News on bioplastics have been accumulating in my blog drafts especially with new information from last week’s BIO conference in Montreal.
Segetis’ Olga Selifonova talked about a new chemical platform called L-Ketals formed from the combination of glycerol and levulinic acid. I don’t really understand much of its chemistry (I’ll leave it to the experts) but according to Segetis, L-Ketals potential applications include plasticizers, surfactants/emulsifiers, polyols, solvents, thermoset/thermoplastic, and adhesives (among others).
Segetis are still looking into further functionality of the L-Ketals system although Selifonova said that they are already able to offer high-performance phtalate alternatives based on their L-ketals technology. Mid-term goal for the company is to develop alternatives for polyols/polyurethanes with their technology and then thermoplastics (and other applications) long term.
Their semi-works production facility in Minnesota, which can produce up to 250,000 pounds per year of green chemicals and chemical building blocks, is already up and running, according to Segetis.
Amsterdam-based Avantium, who recently announced its collaboration with NatureWorks, talked about furanics as another new generation of renewable-based chemical building block targeting bioplastics as one of its applications. Another potential uses for furanics are biofuels such as diesel and jet fuel, and biobased fine and specialty chemicals.
Avantium’s furanics are made from C6 sugars using the company’s catalytic biomass conversion. Potential plastic applications for the bio-based furanics include polyesters and polyamids, the company said.
The company is scaling up its furanics process this year and expects a pilot plant running by 2010. Avantium hopes to have a commercial plant up and running by 2014.
With regards to Metabolix’s bioplastics development, not much news from them except confirming their goal to start up their joint venture PHA bioplastic plant with ADM in December of this year. Metabolix also reiterated their current strong cash flow position.
By the way, I discovered this marvelous powerpoint presentation about the the current bioplastic landscape (and next generation bioplastic technologies) from Jim Lunt & Associates. I hope you enjoy it (and I hope the company won’t mind my posting this).
[Photo of Metabolix/ADM's Mirel bioplastic products]
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