Natural Plastics

News about the bioplastics industry

Cellulac to produce up to 100,000 tonnes of lactic acid per year

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Cellulac intends  to produce Lactic Acid and Polylactic Acid for biodegradable plastics, Ethyl Lactate, a green solvent, and Sodium Lactate. The Company has produced lactic acid at a pilot plant in Potsdam, Germany. It expects to ramp up production at the facility initially to 20,000 tonnes per annum, which will have a revenue value in excess of €40 million, for export by the end of 2015. Operations are expected to commence by June 2014.

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Project Highlights:

Production of lactic acid at 40% below current producers costs
Flexibility to use agricultural and brewery waste as well as dairy by-products
Phase 1 (20,000 tonnes) to provide 30 full time jobs
Phase 2 (100,000 tonnes) to increase to 60 full time jobs
$1.6 billion market for lactic acid based biochemicals
Market growth forecast at 20% per annum until 2025

The proprietary end-to-end platform involves the integration of a number of complementary technologies that cellulac has acquired or developed. These include enzyme cocktails, fermentation protocols, non-genetically modified bacteria (non-GMO) and SoniqueFloTM, all of which are protected by an extensive portfolio of 136 patents (granted and pending).

Gerard Brandon Chief Executive Officer of cellulac said: “Ireland has a world-wide reputation for quality food ingredients derived from the agricultural sector. It is fitting, therefore, that we are at the forefront of the new bio-economy sector. With the support of the European Union we will convert, part of what was until recently, the 2nd largest brewery in Ireland into what will be the largest producer of lactic acid from agricultural waste and dairy by-products. This will not only directly breath new opportunity into Dundalk by creating 30 jobs, but it will also indirectly support agricultural jobs in the rural community and generate local taxes that will benefit the area.”

“Today’s agreement is an important step in accelerating our plans for commercial production. We look forward to commissioning the retrofitted and repurposed facility by mid-2014.”

Sean Sherlock T.D. Minister for Science & Innovation commented: “I am delighted at this announcement by the company of its plans to create 30 new jobs for Dundalk.This is a shining example of EU and Government supporting science and innovation to cross-over to industry. We are delighted to be involved in this environmentally friendly project that not only creates new jobs, increases GDP and exports but contributes to the reduction of our Country’s lower carbon emission targets to benefit the community as a whole.”

Source:  Cellulac

Laurel BioComposite LLC earns USDA Certified Biobased Product Label

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imageLaurel BioComposite LLC announced it has earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label for its Bio-Res™ PE and Bio-Res™ powder products. The company first introduced the biomaterial in 2011 as a cost-effective, green replacement with improved performance properties for traditional petroleum-based resins in a variety of plastics manufacturing processes.

The BioPreferred label assures customers that Laurel BioComposite products contain bio-materials in the amounts specified. The company’s newly certified products also are part of the Federal procurement preference program and may help achieve Materials & Resource Credits 6 (MR-6) as well as additional credit categories related to LEED certification.

Tim Bearnes, CEO of Laurel BioComposites comments: “One of our goals in bringing our new product to life and helping to establish it in the mainstream marketplace is to guarantee that the information we provide about the bio-content, renewability and sustainability of Bio-Res PE and Bio-Res powder is credible and accurate,” . “The independent assessment, verification and reporting of the USDA’s BioPreferred program is important and helps us achieve that objective.”

"We are proud that Laurel BioComposite has earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label," says Ron Buckhalt, USDA BioPreferred program manager. "Biobased products add value to renewable agriculture commodities, create jobs in rural communities and help our nation decrease its reliance on foreign-sourced and non-renewable petroleum."

The USDA BioPreferred program was created by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill), and expanded by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill). The purpose is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. The United States Department of Agriculture manages the program. Products that meet the USDA BioPreferred program requirements carry a distinctive label for easier identification by the consumer. To learn more about the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label please visit www.biopreferred.gov, and follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BioPreferred.

Laurel BioComposite Bio-Res products are able to economically raise the renewable or “green” content of plastic products by as much as 40 percent. The biomaterial is available in pellet formulations which blend easily with polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid and polyhydroxyalkanoates matrices. The product has been tested to replace 20 to 40 percent of the neat resin in a variety of manufacturing processes. Master batch pellets provide easy drop in to thermoplastics formulations. Bio-Res PE is especially suited for single-use products as well as applications for a variety of industries including shipping, lawn and garden, agriculture and automotive.

Source: www.biofpr.com

BASF produces first commercial volumes of butanediol from renewable raw material

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image BASF has produced its first commercial volumes of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable raw material, and is offering this product to customers for testing and commercial use. The production process relies on a patented fermentation technology from Genomatica, based in California. The fermentation process uses dextrose as a renewable feedstock. The quality of BDO based on renewable raw material is comparable to petrochemical-based BDO. BASF plans to expand its portfolio with selected BDO derivatives based on renewable feedstock, including Polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF®).

BDO and its derivatives are used for producing plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibers for the packaging, automotive, textile, and sports and leisure industries, among others. The starting materials for the production of conventional BDO are natural gas, butane, butadiene and propylene. BASF currently produces BDO and BDO equivalents at its sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Geismar, Louisiana; Chiba, Japan; Kuantan, Malaysia; and Caojing, China. In July BASF announced to increase its global capacities for BDO to 650,000 metric tons and for PolyTHF to 350,000 metric tons within the coming two years.

Source: www.basf.com

DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products Expands Distribution of Susterra® 1,3-Propanediol

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dupont tate lyle bio logo DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products Company, LLC,  has selected Archway Sales, Inc. as a distributor to represent the Susterra ® 1,3-propanediol product line in the U.S. market . With the additional states of Arizona , California, Idaho, Montana , Nevada, New Mexico , Oregon and Washington added to their existing area; Archway now covers the entire United States as authorized distributor for Susterra ® .

" We are pleased to continue expanding our ability to provide our customers with a full range of products across the United States" Archway President David Baumstark  said. " Archwayhas been a proven partner to our growing sales of Susterra ® in the market for polyurethanes ," commented Steve Hurff , VP of Marketing & Sales , DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products .

Susterra ® 1,3-propanediol offers  leading manufacturers the possibility of replacing petroleum-derived materials with high-performance , bio-based solutions that can significantly reduce the environmental impact of their products.

Source: DuPont Tate and Lyle Bio Products Company

Cereplast Launches reVive™ Bioplastic Resins on America Recycles Day

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cereplast logo Cereplast , Inc. a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased , compostable and sustainable bioplastics will launch  reVive™ bioplastic resins next 15 November 2013, America Recycles Day . This new line of products is part of Cereplast Sustainables ® family of resins and uses post-industrial and post-consumer plastics to produce bioplastics . These revolutionary resins are the first bioplastics to combine recycled polymers with bio-based resins for improved sustainability with each other , reducing the carbon footprint for this type of bioplastic by the environmental benefits of recycling plastic.

The first three commercially available grades in the reVive line combine polypropylene ( PP) with vegetable starch and are reVive R625D with 25 % bibased content , reVive R650D  with 51% organic ingredients and reVive R610D , an impact modified grade with no bio-content that takes recycled PP and enhances its properties, answering the increased demand for clean, recycled PP.

Cereplast Chairman and CEO Mr. Frederic Scheer stated, “Cereplast is committed to its quest for higher sustainability and we are always looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our product offerings. Not only does adding recycled materials to our bioplastic resins improve the overall environmental benefits, we hope that it also encourages further recycling of PP, for which recycling is typically very low. We are offering the reVive line as an answer to the demands of market, which in the USA is geared toward an increased use of recycled material. In addition, reVive will be close to parity with traditional recycled material, while offering a superior carbon footprint for companies that are interested in enhanced sustainability. We are excited to launch reVive on America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to
promoting recycling programs in the United States.”

Source: www.cereplast.com

First 100% biobased T-shirts from recycled PEF bottles

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Avantium has made another breakthrough with its PEF (or polyethylene furanoate). It has demonstrated that PEF can also be used to make fibers, and even that PEF bottles can be recycled into PEF fibers. These PEF fibers from recycled PEF bottles have been processed into 100% biobased T-shirts.

 

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The PEF fiber spinning and fabric weaving and dyeing was performed by the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University, using conventional polyester processing technology and equipment. The fiber market is an important recycling outlet for today’s PET packaging, and the results presented today show similar end-of-life solutions that can be applied for PEF. During the World Cup 2010 in South Africa, shorts and jerseys made from recycled petroleum-based PET bottles were introduced by Nike for the national soccer teams of Brazil, Japan, England, the Netherlands and Team USA, saving petroleum based raw materials and reducing energy consumption by an estimated 30%. PEF T-shirts made from 100% biobased and recycled material would be the next step in sustainability, reducing dependence on petroleum and further decreasing the carbon footprint of apparel.

“These first PEF T-shirts are yet another important step in the development and commercialization of PEF as a 100% biobased and recyclable material”, comments Tom van Aken, Avantium CEO. “The production of the first biobased PEF T-shirts produced from recycled bottles, adds apparel and sportswear to the many potential outlets of PEF. With its reduced carbon footprint, and improved performance, PEF is truly the sustainable plastic material of the future.”

Since 2011 Avantium is developing PEF bottles with its partners The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA. Recently Avantium signed a partnership with Wifag-Polytype for the development of thermoformed PEF containers, drinking cups and trays.

Source: www.avantium.com

Biome Bioplastics serves up compostable coffee pods

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Biome Bioplastics has helped to develop a biodegradable coffee pod, offering one of the first sustainable packaging alternatives in the single-serve market.

The global coffee capsule market is worth $6.6bn and is considered to be a rare bright spot in the global food and drink industry. There are now around 50 different coffee pod or capsule systems on the market, but their convenience comes at a price.

 

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An estimated 9.1 billion single-serve coffee and drink cartridges wind up in US landfills every year, amounting to some 19 million cubic feet of waste. Coffee-pod machines are also increasingly popular in Britain with usage up by 45.1% between February 2012 and 2013, equating to around 186m capsules.

Unfortunately, single serve coffee pods are not easily recyclable. Mixed material pods are sent to landfill and those brands that do offer a recycling service have few recycling points and limited collection service. With mounting pressure around the environmental impact of their success, the coffee industry urgently needs more sustainable packaging options.

In response to this challenge, Biome Bioplastics has developed a portfolio of compostable materials for coffee pods based on renewable, natural resources including plant starches and tree by-products. These bioplastics will degrade to prescribed international standards in composting environments.

Biome Bioplastics CEO Paul Mines explains:

Single–serve coffee pods are an excellent example of the fundamental role that packaging plays in delivering quality and convenience in the food service sector. The challenge is to reduce environmental impact through packaging optimisation without impacting on food quality or safety, or inconveniencing the customer. Bioplastics are an important part of the solution.

Based on the success of the biodegradable pods, Biome Bioplastics is working with manufacturing and brand partners to develop a number of natural polymer-based solutions for the hot drinks industry, with further announcements expected in the coming months.

Source: Biome Bioplastics

NatureWorks Introduces Its Next Generation Polymer Grade Lactide

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image NatureWorkshas announced  world scale availability of its new Ingeo M700, a high-purity, polymer-grade lactide rich in meso-lactide. Ingeo M700 has been designed to package and deliver performance and functionality all in one unique molecule. This is different than previous industry approaches, which have attempted to deliver the functionality requested by the market with mixtures of two different materials, L-lactide and D-lactide.

“A few producers have offered what is described chemically as racemic or ‘DL’ lactide,” said Dr. Manuel Natal, global segment leader for lactide derivatives at NatureWorks. “Compared to those lactides, Ingeo M700 is a next generation solution in terms of processing efficiency, cost effectiveness and, in a number of applications, higher end-product performance.”

Ingeo M700 lactide can be used as an intermediate for copolymers, amorphous resins, grafted substrates, resin additives and modifiers, adhesives, coatings, elastomers, printing toners, surfactants, thermosets and solvents. Ingeo M700’s melting point is below 60°C, compared to racemic lactide’s melting point of nearly 130°C, and L- and D-lactide’s around 97°C. Providing a product with a lower melting point allows NatureWorks to supply processors with a more effective chemical intermediate on a number of different levels. For example, because of its lower processing temperatures, Ingeo M700 offers more energy efficient and generally easier manufacturing processes to deliver ester functionality and, because it is effectively an anhydrous form of lactic acid, processors will not have to deal with water when using Ingeo M700.

Ingeo M700 is up to two times more susceptible to ring-opening reactions than L-, D- or racemic lactides, which can mean less catalyst usage, lower reaction temperatures, faster reaction time and improved throughput. It can be processed below 80°C, which under most circumstances eliminates the need to handle expensive solid particles and allows easier processing.

Source: Nature Works

New biopolymers suitable for injection moulding developed by Novamont

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novamont logo DI01A and DI02A are the names of two new biopolymer grades developed by Novamont and presented at the K 2013 fair. The new products, which contain a high proportion of renewable materials, are compostable, and are approved for contact with foodstuffs. They also offer moulding performance levels very similar to those of polypropylene, and can be used to produce complex items, including thin or large ones. "The availability of these new biopolymers opens up some important opportunities in the sector of disposable products for catering.

This development has also made it possible to develop even more sustainable solutions that offer innovative mechanical, thermo-mechanical, production and aesthetic features and performance levels. The high aethetic quality and unmistakeable "feel" of these new materials are also bound to represent a great source of inspiration for designers, including industrial designers, who, embarking on the development of environmentally sustainable objects and products, will find themselves enjoying greater freedom and confidence in the final performance level", remarked Alessandro Ferlito, sales manager at Novamont.

Source: Novamont

BIOPLAST 500 resin for film application 51% biobased carbon according to ASTM D6866 and OK compost HOME

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BIOTEC has  presented a real breakthrough in biodegradable bioplastic resins fit for film applications during the K 2013.

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With a biobased carbon share of more than 50% and intended suitable for film applications, the new BIOPLAST 500 is a real forerunner on the bioplastics market. Biodegradable bags are ready to meet the challenges of European waste disposal regulations that now require more than 40% biobased contents.

The OK compost HOME certification also allows BIOPLAST bags to fulfil the demands of waste disposal policies that strongly put the stress on home composting.

Source: Biotec

BASF inaugurates new facility for plant biotechnology research in Ghent, Belgium

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BASF has opened a new facility in the Ghent region, one of the leading centers for European plant biotechnology research. BASF’s subsidiary CropDesign has moved into a new wing of the Bio-Accelerator building in Technologiepark Ghent. The facility comprises 4,000 square meters for labs and offices and a state-of-the-art rooftop greenhouse.

“BASF benefits from the close proximity to excellent world renowned institutions like VIB – the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology,” said Peter Eckes, President of BASF Plant Science. “The move helps strengthen our research collaborations with local partners and demonstrates BASF’s commitment to modern agricultural solutions.”

Daniël Termont, mayor of the City of Ghent, and other guests from politics, business and academia took part at the opening ceremony. “Ghent is a birth place of plant biotechnology and provides some of its best innovations. We are glad that CropDesign is part of this important science hub,” said Daniël Termont.

The new facility in the recently constructed wing two of the Bio-Accelerator building includes four floors with labs and offices, one technical floor plus a rooftop greenhouse of 600 square meters for rice research and product development. Altogether the new facility comprises 4,000 square meters.

“Since the acquisition by BASF in 2006, CropDesign has doubled its workforce and outgrown its facility. Now we have more space for interaction between scientists and for testing our new technologies,” said Wim van Camp, Managing Director of CropDesign. “With our technology platform TraitMillTM, we test more than 140,000 rice plants per year and identify yield enhancing traits for our global projects.”

Currently BASF Plant Science employs approximately 145 employees in the Ghent region working at two facilities located in the Technologiepark in Ghent’s borough Zwijnaarde and in Nevele. Earlier investments by BASF in the Ghent region were in 2008 the construction of a processing building of 730 square meters, and a new greenhouse in 2011 of 800 square meters to increase throughput and improve quality of the TraitMillTM platform.

BASF Plant Science’s global headquarters is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and focusses on main markets for plant biotechnology solutions in the Americas and Asia. BASF Plant Science conducts industry leading research at two sites in North America and at three European sites in Ghent, Berlin and Limburgerhof, Germany. Last month BASF inaugurated a $33 million facility expansion in Research Triangle Park to enable further innovation in crop protection and plant biotechnology research.

Source: BASF

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Arkema inaugurates its first Research & Development Center in China

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Thierry Le Hénaff, Arkema’s Chairman and CEO, inaugurated Arkema’s first R&D Center in China on Thursday October 17 on the Changshu industrial site in the presence of the Chinese authorities. At the cutting edge of technology, this new center will provide development capacities as well as ideal local support for the Group’s customers in China and South-East Asia. Alongside the Group’s KTC (Kyoto Technical Center) in Japan, it bolsters Arkema’s growth ambition in Asia, with the Group looking forward to achieving almost 30% of its sales in fast growing regions by 2016.

 

arkema's building

Ideally located 80 kilometers to the North-West of Shanghai, the Changshu platform, Arkema’s largest industrial site in the world, now hosts an R&D Center in close proximity to its customers in this, a strategic region for the Group.

The Changshu Research and Development Center (CRDC) offers geographic and technical complementarity with the Group’s nine other research and development centers, in particular the Kyoto Center in Japan, which this year celebrates its 20 years of existence.

It helps speed up the development of customized products and solutions for Arkema’s customers in China and South-East Asia in fast-growing markets, namely batteries, photovoltaics, electronics packaging, automotive, cable, sports and paint.

The CRDC will enable Arkema, which has already established many contacts and collaborations with the Changshu and Shanghai Universities, to strengthen its links with the Chinese scientific community at large.

With a team of top researchers, most of whom young graduates from leading universities, Arkema provides genuine expertise and first-rate customer support on the Group’s products, in particular high performance materials, fluorinated polymers, organic peroxides, and performance coatings.

Finally, the CRDC boasts state-of-the-art equipment, including application laboratories for batteries, membranes and coatings, a center of excellence for thermoplastics (extrusion, injection, etc.), a process expertise center (pilot reactor systems, polymerization, distillation), as well as a training center for customers.

Source: Arkema

Wifag-Polytype and Avantium announce agreement on 100% biobased PEF for thermoforming

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avantimun logo At the start of the K-show, Wifag-Ploytype and Avantium announced their agreement to collaborate on thermoformed products from 100% biobased PEF. This collaboration will be complementary to collaborations Avantium has in place with The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA. Both parties are excited about the market opportunity of PEF in the novel application area of thermoforming of cups, containers and trays, which are used today for the packaging of food products like meats, nuts, or dairy products like cheese and yoghurt.

PEF (or polyethylene furanoate) is a novel polymer produced by Avantium’s proprietary YXY technology. The YXY technology is running in Avantium’s pilot plant in Geleen, and converts plant based feedstock into chemical building blocks. PEF is a next generation plastic. It has superior properties over existing materials, it can be produced cost competitively and is 100% biobased, resulting in a more than 50% reduction in carbon footprint and non-renewable energy usage.

“Thermoforming is an excellent application for PEF plastics”, commented Gert-Jan Gruter, Avantium CTO. “Since PEF has superior barrier, thermal and mechanical properties over PET, it offers exciting new growth opportunities. Due to its ten times higher oxygen barrier, PEF could extend the shelf life of perishable goods like meats or cheeses. The higher thermal stability of PEF compared to PET could enable packaging opportunities for microwaveable products.”

Wifag-Polytype is a leading manufacturer of thermoforming and printing equipment, and the sole company producing the entire range from sheet extrusion, to thermoforming, to coating and printing of thermoformed products. “The collaboration with Avantium on PEF in sheet extrusion, thermoforming and decoration of thermoformed products fits therefore well in our strategy of offering equipment enabling a total packaging solution comprising color, contour and convenience”, says Peter Ruth, Wifag-Polytype CEO. “With the recent integration of OMV into the Wifag-Polytype Group of companies we take a leadership position in providing innovative and sustainable packaging solutions to the thin wall packaging market. Today we are happy to announce this partnership with Avantium which will allow us to offer our customers thermoforming and decoration solutions for PEF, a biobased polymer with very attractive technical properties.”

Tom van Aken, CEO at Avantium, adds: “Thermoforming can be a potential outlet for recycled PEF, providing an additional end-of-life solution for our PEF bottles. Wifag-Polytype’s proven track record of innovation and paradigm shifts has resulted in its ability to address every step in the thermoforming process from sheet extrusion to decoration. This makes them the ideal partner for developing these new PEF applications. Avantium and Wifag-Polytype would welcome other parties interested in working with us on PEF thermoformed packaging.”

Source: Avantium

Mondi presents its new biodegradable and compostable paper-based bag

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Last week at German trade fair FachPack Mondi successfully presented the biodegradable paper-based bag - its’ novel sustainable solution. The biodegradable paper-based bag consists of one or more layers of paper and a layer of biodegradable film, which ensures an excellent grease and oil barrier. These properties are especially important to the pet food and food industry, as utmost protection of content is mandatory. The sustainable pinch bottom bag, which is produced in Mondi Novasac, Italy, is suitable for automatic filling systems and easy to palletise. The strong, reliable bag presents an ideal communication panel thanks to its large printing surface. To optimally present customer brands, the hybrid bag is available with white or brown paper, the later emphasising a natural appearance.

modi bio paper bag

“Our new bag provides the advantages of a pre-made paper-based bag ensuring product safety and freshness. And offers, in addition, the major advantage of biodegradability and compostability”, Ralph Landwehr, CEO Mondi Consumer Packaging and North America explains.

Although often used as if both terms mean the same, biodegradable is quite different from compostable. While biodegradable simply means to be consumed by microorganisms and return to compounds found in nature, ‘compostable’ makes the specific demand that the object breaks down in a compost pile, the biodegradable paper-based bag therefore is fully integrated in the environmental life cycle.

The flexible concept of Mondi’s pre-made paper-based bags offers a wide range of packaging solutions. Some of the major features are sturdiness along with great flexibility in size, design, and printing options. All requirements for direct contact with food are fulfilled, i.e. HACCP, BCR/IoP. The latest extension of this portfolio helps also to reduce environmental impact thanks to its biodegradability and compostability according to EN 13432 (requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation).

The biodegradable paper-based bag is suitable for various products, such as flour, sugar or rice and the ideal packaging solution for the pet food industry.

Source: Mondi Group

Meredian, Inc.,announces full production capabilities in 2014

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meredian logo Meredian, Inc.,  expects to be operating at full capacity by the second quarter of 2014. The company’s innovative and ground-breaking product, Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), is a polymer derived naturally through fermentation of sustainably produced, fully renewable plant derived oils which creates completely biodegradable bioplastics. In order to formally launch their production, Meredian is attending the 2013 K International Trade Fair in Düsseldorf, Germany from Oct. 16-23.

“Our team has worked tirelessly to design, install and deliver developmental quantities of PHA from our pilot facility for client selected high value applications. Today, we have committed to providing yet another four (4) million lbs. in the near term to complete these joint development activities while enabling the launch of multiple commercial applications in mid- 2014. This timing aligns perfectly as we come on line with the Bainbridge facility and optimize our PHA production systems,” notes S. Blake Lindsey, President, Meredian.

The K International Trade Fair, held once every three years, houses over 19 exhibition halls that showcases the most innovative advancements in the plastics and rubber industry. The fair offers attendees a broad platform for growth through potential networking and investment opportunities. Meredian will be in attendance with other companies from the United States, as well as companies from Germany, India, Italy, Taiwan, China, Austria and Switzerland.

“Meredian’s next steps include preparing the Bainbridge plant for full production for our clients, as well as continuing to educate consumers regarding this innovative ‘disruptive’ technology. It is especially gratifying to note our ability to offer highly functional cost effective biodegradable alternatives to petro based plastics,” explained Paul Pereira, Executive Chairman of the Board, Meredian. “One of our primary goals is to have our children and grandchildren living in a world where many of the plastics they interact with daily are safe, biodegradable and recyclable; where our landfills are not full of petroleum-based products that cannot degrade.”

“Having the largest PHA production facility in the world, Meredian will produce over 30,000 tons of PHA per year at the Bainbridge facility. We recognize that growth is required for bioplastic materials. Engineering plans are now completed for ‘right sized’ Meredian facilities to be placed globally to best serve our customers. The company expects multiple projects to be underway simultaneously in order to meet the demand of our customers,” states Michael Smith, VP Manufacturing & Engineering, Meredian.

Source: Meredian Inc.

Metabolix To Showcase Compostable Resins And Biobased Performance Additives At K 2013

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metabolix logo Metabolix will showcase a variety of compostable resin and biobased performance additive products at the K 2013 International Trade Fair.

"The customer response has been very positive to our recently launched film product for compostable bags, Mvera B5010," said Bob Engle, vice president, biopolymers, at Metabolix. "Using Mvera B5010, our customers are able to easily produce superior quality compostable shopping and food waste collection bags. Additionally, the interest in our new biobased performance additives: I6003rp, for PVC recycle and in I6001 for toughening and improved permanence in flexible PVC has been very encouraging with steady demand for samples from potential customers. These new products underscore our commitment to continue to make advances in biopolymers and open new market opportunities for our customers. We are looking forward to demonstrating the broad applicability of our products to customers and prospects at K 2013."

Metabolix provides plastics manufacturers with unique, advanced biomaterials that are designed to help them meet their objectives for performance and sustainability. Information on the Company's products will be available at the show or at http://www.metabolix.com/K2013.

Mvera™ B5010: This new film grade resin from Metabolix is designed for the compostable bag and film markets across the globe. It meets international industrial standards for compostability and has been certified by Vincotte to meet the EN13432 standard. Mvera B5010 resin also allows significant down gauging and features excellent melt strength, allowing it to easily be processed on conventional blown film extrusion equipment. The resulting film has exceptional seal strength and good printability, making it an ideal option for compostable shopping bags and food waste compost bags.

I6003rp: This new biobased polymeric performance additive from Metabolix is designed for recycled PVC (polyvinylchloride). I6003rp features excellent miscibility in PVC, allowing PVC converters to blend it easily with recycled PVC in order to lower torque and increase recycling rates without compromising the toughness and tear resistance of the resulting product. Dr. Yelena Kann, product development scientist at Metabolix, will present data on the additive at SPE Vinyltec 2013, which will be held October 21 to 23 in Iselin, New Jersey.

I6001: This is a biobased polymeric modifier for PVC formulations that is based on Metabolix's PHA resin. Metabolix designed I6001 as a performance additive to improve the mechanical and environmental performance characteristics of flexible and semi-rigid PVC, while lowering plasticizer use and migration and improving permanence.

Additional products: Metabolix has developed a range of biobased and biodegradable products based on PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) for applications requiring biodegradable polymers as well as masterbatches and bio-composite resin products.

Source: Metabolix

Solvay optimizes adipic acid production at its Chalampé plant in France

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solvay logo As part of its ongoing efforts to optimize its adipic acid production line, Solvay Polyamide & Intermediates is installing a new process at its industrial plant in Chalampé (France) aimed at reducing the plant’s energy consumption by 8MW and CO2 emissions by 11,000 tonnes annually.

“This programme announced last 21 June is in place, and we are perfectly aligned with the schedule and deployment stages. As planned, the intervention will require the shutdown of the manufacturing process. The plant’s adipic acid production will therefore be shut down in early October,” pointed out Christophe Bertrand, Industrial Director of Polyamide & Intermediates.

The deployment of this new process will require five weeks of work. However, a complete restart of the plant’s adipic acid production is not envisaged. “We will adjust our production to changes in demand,” explained Yannick Adnot, Director of Polyamide & Intermediates Europe. “Faced with the uncertainty of long market conditions, with an offer exceeding the demand, it is our responsibility as a manufacturer to optimize our production accordingly. That too is part of our commitment to maintain and grow our business sustainably,” he indicated.

As a reminder, this investment programme aims to tighten control over the plant’s costs by strongly reducing its energy consumption. It demonstrates the Solvay Group's commitment to operational excellence through energy efficiency programmes and initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon footprint. This initiative is in line with the sustainable development commitments and objectives set by the Group.

Source: Solvay

Beta Renewables to produce 75 million liters of cellulosic ethanol annually from agricultural waste

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Beta Renewables and Novozymes today marked the official opening in Northern Italy of the world’s largest advanced biofuels facility. Situated in fields outside the city of Crescentino, it is the first plant in the world to be designed and built to produce bioethanol from agricultural residues and energy crops at commercial scale using enzymatic conversion.

 

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“The advanced biofuels market presents transformational economic, environmental and social opportunities, and with the opening, we pave the way for a green revolution in the chemical sector,” says Beta Renewables’ Chairman and CEO, Guido Ghisolfi. “We will continue to commercially expand Beta Renewables’ core technology throughout the world, and we are very confident at this stage given the demand we see around the globe.”

“The opening today presents a leap forward and is truly the beginning of a new era for advanced biofuels,” says Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes. “Here, at this plant, enabled by Novozymes’ enzymatic technology, we will turn agricultural waste into millions of liters of low-emission green fuel, proving that cellulosic ethanol is no longer a distant dream. It is here, it is happening, and it is ready for large-scale commercialization.”

The two companies formed a strategic partnership in October 2012, making Novozymes the preferred enzyme supplier for Beta Renewables’ current and future cellulosic biofuel projects. 
The plant uses wheat straw, rice straw and arundo donax, a high-yielding energy crop grown on marginal land. Lignin, a polymer extracted from biomass during the ethanol production process, is used at an attached power plant, which generates enough power to meet the facility’s energy needs, with any excess green electricity sold to the local grid. At the inauguration, Guido Ghisolfi and Peder Holk Nielsen were joined on the ground for the celebrations by Italy’s Minister for Economic Development, Flavio Zanonato, and representatives from the European Commission, as well as more than 500 global stakeholders.

Stable policy conditions required
With the technology ready at commercial scale, it will be vital to create stable and conducive policy conditions worldwide, to harvest better the vast opportunities in cellulosic ethanol and advanced biofuels.

“Policy makers now need to send clear signals to encourage the necessary investments in advanced biofuels,” says Peder Holk Nielsen. “Stable and predictable blending mandates, incentives for the collection of agricultural residues, and investment support for the first large-scale plants will help move the world substantially in terms of reducing greenhouse gasses, stimulating economies, and providing energy security. Continued reliance on fossil fuels is not viable.”

A recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance concludes that transforming agricultural residues into advanced biofuels could create millions of jobs worldwide, economic growth, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and energy security by 2030. Government support is, however, vital to accelerate the deployment of next-generation biorefineries.

Cost-competitive technology ready
Beta Renewables’ PROESA™ engineering and production technology alongside Novozymes’ Cellic® enzymes represent the most cost-competitive advanced biofuels platform in existence today. More than $200 million has been invested in research and development of the technology used to produce cellulosic ethanol at the Crescentino facility, since 2011.

“Investors interested in cellulosic ethanol often ask when the technology will be ready at commercial scale,” says Guido Ghisolfi. “PROESA enables customers to produce advanced biofuel at a cost-competitive price relative to conventional biofuels – at large-scale and today. Our complete offering makes cellulosic biofuel projects bankable and replicable. With the world’s first commercial plant up and running here in northern Italy, I very much look forward to an exciting journey of establishing an entirely new, and very promising, industry.”

Source: Novozymes

World's first PLA bioplastic touch screen computer from SUPLA and Kuender at K 2013, based on lactides from Corbion Purac

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SUPLA, who announced plans for a 10 kT polymerization plant earlier this year, has developed optimized PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) compounds for the consumer electronics industry based on lactides from Corbion Purac. The launching application is the world's first bioplastic touch screen computer, developed in cooperation with Kuender, an OEM/ODM for many brand customers. The high gloss housing of this computer is made from high heat PLA. Corbion Purac,  the global leader in lactic acid and lactides, will showcase this computer at K 2013.

 

pla TOUCH SCREEN

Heat resistance is one of the key challenges for biopolymers today, as this has limited their suitability for consumer electronics in the past.  However, lactide monomers from Corbion Purac form the basis for improved performance PLA, and are therefore the preferred choice for SUPLA: "It takes lots of effort to develop a durable grade of PLA, but it can be done with a right choice of raw material", said by Dr. Robin Wu, Chairman of SUPLA.

In addition to increased heat resistance, the PLA blends used for the monitor screens also bring improved impact resistance, excellent high gloss finish and stable, precise processing. This is of critical importance for the large scale consumer electronics market, which also includes applications such as mobile phones, laptops, games consoles and tablets. Kuender, a leading Taiwanese OEM/ODM of consumer electronics for many brand customers, recognized the opportunity to be among the first to bring such an innovation to market. Kuender has been working closely with SUPLA to ensure that the blends are suitable for commercial production of consumer electronics housings, and are looking forward to bringing the world's first bioplastic computer to market. Dr. Wen-Jeng Kuo, president of Kuender said, "In addition to the PLA blends, we have developed techniques for the injection process. Therefore we are glad to let our customers know that we are able to provide a total solution for making green products".

Corbion Purac's lactide monomers are sourced from GMO free, renewable feedstocks such as sugarcane, and form the basis for high performance Poly Lactic Acid bioplastics (PLA). The resulting homopolymers have already proven to withstand boiling water, and can now boast performance characteristics to rival their oil-based counterparts. As a result, PLA can replace oil-based plastics such as PP, PS and ABS, and alleviate our dependency on fossil fuels.

Jeroen Jonker, Senior Vice President Bioplastics at Corbion Purac, is pleased with the development: "We are looking forward to showing our visitors at K 2013 this fantastic application, which is a great achievement for our partner SUPLA and a credit to Kuender for their recognition of such an innovative opportunity. In our partnership, SUPLA have focused their expertise on the electronics market and the launch of this computer is an excellent result. We anticipate that this development will be well received by our global community of  sustainability-conscious consumers."

Source: PURAC

New bio-packaging for sugar

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Beginning January 2014, the supermarket shelves will present a whole new box of sugar Daddy brand (cooperative group Cristal Union). Its uniqueness is that it is composed of 90% plant-based plastic produced by fermentation of sugar cane , as it is high-density polyethylene , supplied by the Brazilian company Braskem . This biobased plastic has been selected because it has successfully completed compression testing , labeling and filling plant. It will also reduce by 13% the weight of boxes of sugar, which will allow the company to save 10 tons of plastic per year , with a total annual consumption of 100 tons. All these developments are still the result of 5 years of work, according to Olivier de Bohan , president of Cristal Union .

 

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By using this new material a reduction of 400 t / year of CO2 in emissions are expected

Source:Formule Verte | Le magazine des matières premières et des ingrédients renouvelables

(Translated from the original in French)

TECNIQ & SYNBRA Introduce The First Truly Bio-based Alternative To Traditional Surfboard Foam.

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TECNIQ LLC, a leading developer of environmentally conscious materials and products, and SYNBRA BV, leading innovators in expanded rigid foam technology, announced today the creation of the worlds first certified 100% biodegradable and 99% bio-based surfboard foam.

“Surfboards have been overwhelmingly made out of petroleum products since the 1950’s,” says Rob Falken, TECNIQ’s Managing Director. “We’ve worked really hard to create an alternative that doesn’t compromise performance and that delivers tried–and–true characteristics for surfers, shapers, and glassers alike,” he continued.

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The foam is produced in a patented process that utilizes converted locally abundant sugarcane biomass (certified GMO-free) provided by Corbion Purac that is polymerized by Synbra Technology BV and expanded into rigid foam by Synprodo BV. “For me, the best parts are that the foam is created entirely from a renewable resource and that dangerous chemicals are not used in production. This means the foam is drastically less toxic for the surfboard craftsmen during shaping” stated Falken.

Holding their companies to an examined approach, TECNIQ and SYNBRA will have full transparency in the life cycle of the surfboard foam. An independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has already been secured, as have certificates of validation including decomposition, compostability, bio-based content, GMO-free, and Cradle to Cradle. In addition to the environmental claims validations, the foam boasts the ultra-eco use of benign CO2 as the sole blowing agent in the expansion process. The brand name for this new surfboard foam technolo

gy is BIÓM™(pronounced BY-ohm). The first manufacturing site will be located in the Netherlands with production commencing in the third quarter of 2014. There are plans to develop US manufacturing in late 2014 or early 2015. In addition to surfboard foam, BIÓM™ will find use in stand up paddleboards, wakeboards, skimboards, kiteboards, and other types of watercraft.

For more information please go to:www.biomblanks.com

Source: Biofoam - News

Spectra Packaging introduces friendly biopolymer packaging

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Spectra Packaging, have recently introduced environmentally friendly biopolymer packaging to the growing range of product offerings.

The new biopolymer plastics are produced from the ethanol from sugarcane as opposed to conventional polyethylene, which traditionally contains fossil based raw materials such as oil or natural gas.

biopolymer

The renewable sugarcane captures CO2 from the atmosphere during its production, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, this biopolymer is also recyclable, which means landfill dumping is also greatly reduced, offering a genuine sustainable packaging solution for customers.

The new biopolymer plastic maintains the same chemical properties as conventional petrochemical high-density polyethylene, which means there is no difference in performance or appearance to the end result.

Spectra's Commercial Director, Gavin Chenery comments, "We're extremely excited about our new bio-based packaging capabilities. With a continually volatile oil market, the opportunity to produce packaging using a sustainable source such as sugarcane presents massive possibilities for the future. Using materials that help reduce global warming offer unquestionable benefits for the environment".

Gavin went on to say, "Spectra continue to forge ahead with a number of environmentally responsible alternatives which are designed to help customers make a genuine green difference. We believe the addition of fossil-free bio packaging to our existing Post Consumer Packaging (PCR) will provide our customers with a range of environmentally responsible ways to package their products".

Source: Spectra Packaging

Corbion Purac and Innovia Films to develop temperature resistant and transparent PLA films

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imageInnovia Films and Corbion Purac, a global leader in lactic acid and lactides, are joining forces to develop PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) film that is both transparent and resistant to higher temperatures. High heat PLA was brought to market following dedicated research efforts by Corbion Purac. As a result, Innovia recognized an opportunity to work together to further develop a transparent, heat resistant PLA film.

Many biopolymers, including existing PLA, have limited heat resistance, meaning that brandowners and packaging converters are limited to oil-based plastics for many applications. However, Corbion Purac and Innovia are working together to create a biobased, temperature stable, transparent PLA film. Early product development has shown that these films exhibit considerably less shrinkage at high temperatures compared to existing PLA films and offer properties much closer to oil-based PET.

Possible opportunities for the new bioplastic film include both food and non-food packaging and many industrial applications. In food packaging, for example pouches such as juice or soup pouches, the new PLA film will be able to withstand the temperatures required for sterilization. Non-food applications could include release liners for pressure sensitive products, window films, and protective films for smartphone screens. Many of these applications require thermal stability during processing or use.

Steve Langstaff, Product Development Manager at Innovia sees the product as a major breakthrough. "Dimensional stability, particularly at high temperatures is a real weakness in biofilms. This new development will fill a performance gap in the market and is a great opportunity for both Innovia and Corbion Purac".

Corbion Purac's lactide monomers are sourced from GMO free, renewable feedstocks such as sugarcane, and form the basis for high performance Poly Lactic Acid bioplastics (PLA). The resulting homopolymers have already proven to withstand boiling water, and can now boast performance characteristics to rival their oil-based counterparts. As a result, PLA can replace oil-based plastics and alleviate our dependency on fossil fuels.

Jeroen Jonker, Senior Vice President Bioplastics at Corbion Purac is pleased with the partnership: "Innovia, a recognized leading player in the global film industry, is the right partner for Corbion Purac to develop this groundbreaking PLA film. By pooling our expertise and combining our research strengths, we can develop a biobased performance film to rival traditional, oil-based standards. This will provide brandowners with the opportunity to select a more sustainable alternative for their film applications."

Ssource: Purac.com

Novomer Catalytic Process Using Waste CO2 and Shale Gas Targets $20 Billion Market and Up to 110% Carbon Footprint Reduction Content

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novomer logo Novomer Inc., a sustainable materials company pioneering a family of high-performance polymers and other chemicals from renewable feedstocks such as carbon dioxide (CO2), today announced a major new application of its catalytic innovations. Poised to disrupt a $20 billion, mature global market, the approach encompasses the sequestration and conversion of carbon dioxide and ethane-rich shale gas into mass market chemicals such as acrylic acid, butanediol and others commonly used in paints, coatings, textiles and diapers.

The initiative is supported by a $5 million dollar Department of Energy (DoE) Grant as part of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), and a partnership with an industrial gas supplier. The resulting chemicals produced are existing chemical compounds, giving Novomer and its partners the ability to reach pilot scale (2,000 Metric Tons/yr) in 2015, and full commercial scale in 2017. This, in turn, could result in the first US acrylic acid plant built in over 10 years.
Notably, the process being developed by Novomer and the low cost of the feedstocks (waste CO2 and large volume shale gas) could allow US providers to become global low-cost leaders in chemical intermediates and vastly reduce dependencies on crude oil markets. The cost savings could be as large as 20-40% compared to today’s technologies, but will depend on the ultimate performance of key techno-economic variables that will be determined as part of the DOE project. Additional potential benefits of Novomer's process include:

  • -Increase energy productivity of chemical manufacturing by 30-70%
    -Reduce CO2 footprint by 40-110% (depending on target chemical)
    -Energy savings of over 20 Trillion BTUs per year within 10 years. This is the equivalent of removing 300,000 cars from the road or the energy required for 530,000 homes.
    -Total sequestration of waste gases with only moderate temperature requirements

The industrial gas supplier will convert waste CO2, obtained from various sources, into CO using an innovative solid oxide electrolysis process. Novomer’s catalyst-based process will convert the CO and ethylene oxide from shale gas into acrylic acid and other chemicals. The electrolysis process essentially reverses the operation of a fuel cell. The technology leverages investments made to date by the government and private sector in fuel cell materials and manufacturing.
This effort follows closely on the heels of another Novomer's CO2 platform milestone. Earlier this year, Novomer achieved the first large-scale manufacturing run of polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polyol. The company’s innovations in cleaner, higher performing and more cost effective materials and chemicals have generated substantial interest from governments and global partners.

Novomer's innovation comprises two primary platforms: one that combines a traditional chemical feedstock such as a fossil fuel with CO2 to create more environmentally friendly and higher performing materials; the other that combines an ethane-based feedstock (ethylene oxide) with CO to create value-added chemicals that deliver significant reductions in product costs and energy.

"This technology platform has the potential to have a transformational impact on the U.S. chemicals industry. We are thankful to the DOE for their vision and assistance in supporting our development work,” said Jim Mahoney, CEO of Novomer. “We are proud of what has been accomplished to date and excited for the future as we continue to commercialize the technology."

Source: Novomer

Cellulose based packaging

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In late 2012 Hamer Packaging Technology was considered elegible for a credit line by the CDTI (a Spanish public institution devoted to support industrial technology innovation) for the development of a new technology in cellulose fibre moulding.

 

cellulose trays

A R&D working team at Hamer Packaging Technology has been working in a new technology which enables to manufacture a new generation of compostable packaging products made from recycled cellulose fibres obtained from sugar cane, beetroot, wood or similar natural resources which in fact replaces petrochemical based non-renewable packaging.

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The resultant packaging can be used for a wide range of industries, including packaging of fresh products.

A special laminating technology has been also developed to cover the moulded shape with an extremely thin layer of plastic film. This laminating process provides the resulting package with a very effective barrier from oxigen, water vapor, dust, etc. required for fresh products when packaged under MAP conditions.

Source: Hamer Packaging Technology

Fitesa launches 100% bio-based spunbond nonwoven fabrics

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fitesa logo Fitesa, Braskem and NatureWorks engineers have worked together to produce a new performance nonwoven product composed of not one, but two biobased polymers in a sheath-core, bicomponent configuration.

The sheath is made of Braskem’s I’m green 100% biobased polyethylene while the core uses NatureWorks’ 100% biobased Ingeo polylactide.  The resultant nonwoven is extremely soft, thanks to the bio-PE outer sheath, yet remains strong and robust due to the Ingeo core.

Fitesa will offer the fabric in a comprehensive range of basis weights with physical properties designed to allow drop-in replacement in existing bicomponent spunbond applications. “The fabric softness is exceptional,” noted Ray Dunleavy, Fitesa Marketing, Strategy, and Business Development Director, “and counters the misperception some have in the market that there must be some compromise in performance to achieve a 100% renewably sourced product.”

The three companies collaborated to develop a product that highlights and supports Fitesa’s commitment to performance and sustainability by replacing traditional petrochemical based materials with renewable products made from plants.

The production of both the Braskem and NatureWorks polymers provide significant carbon footprint reductions by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Each ton of Braskem I’m green plastic produced sequestrates more than 2.0 tons of CO2, a significant gain compared to traditional plastic, whose production releases CO2.

Additionally, Braskem’s Code of Conduct for Ethanol Suppliers has been established to ensure responsible sourcing.  Braskem has been making the I’m greenTM polyethylene since 2010 at its Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south region of Brazil. The plant’s capacity is 200 kton/year and the total investment amounts to US$290 million.

Each ton of Ingeo produced provides 60% reduction in CO2 emitted compared to traditional polyester, and a 30-40% reduction in CO2 emitted compared to traditional polyolefins.  NatureWorks has been producing Ingeo at its flagship Nebraska US facility since 2002, and recently expanded capacity there to 150 kton/year.

The company has just announced that front end engineering design has commenced for a 2nd Ingeo facility in Southeast Asia.   In 2012, NatureWorks achieved 3rd party certification from both the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) Association and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a U.S. based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), ensuring responsible materials sourcing and sustainable agricultural practices.

Source: www.fitesa.com

Demand for lactic acid-based biopolymers on the rise

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companiesandmarkets logo The world market for Lactic Acid is forecast to reach 367.3 thousand metric tons by the year 2017. Primary growth catalysts include sustained demand from end-use industries, heightened R&D activity and emergence of new applications. Lactic Acid based biodegradable polymers is an interesting niche area rapidly gaining ground, and is poised to become one of the most promising end-use applications for Lactic Acid. In addition, growing environmental concerns arising from use of plastics will further clear the path for biopolymers in the long run.


The global demand for lactic acid from the industrial applications end-use sector is expected to outpace the food and beverages sector in the recent term and constitute about 50% of the overall production. While the market for Biodegradable Plastics is expected to outperform all other sub-segments in terms of growth, the food additives sub-segment is set to dominate the market size in the near future. Tightening government regulations, move towards green products and soaring international oil prices are providing the thrust for transforming the presently niche PLA biomaterials segment into a mainstream industry. The lactic acid industry is expected to benefit significantly from the backlash arising out of growing environmental pollution caused by plastic disposal, escalating costs of petroleum feedstock and wide scale availability of naturally occurring cheap feedstock. In the long-run, biodegradable plastic is set to become one of the most promising end-use markets for lactic acid. As a result, leading lactic acid manufactures worldwide are engaged in developing various new and innovative PLA technologies with an intention to benefit from this growing market.


Report Scope
This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Lactic Acid in Metric Tons by the following End-Use Segments: Cosmetic Products, Biodegradable Plastics, Food Additives, and Other Applications. The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Latin America. Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2009 through 2017. Also, a six-year historic analysis is provided for these markets.


The report profiles 31 companies including many key and niche players such as Archer Daniels Midland Company, CSM N.V., PURAC, Galactic S.A., Henan Jindan Lactic Acid Co. Ltd., Musashino Chemical Laboratory, Ltd., and Musashino Chemical (China) Co., Ltd. Market data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary research. Company profiles are primarily based upon search engine sources in the public domain. Global Industry Analysts ©

Source: http://www.companiesandmarkets.com

Sustainable products, a key factor for Far Eastern businesses

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Sustainability is no longer of interest to big corporations only, smaller firms are just around the corner. Considerable focus on sustainability from Asian investors, European investors are lagging behind.

Product sustainability is becoming key for Asian businesses. This is one of the key findings from an international survey conducted by the research institute GFK Eurisko and DNV Business Assurance, on more than 2300 professionals from companies across different industries in Europe, North America, Central & South America and Asia.


Need and capability to deliver sustainable products
The strongest commitment for delivering sustainable products comes from the Far East, with 95% of respondents firmly believing it is a key factor for the successful performance of their business. About 10 percentage points more than in Europe and North America.

 

Luca Crisciotti

Luca Crisciotti

Sustainability is a core issue not only for medium and large companies, but for small ones too. In fact, 83% of firms employing less than 50 people feel the need to deliver sustainable products. Large companies still lead the way but, as highlighted by The Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2013 by United Nations Global Compact, smaller companies are catching up.


What respondents believe is important, and what they actually do, differs. Numbers become smaller when participants are asked if they currently sell sustainable products. Yet 80% of Asians interviewed consider some of their own products to be sustainable, 82% in China.


Key aspects for products to be sustainable
Environmental impact (94%), safe use (89%) and finance (85%) are the aspects Asians consider essential for a product to be sustainable. However, these aspects are a key concern globally, especially environmental impact, which records percentages slightly below average only in North America (88%).


Stakeholders influence
Pressure from customers (90%) is the number one reason for Far Eastern companies to deliver sustainable products. Corporate policies (83%) and final consumers (76%) come next after.  The burden is heavier in Asia than in any other region. Pressure is weaker in all other regions, especially in Central & South America.


In the Far East, sustainability is a key element also for financers. 62% of Asians and 70% of Chinese feel pushed by investors to deliver sustainable products while in the rest of the world only 1 in 2 professionals feel somewhat influenced by financiers. Sustainability isn’t central especially for investors from mature economies. In Europe, they are less influential than in any other region (39%) and they’re not that crucial to North Americans either, in fact only 43% assert to be pushed by financers to focus on sustainability. When questioned about the future, professionals from all world regions confirm that customers and corporate policies will continue to be the main drivers but they also expect a growing pressure coming from local communities (+15%), NGOs (+14%), final consumers (+13%) and regulators (+12%).


Sustainability focused actions performed by world companies
But what do companies do in order to offer more sustainable products? They take initiatives across the whole life cycle of what they make. The larger the companies, the more initiatives are undertaken and the greater the focus on consumer behavior. Nevertheless small companies are intensely working on these issues too.
Companies are engaged in a variety of actions of different kinds but to date sustainability is mostly concerned with safeguarding the environment. Once again, uptake of environmental actions is above average in the Eastern world. Asian corporations implemented initiatives aiming to reduce energy use (80%), waste (76%) and water consumption (62%) and to avoid use of hazardous substances (73%). Proportions are even higher when considering Chinese firms only. Central & South American companies too are very dynamic, while Europe and North America are a step behind.


Benefits and investment intention
Professionals from Central & South America and Asia (72% of Chinese respondents) are those who claim to have profited most from the different actions undertaken. However, 48% of people surveyed assert that benefits exceed costs.
Corporations benefited both in terms of ability to meet customer needs (46%), brand reputation enhancement (41%) and competitive advantage (31%). Central & South Americans and Asians are the most enthusiastic, while sustainability has a weaker differentiating power in Europe and North America.


Will companies keep on investing in sustainability for the future? No doubt, they will. 68% of Central & South Americans and 47% of Asians state that will invest even more than today.


“The spotlight is shining on the Far East and Asian companies are taking action. Ten years ago they wouldn’t have answered this way but today sustainable business development is a key factor for Asians to keep growing. These rising economies are making a leap towards product sustainability, overtaking Europeans and North Americans, who are distracted by the economic crisis," says Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV Business Assurance.


Methodology and sample

  • The survey was conducted in June 2013, on a sample of about 2300 professionals who work at prominent companies from the primary, secondary and tertiary sector across different industries in Europe, North America, Central & South America and Asia. 

  • The sample is qualitative and not statistically representative
    25% of the firms involved employ less than 50 people, 32%  from 50 to 249 and 43% 250 and more
    Most of the companies involved belong to the manufacturing industry, particularly food (5%), chemicals (5%), metals (10%), machinery (7%) and electrical (5%)

  • For approx. 63% of survey respondents, their position is directly involved in technical management, while approx. 10% are senior decision makers (CEO, COO, managing director, etc.)

  • The questionnaire was administered using the CAWI methodology

Source: http://www.dnvba.com

Finland to lead the way as a designer of cellulose-based products

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The combination of strong design competence and cutting-edge cellulose-based technologies can result in new commercially successful brands. The aim is for fibre from wood-based biomass to replace both cotton production, which burdens the environment, and polyester production, which consumes oil. A research project launched by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University and Tampere University of Technology aims to create new business models and ecosystems in Finland through design-driven cellulose products.

The joint research project is called Design Driven Value Chains in the World of Cellulose (DWoC). The objective is to develop cellulose-based products suitable for technical textiles and consumer products. The technology could also find use in the pharmaceutical, food and automotive industries. Another objective is to build a new business ecosystem and promote spin-offs.

The breakthrough for these new products and services is expected to take a few years. State-of-the-art cellulose processing technologies could generate production value of up to EUR 2–3 billion in Finland's forestry, textile and mechanical engineering industries, and in entirely new business sectors. 

 

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This is one of two strategic projects launched by Tekes – Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation intended to help transform Finnish business life. The project received nearly EUR 3 million in funding from Tekes for the opening research stages in 2013–2015.

Designers envision consumer products of the future 

Aalto University students participate in the project by offering fresh new perspectives on Finnish cellulose products.

“The research project provides an opportunity to use design methods to turn cellulose raw material into products, services and business. Designers contribute to the project by introducing an experimental method of creating prototypes, as well as the ability to visualise something that doesn't yet exist. This allows us to take consumer perspective into account at different stages of the programme," explains Professor Pirjo Kääriäinen from the Aalto University's Department of Design.

According to Kääriäinen, design as a strategic resource in the industry is so far relatively untapped. As a working method, industrial design brings a user-focused perspective to the project, opening new and unexplored opportunities for commercial use of the materials and for envisioning new products. This work combines with the creation of business ecosystems in line with the principles of sustainable development.

New materials and technologies are a source of inspiration to designers. The first sessions with technology developers were filled with excitement and bursts of innovation. For researchers, the notion of design needs affecting the material being created was particularly interesting.

New technologies in yarn manufacture

Researchers seek to combine Finnish design competence with cutting-edge technological developments to utilise the special characteristics of cellulose to create products that feature the best qualities of materials such as cotton and polyester. Product characteristics achieved by using new manufacturing technologies and nanocellulose as a structural fibre element include recyclability and individual production.

The first tests performed by professor Olli Ilkkala's team at the Aalto University showed that the self-assembly of cellulose fibrils in wood permits the fibrils to be spun into strong yarn.

VTT has developed an industrial process that produces yarn from cellulose fibres without the spinning process. VTT has also developed efficient applications of the foam forming method for manufacturing materials that resemble fabric.

"In the future, combining different methods will enable production of individual fibre structures and textile products, even by using 3D printing technology," says Professor Ali Harlin from VTT.

Usually the price of a textile product is the key criterion even though produced sustainably. New methods help significantly to shorten the manufacturing chain of existing textile products and bring it closer to consumers to respond to their rapidly changing needs. Projects are currently under way where the objective is to replace wet spinning with extrusion technology. The purpose is to develop fabric manufacturing methods where several stages of weaving and knitting are replaced without losing the key characteristics of the textile, such as the way it hangs.

Finland's logging residue to replace environmentally detrimental cotton

Cotton textiles account for about 40% of the world's textile markets, and oil-based polyester for practically the remainder. Cellulose-based fibres make up 6% of the market. Although cotton is durable and comfortable to wear, cotton production is highly water-intensive, and artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides are often needed to ensure a good crop. The surface area of cotton-growing regions globally equates to the size of Finland.

Approximately 5–6 million tons of fibre could be manufactured from Finland's current logging residue (25–30 million cubic metres/year). This could replace more than 20% of globally produced cotton, at the same time reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 120–150 million tons, and releasing enough farming land to grow food for 18–25 million people. Desertification would also decrease by approximately 10 per cent.

Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland - Business from technology

Metabolix launches I6003rp, a new biobased performance additive to improve the processing and performance of recycled PVC

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image Metabolix, Inc. has announced the launch of I6003rp, a new biobased polymeric performance additive for recycled PVC (polyvinyl chloride).   I6003rp demonstrates the value of excellent miscibility in PVC when used in combination with recycle PVC. This certified biobased process aid lowers processing torque and improves properties. 

With increasing PVC waste coming from short-life products such as packaging, bottles and medical devices, as well as from long-life products such as pipes, window frames and cable insulation that have been in service for significant time and are increasingly being replaced, more PVC is entering the waste stream. "While PVC is one of the largest recycled polymers by volume, the amount of discarded post-industrial scrap and post-consumer waste that is actually recycled is still very low compared to the amount that is landfilled every year. Due to deterioration in physical properties when reprocessed, scrap PVC is downgraded and devalued," said Bob Engle, vice president, biopolymers, at Metabolix.

"I6003rp is a performance-driven additive that improves toughness and makes processing easier, enabling PVC converters to increase the rate of recycle use without compromising hardness. PVC Repro suppliers can upgrade the quality and value of Repro products," added Bob Engle. 

Metabolix developed I6003rp based on data confirming that specific Metabolix grades of PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) have superb miscibility with PVC and enhance the processing and properties of recycled PVC. Dr. Yelena Kann, product development scientist at Metabolix, will be presenting this data at SPE Vinyltec 2013 being held October 21-23, 2013.

In 2012, Metabolix launched I6001, a biobased polymeric modifier for flexible and semi-rigid PVC that brings toughness, elongation and plastification without migration or compromising clarity.   I6003rp represents an extension of the product line. With this process aid, Metabolix continues to drive advancements in the use of performance biopolymers for PVC manufacturing by harnessing the power of its innovative PHA-technology platform.  

Source: Metabolix

BASF and Heritage Plastics, Inc. to bring ecovio manufacturing to North America

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BASF announced today that it has formed a strategic manufacturing partnership with Heritage Plastics, Inc. to produce ecovio® certified compostable products in North America.

The partnership enables BASF to begin manufacturing ecovio biopolymers outside of Europe to better serve its customers and to further focus on growth in the rapidly developing North American market.

Production of ecovio will begin September 2013 at the Heritage facility in Picayune, Mississippi.

BASF’s ecovio products represent a broad range of compounded polymer solutions with biobased content, which offer excellent processability and physical properties along with worldwide certified compostability.

“At BASF, we strive to find new ways to offer our customers the best solutions for their evolving needs,” said Juergen Keck, Vice President Global Business Management Biopolymers. “Our partnership with Heritage Plastics allows us to respond efficiently to a growing market and pass along numerous benefits to our customers in North America.”

Through the partnership, BASF will draw upon years of compound manufacturing experience at Heritage Plastics, marrying that with the innovative chemistry of ecovio. ecovio will be exclusively marketed and available for purchase from BASF, while maintaining a production partnership with Heritage.

“Combining our experience and expertise with BASF’s to broaden the production of ecovio products was a natural fit,” said Paul Lewis, President of Heritage Plastics. “Both companies are focused on helping customers achieve success by providing them the best in product quality, as well as exemplary service and support on a global scale.”

By expanding manufacturing of ecovio products in North America, BASF will supply the highest quality, premium compostable products while also improving delivery flexibility, increasing reaction speed to market needs, enhancing product availability and providing more customization for new applications. ecovio products have been available commercially in the United States, Canada and Mexico since 2007, with production taking place in Germany.

Source: BASF

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Perstorp investing in the dynamic plastic materials market

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perstop logo The Perstorp Group, a world leader in specialty chemicals, will be presenting four new products for the plastic materials market at K Fair, 2013. Considerable investments have been made to ensure we deliver new products that address key opportunities related to the use of plastics important to society today.

The power of plastics innovation is touching all of us in our daily lives and is addressing some of the most exciting and demanding challenges set by society and business today. Examples are safe and hygienic food packaging, durable as well as affordable and resource lean cars and electronics and home interiors.

Key issues related to plastics, such as safety, reduction of waste and sustainable chemical solutions are key innovation drivers for the Perstorp Group. The recent major strategic investments in new sustainable products for the plastics industry will help Perstorp meet its goal of being a top 3 player across 85% of its product portfolio by 2015.

“K Fair represents the perfect platform for us to launch, not one but four new products for the plastics industry. These products meet specific market demands, and our heavy investment here will significantly strengthen our global position within plastics chemistry and plastic applications”, Håkan Björnberg, Market Development Director, says.

Four new star products to be unveiled at K Fair
Each of these new products provides sustainable solutions for consumers. Perstorp has continued its historic trend of producing products through focused innovation that meet the challenges of the day. The four new products are being released under the Capa™, Charmor™, Pevalen™ and Akestra™ brand names.

Capa™ for bioplastics – this exciting product is a highly biodegradable plastic offering a more sustainable solution to a wide range of products. The caprolactone chemistry is established and its use as a key component in biodegradable plastics has increased significantly. Perstorp has invested in new capacity to meet the strong growth in bioplastics. Capa™ is the perfect blend for bioplastics as it improves mechanical properties as well as accelerating biodegradation of the biopolymers.

Charmor™ for intumescent systems in plastics – this halogen free product is a rich carbon source for phosphorous/nitrogen based systems and significantly reduces the release of smoke and heat in the event of a fire. Charmor™ also comes in a variant - Charmor™ PM40 Care - with a sharpened sustainability profile. Charmor™ is already a tried and tested solution for intumescent coatings, but is now also available for intumescent fire protection for plastics.

Pevalen™ non-phthalate plasticizer for sensitive applications – this new plasticizer is one of the results of Perstorp’s major investments in plasticizers in Sweden. It is perfect for close contact PVC applications, such as flooring, coated fabrics, plastisols, toys and molded parts. It also represents a complement and broadening of Perstorp’s plasticizer offer alongside Emoltene™ 100, which is primarily used for PVC cables and outdoors products.

Akestra™ a new thermoplastic material – as a result of a strategic partnership with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Perstorp is launching a new co-polyester alternative in Europe called Akestra™. This new generation of plastics with its unique properties makes it an important alternative to polycarbonate, polystyrene and glass. This co-polyester has properties like clarity, heat resistance & high melt strength that open up a wide range of design opportunities in packaging and durable applications.

“All these four exciting products address safety and sustainability to society today without compromising performance. The major investments we have made over the past 3 years are really bearing fruits now, with significant new products already in the pipeline to continue our strategy of serving the dynamic plastics market with new solutions”, Håkan Björnberg summarizes.

Source: Perstop

Biodegradable Plastic Water Bottles support First Lady's ‘Drink Up’ Campaign

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The biodegradable plastics used in all Alkame bottle water products will naturally biodegrade in just 1-3 years.

Alkame has teamed up with BioSphere Plastic to combine Alkame's patented ultimate hydration water technology with the world's best BPA-free and biodegradable plastic water bottle. Not only does the Alkame patented water formula allow for ultra-hydration, better health, and improved performance, but you can also rest assured that each and every Alkame plastic bottle is designed for minimal environmental impact."

 

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Alkame Water is incorporating the latest BioSphere Plastic technology into their water bottles making them environmentally friendly. Alkame's water bottles will not linger around for hundreds of years regardless of the disposal method.

Due to an exclusive BioSphere Plastic additive, the biodegradation process of the plastic has been greatly enhanced. Each Alkame water bottle contains a small amount of the natural and safe additive that dramatically changes the life cycle of the water bottle. When Alkame's water bottle is disposed of, whether in an aerobic or anaerobic environment, the additive attracts over 600 different types of microorganisms and encourages these microorganisms to secrete enzymes that break down the polymer chain allowing microbes to consume the plastic. The biodegradable BPA-free plastic bottles used by Alkame are both shelf stable and environmentally friendly.

BioSphere Plastic bottles actually have a positive net effect on the landfill waste system. As BioSphere bottles enter the landfill system and quickly and safely decompose, microorganisms create gases which are collected by a majority of active landfills around the United States to create energy. This energy is then used to offset the cost of landfill and to power commercial, industrial, and private homes and buildings. For additional information about BioSphere Plastic, visitwww.biosphereplastic.com.

Source: http://www.alkamewater.com/

First biodegradable bottle for drugstore and healthcare products

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The first biodegradable bottle for drugstore and healthcare products has been successfully developed through BIO P FARM project.
The Spanish companies ALMUPLAS, Talleres Rubla and Talleres Pena and AIMPLAS as technological partner, have developed a new biodegradable packaging with capacity between 150 and 500 ml intended to contain drugstore and pharmacy products such as gels, shampoos, creams and mouthwashes although according to researchers who have worked on the project could also be used in the food industry and some cleaning products.

 

aimplas bio bottle

 

Nowadays, this type of packaging is only manufactured with high density polyethylene due to the requirements of the manufacturing process and the characteristics of the product. From now, biodegradable materials can be used in these packages, preserving the properties of the product contained, and adding value from the environmental point of view.
The bottles obtained in BIO P FARM, after use and under appropriate conditions, are decomposed into carbon dioxide, water, salts and biomass within 45 days and four months.

Advantages also for packaging manufacturers

 

But the project has not only been a success in extending biodegradable materials to new applications. BIO P FARM has also been a major innovation in the adaptation of the production process. The new packaging is not only easily processable in conventional equipment, but also the production process has been made even saving costs due to lower energy consumption. This is an important aspect in order to introduce this product into the market. Nowadays there are 1,300 blowing industry companies in Europe and the biodegradable packaging demand is expected to rise up to two million tonnes on the horizon 2018.

The P BIO FARM project has been funded by the CDTI and cofinanced by FEDER and had a duration of 24 months.

Soource: K-2013