Weekly News Roundup

The US Gulf Coast, where major oil and gas refineries are located, is preparing for hurricane Ike’s fury, which means we might expect fuel costs to go up in the very near term.

That said, various renewable energy associations are still waiting for Congress to extend tax breaks for alternative energy such as wind, solar, hydrogen fuel, etc., which are set to expire by December 31.

According to today’s Wall Street Journal report, several senate leaders are consider a new bipartisan plan to reduce tax breaks for large oil and gas companies all the while extending credits for alternative energy. The bill called Energy Independence and Investment Act of 2008 will be put on the table next month.

More posts coming soon in that subject. For now here’s this week’s news.

High-tech green cosmetics
Dow Corning and Elevance Renewable Science will jointly develop [and market] natural oil-based personal care ingredients using Materia’s metathesis technology. One ingredient, in particular is a naturally derived petrolatum alternatives for use in skin care, color cosmetic, hair care, and underarm products.

Bio-oil from biomass
UOP will form a joint venture with Ensyn to develop cellulosic-based bio-oil for use in industrial heating, power generation and transportation fuel. The venture will use Ensyn’s Rapid Thermal Processing Technology.

Cheaper bioplastic process
PURAC and Sulzer Chemtech will jointly developed a new cost-effective polymerization process to produce high quality bioplastic from polylactic acid. A pilot plant using the process will be available exclusively to partners of PURAC by the end of 2008.

Bio-toner from Japan
OKI Data Corporation and Niigata University will jointly develop a biomass-based biodegradable toner. A prototype will be ready by 2009 and OKI plans to globally market the product by 2010.

More fuel cell R&D
Dynetek Industries signed a $750,000 R&D contract with two large international vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) to develop innovative and lightweight hydrogen storage system for fuel cell vehicles. The OEM’s are funding 50% of the costs of the project.

And in ICIS News (which requires subscription):
Dow Chemical has secured China’s environmental approval to build a 150,000 tonne/year glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin plant in Shanghai.

China is encouraging the development of green glycols using corn or sugar-based alcohol, as the country faced a shortage of monoethylene glycol because of high oil prices.

The US democrats are expected to make their decision about offshore drilling under a comprehensive energy bill that they plan to pass next week.

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