“At 1 p.m. MDT yesterday we made history by initiating production of biobased isobutanol at commercial scale,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo. “One year ago, we broke ground with a startup goal of less than 12 months and we’ve succeeded. It’s an extremely proud moment for Gevo and a tribute to the drive and ambition of our scientists, chemical engineers and production team.”
“The startup of our Luverne plant represents a major milestone for the industry and validation of our commitment to commercially produce biobased isobutanol in the first half of 2012,” said Gruber. “The next milestone will be to successfully ship product to our customers.”
Gevo retrofitted the Luverne plant to incorporate its proprietary yeast and Gevo Integrated Fermentation Technology® (GIFT®) system to produce biobased isobutanol. Through initial operation of the Luverne plant, Gevo expects to advance its learning of large-scale production of renewable isobutanol at the site maintaining a goal of producing isobutanol at a run rate of approximately 1 million gallons per month by yearend 2012. Per its previous guidance, Gevo expects to reach full-capacity run rates by yearend 2013. “This ramp up in production is actually fast for a new technology,” said Gruber. “It would be much longer and present more execution risk if this were a greenfield plant. I like this retrofit approach.”
“This is only the beginning for Gevo as we work toward our first shipment to Sasol and increasing production over the coming months,” added Gruber. “As with all plant startups we will face challenges. However, we have an outstanding team, many of whom have been through similar startups before, to address and meet these challenges. We look forward to growing into a very large business.”
GraalBio Licenses Beta Renewables' PROESA Process to Build Brazil's First Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Plant
GraalBio Investimentos S.A. and Beta Renewables announced that GraalBio will build Brazil's first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, with a planned start of operations by the end of 2013. The plant, with a production capacity of 65,000 metric tons per year (22 million gallons) will use Beta's PROESA© technology to deliver cost-competitive ethanol while using non-food cellulosic biomass as its feedstock. PROESA is the same technology as will be used at the world's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, expected to start operations in the second half of 2012. Chemtex, a division of the leading chemical firm Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G) will provide engineering services, key equipment and technical field services. This announcement follows the initial October 2011 announcement of a collaboration between the firms.
The plant will be built at Nord Est, Alagoas, Brazil, starting this summer, next to an existing plant that produces bio-ethanol from sugarcane; the two plants will share utilities. The plant will use sugarcane straw and bagasse as feedstock, sourced locally. Additionally, the plant will generate its own power, by using the lignin produced as a byproduct of the PROESA process.
"We applaud GraalBio's vision in choosing the PROESA process to produce second-generation bioethanol," said Guido Ghisolfi, CEO, Beta Renewables. "We believe that PROESA technology will let producers see superior returns on their investments, while enabling more sustainable production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals."
International sustainable resins supplier Cardia Bioplastics was selected as development partner to help Sealed Air bring break through environmental performance to customers with its innovative Fill-Air® inflatable packaging. The new Fill-Air R5® brand expresses Sealed Air's environmental commitment to renewable and recycled content, plus reduced, re-used and re-cycled product.
Cardia Bioplastics Managing Director Dr. Frank Glatz said that the main design goals were to reduce the need on petroleum based resins and to maintain the packaging integrity of the Fill-Air® protective void fill cushions. There were two key aspects to the success of this collaborative product development process. "First, our Cardia BiohybridTM resin enabled Sealed Air to reduce their dependency on non-renewable petroleum based resins by 10% and the incorporation of 10% pre-consumer recycled content, meant that this new film reduced the need for petroleum based resins by 20%, as compared to the Fill-Air® Select and Ultra films," he said. "The second aspect of Sealed Air's performance standards presented a greater technical challenge. The Cardia BiohybridTM resin had to meet precision performance standards during both the manufacture of the film and later at the point of use, when the film is inflated and used as void fill."
At the point of use for Sealed Air customers, this sustainable film delivers robust performance in demanding conditions. It must provide high speed processing on the Sealed Air range of Fill-Air® systems and excellent sealability to ensure good air retention, while protecting the packaged goods in transit.
David Weiss, Business Manager for Sealed Air said: "When it comes to sustainability, we focus on the total life cycle of our products and the products we protect. Our strategy involves understanding the beginning and end of life, in addition to the performance during use. The new Fill-Air R5® film addresses all of these areas."
The new Fill-Air R5® film is designed for use on the Sealed Air Fill-Air® 2000 and Fill-Air Cyclone® packaging systems to quickly create air-filled cushions for void-fill applications. These systems are fast and easy to operate delivering air-filled cushions on demand for excellent protection and efficient void filling, while reducing material and shipping costs.
Cardia BiohybridTM resins combine renewable thermoplastics with polyolefin material to reduce dependence on finite oil resources and to reduce carbon footprint. The renewable material is derived from corn crop grown for industrial use that will be replenished in the next growing season.
"Working closely with the Sealed Air team, we contributed to making their commitment to the "five R's" (renewable source, recycled content, reduce material, reuse, and recycled) a reality. Sealed Air is another example of a major market leader taking the initiative to reduce consumption of virgin petroleum based resin - in this case by a significant 20%," said Dr. Frank Glatz.
Cardia Bioplastics has announced the launch of the Cardia Compostable Bubble Wrap. Cardia Compostable Bubble Wrap extends the product range made from Cardia’s certified compostable resins into protective packaging.
Working closely with a European manufacturer of protective packaging Cardia Bioplastics has developed Compostable Bubble Wrap made from its certified compostable resin and launches it into the European market.
Cardia Compostable Bubble Wrap provides comparable protective packaging performance to traditional bubble wrap with the added advantage of being made from certified compostable resin, thereby offering industrial composting as an alternative end of life option.
Bubble wrap is widely used in storage and transport to protect fragile and sensitive items. Its usage has significantly increased over the years including within transport packaging for perishable items such as fruit, vegetable, plants and flowers.
Perishable items protected in transport by traditional bubble wrap will benefit from the use of Cardia Compostable Bubble Wrap. In the case of product spoilage, companies currently separate the perished goods from the traditional bubble wrap and dispose of the items in separate waste streams or discard the packaged product in general waste.
Using Cardia Compostable Bubble Wrap companies now have the option to dispose both the perished item and the Cardia Compostable Bubble Wrap packaging without separating them in a green waste stream using industrial composting. This solution offers environmental benefits and systems cost savings.
Cardia Compostable resins are proprietary high performance materials that deliver packaging products of excellent mechanical strength, outstanding elongation properties and toughness. They are independently certified biodegradable and compostable to Europe EN13432, USA ASTM D6400, Australia AS4736, and Japan Green Pla standards.
CSM, Royal DSM and Delft University of Technology invest in Bioprocess Pilot Facility for bio-research
CSM, Royal DSM and Delft University of Technology are participating in a joint venture for bioprocess research. The new company Bioprocess Pilot Facility BV (BPF) is based in Delft and aims at scale-up research and education for next generation bioprocesses. The official opening of the facility is today May 15, 2012.
In this facility process development research can be facilitated in the entire field of biomass pre-processing, biomass pre-treatment, fermentation and downstream processing. The set up of this facility starts with equipment already existing on the site of DSM, which will be brought in into the Joint Venture. Additional equipment and facilities, especially related to the pre-treatment of biomass, will be implemented in the coming 12-18 months.
The BPF is an open access facility where other companies, universities, institutes etc. can execute their scale-up research on bioprocesses. CSM, DSM and Delft University of Technology have decided to join forces in order to obtain a world class facility to test new bioprocesses in the scaling-up from laboratory and pilot plant to industrial size.
Eric Roos, the newly appointed director of the BPF says: "The BPF is a unique facility which enables companies, researchers and educational organizations around the world to test their new bioprocesses on such a scale that they can make the step to an industrial facility".
The Bioprocess Pilot Facility is financially supported by the European Union, The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, the Province of South Holland and the Municipalities of Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague.
Mr Gerard Hoetmer (CEO CSM), Mr Feike Sijbesma (CEO DSM) and Mr DirkJan van den Berg (President of the Technical University of Delft) stressed the importance of this top quality research facility in The Netherlands, especially in view of the opportunities that the innovative and sustainable bio- and knowledge-based-economy is
providing to The Netherlands.
Also Mr Chris Buijink, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation underpinned that this research facility is exactly in the core of the innovation spearheads (Top Sectoren) of the Dutch innovation policy.
In cooperation with project partners from BASF, Munich Technical University, and the University of Hamburg, scientists at Siemens’ global research unit Corporate Technology developed an alternative for the standard polystyrene-based acrylonitrite-butadiene-styrene (ABS) polymer, which is frequently used for consumer products.
The new composite material, a competitive alternative to ABS, contains polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which is made from renewable raw materials such as palm oil and starch. Since PHB is brittle, polypropylene carbonate (PPC) from BASF is added to make it softer.
PPC consists of 43% carbon dioxide (by weight), which is obtained from power plant emissions using a separation process. In addition to being transparent, biodegradable, and resistant to light, PPC can be easily processed.
More than 70% of the new mixture is made of green polymers. The new material is a suitable alternative for ABS in practice, as demonstrated by Bosch-Siemens-Hausgeräte (BSH), which used it to make a vacuum cleaner cover under series-production conditions. In cooperation with BSH and BASF, the Siemens researchers now want to examine whether they can replace other types of plastic used by BSH with CO2-based composite materials.
The new material is the result of a three-year project on research into CO2 as an ingredient for polymers, funded by the German Research Ministry.
A team of students from the University of Manchester, UK, has been awarded an international sustainability prize by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) in recognition of a university design project based on turning corn waste into succinic acid.
The seven-strong team that clinched the inaugural McNab-Lacey Student Design prize was made up of final-year students Liam Booth, Maryam Ojetola, Sarah Bickerton, Richard Gowers, Sophie Wilkinson, Vanessa Suniggi and Andrew Harrison, all of whom have now graduated from Manchester. They were mentored through their project by chemical engineering professor Colin Webb. The prize is open to final-year chemical engineering students from IChemE accredited universities across the globe, rewarding the project that best contributes to a sustainable world.
Their winning project involved designing a process for producing succinic acid from corn waste using the microorganisim Actinobacillicus succinogenes. Malcolm Wilkinson, chair of the IChemE Sustainability Special Interest Group and head of the judging panel, says that the team had “clearly taken the idea of sustainability right through the project, from the initial concept to the final design.” Wilkinson presented the team with a cheque for £700.
When asked what they had taken from the project the team explained that it had given them an appreciation of how “incredibly iterative” the design process is, and spoke of how hard – and rewarding – it is to work with a team under incredibly stressful conditions.
“If you couldn’t adapt,” they said, “you couldn’t get through it.”
Less than half of the teams vying for the award came from UK universities, with two entries coming in from Malaysia and a much-commended effort from Singapore Polytechnic clinching second place.
IChemE CEO David Brown says that he was impressed with the winning project: “ This project is a great example of how chemical engineers are leading the transition to a low carbon economy and are helping to tackle the impact of climate change. Encouraging chemical engineering students to think about this and sustainable ways of working is key to ensuring they take a similar mindset into their professional careers.”
Biopolymers are manufactured using raw materials extracted from corns, wheat, and sugar canes, while plastic is produced out of petroleum.
SK Chemicals has been taking the lead in developing and commercializing eco-friendly and high-quality plastic materials. SK Chemicals launched diverse biopolymer products such as ECOTRAN, PURATAN, ECOPLAN, and ECOZEN. SK Chemicals has been reaping visible outcomes since it started operation of processing raw materials and manufacturing in February this year. Notably, SK Chemicals’ ECOZEN passed Japans’ quality standards and was commercialized in Japan. ECOZEN is eco-friendly bioplastic, which is manufactured out of raw materials extracted from corns and wheat.
On April 26, Lotte Group’s affiliates Honam Petrochemical Corporation and KP Chemical have decided to cooperate with Japan-based Toyota Tsusho Corporation and produce PET (polyethylene terephthalate) using bio-materials, starting June. Toyota Tsusho Corporation will purchase and process bioethanol which is refined from sugar canes and supply bioethanol to Honam Petrochemical for three years. KP chemical will be taking charge in selling PET. “KP Chemical aims to generate 139.5 billion won ($123.31 million) in sales of PET by a year after the operation,” a KP Chemical official said.
Kumho Petrochemical is also eyeing on bioethanol-related business, which is a base material for biopolymers.
DaniMer Scientific and Standridge Color Corporation have Longstanding Partnership to Produce Biopolymers
DaniMer Scientific, LLC and fellow Georgia-based company, Standridge Color Corporation, continue to develop their partnership through their commitment to producing biopolymers in the Czech Republic for DaniMer’s European customers. The two companies have collaborated for almost ten years and continue to expand their relationship through DaniMer’s use of Standridge Color’s manufacturing capabilities in the Czech Republic. Standridge Color is the leader in providing services to the thermoplastics processing industry and offers standard colors, custom colors, custom compounds, additive concentrates, custom resins and special dispersions.
“We have been working with Standridge Color for many years and have always respected their hard work and enjoyed collaborating with their team,” said Scott Tuten, Vice President of DaniMer Scientific. “Standridge Color continues to be a significant asset to DaniMer due to their flawless ability to produce our proprietary biopolymer compositions as well as interact with our international client base. We look forward to the future and further enabling our successful partnership with Standridge Color to best serve our customers as we continue to seek to provide cost effective, high performance biopolymer materials for the European market.”
Standridge Color has headquarters in Social Circle, Georgia, as well as national manufacturing facilities in Georgia, Kansas and Ohio and two warehousing facilities in Texas and New Jersey. Standridge Color’s international manufacturing facilities are in China and the Czech Republic.
About Standridge Color Corporation
Standridge Color Corporation is a leader in providing services to the Thermoplastics processing industry by offering a single source for standard colors, custom colors, custom compounds, additive concentrates, custom resins and special dispersions with an expansive range of support and technical expertise.
Standridge Color Corporation manufactures colors, additive concentrates, custom resins, and specialty dispersions for blow molding and injection molding application. The company offers custom color, single pigment, and additive master-batch formulations. It serves olefin, polyester, high density polyethylene, ABS, nylon, acrylic, polycarbonate, polycarbonate/ABS alloy, TPO, fiber, film, and rotational molding industries, as well as automotive, appliance housings, packaging, house-wares, luggage, electronics, construction, power tool housings, and closures industries. Standridge Color Corporation was founded in 1973 and is based in Social Circle, Georgia. The company has facilities in Social Circle, Greensboro, and Dalton, Georgia; Newton, Kansas; Defiance, Ohio; and Suzhou, China.
About DaniMer Scientific
DaniMer Scientific, an international corporation, believes people’s lives can be improved and the environment can be better protected by utilizing renewable resources to manufacture articles that are intended for short-term use. One of the company’s goals is to reduce dependence on petroleum, enabling people and communities to benefit from environmentally-friendly products. For more information about DaniMer Scientific, please visit: www.danimer.com.
The Obama Administration announced its commitment to strengthening bioscience research as a major driver of American innovation and economic growth. The National Bioeconomy Blueprint outlines steps that agencies will take to drive the bioeconomy—economic activity powered by research and innovation in the biosciences—and details ongoing efforts across the Federal government to realize this goal.
The bioeconomy emerged as an Administration priority because of its tremendous potential for growth and job creation as well as the many other societal benefits it offers. A more robust bioeconomy can enable Americans to live longer and healthier lives, develop new sources of bioenergy, address key environmental challenges, transform manufacturing processes, and increase the productivity and scope of the agricultural sector while generating new industries and occupational opportunities.
A growing U.S. population requires increased health services and more material resources including food, animal feed, fiber for clothing and housing, and sources of energy and chemicals for manufacturing. Recent advances in the biological sciences are allowing more and more of these needs to be met not with petroleum-based products and other non-renewable resources but with materials that are quite literally home-grown. Indeed, the convergence of biology with engineering and other sciences—including physics, chemistry, and computer sciences—is proving to have tremendous power to generate new scientific discoveries, new products, new markets, and new high-skilled jobs. The benefits can be seen in every sector of the economy, from agriculture to healthcare and from energy production to environmental monitoring and stewardship. Biobased materials are also proving to be excellent and sustainable substitutes for hydrocarbon-based raw materials in a number of industrial and manufacturing processes.
Research is a key component, but it’s not enough to ensure a successful American bioeconomy. In the biomedical domain, public-private partnerships can help the Nation achieve the twin goals of improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. Updated bioeconomy-related education and training efforts can better equip a 21st century workforce with the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive global arena.
And unnecessary or overly burdensome regulatory barriers must be removed to accelerate the advancement of bioinventions from laboratories to marketplaces while ensuring adequate attention to environmental and health concerns that may be raised by scientists’ new facility with biological systems. The Bioeconomy Blueprint outlines five strategic imperatives for a bioeconomy with the potential to generate new markets and economic growth:
- Support R&D investments that will provide the foundation for the future bioeconomy.
- Facilitate the transition of bioinventions from research lab to market, including an increased focus on translational and regulatory sciences.
- Develop and reform regulations to reduce barriers, increase the speed and predictability of regulatory processes, and reduce costs while protecting human and environmental health.
- Update training programs and align academic institution incentives with student training for national workforce needs.
- Identify and support opportunities for the development of public-private partnerships and precompetitive collaborations—where competitors pool resources, knowledge, and expertise to learn from successes and failures.
Although progress is being made in all of these areas, the Blueprint calls upon Federal agencies to accelerate their efforts to harness the biological sciences for the benefit of the Nation.
nnovia Films' compostable, cellulose-based material, NatureFlex, is helping a New Zealand coffee roaster meet its commitment to being socially and environmentally responsible.
Caffe Prima, based in Christchurch, has chosen to use Econic coffee bags. The bags were specifically developed by New Zealand converter, Convex Plastics, using NatureFlex renewable and compostable films in their construction.
"Coffee is a very demanding product to package because maintaining freshness and taste is absolutely paramount. Packs have to be puncture and impact resistant and offer high barrier and good seal integrity to keep oxygen out and aroma in. Coupled with this, Caffe Prima was looking for a solution that was kind to the environment. NatureFlex ticked all the boxes as far as we were concerned," said Andrew Sheerin, technical manager at Convex Plastics.
A laminate construction was produced using three flexible films that are certified compostable and renewable: a reverse printed clear NatureFlex, high-barrier metallised NatureFlex and a starch-based biopolymer.
"Achieving success with partners such as Convex means that our NatureFlex films are well positioned to provide solutions to converters and brand owners. Especially those seeking to meet consumer demand for packaging made from renewable resources," said Robin Dearnley, Australia and New Zealand sales manager for Innovia Films.
NatureFlex films are certified to meet the American ASTM D6400, European EN13432 and Australian AS4736 standards for compostable packaging. The wood pulp is sourced from managed plantations from referenced suppliers operating good Forestry principles (FSC or equivalent). The renewable biobased content of NatureFlex films is typically 95% by weight of material according to ASTM D6866. NatureFlex has been confirmed as suitable for emerging 'waste-to-energy' techniques such as anaerobic digestion, aiding the diversion of organic wastes from landfill.
NatureFlex was an obvious solution for use in this application as the film begins life as a natural product - wood - and breaks down at the end of its lifecycle in a home compost bin (or industrial compost environment) within a matter of weeks.