New Green Chemistry companies

I’ve postponed this post about new green chemistry companies for too long and I’m very sorry = (. It seems there are new companies I come across each month that my list keeps on growing! But that’s a good thing.

On the back of my recent green investment article on ICIS Chemical Business, here are several new green chemistry companies that came to my attention. Some of them might already be a veteran in the field for all I know, but one thing is certain is that there are more of them to come!

Reluceo

Reluceo launched itself in January this year and was formally introduced during the Next Generation Bio-based Chemicals Summit held in San Diego, California, on February 9-10. As previously mentioned in another post, Reluceo is created by Segetis founders Olga Selifonova and Sergey Selifonov, with backing from Khosla Ventures. The company’s technology centers on using C5 and C6 carbohydrates derived from hemicellulose and cellulose feedstocks to replace petroleum-derived chemicals and fuels.

Glycos Biotechnologies

I first mentioned GlycosBio in July 2008 when they licensed a fermentation process developed by Rice University that can convert glycerine into high value organic acids such as formate, lactate, and succinate. GlycosBio was founded in 2007 by Rice University professor Ramon Gonzalez and since then GlycosBio have developed biocatalytic production systems for renewable-based chemicals and fuels from starting materials other than crude glycerin.

In fact, the company announced today that they were able to successfully produced lactic acid and advanced ethanol in their pilot plant capable of producing up to 150,000 liters of chemicals. The company’s platform technology uses microorganisms to produce building block chemicals via non-sugar based feedstock. GlycosBio says their technology has been proven to be cost competitive with the petrochemical industry, while maintaining 45-55% gross margins from plant operations.

Butalco

Swiss company Butalco was founded in 2007 and is currently developing a new process to use C5/C6 sugars from lignocellulose for bio- ethanol and biobutanol fermentation. The company’s core technology is based in genetically optimized yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).

Butalco plans to produce its first cellulosic ethanol in summer this year in Hohenheim University’s pilot plant in Stuttgart, Germany. Butalco said its new microbial catalysts will enable up to 30% increased yields in cellulosic ethanol production.

Pennakem

Formerly Penn Specialty Chemicals, Pennakem was acquired by French Minakem Group in July 2008, and becomes a global supplier of agriculture by-product based furfural and furan derivatives. Pennakem is actively marketing its green solvent 2-MeTHF (2-methyltetrahydrofuran) and 2-MeTHF based organometallic reagents, organic and inorganic salts, hydrides and alcoxides.

Pennakem says its 2-MeTHF is an economical green alternative to tetrahydrofuran (THF). Unlike 2-MeTHF which is not soluble in effluent waters, THF is said to be water miscible and therefore hard to separate from effluents. Last month, Pennakem has joined forces with Chemetall for the marketing of 2-MeTHF.

Allylix

This one came to my attention from a comment in the blog. Allylix produces high value terpene products through yeast fermentation, and its platform is said to be applicable to a wide range of products including flavors and fragrances, food ingredients, fine chemicals, pesticides and crop protection products and pharmaceuticals. The company’s first focus is a class of terpenes called sesquiterpenes. Allylix also licensed its technology in 2008 for use in certain biofuels products.

Last month, the company announced that it was able to raised $6m in its Series C financing, which will allow Allylix to commercialize its first three products for the food and fragrance industry. One product is nootkatone, a long-lasting citrus flavor and fragrance used in the food, beverage, and personal care industries, which Allylix says has only been available before in limited quantities and at high prices.

Synthezyme

Here’s one in my neighborhood (yey!). Synthezyme’s technology, which uses certain yeast strains to convert natural biobased lipids to industrial monomers and surfactants, was developed by Polytechnic Institute of New York University’s Dr. Richard Gross (a EPA Presidential Green Chemistry awardee).

According to CEO Frank Shinneman, the company is also developing biopesticides based on similar technology and has been awarded last January, a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (NSF SBIR) to develop the biopesticides.

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