Biobased Chemicals East: Day 3

Sorry for the delay on this post. The last day at Biobased Chemicals East held in Boston two weeks ago saw familiar presentations from DSM, OPX Biotechnologies, Verdezyne, and Rivertop Renewables. Rennovia also formally introduced itself to the green chemicals community in one of the morning sessions.

DSM’s presentation was about having an open innovation within the industry by using internal and external ideas, and to profit from outside R&D and other’s IP. An example is their industrial park/campus Chemelot in Europe where different companies and R&D institutions/schools are sharing infrastructure, costs, knowledge and networks to innovate.

DSM also noted that they are developing/moving products within the next 5 years that will fit within the “cradle-to-cradle” concept using lifecycle analysis (LCA). Another project is focusing on cellulosic-based feedstock for chemical manufacture.

As noted in other previous DSM blog posts, the company is working on bio-succinic acid in collaboration with Roquette and has several venturing investments in green chemicals companies such as Novomer, Segetis, Tianjin Green Biosciences (for PHA plastic) and the latest was in Microbia. DSM also introduced this year its bio-based engineering plastic EcoPaxx and biobased composite resin Palapreg Eco.

OPX Biotechnologies’ Chas Eggert talked about its plans to advance its bio-acrylic acid manufacture to demo scale next year, and to commercial-scale via joint venture by 2014. OPX noted current global capacity of acrylic acid at 43m tonnes and global value of acrylic acid at $8bn. Eggert said they have achieved 95% of cost reduction goals toward commercial target of 50 cents/lb within 12 months only, which is faster than what they have anticipated.

For bio-adipic acid producers Verdezyne and Rennovia, I actually wrote an article about their presentations, which was just published this Monday on ICIS Chemical Business. Unfortunately, it’s for subscribers only.  The gist of the article was that both companies are aiming for commercialization within 2014. Verdezyne and Rennovia estimated the global adipic acid market at 4.8bn pounds as of 2009 with growth rate of around 4-5%. Verdezyne noted that the market pull for adipic acid are in polyurethane (20%) and polyamide (70%). Eng’g plastics are the strongest of all potential markets, according to Damien Perriman.

Pls. read recent blog posts on Rennovia and Verdezyne for further updates on the companies.

Last but not the least, Rivertop Renewables’ Jim Stoppert talked about their glucaric acid as the company readies to begin customer shipments (for detergent applications) by mid-2011. Stoppert said the quickest way for their glucaric acid to get into market is via detergents application as alternative to phosphate.

A panel consists of Weyerhauser, Bayer MaterialScience, DSM and Dow Chemical, also discussed partnerships and investment strategies, pros and cons of drop-in chemicals vs novel green molecules (most prefer drop-in chemicals by the way); and intellectual property (IP) headaches – and how this is sometimes unnecessary.

Dow, DSM and Bayer actually have their own venturing businesses which are currently on the lookout for companies that (usually) will fit within their strategic chemical portfolio.Bayer noted by the way that they are interested in looking for partnerships around biobased feedstock.

From ICIS News (requires subscription):

OPX plans to start commercial bio-acrylic acid production in ’14

GlycosBio develops biochems from fatty acid fermentation

US Rennovia to start commercial bio-adipic acid production in ’14

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