Technological advancements in algae, jatropha, waste grease (maybe even Camelina?) are expected to boost biodiesel revenues worldwide, according to this recent study from Pike Research.
The study reports that by 2020, global biodiesel revenues are estimated to reach $71 billion, up from $18 billion expected this year. Helping the industry are powerful backers such as oil companies and biotechnology companies, Pike research's managing director Clint Wheelock said.
"Biogenetics is becoming a huge factor in the evolution of the market," says Wheelock, "and biofuels companies are really leveraging the scientific knowledge base of genetic engineering. Biotech companies will be some of the big beneficiaries as the new breed of biofuels matures."
As an example of current developments is a new process being developed by chemists from the University of California Davis that increases biodiesel feedstock yields of up to 24% coming from oilseed crops such as safflower.
According to the researchers, this process converts the plant's carbohydrates into chemicals called levulinic acid esters -- and at the same time and in the same vessel that the plant's oils are converted to fatty acid esters -- resulting in a fuel cocktail that performs better at low temperatures than conventional biodiesel.
The researchers are partnering with Bently Biofuels of Minden, Nev., to test the performance of levulinate/B100 blends.
Meanwhile in the ethanol sector, another group of scientists this time from the University of Central Florida, found that waste products such as orange peels and newspapers can be used as raw materials for ethanol production.
The technology- developed with U.S. Department of Agriculture funding -- uses plant-derived enzyme cocktails to break down orange peels and other waste materials into sugar, which is then fermented into ethanol.
To hear more about the current state of the biodiesel industry, check out my previous post about Biofuel news update, part 1 and part 2.
I've posted before about the sustainability value of certain chemicals based on their lifecycle analysis - from raw material sourcing to product use/disposal.
One recent report about that is a study initiated by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) last year. This study analyzed the life cycle carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions of over 100 individual chemical products and their applications.
This time, a study published in December from Sustainable Value Research Ltd. assesses the sustainability performance of 9 major chemical companies -- BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical, DSM, AkzoNobel, Air Liquide, DuPont, Reliance Industries and Shell Chemicals -- using their Sustainable Value approach over the period of 2004 to 2007.
Their approach assesses the companies' sustainability performance based on their use of economic capital, environmental resources and social resources. Probably something that the Dow Jones Sustainability Index also do? Further explanation from the study says one way to determine their sustainability performance is by calculating their resource efficiency based on the cash flow generated by the company per unit or resource employed.
Another benchmark the study used is to calculate the weighted average resource efficiency of all the chemical companies assessed in the survey. Unfortunately, I'm not really good with financial calculations so anybody reading this study, feel free to explain it more clearly.
Anyway, the study's analysis showed BASF and Air Liquide not only achieving their highest Sustainable Value criteria but also consistently achieving positive cash flow of at least more than EUR 1 billion compared to their peers. The Sustainable Value produced by the 9 companies ranges from EUR -2.3 billion (Dow, 2006) to EUR 1.6bn (BASF, 2006).
Aside from Dow, AkzoNobel and DSM are said to have produced negative Sustainable Value over the entire period, while values from Shell, Reliance, DuPont and Bayer fluctuated around the industry average during the entire period.
In conclusion, I guess BASF and Air Liquide gets more bang for their "green" bucks although I do have to remind the readers that the time period is a little bit dated given the fact that many companies zoomed in more closely towards sustainability activities and using their resources more efficiently starting 2008 when all hell broke loose.
It will be interesting to see if another study like this will produce a different result starting in 2008.
It's interesting to see Chevron venturing into the solar market since none of the oil companies (as far as I know) seem to be interested in investing in this area.
Chevron's announcement came in this Tuesday stating that its sister company Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) will build a one megawatt concentrating photovoltaic solar facility on the tailing site of Chevron Mining Inc.'s molybdenum mine in Questa, New Mexico. About 175 solar panels will be used on 20 acres of the Questa Mine's tailings site.
The electricity produced will be sold to Kit Carson Electric Cooperative through a power purchase agreement. Project construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2010 and conclude by year-end.
CTV will install concentrating photovoltaic technology that uses lenses to collect and focus direct sunlight onto layers of high efficiency cells. The company says this technology works best in areas which have higher direct solar radiation such as New Mexico.
My boss told me about this start-up company called Bloom Energy that was featured in CBS 60 Minutes last Sunday and of course, I put this on my To-Do post for this week. To my surprise, this company is all over the news today as they announced their high-profile press conference to formally introduce themselves and their fuel cell technology called Bloom Energy Server.
The patented solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) server reportedly allows their customers to efficiently create their own electricity onsite 24 hours a day/7 days a week using a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.
Watch the 60 Minutes Video to learn more about it (pardon the commercials)...
According to the company, each Bloom Energy Server provides 100 kilowatts (kW) enough to power 100 average U.S. homes or a small office building. For more power, customers simply deploy multiple Energy Servers side by side. The Bloom systems can expect a 3-5 year payback on their capital investment from the energy cost savings.
Bloom Energy customers now include big timers Bank of America, Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises; eBay, FedEx Express, Google, Staples, and Walmart. The company first installed their box commercially in July 2008.
Bloom Energy's investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, representing the firm's first clean tech investment, as well as Morgan Stanley, NEA, and Northgate Capital.
Why not give your eco-conscious sweetheart green chocolates (they could be the minty ones although not necessarily) that not only taste good but also lower carbon dioxide emissions during its lifecycle?
Premium chocolate producer Lindt says they are now helping producing renewable power with the help of New Hampshire's largest electric utility company PSNH by using Lindt's waste cocoa bean shells as energy feedstock. Lindt will now deliver the shells to PSNH's Schiller Station power plant in Portsmouth to be used as a supplementary fuel source.
"Lindt controls every aspect of the chocolate making process, from the choice of cocoa beans to the finished product," said Thomas Linemayr, chief executive officer and president, Lindt USA. "Our partnership with PSNH provides us with an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint by disposing of a byproduct in a responsible manner."
Not only will it help produce renewable energy, it also solves Lindt's waste problem. Lindt says the cocoa bean shell concept was first tested in March 2009. PSHN says, every ton of the cocoa bean shells used will displace the need to burn one half-ton of coal.
Now if only every cocoa bean shells in the world are being used this way, that will really make a big sweet impact!
In another chocolate news, bioplastic producer Innovia Films has been selected by Dutch company Amigos International for Innovia's compostable and biodegradable plastic NatureFlex NK. Amigos International plans to use NatureFlex to package its Fair Trade organic chocolate from Ecuador under the brand name Ananda.
Innovia says its NatureFlex NK has the best moisture barrier of any biopolymer film currently available and it has the capability to increase shelf life of a product. The films, which are based on wood pulp and are said to have biobased content of around 95% by weight, are certified to meet both the European EN13432 and American ASTM D6400 standards for compostable packaging.
It is not my intention to post the Weekly News Roundup on Tuesdays, which seems to be happening frequently. Oh well, better late than never I guess. According to the god of ICIS Blogs Simon Robinson, the Weekly News Roundup seems to be very popular with the readers so I will aim to be better at posting them at a proper time. (Keeping my fingers crossed). Solvay new fuel cell plant
Solvay is building a test fuel cell plant worth over EUR 5 million ($6.8m) with a total electric power of 1 megawatt (MW) at the SolVin plant in Lillo, Antwerp, Belgium. The fuel cell will convert hydrogen produced by electrolysis at SolVin's plant into electricity.
GreenWERCS now available GreenWERCS, which analyzes the composition of individual products using ingredient data to examine its potential impact on human health and the environment, is now available for chemical manufacturers. Once the product formulation is entered into the system, GreenWERCS provides a product's 'green score' and a visual analysis on how its products rank and where the most immediate opportunities are to reformulate without hazardous chemicals.
Solar cluster in Germany
Linde Nippon Sanso (LNS), a company of The Linde Group, and Bosch Solar Energy, extended their collaboration at Bosch's new crystalline Si solar cell manufacturing site in Arnstadt, Germany. LNS will supply silane and ammonia gas, both critical materials in the fabrication of Bosch's high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) cells.
GE raises wind farm stake
GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE, invested $65 million in preferred equity to fund construction of the CPV Keenan II wind farm in Oklahoma, with an option to invest $100 million more in partnership equity upon commencement of commercial operations. The 152-megawatt wind farm is scheduled for completion by year's end.
Lithium ion battery investment Toda America, a subsidiary of Toda Kogyo Corp. in Japan, has been awarded a $35 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under the Recovery Act - Electric Device Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. The grant will partially Toda's plans to build a manufacturing plant of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Photovoltaic records Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has set two world records for photoelectric conversion efficiency in polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells, achieved by reducing resistive loss in the cells. Mitsubishi Electric will be developing mass-production technology to deliver these high conversion rates in commercial PV modules.
And in ICIS News (requires subscription):
INTERVIEW: Myriant Technologies expects that renewable succinic acid can become a bio-based intermediate that can compete on price against its petrochemical peers.
Increased use of biodiesel in the global marketplace will favour the use of top-tier lubricants, which mainly come from high-quality base oils, chemical additives company Infineum said.
High-volume products, particularly generics, present good opportunities for green chemistry to dramatically reduce both environmental impact and manufacturing costs, India-based Newreka Green-Synth Technologies said.
Texas and Virginia joined a formidable phalanx of trade groups to bombard the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with petitions and lawsuits challenging the agency's plan to cut US emissions of greenhouse gases.
Other big news announcements from the biofuel industry the past two weeks include a new biojet fuel production facility being built by British Airways; news about biodiesel catalysts; a new enzyme from Novozyme that helps turn waste into fuel; and car rental company Enterprise Holding announcing its North American fleet shifting to biodiesel.
In the transportation sector, British Airways announced last week that it will establish Europe's first bio-based jet fuel plant in partnership with US-based Solena Group and that the fuel will be used to power its fleet starting 2014. The facility in London (exact location still under consideration) will convert 500,000 tonnes of the city's waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel.
British Airways has signed a letter of intent to purchase all the fuel produced by the plant, which will be built by the Solena.
US-based Enterprise Holdings announced on February 9 during the National Biodiesel Conference that it will begin usng at least 5% biodiesel (B5) to power its entire fleet of more than 600 Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental airport shuttle buses across more than 50 North American markets. The company will also immediately convert buses in nine markets to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) as a first step toward the company's goal of converting its entire bus fleet to B20 over the next five years.
Enterprise Holdings expects to complete the conversion to all B5 by spring of this year, with at least 50 percent converted to B20 by the end of next year.
As previously mentioned in another recent biofuel post, General Motors announced during the National Biodiesel conference its plans to introduce the company's 2011 model year Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel engines that will be able to use B20 biodiesel. The engines will be part of all 2011 GM heavy-duty products including Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Express, and GMC Savana, after extensive evaluation of B20.
GM said it previously offered B20 capability as a special equipment option for fleets. GM announced several upgrades for 2011, such as upgraded seal and gasket materials, an upgraded fuel filter, and additional heating to the fuel circuit to make the new diesel vehicles B20 compatible with standard equipment.
Another announcement, this time at the National Ethanol conference, came from Novozymes, which claimed that their new enzyme Cellic® CTec2 enable the production of cellulosic ethanol at a price below $2/gallon for the initial commercial-scale plants that are scheduled to be in operation in 2011. Novozymes said this cost is on par with gasoline and conventional ethanol at the current US market prices.
Cellic CTec2 has proven to work on many different feedstock types, including corn cobs and stalks, wheat straw, sugarcane bagasse, and woodchips.
More news came from chemical companies such as BASF and Rockwood Holdings. BASF announced on February 10 that it will built a sodium methylate plant in Guaratinguetá, Brazil, which will have a capacity of 60,000 metric tons/year. The plant is expected to start by the end of 2011.
Sodium methylate is used as a catalyst for the production of biodiesel. BASF said it expects about 15% of the annual global demand for biodiesel, which is about 30 million tons, to come from South America in 2015.
Finally, Rockwood's business unit Sachtleben has developed a new catalyst system for biodiesel production that they said are more energy efficient, simpler and sustainable. The process will also permit the conversion of inferior fats, paper-industry waste and algae oil to high-quality diesel fuel.
Sacthleben is working with Augsburg College and biodiesel producer Ever Cat Fuels LLC, which is currently designing the first commercial-scale pilot plant incorporating this innovative fluidized-bed catalyst system at Isanti, Minnesota, near Minneapolis.
Let's start with the ethanol conference where this year's event drew even more delegates because of the perceived improved sentiment about the US ethanol industry, according to ICIS News. Attendance was estimated at around 1,300 delegates, 750 more than last year's.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) noted at the conference that the industry's biggest challenge this year is getting the ethanol tax incentive program, which gives a tax credit of 45 cents/gal for ethanol blended in gasoline, extended.
Another challenge is persuading the government to lift the 10% limit (known as E10) on ethanol blending in gasoline and raising it to as much as 15%.
The RFA, meanwhile, is optimistic about cellulosic ethanol development this stating that the 28 cellulosic ethanol refineries under development in the US will likely undergo "massive" expansions once they start commercial production.
With regards to the ethanol blend issue, ICIS News reported that General Motors issued a cautious warning on not being too fast when it comes to raising the ethanol blend limit as "it can cause problems in ordinary vehicles such as corrosion and damage to cylinder heads."
"The pain that could happen from a customer perspective could really cause a backlash," said Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman for global product operations.
Still GM is supportive of ethanol use and announced at the conference that it will produce flex-fuel Chevrolet Volts in late 2011, combining technologies that will allow the vehicle to run on electricity and ethanol blends of up to 85%.
GM also claims that the US needs its service stations to add another 10,000 pumps capable of delivering the 85% ethanol blend known as E85 to gain public support for the biofuel.
A different scenario was reported by ICIS News at the recent biodiesel conference. This year's attendance was reportedly down as the industry continues to try to recover from the fiscal calamities of 2009.
The biodiesel industry is also currently urging Congress to reinstate a crucial $1/gal blending tax credit extension as part of Obama's job stimulus package, which, according to the National Biodiesel Board, the biodiesel producers need to compete with petroleum diesel pricing.
Like ethanol, the biodiesel industry is also advocating a standard fuel-pump blend of B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% traditional diesel), up from the current B5 standard. Biodiesel producers reiterate that the blend is safe for most engine types and better for the environment and their own bottom lines, although according to ICIS News report, some automakers such as Volkswagen and Daimler balk at the proposition.
Another issue reported by ICIS news are the benefits [or lack thereof] of algae development to the biodiesel industry. Some biodiesel producers are said to be worried that their industry as a whole well be left out of the technological know-how necessary to turn the green organisms into green fuel.
One good news that came out of the biodiesel conference is GM unveiling a new engine that will allow two of its heavy-duty trucks to run on biodiesel.
At the Informex show in San Francisco, ICIS Chemical Business senior editor Clay Boswell reported that both Netherlands-based life and materials science company DSM and Swiss life science company Lonza were honoured for their work to commercialize microreactors, while Iolitec, a German manufacturer of ionic liquids, was recognized for the leasing arrangement it developed to ease the adoption of these unique solvents.
Segetis, a US-based green chemistry company, received the award for developing a new monomer platform based on levulinic ketals,which are built from levulinic acid, a chemical derived from cellulosic biomass, and biobased hydroxyl compounds.
The Wercs, a US firm specializing in regulatory compliance and hazard communication software, was honoured for GreenWERCS, a tool that analyzes individual product compositions and grades their potential impact on human health and the environment.
Congratulations to the winners and kudos to all who submitted their sustainability profiles!
There were tons of green chemistry and biofuel announcements since last week and as what I've mentioned before, development activities in the green chemistry field seem to be increasing fast. I'll put a separate post for biofuels as there are big news as well in this area especially for biodiesel.
In the green chemistry sector, OPX Biotechnologies announced last week that they were now able to reduce their bio-acrylic production cost by 85% toward their commercial target of 50 cents/pound using their proprietary EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology. OPXBIO says that the global petroleum-based acrylic market is estimated at $8 billion today.
The company is currently constructing a pilot scale bioacrylic process which will be completed this year. A demonstration facility is expected in 2011 while a commercial plant will hopefully come onstream in 2013. OPXBio already retained Merrick & Company to design the demo and commercial-scale plants.
Zeachem, meanwhile, announced that it was able to produce a salable concentration of glacial bio-acetic acid via solvent extraction process. Zeachem says global demand for acetic acid is 14.3 billion pounds.year with estimated annual sales of $1bn.
ZeaChem's fermentation-based acetic acid uses acetogen bacteria, which breaks down biomass without the use of enzymes. Early this month, the company was able to demonstrate successful fermentation of greater than 50 grams/liter of acetic acid in less than 100 hours.
The company will now further convert the product into derivatives such as ethyl acetate using esterification process. Zeachem is currently constructing in Colorado its first cellulosic biorefinery that will have capacity of 250,000 gal/year. Components of the facility will then be moved to the biorefinery site in Boardman, Oregon later this year. The plant will produce both ethyl acetate and ethanol for sale using the bio-acetic acid intermediate.
More information on this announcement from this video taken by ICIS news reporter Stephen Burns.
Verdezyne announced on February 8 that it was able to produce fermentation-based adipic acid using a yeast microorganism from an alkane feedstock. Verdezyne says it can also use sugar or plant-based oils to produce the adipic acid, and the feedstock flexibility of their process in turn can result in at least 20% cost manufacturing advantage over petroleum-based adipic acid.
According to Verdezyne, the global adipic acid market was approximately $4.9 billion in 2009 with its two major applications being polyamides and polyurethanes. The company is now looking for a partner to further take their bio-adipic acid development down the road.
Adding to my list of growing green chemistry companies is a newly launched company called Reluceo, which is created by Segetis founders Olga Selifonova and Sergey Selifonov. Sergey now serves as Reluceo's president and chief technology officer while Olga serves as the company's chief executive officer. Reluceo has secured Series A funding from Khosla Ventures.
The company's technology centers on using C5 and C6 carbohydrates derived from hemicellulose and cellulose feedstocks. Unfortunately, I did not really get much more information from their website than that. By the way, I will post a separate article about other new companies that I have not mentioned in the blog before such as bioammonia developer SynGest, bioplastic monomer developer SyntheZyme, fermentation-based terpenes producer Allylix, Australia-based biotechnology company BioWish, and renewable bioproducts company GlycosBio.
Finally, not all news are happy news in green land. Soy-based polyol producer BioBased Technologies is restructuring its operations after getting its bankruptcy approval last week. Still, BioBased Technologies was able to get a private investor from northwest Arkansas to commit $2.8 million to recapitalize BioBased Technologies® and an additional $1.5 million line of credit.
The company will now have just two operating divisions centered on the product lines Agrol® brand, bio-based polyols; and BioBased Insulation®, spray polyurethane foam insulation products.
I mentioned that ICIS Chemicals Business featured in its January 18 issue several articles about green/sustainable building trends including my own article about chemical firms increasing their investments and activities in developing/marketing green construction materials.
According to companies such as Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, Celanese, RPM International, and Bayer MaterialScience, the chemical sector has a major role in developing and improving sustainability of the overall building and construction markets. Possible solutions, according to Bayer, include polyurethane (PU) systems for floor coatings; long-life light emitting diode indoor and outdoor lighting systems; PU insulation for roofs, walls and floors, polycarbonate (PC) sheets for roofing constructions, glazing, skylights and facades; PU sealing systems; and solvent-free adhesives.
Bayer MaterialScience also talked to ICB's Andy Brice about their EcoCommercial Building Program, which was officially launched in November last year. A core component of the program is developing a hand-picked network of specialized suppliers, engineering firms, architects and property developers to raise awareness and influence key decision-makers in the construction sector about the potential waiting to be explored in sustainable, energy-efficient and cost-effective buildings.
Meanwhile, author Louis Cole wrote about architectural coatings which are said to becoming not only greener (figuratively) but cheaper as well, while ICB's chief Joseph Chang talked to Dow Chemical about their new solar shingles.
Finally, an example of social sustainability is exhibited by RPM International as the company helps rebuild the tornado-stricken town of Greenburg, Kansas, by providing building materials as well as expertise in sustainable construction. RPM subsidiaries Tremco Commercial Sealants and Waterproofing Division , Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance Division, Stonhard (flooring systems), Euclid Chemical (concrete and admixtures), DAP (patch and repair products) and Dryvit (exterior insulation and finish systems) are all involved in the town's rebuilding efforts.
Here are other green building links that I came across the past few weeks:
There was actually a lot of green/sustainable chemicals launched last month, which, unfortunately I was not able to post in a timely fashion. Several of them target the green building industry, speaking of which, I wrote an article about it last month for ICIS Chemical Business. More updates on the green building and construction markets coming soon, for now here are some new green chemicals that might be interesting to check out.
I used the word "sustainable chemicals" meaning they are not really made from renewable-based nor are they tagged as biodegradable except that these chemicals contribute to energy efficiency, promote clean technology use or overall help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
1. DuPont Eco-concrete -DuPont expanded its Eco-Concrete collection of DuPont™ Corian® with six new colors containing up to 14 % recycled post-industrial material while its Eco-Terrazzo collection contains up to 25% recycled post-industrial material.
2. Agilent GHG analyzers -Agilent Technologies introduced two Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Analyzers for simultaneous analysis of methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrous oxide (N2O) in air samples. The analyzers also can be used for soil gas analysis or plant breathing studies, where the samples contain CH4, N2O, and CO2. Both analyzers easily can be expanded to determine sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
3. Vital Products Biofoam -Vital Products will soon introduced its environmental bio-based "foam in a can" which will be used for applications in the residential construction and Do It Yourself markets.
4. Solutia's PV encapsulant -Saflex®, a unit of Solutia Inc. introduced Saflex PA41, a new thin gauge polyvinyl butyral (PVB) based encapsulant designed specifically for photovoltaic applications. The new product significantly reduces encapsulant usage while maintaining module durability and processing performance.
5. PMC green flame retardant -PMC Polymer Products launched a line of decabromo diphenyl ether (decaBDE) free flame retardant masterbatches sold under the Endura® tradename. These products have been designed as direct replacements of decaBDE containing masterbatches.
6. Teijin green flame retardant -Teijin Chemicals has developed a transparent, flame retardant polycarbonate (PC) resin measuring just 1.5mm, making this the thinnest resin of its kind. The ultra-thin PC resin is both bromine-free and phosphorous-free.
7. NatureWorks high-heat bioplastic -NatureWorks introduced its second generation Ingeo™ bioresin solution targeted primarily at injection molding of semi-durable consumer products. The new compounded resin technology enables the production of injection molded parts with thermal dimensional stability up to 120º Celsius (248º F).
I just had my first major vacation in more than a year and what I found is that you can't really mix work with pleasure. So here I am trying to catch up with the blog after finishing up my green investment article (watch out for that on ICIS Chemical Business' March 1 issue!).
Here are last week's news roundup. There might be more for Tuesday as soon as I can surf the web for additional news.
Verenium and BP partnership
Verenium and BP are looking to extend their cellulosic ethanol development partnership with a multi-year collaboration program. Their joint development program established in August 2008 expired on February 1.
LS9 facility acquisition
LS9 bought an existing production facility in Okeechobee, Florida, to be retrofitted to accommodate LS9's one-step fermentation process that converts renewable raw materials into low-cost, low carbon transportation fuels and chemicals. The facility will produce 50,000-100,000 gallons of UltraClean Diesel by late-2010.
...and production breakthrough
Researchers from LS9, the University of California at Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a microbe that can produce an advanced biofuel directly from cellulosic biomass in a one-step process. This enables the production of advanced hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals in a single fermentation process that does not require additional chemical transformations.
Cheaper bioacrylic from OPX Bio
OPX Biotechnologies was able to reduce their bioacrylic production cost by 85% toward their commercial target of 50 cents/pound using the company's proprietary EDGE™ (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology. OPX BIO is planning a demonstration facility in 2011 and its first commercial plant in 2013.
Algae pilot system unveiled
OriginOil launched its comprehensive pilot system for algae growth and harvesting, which the company hopes will eventually be attached to wastewater plants, factories, breweries, and any other location that generates CO2. Once the algae reaches harvest concentration it is sent to the integrated extraction system after which a series of settling tanks separates the oils and biomass for eventual use as fuel and valuable by-products. And in ICIS news (requires subscription):
The US Senate has stripped a tax credit extension that the biodiesel industry considers crucial from the jobs-stimulus bill introduced into Congress.
The Argentine government assigned Unitec Bio, Viluco, Explora, Diaser and Aripar 51.2% of the local biodiesel market.
GDF SUEZ has agreed with joint venture partners to build France's largest photovoltaic solar facility, with start-up expected for August next year.
The green blogger is under a very tight deadline today and is already stressed out. She will get back in the next few days (while she's on vacation...bummer!) with the Weekly news roundup, new green chemicals from the month of January, and other news-related posts.
Dow Chemical picked its corporate base - Midland, Michigan - to build its first full-scale production facility for its Powerhouse Solar Shingle product, which, according to the state of Michigan, could bring more than 1,200 jobs to the state by 2014. Staffing is anticipated to begin in late 2010.
Dow estimates sales potential for its new solar shingles of around $5bn by 2015 and $10-11bn by 2020. The products are expected to be available in limited amounts by mid-2010 and projected to be more widely available in 2011 as production scale up begins.
The solar shingles, which are made of low-cost, thin-film CIGS (copper indium gallium deselenide) photovoltaic cells, can be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. Dow said their solar shingles in a home would typically offset between 40-80% of power usage (2-4 kilowatts).
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is currently considering up to $140 million in economic incentives for the new plant. Dow said it has already invested $100 million in the technology since its inception in 2007.
Green chemistry companies seem to be off to a good start this year with lots of activities going on the past few weeks. We had Joule Biotechnologies building its first pilot plant in Texas, DNP's Bioamber commissioning its bio-succinic acid plant in France, and Cobalt starting its first biobutanol facility in California.
Today, DNP Green Technology also announced the acquisition of US-based bioplastic company Sinoven Biopolymers, which produces high performance biodegradable polybutylene succinate (PBS) plastic. Sinoven will operate as a subsidiary of DNP with sales office in Philadelphia and a manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China.
DNP last month successfully commissioned its 2,000 tonnes/year biobased succinic acid plant in Pomacle, France, through its joint venture company Bioamber. Sinoven will use the biosuccinic acid for its PBS plastic. Applications for the plastic include coffee cup lids, cutlery, stirrers, disposable razors, cosmetic packaging, etc.
DNP's bio-succinic currently uses wheat-based glucose for feedstock. The acquisition will also gives DNP a presence in China, the company's president Jean-Francois Huc said.
Yesterday, Zeachem announced the successful scale-up of their fermentation-based acetic acid production from 0.5 liter to 5,000 liters. The company uses their proprietary acetogen bacteria for the process.
ZeaChem has been collaborating with Hazen Research, an industrial research and development firm in Golden, Colorado, for the scale-up. Zeachem said the results demonstrated successful fermentation of greater than 50 grams of acetic acid per liter in less than 100 hours.
"We now have sufficient evidence, based on mixed sugars, to indicate that our results are scalable to industrial production levels," said Zeachem president and CEO Jim Imbler.
Zeachem's next step is to concentrate and purify the bio-acetic acid into a salable product, using an energy efficient, non-distillation based process. The company plans to build a 250,000 gallon-per-year biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon. The core technology of the facility will begin to come online in 2010.
Finally, Algenol Biofuels said yesterday that it will open a new 43,000 square foot facility in Lee County, Florida, that will house Algenol's advanced biology and engineering laboratories, operations and the company's photobioreactors - which generate ethanol from algae, saltwater and carbon dioxide.
Aside from producing low-cost ethanol, Algenol is also working on using its ethanol to produce other green chemicals. The facility is expected to open in the next two months.
Expect more green chemistry news to be announced in the next few weeks coming from OPX Biotechnologies, Verdezyne, and Elevance Renewable Sciences (they told me so!).
I was writing about DuPont Danisco's big cellulosic ethanol news from last week when President Obama just announced the government's plans to boost biofuels production in the USA.
Coinciding with the speech is the announcement from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about its final ruling on the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). Under RFS2, biofuels production is expected to increase from last year's 11.1 billion gallons to 36 billion gallons in 2022, with 21 billion gallons coming from advanced biofuels.
The revised RFS2 establishes new specific annual volume standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that must be used in transportation fuel. It also includes new definitions and criteria for both renewable fuels and the feedstocks used to produce them, including new greenhouse gas emission (GHG) thresholds as determined by lifecycle analysis. The regulatory requirements for RFS will apply to domestic and foreign producers and importers of renewable fuel used in the U.S.
The 2010 RFS volume standard calls for 12.95 billion gallons, with cellulosic standard set at 6.5 million gallons, and biomass-based diesel standard 1.15bn gal.
With regards to the GHG threshold, the EPA said corn starch-based ethanol complies with the 20% GHG emission reduction limit for renewable fuels as long as the natural gas-fired facility producing the biofuel uses advanced efficient technologies.
I'm back and recovering from a flu-like illness so I apologize for a very empty blog for almost a week! Coming back to work yesterday was pretty hectic as I interviewed four CEOs/president of green chemistry companies and one more to go this afternoon. I'm writing an article about "behind-the-green investment-scenes" and it's shaping up pretty darn good.
There are also big biofuel news that I missed last week such as DuPont's cellulosic ethanol start-up and Shell's deal with Cosan. But on the bright side, I was able to get good information from the Soap and Detergent Association meeting that I attended last week in Orlando. I will post some of them later this week as well as the big biofuel news from last week.
For now, here are this week's news roundup:
Duke acquires solar project Duke Energy purchased the Blue Wing Solar Project under development in San Antonio, Texas from juwi solar Inc., based in Boulder, Colo. The 14-megawatt (16-megawatt direct current) project will consist of 214,500 ground-mounted First Solar thin film panels.
BP expands solar module output BP Solar will increase its solar modules output with an expanded deal with Jabil Circuit. Under the new agreement, Jabil will assemble BP Solar modules for the North American market in Jabil's plant in Chihuahua, Mexico, which has initial capacity of 45 megawatts. Production will begin in the second quarter.
New solar lab from DuPont
DuPont opened the Meyrin Photovoltaic Application Laboratory at its European Technical Center. It will operate as an open center, enabling technological exchanges and research collaborations between DuPont and customers, industrial partners, institutes and academia.
PolyOne's Eco-engine cover
PolyOne Corporation and automotive manufacturer MPC Inc. created an eco-friendly engine cover for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The engine cover is said to be molded from a metallic-effect PolyOne compound (Maxxam™ FX Metal), which mimics the luster of painted polymer versions, yet eliminates the extra energy requirements and environmental challenges of traditional manufacturing and painting processes.
New silicon PV plant in Arizona
China-based crystalline silicone photovoltaic module manufacturer Suntech Power Holdings will build the company's first U.S. manufacturing plant in Goodyear, Arizona. The facility will have initial capacity of 30 MW, expandable to over 120 MW. Manufacturing will begin in September 2010.
And from ICIS News (requires subscription):
Two biodiesel plants operated by Renewable Energy Group (REG) have laid off staff and cut pay for remaining employees as the US industry suffers from a government delay in renewing tax credits, REG said.
US-based Procter & Gamble (P&G) Chemicals is planning to switch feedstock for its tertiary amines production in Kansas City from petroleum-based olefins to natural-based fatty alcohols.
US agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) said on Tuesday it is on track to start its renewable propylene glycol plant by the end of March, but that the project will not have as big an effect on the US glycerine market as some think.