opportunities within the diverse markets and geographies it serves. A global company headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., USA, Eastman had 2010 sales of $5.8 billion. For more information, visit www.eastman.com.
Cobalt Technologies, a leading developer of next generation bio-based chemicals and Rhodia, a specialty chemical company, today announced the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding setting the basis for a strategic alliance to develop bio n-butanol refineries throughout Latin America.
Under the terms of the alliance, Cobalt and Rhodia will work together to deploy Cobalt’s technology for the conversion of sugar cane bagasse into n-butanol for the chemicals and fuels market. The parties will initially develop options for deploying Cobalt’s technology at a sugar mill. Following this first step, the partners will jointly develop a demonstration plant to demonstrate Cobalt’s technology on site in Brazil. Following the demonstration plant the parties intend to construct multiple bio-refineries co-located with sugar mills, first in Brazil and then in other Latin American countries.
This relationship establishes a clear path to commercialization for our technology,” said Rick Wilson, Ph.D., and CEO of Cobalt Technologies. “Rhodia is the perfect partner for expansion into Brazil and Latin America. They have a long history of successful operations in Brazil and have significant experience in sugar mill operations through their ownership of a bagasse-based power plant co-located with a sugar mill. Additionally, Rhodia is a renowned global chemical company, providing us a unique opportunity to market our products internationally through our partnership.”
Bio n-butanol based on bagasse will enlarge our Augeo® range of biosourced solvents and perfectly fits with Rhodia’s sustainable development strategy. We are convinced that Cobalt’s bagasse-based leading-edge technology will provide an unmatched cost advantage over the long term,” said Vincent Kamel, president of Rhodia Coatis Business Unit. “There is undoubtedly a huge potential for bio n-butanol in Latin America and beyond and we are looking forward to building a large international business with Cobalt.”
About Cobalt Technologies
Cobalt is the leading company in the production of low cost bio n-butanol, a platform molecule for the production of renewable chemicals and fuels, from cellulosic feedstocks. Bio n-butanol is a widely used industrial chemical found in paints, lacquers and other surface coatings, with a global market of over $5 billion, approximately eight times the size of the market for isobutanol. By producing low-cost bio n-butanol, Cobalt’s unique technology enables the use of bio n-butanol as a platform molecule for application in a broad array of chemical markets, including the plastics and synthetic rubber markets. Cobalt’s low-cost platform also enables fuels production such as jet fuel, where, Cobalt and the U.S. Navy have jointly developed technology to convert Cobalt’s bio n-butanol into full performance jet fuel and are on track to achieve fuel certification. Cobalt’s technology platform offers a continuous process to efficiently convert diverse non-food feedstocks into biobutanol.Engineered to achieve low costs through its proprietary biocatalyst, advanced bioreactor and energy efficient design and the use of low-cost feedstock, Cobalt is making biobutanol and its derivatives a cost-effective substitute to petroleum-based chemical products. Cobalt is based in Mountain View, CA. Cobalt is backed by leading investors in the cleantech sector, including Pinnacle Ventures, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Parsons & Whittemore, Life Sciences Partners (LSP), @Ventures, Harris & Harris and Burrill and Company.
Rhodia is an international chemical company resolutely committed to sustainable development. As a leader in its businesses, the Group aims to improve its customers’ performance through the pursuit of operational excellence and its ability to innovate. Structured around 11 Global Business Units (GBUs) within 5 business clusters, Rhodia is the partner of major players in the automotive, electronics, flavors and fragrances, health, personal and home care markets, consumer goods and industrial markets. The Group employs around 14,000 people worldwide and generated sales of 5.23 billion in 2010.
Coatis a Rhodia Global Business Unit develops oxygenated solvents and manufactures phenol-based products and derivatives specifically for the worldwide market
SOLVAY is an international industrial Group active in Chemistry. It offers a broad range of products and solutions that contribute to improving quality of life. The Group is headquartered in Brussels and employs about 14,800 people in 40 countries. In 2010, its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 7.1 billion. Solvay is listed on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Brussels, Belgium (NYSE Euronext: SOLB.BE - Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR).
The future of the U.S. ethanol industry depends on its ability to increase yields, be competitive with fossil fuels and fill a growing need for energy independence. Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) is lending its expertise to make that possible.
Fred Michel, a biosystems engineer based on OARDC’s Wooster campus, has been collaborating with Cleveland-based Arisdyne Systems Inc., which developed a technology called hydrodynamic controlled-flow cavitation that enables ethanol plants to produce more renewable fuel from the same amount of corn.
Supported by a $1 million Third Frontier grant awarded in 2008, Arisdyne’s technology is currently installed at four ethanol plants throughout the United States, with several more plants considering implementation. Testing conducted by Michel has proven that Arisdyne’s cavitation system helps increase ethanol yield by 2 to 3 percent -- data critical to convince even more players in the industry to test and adopt this new technology.
The impact can be significant: a 3-percent yield boost can increase the revenue of a 100-million gallon ethanol plant by approximately $3.75 million annually. And if the entire U.S. ethanol industry (13.2 billion gallons in 2010) were to use cavitation, the revenue increase could reach at least $500 million annually.
In addition to testing and validating Arisdyne’s cavitation technology, Michel has assisted in demonstrating the amped-up yield claims at ethanol plants where this technology is being considered. He has also conducted a broad range of experiments to help prove and improve the process.
“At ethanol plants in the United States, corn grain containing between 70 and 73 percent starch is dry-milled, mixed with water and enzymes, fermented and then distilled to ethanol,” said Michel, who has spent time researching biofuel technologies at the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. “While the recovery of starch in commercial ethanol plants is high, as much as 4 percent of the starch remains in the byproducts after fermentation. We are targeting that 4 percent through the use of cavitation.”
Installed at the beginning of the ethanol production process, Arisdyne’s cavitation system breaks open the cell structure of corn particles, releasing trapped starch molecules in the kernel -- more starch means more sugar and, ultimately, more ethanol. This system has the added advantages of easily adapting to existing ethanol plant infrastructure and requiring little energy to run.
This diagram illustrates how cavitation "liberates" more starch from milled corn before it's fermented and distilled to ethanol (courtesy of Arisdyne Systems Inc.).
While maximizing the availability of starch is a key feature of this technology, Michel is also looking at the possible use of cavitation to treat another carbohydrate present in corn that can be turned into ethanol: cellulose. Use of cavitation for cellulosic ethanol production could generate another 3- to 5-percent boost in total fuel production from the same amount of grain delivered to ethanol plants.
Additionally, Michel is investigating the use of cavitation for cellulosic ethanol production from non-edible crops and crop residue, including wheat middlings, wheat and soybean straw, switchgrass and sorghum. “The pre-treatment process involved in cellulosic ethanol production is very expensive, hindering the development of this renewable fuel sector,” he explained. “Cavitation could reduce pre-treatment costs and make the whole process more effective.”
While Arisdyne is a pioneer in the use of cavitation to produce biofuels (successfully using its technology at biodiesel and wastewater plants), it lacked expertise in the ethanol production process when it decided to test the cavitation system in this industry. Conversations with Ohio State agricultural economists and the university’s
Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center led Arisdyne to Michel and, soon after, to the Third Frontier grant application.
“Dr. Michel and OARDC have brought to our team expertise we didn’t have regarding the chemistry of ethanol and the challenges of cellulosic ethanol production,” said Fred Clarke, Arisdyne Systems’ executive vice president. “This relationship has also made available to us very sophisticated lab capabilities, equipment, and staff; testing procedures that are crucial for the success of this project; and the credibility that comes from having an unbiased academic perspective.”
Arisdyne has so far secured more than $7.5 million in private equity funding, including investments from such Ohio entities as Columbus-based Reservoir Venture Partners, Cincinnati- based Queen City Angels, and Cleveland-based Early State Partners. Funding also comes from California-based Chevron Technology Ventures and Georgia-based Cordova Ventures.
The company has created and sustained 13 jobs as a result of this project.
Find out more at http://arisdyne.com/vp/ethanol.htm.
Novomer Inc., a sustainable materials company pioneering a family of high-performance plastics, polymers and other chemicals from renewable feedstocks such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO), today announced that it was selected for a prestigious 2011 ICIS Innovation Award. Lauded as the “Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit,” the company’s revolutionary technology was recognized for using CO2 as raw material to create high-performance polyols for coatings, adhesives, foams, composites and surfactant applications.
The award continues tremendous momentum for Novomer in 2011, having been named among the MIT Tech Review 50 Most Innovative Companies, GoingGreen Global 200 and winning the InformexUSA Profiles in Sustainability Award. Additionally, the company is on track to have its first commercial products enter the coatings market in 2012, a direct result of scale up and applications development efforts supported by more than $20M dollars from the US Department of Energy and numerous industrial partners.
ICIS, the leading global provider of news and information for the chemical and energy sectors, designed the Innovation Awards to recognize those companies that have made significant steps forward in technological and business innovation, with tangible results emerging during 2010 and the earlier part of this year. Celebrating its 8th year, the Awards are open to companies around the world, and judged by a panel of five leading industry experts. In reflecting on this year’s Awards, program founder and Global Editor at ICIS, John Baker stated, “the Awards continue to highlight the best the chemical industry has to offer in the way of innovation and providing solutions to society’s needs.”
“We thank the ICIS organization and the judges for this recognition, and echo their enthusiasm for the state of, and potential for, innovations that can truly have a meaningful, positive impact on the environmental footprint of industrial products,” said Peter Shepard, Novomer Executive Vice President. “Novomer’s innovation is a revolutionary advancement which delivers high performance, cost competitive, sustainable products. We are excited to be on the cusp of commercially launching our first products in coatings early next year. We also expect, based on the flexibility and adaptability of Novomer’s technology, to launch products into other related applications and markets soon thereafter.”
The core to Novomer's innovation is a highly active and selective catalyst that allows CO2, a plentiful and low cost greenhouse gas, to react with commodity petrochemicals to form aliphatic polycarbonate polyols and polymers (APCs). In addition, Novomer has developed proprietary technology encompassing the use of chain transfer agents to precisely control the production of low molecular weight APC polyols for a wide range of industrial and specialty applications. Novomer's products contain up to 50% CO2 by weight and are produced at low temperature and pressure, yielding significant environmental benefits relative to competing materials. From a performance perspective, when compared to traditional plastics, Novomer’s CO2 based thermoplastic polymers have mechanical and barrier properties that make them attractive in a variety of flexible and rigid packaging applications. In addition, Novomer’s CO2 based polyols are well suited as resins for food and beverage can coatings and linings, coil coating, and automotive and industrial finishes. Although still early in the development phase, Novomer polyols have already shown promise in a range of composite resin, adhesive, and polyurethane foam applications.
Novomer (www.novomer.com) is a revolutionary new materials company pioneering a family of low-cost, high-performance, sustainable plastics, polymers and other chemicals. Novomer's groundbreaking technologies allow carbon dioxide and other renewable feedstocks to be cost-effectively transformed into polymers, plastics and other chemicals for a wide variety of industrial markets. The company is partnered with equity investors Flagship Ventures, Physic Ventures, OVP Venture Partners, DSM Venturing and KensaGroup, and has received support from the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the State of New York.
The probiotic yogurt brand Actimel has announced that all of its bottles are now being made from sugarcane-based bioplastics.
Actimel is owned by French food giants Danone, who earlier this year announced a series of major initiatives to reduce the company's CO2 emissions by 30 per cent. This included the adoption of 'green' plastic across its Activia and Danoninho brands.
Actimel’s new bottles are made from a minimum of 95 per cent bioplastic, using Brazilian sugarcane and produced by plastic manufacturers Braskem. According to Danone, just one hectare of sugarcane can produce enough bioplastic for over 550,000 Actimel bottles.
Marketing Director of Danone Dairies UK, Corinne Chant, said, “We are delighted that customers can now buy our new 95 per cent plant-based bottle. Changing the bottle from oil-based to plant-based is a big step for Danone UK and is part of our wider sustainability journey.”
The remaining 5 per cent of each bottle is made up of non plant-based plastic from Danone's production lines and the white bottle colouring. The bottles are non-biodegradable and 100 per cent recyclable, meaning they can be recycled in exactly the same way as plastic milk bottles.
The company also said that using sugarcane to make their bottles does not lead to deforestation, a wider concern associated with bioplastics. According to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), more than 60 per cent of recent sugarcane expansion took place on pasture land, mostly degraded pastures, in South-Central Brazil.
Making the Actimel bottles used just 0.0002 per cent of the total arable land available in Brazil.