Weekly News Roundup

Excitement is in the air as the US prepares for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration tomorrow. The renewable energy industry has high hopes that the next administration will soom implement several federal policies and mandates of clean technology use especially for electric utilities nationwide as well as aggressive reduction of oil and other types of energy imports.

Tomorrow’s inauguration speech will be widely anticipated if Obama will again highlight any green agenda type.

For now, here are this week’s news roundup:

Vital bio-packaging
Industrial packaging company Vital Products has started production of its bio-based foam, which will start shipping by the end of the month. The company expects sales from the foam to exceed $ 20 million by year-end.

Energy-saving contract
Honeywell received an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) from the Department of Energy. The contract allows Honeywell to implement up to $5 billion of energy-efficiency, renewable-energy and water-conservation projects at federally owned buildings and facilities, nationally and internationally, over the next 10 years.Chemical eco-centers
DuPont has finished installing a solar energy system at its Innovation Center at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del. The system was funded in part by the State of Delaware’s Green Energy Program. Dow Corning says its manufacturing site in the UK has been awarded Eco-Center status because of the high level of sustainability practices it follows.

Sustainable Brazilian soy
Archer Daniels Midland Company and Brazilian sustainable farming advocate Alianca Da Terra have launched Doing it Right, a program to encourage Brazilian soy growers to adopt sustainable farming practices.

Enzymes for green chems
Synthetic biology company Verdezyne Inc. signed a new project with Genencor where Verdezyne will utilize its suite of technologies to generate enzyme variants for chemicals and biofuels manufacture.

Bio-oils in Malaysia
Solution Engineering Holdings Bhd and Universiti Putra Malaysia are working together to design and build a 4 million Malaysia Ringgits (U.S. $1.1 million) pilot plant to produce bio-based oils in Puchong, Malaysia. The product is expected to be available in the market by 2010

And in ICIS news (requires subscription):
US sulphuric acid producers Chemtrade Logistics, Chemtrade Refinery Services and Marsulex have agreed to spend $12m on air pollution controls intended to eliminate at least 3,000 tons/year of emissions from plants in five states. They will also pay a civil penalty of $700,000 under the settlement.

A study claiming that mouthwash containing alcohol may have carcinogenic effects could prompt a shift from synthetic to agricultural ethanol in the oral hygiene industry.

The chemical compound dichloromethane (DCM) will be banned in paint-strippers after the European Parliament backed a European Council agreement last week.

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