Genomatica signs deal for syngas to chemicals

Syngas – a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen – has a long history of use in the chemical industry, both for large-scale ammonia and methanol production and for conversion of C1 feedstocks – coal and natural gas - into chemicals and fuels via Fischer-Tropsch reactions. But a novel, less energy intensive route is now being […]

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EU green paper sets out innovation programme

The EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (left) has today presented a Green paper which proposes major changes to the way EU research and innovation is funded. This, it argues, will make participation easier, increase scientific and economic impact and provide better value for money for EU taxpayers. The proposals are out for consultation […]

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BASF boosts innovation spend

News released today shows BASF, the world’s biggest chemical company, increased its research and development (R&D) spend in 2010 to a record level of nearly €1.5bn ($2.1bn). Spending will be even higher in 2011, it added. In 2009, the company spent €1.40bn on R&D, up from €1.35bn in 2008, and had an R&D to sales ratio of 2.76%. “The […]

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EU reviews innovation standing

A fascinating insight into national research and innovation performances in the EU and internationally is provided in the recent Innovation Union Scoreboard for 2010, published by Inno Metrics, part of the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry. The report shows, amongst other things, that in global terms, the EU’s 27 members states are rapidly losing their […]

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BASF scales up eco-polymer, finally

BASF this week starts up added capacity for Ecoflex biodegradable polymer at its main Ludwigshafen site in Germany. It is raising output from 14,000 to 74,000 tonnes/year, which it says should meet market demands to 2020, assuming 20%/year growth as BASF is doing. The expanded Ecoflex plant I thought it might be interesting to look back […]

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DuPont’s Kullman talks biotech at Davos

With DuPont in the throes of acquiring Danish biotechnology concern Danisco in its first big ($6.3bn) M&A deal for many years (in fact since it bought the Pioneer seeds business for $7.7bn in 1999), it was no surprise to see it promoting white (industrial) biotech at the just-ended Davos World Economic Forum. DuPont chairman and […]

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SABIC boosts innovation spend

Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals and polymers giant SABIC is looking to move further into downstream products in the Kingdom as access to cheap ethane feedstock wanes. To support the drive, which includes it looking at investments in polyurethanes, polyamide and other new materials, it will be stepping up its spend on inhouse innovation. al_Ubaid is driving […]

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Unleashing Chinese innovation

Two factors are currently spurring Western chemical companies to commit ever-increasing innovation investment to China. One, the country is now the world’s largest market for chemicals (according to Cefic figures), and two, the government is shifting the focus to domestic demand to drive growth, rather than it being export-led. Dow Corning’s new China Business and […]

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EU cuts FP7 red tape

The European Commission has adopted measures to make participation in the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) easier and more attactive, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Which is to be applauded. The chemical industry has long grappled with extracting funding from this huge but bureaucratic public initiative, but until the creation of […]

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Thai group goes green

Innovation involving green chemistry is getting plenty of investment and coverage these days, but it’s not so usual to see non-Western companies making big commitments. But just the other day Thailand’s PTT Chemical, a major producer of petrochemicals, made a $60m investment in US-based Myriant Technologies, which specialises in enzymatic production of speciality chemicals from […]

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