Weekly News Roundup

Have you heard the news about the relaunched of ICIS Chemical Business? (that’s the magazine I worked for). It will now have new weekly columns on Petrochemicals, Polymers, Intermediates and Inorganics/Oleochemicals/Biofuels.

The green blogger will handle the last section (inorganics/oleo/biofuels) and that might take some time away from the blog — I hope not but it remains to be seen. Still, all of us are excited with the new focus as we will be able to provide essential pricing information and market analysis to help buyers and sellers in key chemical markets that ICIS focuses on.

You can access the online version of the magazine (for free!) in here:

And of course, here is the blog’s news roundup for this week:

Petrobras biofuel partnership

Petrobras has partnered with Dutch firm BIOeCON to develop a new process for enhanced conversion of biomass lignocelluloses into chemicals or advanced biofuels. The companies plan to establish proof of concept on pilot scale in the Netherlands and to build a demonstration facility in Brazil.

Air Products builds a solar farm

Air Products will build a 12-acre solar farm at its corporate headquarters in Allentown, Pa., capable of generating 1.5 MW of electricity. The 1.5MW will serve the energy needs of nearly half of Air Products’ administration buildings. The project is expected to begin construction this fall and be onstream in the spring of 2011.

Cereplast’s bioplastic in pen

Cereplast has inked a production contract with Brazil-based S.R. Promocionais, Ltda, to introduce Eko BIO, a compostable, biodegradable pen. The pen uses Cereplast’s Compostable 1001 injection molding grade resin.

Panasonic and Teijin in PLA

Panasonic Electric Works Co. and Teijin Limited have jointly develop a highly

heat-resistant polylactide (PLA) molding compound made from 80% plant-based renewable feedstock. Panasonic will sell the new material under MBA900H PLA molding compound for use in the housings of cell phones and other mobile devices and digital consumer electronics. The companies’ goal is to initially produce 1,000 tons/year of the resin in 2012.

Phase 2 of cellulosic ethanol project

The US Department of Energy has approved BlueFire Ethanol’s $250m request for phase 2 of their Fulton, MS, cellulosic ethanol project. The Fulton facility will produce 19m gal/year of ethanol from woody biomass, mill residue, and other cellulosic waste.

Castor oil for biojet feedstock

Evogene Ltd. said that biojet produced from castor varieties under development by the company meets the key international standards for alternative aviation fuels. Evogene is currently testing its castor varieties in field trials in the southern U.S. and northeastern Brazil.

And in ICIS News (requires subscription):

A new US law, the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, was signed last week by President Barack Obama. The legislation calls for particleboard, hardwood plywood, medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and other products made or sold in the US to meet the formaldehyde emission ceilings in California’s emission standard by June 2013.

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) voiced strong opposition to a bid by Congress to impose an inherently safer technology (IST) mandate on producers, warning that it would kill jobs and force more manufacturing overseas.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered its 2011 blending target for cellulosic-based biofuel as production of the fuel lagged initial estimates.

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