Weekly News Roundup

I’m here in Boston for this week’s Biobased Chemicals East conference. Hopefully, I’ll have internet connection to tweet some info via @ICISchemicalbiz and #ICIS hashtag. Stay tune!

For now here are this week’s news roundup. Biofuel seems to be the theme in last week’s news.

Rape oil for Neste Oil’s diesel

Neste Oil will use Raisio’s rapeseed oil surplus in feed protein production as a renewable diesel raw material starting October 2010 at Neste’s Porvoo, Finland, refinery.

Record-high ethanol output

US ethanol production reached an all-time high in June 2010 while ethanol demand also hit a record level, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Ethanol production in June was 854,000 barrels/day (b/d), up from 846,000 b/d from May and more than 160,000 b/d higher than June 2009. Ethanol demand also reached an all-time high of 857,000 b/d, up from 721,000 b/d one year ago, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

W.R. Grace bags biofuel grant

W. R. Grace & Co. will receive up to $3.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop technologies for thermochemical conversion of biomass to advanced biofuels that are compatible with existing fueling infrastructure. The technologies will upgrade bio-oils into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels using a specialized catalytic reactor designed to resist corrosion and extend catalyst lifetime.

Taghleef starts bio-film production

Taghleef Industries has started production of its new NATIVIA biodegradable and compostable film from its plant in San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy. NATIVIA is based on NatureWorks® PLA biopolymers Ingeo. Shipments of NATIVIA started this month.

Search for bio-dispersants

The National Science Foundation awarded $98,988 to conduct production and testing of fermentation-derived bio-dispersants that may replace petrochemical dispersants currently used for oil spill management. ISU is collaborating with scientists and engineers from Modular Genetics, Inc., Columbia University and Louisiana State University (LSU).

And in ICIS News (requires subscription):

Air Liquide signed a long-term contract to become the sole supplier of gases for Italian solar panel joint venture (JV) 3Sun. The deal covers the supply of “very large volumes” of specialty gases, pipeline supply of carrier gases and the provision of all related services.

German biogas firm BKN biostrom has sold its 50,000 tonne/year biodiesel plant to BioDiesel Bokel GmbH.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is not likely to become a viable option for German or European industry – including chemicals and power plants – to fight carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to a study by a German research institute DIW Institute.

Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol opened its $1.023bn (€0.808bn) hydro-treatment plant at the Barrancabermeja refinery for clean fuel production.

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