According to GreenCore Technology, it is installing its solar air conditioners at a remote laboratory site operated by the Naval Research Laboratories (NRL). The company will also install ten GreenCore-specified 170 Watt/35 volt photovoltaic solar panels, along with peripheral solar related equipment.
July 2008 Archives
Anheuser-Busch said its brewery in Houston will purchase biogas as an alternative fuel from Allied Waste Services' nearby McCarty Road landfill. Ameresco McCarty Energy will capture the biogas and transport it to the Anheuser-Busch brewery through a six-mile underground pipeline.
The Houston plant will also use Anheuser's bio-energy recovery system (BERS) technology, which turns nutrients in brewing wastewater into renewable biogas to lessen the the use of natural gas. Both biogas sources is said to provide more than 70 percent of the plant's fuel needs.
Investment news on solar and wind are plentiful but not much on geothermal projects. Still, compared to sporadic energy capacity of wind and solar (estimated around 20-35%), geothermal energy is continuous with more than 70% capacity factor.
So what drags the development of this huge sources of energy coming from the center of the earth?
According to Frost & Sullivan's new study, the high cost of setting up and drilling the hot water from under the surface of the earth is one major impediment. Global energy use from geothermal sources today only amounts to less than 1%.
Costs are dropping, however, and is expected to fall to EUR 40 - 100 ($62-156) per megawatt hour in 2010 and EUR 40 - 80/MWh in 2020, compared to 50 - 150 euros/MWh seen in 2005, according to the consulting firm.
An interesting thing happening in my birth town so I hope my co-blogger BiofuelSimon will forgive me for swiping this news from him.
Cops in Manila, Philippines, are using a new strategy to apprehend criminals....by making them hungry with the smell of french fries coming from their patrol cars.
According to this article from DowJones, police forces in the city's financial district, Makati, are using a mixture of diesel (40%) and waste cooking oil (60%) donated by McDonalds to run their cars.
If successful, cops throughout the country will consider using recycled cooking oil to fuel their vehicles. Other restaurants are reportedly considering donating their used cooking oil as well.
These cops will soon probably have their hands full nabbing grease thieves just like what's happening in certain parts of the US.
The Soap and Detergent Association sent me an email regarding their response to the University of Washington study about supposed toxic fragrance chemicals found on leading laundry products and air fresheners.
According to them, the study is just a rehash of past studies and that it lacks real-world risk perspective.
"Turning fabric care labels into encyclopedias will only obscure the most meaningful information for consumers - the safety and usage information," said Ernie Rosenberg, SDA President and CEO.Do you think consumers will care enough to look for chemical labels in their detergents and air fresheners? My sister for one is allergic to laundry product fragrances so she uses fragrance-free (which is properly labeled), while I am ok with fragrances but allergic to certain detergents (I won't tell what) so I use a milder version. Both of us don't peruse their chemicals and google their toxicity.
The SDA said, however, that any ingredient contributing to a hazard of a product in the workplace or the likelihood that a consumer product would cause harm, the ingredient must be and are being identified.
Maybe World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) coffers are deeper than the chemical industry's if they can afford to post an ad in the New York Times about their opposition to Bush's oil drilling approval in Arctic waters and US coasts.
The ad in yesterday's Times argues that more drilling would have virtually no impact on gas prices, and could have a negative impact on America's wilderness and waters.
A study from the University of Washington (UW) found that chemicals with potential toxicity or health hazards are being used in top selling laundry products and air fresheners, and they are not listed on any product labels that were tested.
"Be careful if you buy products with fragrance, because you really don't know what's in them," said Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs "I'd like to see better labeling. In the meantime, I'd recommend that instead of air fresheners people use ventilation, and with laundry products, choose fragrance-free versions."Steinemann noted that the European Union recently enacted legislation requiring products to list 26 fragrance chemicals when they are present above a certain concentration in cosmetic products and detergents. No similar laws exist in the US.
I am traveling today and tomorrow for Evonik's plant groundbreaking event in Mobile, Alabama. The facility will produce alkoxides, which are used as catalysts in biodiesel production.
Aside from the biodiesel industry, Evonik will also give an update on the lithium ion batteries market as well as tidbits on how sea urchins are playing a major role in ensuring clean water for the Mobile area. Those topics should be very interesting to the green chemicals world so stay tune for them.
In the meantime, ICIS News reported yesterday that the US Congress agreed to permanently ban children's products that contain more than 0.1% di-(2 ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).
Kids' products that contain more than 0.1% of diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) will be temporarily banned pending further studies.
Phthalates are used primarily to make vinyl soft and flexible.
The ban is said to be part of a final bill to reform and expand the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which was heavily criticized this year because of issues such as lead-contained toys from China.
The bill, which will still be voted on by both Senate and Congress, will also include setting new standards for toys; increase CPSC's annual budget from the current $80 million to $118 million starting in 2010 and growing to $136 million over five years; third-party testing requirements for certain children's products; and gives CPSC the authority to inspect manufacturers' proprietary labs.
It will also include protection for whistle-blowers.
According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), it supported the Congress' action to strengthen and fund CPSC but was disappointed in the phthalates ban from products intended for children under the age of 12.
"Our children's health and safety is too important to rush through product restrictions without understanding their full consequences and ACC believes that restricting phthalates from children's products, when they have been deemed safe for use in those products by the CPSC, will do nothing to protect children's health."ACC reiterated that there is no scientific basis for Congress to restrict phthalates from toys and children's products. Phthalates are said to be the most thoroughly studied chemical in the world reviewed by multiple regulatory bodies in the US and Europe for over 50 years.
Last week, OSHA issued Imperial Sugar an $8.8m fine, said to be the third largest in OSHA's history, following a sugar refinery explosion in February at the company's Port Wentworth, Georgia, plant. The explosion killed 13 employees and hospitalized 40 others.
OSHA said the company's facilities in Port Wentworth as well as in Gramercy, Louisiana, have large accumulations of combustible sugar dust in workrooms, on electrical motors and on other equipment, and that officials at the company were well aware of these conditions but took no action reasonably directed at reducing the obvious hazards.
"I am outraged that this company would show a complete disregard for its employees' safety by knowingly placing them in an extremely dangerous work environment," said OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "If OSHA investigators had not inspected and posted an imminent danger notice regarding areas at the second plant, the same thing could have happened again."Imperial Sugar's CEO John Sheptor said it is contesting the allegations and the penalties proposed by OSHA. Sheptor said the Gramercy facility remains closed while they ensure that they have taken all appropriate measures for a safe operation.
Sheptor also blamed OSHA for not having a clear and comprehensive workplace safety standards that specifically addresses combustible dust.
"We disagree strongly with OSHA's claims and we look forward to presenting the facts that show our commitment to safety both before the February 7 accident and afterwards. At the same time, we welcome the opportunity to work with OSHA to improve safety at our facilities and other employers, including assisting OSHA in promulgating a combustible dust standard."Imperial Sugar is scheduled to testify this week at a Senate hearing on combustible dust.
The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigations Board (CSB), an independent scientific and technical agency, is also conducting its own investigation on the Imperial Sugar disaster.
According to this article from ICIS Chemical Business, CSB charged that OSHA failed to voluntarily implement recommendations made by the agency in 2006 to create a comprehensive standard for explosive dust safety.
Then US Environmental Protection Agency said last week that it has identified risks associated with the pesticide carbofuran and is proceeding toward cancelling the pesticide's registration.
"EPA has concluded that dietary, worker, and ecological risks are of concern for all uses of carbofuran. All products containing carbofuran generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on humans and the environment and do not meet safety standards, and therefore are ineligible for reregistration."Carbofuran is an N-methyl carbamate insecticide and nematicide registered to control pests in soil and on leaves in a variety of field, fruit, and vegetable crops.
According to this ICIS News article, the sole US carbofuran manufacturer FMC recently filed suit in US District Court in Washington, DC, to contest the EPA's cancellation effort.
Just in time for the summer, the Environmental Working Group claimed that out of nearly 1,000 sunscreen products in the US market, four out of five offer inadequate protection from the sun or contain ingredients that may pose a health risk. The group said only 15% of 952 products they analyzed met their criteria for safety and effectiveness. EWG also said that many of sunscreen's product claims are questionable.
"Until the Food and Drug Administration sets an effective date for these standards, industry is free to use hyped claims. Companies' decisions to inflate claims has spurred class action lawsuits in California."In this New York Times article, several dermatologist are said to have reviewed the study and noted that EWG's research is without basis in any accepted scientific standard.
"What they are doing is developing their own system for evaluating things," said Dr. Warwick L. Morison, professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation's photobiology committee, which tests sunscreens for safety and effectiveness. "Using this scale to say a sunscreen offers good protection or bad protection is junk science."In another controversial consumer product, several public advocates such as Beyond Pesticides, Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace US, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club, are asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cancel the non-medical uses of the antibacterial triclosan.
The groups said the antibacterial agent is no more effective than regular soap and water, and that it can be harmful to the environment because of its questionable degradability. The EPA has been soliciting public comments for the reregistration eligibility decision for triclosan.
This week saw a lot of news from the biofuel sector, which I left to my co-blogger Simon Robinson to dissect and analyze. Congratulations as well to Simon for reaching his 1000th post!
To catch up (my fourth post today), here's our green roundup covering from superfruits to clean coal.
More solar power in Nevada
First Solar will build a 10 megawatt photovoltaic power plant for Sempra Generation near Boulder City, Nevada. The project will be completed by the end of the year.
Chromadex has licensed a green chemistry technology from the Research Foundation of the State University of New York to produce and market plant-based ingredients for nutraceutical, functional food, beverage, natural chemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
Chilean waste-based energy
W2 Energy and Cobal Chile S.A. will build two waste-to-energy plants that will convert 40 tons of municipal solid waste into electricity and to 70 cetane synthetic diesel. The plants will use W2 Energy's plasma technology and Cobal Chile's expertise in waste-to-energy processing.
Gas for clean coal
Praxair will provide Vattenfall AB of Sweden its oxy-coal technology and engineering that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity generating power plants. The project would require approximately 8,000 tons per day of oxygen.
HCFC gases still strong in EU
A DuPont-sponsored study reported that 65% of cooling installations in 9 key EU markets continue to function on HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) refrigerant gases. HCFC will be banned in Europe by January 2010.
And in ICIS News (which requires subscription):
Argonne National Laboratory is looking for an industry partner to turn plastics and other residue from old shredded cars into commercially attractive materials.
Austria's beekeepers want the government to ban certain pesticides that are suspected of killing bees.
The Mississippi River remained closed as of Friday because of fuel oil spill, but might be partially reopened in the next few days according to the US Coast Guard.
Some companies in Massachusetts are experimenting on having shorter work days in order to save energy and fuel costs, according to this article from Boston Globe.
Several government agencies in Sudbury, Winchester, and Concord, New Hampshire, already started some employees on trial four-day workweeks. Boston Globe reported that agencies in Newburyport and Westport are considering the option.
"The idea is meant to save money by allowing employers to conserve power - and even shut down operations completely - for extended periods. No workers means no need for air conditioning, lights, electronics, or machinery. That, in turn, should translate into less energy-related overhead and a reduced carbon footprint."I wholeheartedly support this idea (as long as my boss doesn't cut my salary!). Do you think this plan will work for your company?
Starting July 20, car traffic was restricted in the city in order to to take 50 percent of Beijing's 3,5 million vehicles off the road - in time to lessen air pollution for the Olympic games. From then until 20 September, private vehicles will only be allowed to drive on alternating days and cars with high emissions will be banned, according to this article from the European Space Agency (ESA).
"Poor air quality could pose problems for the Olympic athletes and hinder the performance of those competing outdoors in endurance sports, such as cycling and marathons," the ESA said.ESA, through a joint program with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China, is monitoring air quality in Beijing using a newly installed High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System. Three-day forecasts are posted daily and are accessible on the Beijing Air Quality website.
Growing up, I used to collect metal scraps (mostly copper and aluminum) from the neighborhood motor shops with my street pals and then sell them to the highest recycler bidder via door to door (since Ebay is not yet around).
Pity I didn't have the entrepreneurial foresight to make it as a business or I might have been included in Alcoa's top scrap suppliers for this year, which included the following:
American Iron and Metal [Montreal, Quebec,Canada], David J Joseph Co. [Cincinnati, Ohio], Metal Conversion Ltd. [Mansfield, Ohio], Newco Metals Inc. [Pendleton, Indiana], Omnisource Corp. [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Service Aluminum Corp. [Ellicott City, Maryland], Shapiro Sales [St. Louis, Missouri], Smelter Service Corp. [Mount Pleasant, Tennessee], State Metal Industries [Camden, New Jersey], Weiner Iron and Metal [Pottsville,Pennsylvania].
Alcoa said it has been able to increase its scrap purchases by more than 10% annually for the last three years.
Speaking of awards, I just want to congratulate our friends from Rohm and Haas who won the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Environmental Performance Track Award for its Kankakee facility, and the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) 2007 Responsible Care Energy Efficiency Awards for the company's Houston and Philadelphia plants.
Congratulations as well to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) when it bags the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Regional Industrial Innovation Award for its environment-friendly deicer technology.
I just got this press release from the group Earthjustice, and they, among a coalition of farmworkers, public health, and environmental groups, filed a lawsuit today against the EPA to stop the use of organochlorine pesticide endosulfan.
The coalition said that like other organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, endosulfan is persistent in the environment and poisons humans and wildlife both in agricultural areas and in regions far from where it was applied.
The group said that around 1.38 million pounds of endosulfan were used annually in the United States as of 2002 as reported by the EPA. Crops commonly treated with endosulfan include cotton, tomatoes, melons, squash, and tobacco.
The lawsuit was brought by Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice on behalf of: Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Environmental Health, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO), Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network North America, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), United Farm Workers, and Teamsters Local 890.
The Earthjustice motto: "Because the earth needs a good lawyer"
The Fur Institute of Canada (FIC) is bristling at yesterday's European Union proposal to ban the import of seal products, stating that Canada has overly abundant seal populations and the ban is inconsistent with World Trade Organization agreements for fair trade.
"The proposed legislation is discriminatory in its treatment of different sealing practices and different sealing peoples. If passed, a ban targeting commercial sealing will disrupt world markets for all seal products and will cause financial and social hardships to all isolated communities that rely on the trade."FIC said the European Food Safety Authority released a study late last year recognizing that Canadian sealing is in large part conducted humanely.
According to the European Commission, the aim of the proposal is to uphold high standards of animal welfare.
FYI, the Fur Council of Canada is promoting aggressively that natural-based furs are greener than synthetics (and here's our green angle!). Below is a video from the Council's website promoting their new ad campaign FurIsGreen.
The volume of hypoxic zones, also called "dead zones", in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay are expected to be record-setting this summer according to a University of Michigan researcher.
Hypoxia refers to the loss of oxygen in water, which then leads to unsustainable conditions for aquatic plants and animals. The widening of Gulf of Mexico hypoxia is blamed for the recent massive flooding of cities and farms in the Mississippi River basin.
"The growth of these dead zones is an ecological time bomb. Without determined local, regional, and national efforts to control them, we are putting major fisheries at risk."The researcher said the best way to shrink the dead zones is to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous flowing into these water basins.
This suggestion of course raised the ires of the fertilizer industry. The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) said they are not entirely to blame for the growing hypoxic zones in the reported areas, according to an ICIS News article (subscription needed to access this one).
The difference, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), is that people metabolize (when taken in tolerable dosage)and excrete bisphenol-A far more quickly than rodents.
The EFSA released an update today and reaffirmed that people are safe from the levels of BPA exposure which may be present in food through its use in certain food contact materials such as baby bottles and cans.
"The conclusions of the Panel are that after exposure to BPA the human body rapidly metabolizes and eliminates the substance. This represents an important metabolic difference compared with rats. EFSA will continue to monitor closely scientific findings regarding BPA and any related health effects."This information gave me an idea for a greener rodenticide. Just let the pesky rats gnaw on baby bottles and cans...
ICIS Chemical Business, the magazine I work for, recently published two very nice articles about the photovoltaics market. According to Dede Williams, Germany is facing feedstock shortages and competition from cheaper regions, while Ed Zwirn reported a global overview of the industry.
And with that introduction, here are more solar news accumulating in my soon-to-post blog box for the past 2 weeks.
- Underwriters Laboratories opens North America's largest commercial photovoltaic testing and certification facility in Silicon Valley
- China-based Solarfun Power Holdings entered into a 47.0 megawatt photovoltaic modules sales contract with Schüco International KG, a PV system provider in Europe.
- Masachussets-based Evergreen Solar, a manufacturer of solar power panels signed a new $1.2bn long-term sales contract with German-based IBC SOLAR AG.
- Photovoltaic manufacturer Sencera International Corp., is expanding its Charlotte, N.C. plant, which will exceed 38 megawatts of capacity by 2011.
- Chinese multicrystalline solar wafers producer LDK Solar signed a 10-year contract to supply a total of 400 megawatt multicrystalline solar wafers to Belgium-based Photovoltech.
- Southern California Edison began installing solar panels at the first of 150 Southern California commercial rooftops,reportedly the largest solar panel installation in the world.
- Canadian ICP Solar Technologies, a manufacturer and marketer of solar panels and products, entered a sales contract with Nissan in Europe and North America for car solar charger.
- The Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) market brought in €149 million ($234.3m) last year with a market growth rate of 33%, according to Frost & Sullivan.
- Inorganic thin-film photovoltaic technologies - amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), is expected to erode crystalline silicon photovoltaic's current dominant market share, grabbing 28% of the solar market in 2012 with $19.7 billion in sales, according to Lux Research.
Speaking of China again, it seems that biomass could answer (partially at least) two of the country's biggest problems: pollution and energy source.
According to this study from AMBIO (a nonprofit publication of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences), China could reduce pollution as much as 46-60% using biomass-based energy. Currently, only 14% of China's energy is from commercialized biomass.
The authors of the study point out that public education on the use of renewable energy resources should be improved.
The good news is that investments in biomass energy in China seems to be getting in good shape. According to GE Energy last June, 50 new biomass-fueled power plants are currently being built in the country and they are supplying the control systems.
GE says the 50 plants will each feature two, 12 megawatt power blocks that will generate a total of 7.2 billion kilowatt-hour/year, which is enough to support an average of 70,000 families in China. The first biomass power block is scheduled to start at the end of August 2008. All 50 plants will be operational by December 2010.
US-headquartered China Holdings Inc. announced in May that it expects to begin operation of its 5 biomass-based energy plants (with a total capacity of 250 megawatt) by 2010.
For those who think global warming is just nature's way of being grumpy, US physicists are saying otherwise and reaffirmed that humans are to blame for the future mess the world is going to be in.
"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes."The American Physical Society (APS) urged the need to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth's climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms.
Preserving the environment is proving to be a profitable venture for lawyers.
In the past few weeks, I've encountered several announcements from law firms stating that they are forming new businesses dedicated to untangling the intricacies of the carbon market.
Cincinnati-based Thompson Hine formed last week its new Climate Change and Sustainable Business Solutions group while in May, Washington D.C.-based Sullivan & Worcester also formed its Climate Change Group to address a variety of business, legal and risk-management issues arising from the global need to preserve and protect the environment.
With new and emerging emission schemes and cap-and-trade carbon policies around the world, lawyers will definitely be handy especially for major energy-intensive global corporations. For research and developments, who else can defend somebody's green patents except lawyers?!?
US aluminum producer Alcoa and Chinese bus maker Zhengzhou Yutong Group Co. Ltd. are hoping they could help with their new green buses that will be displayed and road tested during the Olympic games.
Alcoa said the new aluminum-intensive bus body is approximately 46 percent lighter than a traditional bus and requires less fuel and emits fewer greenhouse gases.
Speaking of Olympics, ICIS Chemical Business (Disclosure: I work for ICIS) will feature some interesting new technology (that hopefully includes green innovation as well) in sports materials. Watch out for these articles on August 4.
It's the new 2-watt CherryPal desktop computer, which reportedly delivers 97% less power consumption (equivalent to your clock radio's power use), has 80% fewer components (less metals and chemicals use compared to standard PCs), and has a decade or more lifespan.
According to the company CEO, the $249 paperback-sized desktop (excluding keyboard and monitor) has no operating system and all of its application and function are managed solely by a Firefox-based browser. It has no moving parts (so forget the CDs, DVDs and other disks) but has USB connectors and ethernet, monitor and headphone jacks.
If you want storage for your documents, photos and music, you've got 50G free via their "highly-secured" CherryPalCloud site. All in all, most of the applications and programs is accessed via web (think of Google documents, photos, emails, etc. where all data are stored online).
This could be very good alternative for desktop users especially if they're concern about their electricity consumption. Unfortunately I am not one of them as I tend to I lug my laptop everywhere, from kitchen to bedroom to living room to closet. I also like my documents and files right where they belong, in my hard drive where bugs and viruses and hackers can access them as soon as I lower my internet firewall defense.
As mentioned last Friday, California's Building Standards Commission adopted the first statewide green building standards in the US which will become mandatory in 2010.
The new building standards aim to reduce energy use in building structures by 15% more than current standards; reduce water usage in commercial and residential buildings ( such as 50% landscape water conservation reduction); encourages the use of recycled materials in carpets and building materials; and identifies various site improvements including parking for hybrid vehicles and better storm water plans.
A Green Building Initiative was also recently implemented by Governor Schwarzenegger directing state agencies to reduce energy use at state-owned buildings 20 percent by 2015, as well as reducing the impact state buildings have on climate change.
US buildings account for 70% electricity consumption, 39% energy usage, 12% potable water consumption, 40% raw materials usage, 30% waste output (136 million tons annually), and produce 39% associated greenhouse gases (CO2), according to the US Green Building Council.
Ex-vice president Al Gore seems to think that the US is ready and able to eliminate the use of coal, natural gas or petroleum oil in US electricity within 10 years by using alternative energies such as wind, solar and geothermal.
According to his speech yesterday (see the video below), his plan of a carbon-free US electricity by 2018 is achievable and affordable, and will solve our current economic, environmental and national security crises.
One way to speed up this transition, according to Gore, is taxing carbon-based energy.
Some seems to think that the plan is quite far fetched given that many energy studies point to a further 20-40 years time needed before complete transition to renewable clean energy can take place. Former oilman T. Boone Pickens, who's heavily promoting wind energy, said in his response to the speech that Gore's plan is unrealistic.
A busy end to the week with Al Gore giving its "reach for the moon" climate change speech yesterday; California adopting the nation's first statewide green building code; President Bush lifting a decade-old offshore drilling ban; and Australia releasing its long-awaited cap-and-trade carbon schemes.
The blog will talk more about them later (except for the offshore drilling news which was already posted on July 14).
EPA plans carbon capture rules
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a rule that supports technologies to prevent industrial emissions of carbon dioxide such as carbon capture and storage. EPA is requesting public comments on the proposed rule for 120 days.
Italy's first recycling plant
Boeing and Alenia Aeronautica will establish Italy's first composite industrial recycling facility in Puglia, which will start in mid- to late-2009. The plant will process an average of 1,000 tonnes/year of composite scrap.
Dow in biomass chemicals venture
Dow Chemical and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will jointly develop a process that will convert biomass to ethanol and other chemical building blocks. The program will use Dow's mixed alcohol catalyst.
Philadelphia's greening businesses
The University City Science Center in Philadelphia will house its first green technology start-up firm, R&D Green Materials, in its Science Center Incubator. R&D Green Materials will produce and market a variety of bio-based plastic materials from plant protein.
Cellulosic nonwovens coming soon
Weyerhauser and Lenzing are developing wood fiber-based nonwoven fabrics using Lenzing's lyocell technology. The technology enables a solution of cellulose to be processed directly and without intermediate process steps into a nonwoven fabric.
The US Coast Guard is investigating why alarms failed to go off last week when a ship leaked vinyl chloride monomer near an Occidental Chemical plant in Corpus Christi, Texas.
US producer Mallinckrodt Baker plans to double the manufacturing capacity of its photovoltaics surface cleaner BakerClean PV-160.
The European Commission approved a German aid for Wacker's solar wafers joint venture plant in the central state of Thuringia.
According to the ITC, research and development within the US bio-based chemical industry (including pharmaceuticals) grew strongly from 2004 through 2007, with R&D expenditures reaching $3.4bn last year, much larger than that of liquid biofuels R&D (at $152.5m). A small number of large pharma companies accounted for a larger share of bio-chemical R&D expenditures.
The rate of R&D activities in biofuels, however, is faster compared to biochems mostly because government support policies do not target this industry as much as biofuels (since the industry is also much less reliant on ag feedstock compared to biofuels - now you see the connection?).
ITC said that biochemicals (including pharmaceuticals and biodegradable plastics) account for 70 percent of products made with industrial biotechnology, while biofuels account for 30 percent. Still, for biobased chemical producers, operating income as a share of total net sales remained relatively flat.
Among the biggest challenge to the successful development and adoption of industrial biotechnology by the biofuels and biochemical industry, according to ITC, are the rising costs of feedstock and the inability to attract sufficient investment.
I came across this really cool YouTube video from GreenTechnology.com. It features one of CNN's EcoSolutions segment about developments of biobased or energy-reducing electronics by Sony as well as Mohawk carpets made from recycled plastic bottles.
Based on watching this video it occurred to me that the chemical industry has really done a good job in accelerating the development of solving waste and pollution. We, as consumers, should do our part in turn (such as recycling plastic bottles, reducing waste and consumption, and making sure the chemical industry will continue to develop more solutions to our growing waste problems...).
Rooftops made with solar and other energy-reducing, greenhouse gas reducing materials are spreading across the globe.
In New York, building owners can even get tax credits by installing roof areas with green vegetation. If you want to start selling fruits and veggies to your local farmer's market, just ask your building's owners to give you a space to plant your tomatoes and peppers.
Solar rooftops, however, are getting to be more popular than the garden varieties. In New Jersey, the Atlantic City Convention Center will soon have the largest single roof-mounted solar array in the US, according to the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.
Pepco Energy Services will build, own, operate and maintain the 2.36-megawatt solar array, which will be completed by December 31.
In Europe, General Motors is building the world's largest rooftop solar photovoltaic power installation to its car assembly plant located in Figueruelas, Zaragoza, Spain. When the project is completed in the fall of 2008, the Zaragoza solar installation will cover about 2,000,000 sq. ft. of roof at the plant and comprises about 85,000 solar panels.
Trenton, New Jersey-based startup firm TerraCycle is upcycling used food wrappers, drink pouches, empty yogurt containers, corks and soda bottles into pencil cases, umbrellas, pouches, bags, garbage cans and shower curtains.
According to this article from Wall Street Journal, the company has signed deals or in talks with corporation such as Kraft Foods, Kellogg and Coca-Cola to collect some of their packaging waste into these products and sell them to retailers such as Target, Walgreen and potentially in the future, Wal-Mart and Home Depot.
Using sponsorships from various food manufacturers, TerraCycle also set up thousands of trash-collecting brigades where they will be paid a couple of cents per wrapper or pouches. TerraCycle covers the cost of collection and sends the trash to its factories in Mexico to upcycle them into new retail products.
"We're able to retail at the store for the same price as a normal Hanna Montana backpack except ours is made from garbage collected by American kids and each pouch represents a little donation."The Journal reported that TerraCycle expects $8 million in revenue this year, with 20% to 30% coming from the upcycled products.
Port representatives met last week at the C40 World Ports Climate Conference in Rotterdam and started planning on measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality under the World Ports Climate Declaration.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, ships that use low-grade fuel belch out between 5% and 20% of the global GHG emissions.
Some of the initiatives floating around during the conference also include increasing the number of electric "plugs" availble for powering ships while in harbor; replacing the trucks that move containers within the port with hybrid vehicles; and develop their own carbon capture systems.
Here's a good news for eco-conscious snowboarders:
Bayer Materialscience is now offering the Makboard, a clear, soft flex snowboard made of polycarbonate resin which is 100% recyclable. The company said the Makboard won't delaminate like standard-construction snowboards, and it delivers a smooth ride with less chatter (whatever this means...).
The first commercially available Makboards are now available at Tait's Boardshop in Olympic Valley, Calif., as well as online at www.makboard.com
Not content with the industrial, aviation and transportation sectors, European officials are further implementing more green consciousness within consumers and product producers through a new legislative package of proposals launched today that aims towards a more sustainable retail and product manufacturing/consumption environment.
"Our actions as consumers and producers worldwide are major forces behind climate change and the destruction of nature. The time has come for us to change the type of products we buy and transform our methods of production. This is why the European Commission is putting forward proposals to encourage a switch to energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly products and production," says EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.Some of the initiatives include mandatory labeling as well as voluntary eco-labeling; incentives such as green product procurement practices; compulsory minimum requirements and voluntary benchmarks for energy-using products; promoting resource efficiency and eco-innovation; promoting sustainable products worldwide; and other energy-efficient and eco-product initiatives within the retail and manufacturing sectors.
Will this package of legislation benefit or hinder chemical companies dealing with the European consumer markets? I guess we have to stay tune to find out more about it in the coming weeks and months ahead.
By the way, there is a nice video from TVLink Europe about this proposal but unfortunately I was unable to upload it. You can see it at this site instead.
A media relations from Dow Corning sent me an email today regarding their Molykote Energy Savings calculator. According to the company, the online tool shows potential energy and carbon savings for manufacturing plant managers by using proper lubricants for their equipment.
"The calculator can help manufacturers meet environmental sustainability goals and fulfill their commitment to innovative, energy-efficient solutions by understanding where they may be wasting energy."After a little bit of googling, I found out that green calculators seem to be very popular these days.
The blog mentioned last month the "Incredible Hulk carbon calculator" in honor of the green Marvel superhero's latest movie.
Xerox said its Sustainability Calculator can help measure the environmental efficiency of any office. Xerox said its calculator provides customers with recommendations to help them achieve cost-savings and efficiency gains that come with an optimized "green" office environment.
The UK Water Industry is currently developing its own carbon calculator to be developed by engineering firm MWH, according to ClimateBiz.com. The calculator allows companies to measure the amount of carbon emissions in construction projects such as water treatment plants.
Now that you've noticed the booming business of green consulting, the consulting firm Verdantix is warning buyers about the pitfalls in green consulting especially those covering the climate change business.
"In 2008, consulting firms expect to see growth of up 200% compared to 2007 for advice on global carbon markets and renewable energy." said Verdantix Director, David Metcalfe. "Demand from corporates for climate change advice is less hot but is still growing at a healthy rate of 25%. Buyers are looking for proven environmental expertise with a business analysis edge. This combination poses a challenge for new players entering the climate change consulting market."Verdantix said more players are expected to launch more green services thus increasing buyers' confusion in selecting the right adviser to tackle their climate change-related problems.
These research and consulting firms seem to be churning out new green studies every month or so.
- Frost & Sullivan said 2/3 of the European renewable energy market comes from biomass sources because of their competitive price. The consulting firm also looked at the expected 30% growth of Europe's green buildings market in the next 10 years. In the transportation sector, Frost & Sullivan expects around 250,000 electric vehicles will be sold in Europe by 2015.
- A case study from Arthur D. Little (ADL) noted that global manufacturers such as Toyota and Volkswagen can lose 10%-15% of sales volume if they do not actively tackle carbon dioxide issues at both technology and business levels. In its recent Sustainability Report, ADL said many companies have superficial corporate behavior when it comes to sustainability practices and reporting. ADL also released a white paper on Green Purchasing that explores how regulation, rising energy costs and increased consumer concern with ethical business are driving companies to consider sustainable procurement.
- BCC Research analyzed the US market for alternative chemical products and expected the market to reach $94.8bn in 2013.
- The global carbon market in the first half of 2008 reached $59bn dominated by the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, according to Point Carbon.
- The US Fuel Cell Council, through a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, reported in its 2007 Worldwide Industry Survey that fuel cell-related jobs grew 22% in 2006. Global fuel cell sales for that year were up 10% to $387 million.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that the cost of halving global carbon emissions by 2050 should be no more than 3% of world gross domestic product (GDP).
- A study called GreenFactor by Strategic Oxygen, GCI Group and Cohn & Wolfe noted the green leaders and laggards in the global information technology (IT) market.
Wal-Mart is polishing its green image with more sustainability activities.
Yesterday, the company announced that it joined the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) Global Forest and Trade Network, which aims to eradicate global illegal logging. Wal-Mart said it plans to phase out illegal wood sources from its supply chain and increase its proportion of wood products from credibly certified sources.
Wal-Mart sourced its wood-based furniture from the Amazon, Russian Far East, northern China, Indonesia, and the Mekong region of southeast Asia. According to WWF, the U.S. is among the top destinations for wood imports from areas where illegal logging and trade are common.
Wal-Mart also announced today the exclusive launch of its Love, Earth jewelry line, where the jewelry's retailer "aims" to trace the sustainability of their supply chain - from mining to manufacturing. The line is a collaboration of Wal-Mart, Conservation International (CI) and Wal-Mart's supply chain partners.
Just saw this news from ICIS that President Bush is lifting an executive ban on offshore drilling that has long stood since his dad was president.
The presidential offshore development ban was put in place by the first President Bush in 1990 while Congress also banned oil and gas drilling off the US east and west coasts as well as almost all of Alaska's coastline since 1981.
The US Congress is yet to lift its ban and until they do so, no drilling is still allowed.
I can imagine right now several press releases being written from both sides of the equation. One from energy intensive companies (that include the chemical industry) celebrating the momentous occasion, and the other from environmental groups condemning the president's action.
The American Chemistry Council already had theirs applauding the historic occasion stating that the move is a positive step towards the right direction for US energy policy.
With closer scrutiny on lead-contained toy products, you might think that your kids' toys might now be safe but retailers, product manufacturers and ultimately consumers should also consider each product's complete life cycle analysis not just raw materials but including labor and manufacturing environment. Isn't that what companies now call sustainability?
According to a report from the US watchdog group National Labor Committee (NLC), a new Sesame Street "Ernie" toy to be released tomorrow in the US and Europe is made in an abusive sweatshop at the Kai Da Toy Factory in Shenzhen, China.
The workers reportedly handle potentially toxic oil paints and solvents without protective gear and also are paid less than one cent for each toy completed. NLC said the workers sweat as they race to complete 50 "Ernie" toys each hour and 650 in the 13-hour shift.
"The abuse of young toy workers in China will not end unless parents and children demand that Sesame Street, Hasbro and K'NEX immediately clean up the Kai Da factory and take concrete steps to guarantee that the legal rights of the workers will finally be respected. There is absolutely no reason why these powerful toy companies cannot pay fair wages and treat the workers as human beings," said NLC director Charles Kernaghan.If I have powers, I'll turn these Ernie toys into Chuckies and make Hasbro and K'NEX see the error of their ways...
According to a survey by Nokia, only 3% of the people they interviewed in 13 countries recycled their old mobile phones, 4% threw them in the landfill, and a majority left them on drawers or other places at home to gather dust.
Others sell their used devices or passed them to families and friends.
The survey revealed that one of the main reasons why so few people recycle their mobile phones is because they simply don't know that it is possible to do so.
Nokia said 65%-80% of their device can be recycled. Plastics that can't be recycled are burnt to provide energy for the recycling process (--isn't that toxic?), and other materials are ground up into chips and used as construction materials or for building roads.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are very much needed to reduce one-third of the world's global carbon dioxide emissions, according to a report from the Boston Consulting Group.
"CCS technology offers substantial benefits, but high cost and uncertainty have been a major roadblock so far in applying it. A carbon market price of €30 ($47.8) per ton, combined with worldwide subsidies, could offset the cost. Because of the long-term payback, private companies and government authorities need to begin promoting the development of CCS today."The consulting group said an initial subsidy of €100 billion would proceed CCS development as the carbon price stabilized.
The effort for CCS technology development has just begun, according to BCC Research. The market research firm estimated the market for CCS technologies last year was worth $88.7bn.
BCC estimated the market to increase to over $236.3bn by 2012 with compound annual growth rate of 22%.
"By 2025 more than 10 billion metric tons of CO2 will need to be captured each year and CO2 emissions will still continue to grow. A global infrastructure that will ultimately cost more than $15 trillion will need to be installed over the next century to accomplish that ever increasing annual task."
Kids in Iowa will probably appreciate the feel of newly recycled rubber tiles on their tiny feet in their playgrounds courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB), and GreenMan Technologies's subsidiary Welch Products.
The partnership's Iowa Scrap Tire Program is expected to reuse 500,000 pounds of recycled rubber to more than 20 playgrounds.
The IASB is implementing the Iowa Safe School Playground Initiative, a program designed to heighten awareness around the benefits of recycling Iowa scrap tires and provide recycled rubber safety tiles to selected school playgrounds.
The Iowa DNR provided matching grant awards in the form of rubber tiles for playground surfacing made from recycled Iowa tires, and Welch Products' subsidiary, National Safe Surface Initiative (NSSI), will supply the recycled rubber safety tiles.
California's new 1% VOC-limit standards effective 2011 has driven JohnsonDiversey to reformulate its floor finish line Signature ultra.
The company says the reformulated product has reduced VOC (volatile organic compounds) content by 40%. JohnsonDiversey is also reformulating 15 floor-finish products under the brand names Johnson Wax Professional and Butcher's to meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) standard.
The chemical world is going crazy with two multi-billion dollars M&A deals this week: Dow acquiring Rohm and Haas (yesterday), and Ashland acquiring Hercules (this morning). I'm sure we can find some green angle in there somewhere especially with Rohm and Haas recently putting out lots of news on their environment-friendly paints and coatings.
Cargill's big soy polyols plant
Cargill has broken ground on its soybean-based BiOH polyols plant in Chicago, said to be the first world-scale biopolyols production facility. Cargill said that for every 1 million pounds of BiOH polyols that replace petroleum polyols, 2,200 barrels of crude oil are saved.
Gas needed for solar
Linde Group will supply silane gas for Schmid Silicon's new electronic grade silane plant under construction in Dresden, Germany. The plant will produce high purity silane for thin film photovoltaic manufacturers.
Carbon credits for biomass
Green Energy Resources is offering free carbon credits to European, US or UK energy companies in exchange for long-term supply contracts for its wood biomass, which qualifies under methane avoidance criteria established by the United Nations CDM (clean development mechanism).
SunFab in Italy
Applied Materials will produce its first SunFab thin film photovoltaic modules in Italy through a contract with renewable energy producer Moncada Energy Group. The facility will have annual capacity of 40 megawatts.
Battery recycling in Algeria
Paris-based Recyclex is building a lead acid battery processing and recycling plant in Algeria, which has a big market potential in battery recycling with 32 million inhabitants, a car fleet enjoying 6% annual growth and a recycling branch which is still little structured.
And in ICIS News (which requires subscription):
A court ruling in Ohio dismissed a lead paint lawsuit against Sherwin-Williams and Millenium Holdings. Bioplastics are seeing strong US demand growth as PET feedstock costs escalate. Bioscience company Virent is stepping up development of biogasoline made from sugar.
The chemical industry must really be getting irritated by the continued sensationalism of supposed toxic consumer products (especially brought on by the media).
I just got this email from the American Chemistry Council stating the facts about phthalates on consumer products:
This media alert is in response to inaccurate statements about phthalates that have been perpetuated in the news cycle in recent months.
Phthalate esters, or orthophthalates, are commonly used in a wide variety of vinyl products to make them flexible and durable. In the U.S., these plastic products are typically not made of vinyl (and thus are not made with phthalates):
- Food packaging
- Baby bottles and baby bottle nipples
- Plastic water bottles
- Plastic food containers
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Plastic food wrap is typically softened with plasticizers other than phthalate esters.
The American Chemistry Council is happy to answer your questions about phthalates and to provide more information about where phthalates are used. Please contact us or visit www.phthalates.org for more information.
The vehicle pricing and information site NADAguides.com said consumers who are thinking of purchasing a hybrid car solely to save money on gas should calculate the number of miles they drive per year and their typical per gallon gas price in order to to recoup the extra cost of buying a hybrid car over its gasoline-only counterpart.
"For example, if a Houston-area commuter travels 12 miles one way to work, driving 10,000 total miles annually, while a Los Angeles-area commuter travels 25 miles one way, driving 15,000 total miles annually, the Los Angeles commuter recoups his investment almost 80 percent faster."NADAguides. com compiled the top five hybrid cars with the greatest return on investment and the number of miles to break even in 10 major metropolitan areas at current gas prices.
US demand for hybrid vehicles must really be booming as Toyota planned to start manufacturing its hybrid car Prius in Blue Springs, Miss., late next year.
According to the company, global sales of Prius have passed its 1 million mark this year, with approximately 1,028,000 units sold as of the end of April.
Toyota will also temporarily suspend production of its Tundra and Sequioa models starting August as US sales continue to crash for SUVs and trucks.
It's nice that Toyota is contributing to the sales improvement of lesser-gas-guzzling cars but the company should also include in its sustainability agenda the health of its workers.
One of the company's top engineers in Japan was said to have died from overwork developing a hybrid version of Toyota's Camry line, the Associated Press reported.
There are not that many questions but you'll be surprised about how little we know about the chemical industry's use of renewable materials (such as castor oil) for feedstock.
The White House released this morning a statement from the G8 nations and major emerging economies about their vows to cut greenhouse gas emissions and achieving a low carbon world full of peace and harmony.
No specific actions were discussed at the G8 summit meeting but they did emphasized the need for technological breakthroughs to achieve this ambitious (but achievable - except maybe the peace and harmony part) goal.
The government of Alberta, Canada said yesterday that it is appropriating a total of C$4bn ($3.92bn) to reduce the province's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
A C$2bn fund will be invested in carbon capture and storage projects while the rest will go to public transit investments to reduce vehicle use.
"We're tackling both sides of the emissions challenge on behalf of Albertans and all Canadians," said Premier Ed Stelmach. "We're reducing the impact of industrial emissions with carbon capture and storage and investing in public transit to reduce the impact from our tailpipes."The government plans to cut projected GHG emissions in half by 2050.
Water softeners are expected to soon be banned in California, according to the Water Quality Association (WQA).
The bill will not only costs homeowners sums of money, WQA said, but will also have the potential to drive up illegal water softener sales and installation that do not have greener softening technologies currently being offered by the water treatment industry.
"The benefits of water softener should also be considered," says Peter Censky, executive director of the Water Quality Association.
"Water heaters can require up to 30 percent more power to operate with hard water. Large appliances wear out faster when forced to operate with hard water. Clothing and household linens are harmed by hard water. The minerals in hard water act as an abrasive on clothing, causing fibers to break. Hard water can cut the life of clothing by as much as one third and linens can wear out twice the normal rate, depending on how hard the water is."
Here are several recent developments in the bioplastic world ranging from renewable-based to recycle-based manufacturing. A more comprehensive article on renewable and biodegradable plastics might be coming soon in September from ICIS Chemical Business (the magazine I work for).
- In this BusinessWeek article, Dow Chemical and Braskem are neck- and- neck in building sugar cane-based plastics facilities in Brazil. Dow plans to open its facility in 2011 while Braskem's bioplastic is expected to start in 2010.
- In New Zealand, the University of Waikato has developed a process that will turn animal waste (e.g blood meal and feathers) into biodegradable plastics that can be used in products such as milk bottles and supermarket bags.
- New Jersey-based Axion International and UK's Closed Loop Recycling both plan to manufacture recycled plastics, Axion with 100% recycled content, and Closed Loop with 50% recycled content.
- In Tokyo, Japan Energy plans to use liquefied waste plastics into petrochemical products mainly naphtha, according to this article from ICIS News (subscription needed).
- A researcher from the Universiti Sains Malaysia produced a low-cost bioplastic made from starch, rubber and plastic waste that can degrade 3-6 months when exposed to microbes, air and sunlight.
- Novomer launched its first product, NB-180, a biodegradable polypropylene carbonate sacrificial binder. NB-180 is composed of more than 40% by weight carbon dioxide.
European Union lawmakers approved a deal today that will charge airlines (including non-European carriers) that fly into and out of the EU-27 nations to pay for their carbon emissions, according to Reuters.
Right now, US carriers are not charging emissions tax to its customers going into and flying out of Europe but that will probably change too starting 2012.
I'm looking at my magic eight ball and seeing US carriers charging new fees for checked in luggages for European flights, and in the economy section, the disappearance of Inflight magazines (and the occasional free newspapers); pretzels for dinner and lunch; and limited intake of sodas, coffee and tea.
A Spain-based company called Turtle Airships is building an airship that looks like giant turtles made out of rigid shelled hulls of aluminum and carbon fiber. Its hulls will be covered by solar cells, which will power the airship in daylight. Biodiesel will power it during night time and in cloudy weather.
Construction has started on a first prototype and the first flight and testing is scheduled to be done in Singapore this year, the company said. Turtle Airships will make a demonstration around-the-world flight of the new solar powered airship in 2009.
"Almost everyone immediately thinks of blimps or the Hindenburg," says company president, Darrell Campbell. "The Turtle airship is far more advanced in technology and capabilities."The company said it is going to focus first on the travel market and second on military applications.
One particular interesting application for SiGNa's technology is in fuel cells and you can read more about it in this article I've written for ICIS News:
US SiGNa targets green chemicals market
NEW YORK (ICIS News)--Advanced materials company SiGNa Chemistry plans to develop its green chemistry materials in fuel cells and pollution prevention, the company's CEO said on Thursday.
"Our materials can destroy polychlorinated pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as well as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are difficult to break down and dispose of," said Michael Lefenfeld, SiGNa's CEO, in an interview with ICIS.
"SiGNa's non-pyrophoric powders can destroy these toxins either in a batch or in a continuous-flow process by converting their halogenated atoms, such as bromine, chlorine and fluorine, into harmless molecules," he said.
For fuel cells, SiGNa's materials can produce under 10 weight percent hydrogen without a catalyst, just by adding water, according to Lefenfeld.
"SiGNa's powder will be a great source of emergency, single-use fuel-cell power such as battery packs for soldiers," Lefenfeld said.
"The material is not recyclable or regenerable so it's good as a back-up power in general," he said.
Another ICIS news article on SiGNa's technology can be found here (which requires subscription).
[Photo from The New York Times]
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published this month its guidelines on recycled plastics for food packaging to make sure the plastics are not contaminated.
EFSA will take into account the quality of the input materials, the efficiency of the process to decontaminate the plastics and the intended use of the recycled plastic.
Once EFSA has evaluated recycling processes, EFSA's opinions will be forwarded to the European Commission for authorization, which if approved will be added to the Register of authorized recycling processes.
The company provides waste treatment services focusing on petroleum and olefin-related processing.
DuraTherm said its Desorption technology addresses waste streams, including oil-contaminated drill cuttings, refinery wastes, petrochemical wastes, hydrocarbon- contaminated soils, spent catalysts, and other petroleum-compatible residuals.
Still quoting the blog's favorite motto: "Better late than never!"
Rapeseed oil transformed
Siemens has built power transformers that use rapeseed oil-based insulating liquid for German utility company EnBW. The transformers can only be operated under stringent environmental conditions such as in inner cities or in industrial production facilities.
Sancon steps on recycled glass
China-based Sancon Resources Recovery has developed raw material uses for recycled glass-based powder in mould making systems, architectural applications, finishing and building materials, paints and varnishes, and cosmetics. Sancon will sell the glass powder raw materials in the third quarter.
Fertilizers from food waste
Converted Organics has begun processing its first shipment of 70 tons of liquid food waste to organic fertilizer. The fertilizers will be available for shipment by July 15.
Four powers unite
New Mexico's four largest utility providers, El Paso Electric, Xcel Energy, PNM, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association are planning to build a solar plant, said to be the first the state, to be operational by 2012. The facility will deliver between 211,000 and 375,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year.
CO2 recovery in Pakistan
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries licensed its carbon dioxide recovery technology with Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited (ECPL), the second-largest producer of urea fertilizer in Pakistan. Slated for completion in July 2010, the recovery units can capture 340 tons/day of CO2.
Cognis cosmetics ecolabeled
Thirty ingredients (oils, emulsifiers, actives and surfactants) from Cognis have achieved the BDIH (Association of German Industries and Trading Firms) certification for use in natural cosmetics.
And in ICIS News (which requires subscription):
Members of US Congress accused the Department of Defense of not cleaning toxic chemicals from three of its Air Force bases. Green Earth Technologies' fat-based motor oils can degrade over 90% in nine days exceeding degradable ratings standards. The European Commission's emissions trading scheme could cost up to €2bn annually, according to the German chemical industries association (VCI).
Chemical engineers at Rice University have developed a fermentation process that can convert the biodiesel coproduct glycerine into high value organic acids such as formate, lactate, and succinate.
The technologies have been licensed to Glycos Biotechnologies Inc., a Houston-based startup company that plans to open its first demonstration facility within the next 12 months.
Another development (commissioned and licensed by Diversified Energy) is from North Carolina State University who was able to efficiently and safely burn crude glycerine for use as energy. The created energy can be used for process heating applications or electricity generation.
Rhode Island's supreme court reversed this week a 2006 jury ruling which would have force paint manufacturers Sherwin Williams, NL Industries and Millenium Holdings to pay billions of dollars to clean up lead paint contamination in the state.
This is a victory for the paint and coatings industry which already stopped manufacturing lead paints since its ban in the late 70s. According to this New York Times article, the supreme court said landlords and property owners were the ones responsible for making sure lead paints were not used in their properties.
According to Fitch Ratings (and other analysts), the verdict reversal could influence court opinions in jurisdictions such as Ohio and California where lead-based paint lawsuits are pending.
Some Canadian officials seem to think so as drivers in British Columbia is now greeted with the tax with some gasoline stations raising their gasoline prices to cover the tax costs, according to Reuters.
Utilities, public transportation and other services are expected to follow suit, the article said. The carbon tax in BC is said to be the first comprehensive carbon used-based tax in North America.
US lawmakers should take notes and see its effects before implementing any cap and trade carbon schemes.
[Photo from The Ubyssey]
According to an article from the Royal Society of Chemistry, scientists from the Monash University in Melbourne found higher mercury levels in beached dophins, twice that of live animals.
Historical mining could be the source of heavy metals in the water, the scientists said. They plan to test mercury levels in the teeth of museum specimens, which include dolphins from the late 19th century to the very recent, to see how mercury accumulation has changed over time.
Goodyear found that out when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) forced the company to apologize to its customers for misleading them on the environmental benefits of Goodyear's Eagle LS2000 range of tires.
Goodyear also has to offer partial refund of the tire's purchase price. This came at a time when the company has to close its Australian tire manufacturing operation to reduce global costs. Bridgestone is the only remaining tire manufacturer in Australia.
Canada, meanwhile, is also keeping a close eye on any greenwashers. Canada's Competition Bureau and Canadian Association Standards released several guidelines last week to eliminate any misleading green marketing.
The visit of advanced materials company, SiGNa Chemistry, today in our office reminded me to post this year's recipients of the Presidential Green Chemistry Awards by the Environmental Protection Agency.
1. Battelle (Greener Synthetic Pathways Award) - development and commercialization of biobased toners.
2. Nalco Company (Greener Reaction Conditions Award) - 3D Trasar Technology
3. Dow AgroSciences (Designing Greener Chemicals Award) - Spinetoram: Enhancing a natural product for insect control.
4. SiGNa Chemistry (Small Business Award) - New stabilized alkali metals for safer, sustainable syntheses.
5. Prof. Robert E. Maleczka Jr. and Milton R. Smith III of Michigan State University (Academic Award) - Green chemistry for preparing boronic esters.
I'll post more about the interview with SiGNa as soon as I finished my article for ICIS News.
Milk prices in New York have gone up again by 44 cents/gallon today and I wonder if consumers care enough about the sustainability of their milk when it's getting difficult to even buy them - green or not.
The US dairy industry plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through several actions such as developing new energy-reducing milk processing technology; carbon credit trading system to optimize returns; best management and tools that calculate energy efficiency; green power production by expanding methane digesters; eco-friendly and low-cost packaging; and reducing cooling costs and refrigeration emissions.
The recommendations were hatched at the industry's first sustainability summit held in mid-June in Arkansas.
In another green dairy news, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) filed a lawsuit yesterday against the State of Ohio's new labeling regulations on cow-based dairy products.
The regulation, according to IDFA, is said to be costly and cumbersome, and could force manufacturers to drop information about artificial growth hormones altogether.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) joined the suit against Ohio stating that the new regulation will improperly dictate organic dairy labels. OTA said the only one benefiting from the new rules is antibiotic producer Monsanto.
Some researchers from Cornell University recently put out a study, however, that using growth hormones could make the dairy industry more green, according to this article from Reuters.
The research suggests that large scale cow growth hormones use could reduce the number of cows needed to produce milk, cutting demand for corn and soybeans and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the amount of manure they produce.
In relation to antibiotics, another recent study by the Ohio State University (coincidence?) stated that meat from pigs raised without antibiotics carries more pathogens and parasites, according to this article from Food Business News.
"Does having an antibiotic-free and animal-friendly environment cause the re-emergence of historically significant pathogens? I think that is an extremely important question for consumers, policymakers and researchers to consider."To complete the meal, chickens from Australia is said to be the cleanest and greenest in the world because they are not injected with hormones and fewer than 5% are given antibiotics, according to the University of Melbourne.
Airlines setting foot and taking off in Europe are soon going to be included in the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and are expected to pay 15% of their permits in ETS auction starting 2012, according to this Reuters article.
With skyrocketing fuel prices, guess who's going to pay for the imposed cap and trade scheme under the heading "Environmental taxes and surcharges"?
According to BusinessGreen.com, airline ticket prices are expected to rise by EUR 10 for short haul flights and between EUR 30 and EUR 40 for longer haul flights.
Of course, this proposal do not fly well with the Association of European Airlines (AEA). The group forecasted plummeting profits for the industry and market share as well as greenhouse gas emissions shifts from European carriers to non-European rivals.
"It is unacceptable that we should face the prospect of having to buy permits to purchase fuel - at grossly inflated prices - to zigzag our way around Europe's patchwork airspace."AEA said it prefers the European Commission's revised Single European Sky (SES) program as a way to cut aviation emissions.
The revised SES program is expected to optimize air traffic management in Europe which has the potential to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 10% per flight.
Public advocates are not far from the scene demanding the European Parliament to include the aviation industry in the EU ETS as soon as possible.
Here is the list of the chosen ones, the green blog's new green chemicals for the month of June. The question is... are they worthy of the word green (in your own definition of green)?
1. Ecolab's alternative pesticides - Ecolab's more sophisticated rat traps, CheckPoint Multiple-Catch Inserts and CheckPoint Snap Trap Inserts, are said to reduce dependence on rodenticides.
2. Celanese eco-emulsions - Celanese's new vinyl acetate/ethylene emulsion technology, EcoVAE, was created to meet lower VOC limits regulations and demand for more environmentally sound, low odor products. EcoVAE is free of alkylphenol ethoxylates.
3. National Adhesives' fiber drum - The company's 100% recyclable fiber drum packaging, FIBRECYCLE K.E.G.(Keep Earth Green), is touted as alternative to conventional steel adhesives storage drums.
4. D.I.Y. spray urethane foam - Spraymax Industrial Coatings launched its SoyThane, bio spray-in-place urethane foam partly made from regrowable or renewable alternative energy sources.
5. Carbon black alternative - Carbolytic Materials developed ApexCM, a lower cost alternative to carbon black extracted from scrap tires.
6. Energy efficient coatings - Valspar's Fluorospar SR coatings is said to be the first enhanced solar reflective paint for the aluminum extrusion and wall panel market.
7. Albemarle waste reduction - Albemarle's new BEM (n-Butylethylmagnesium) production method eliminates more than 80% waste at the company's organometallics plant in Texas.