Green Chemistry news

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!).

[Photo of Algenol's Florida test facility]

Leave a Reply