Weekly News Roundup

Zeachem bags biorefinery funding

ZeaChem completed two key financial milestones in the construction of its 250,000 gallon-per-year biorefinery in Boardman, Ore., that will start up in 2011. The company obtained a guaranteed maximum price with engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, for construction of the core facility, which will convert sugars into acetic acid and then ethyl acetate; and ZeaChem also secured full construction funding (undisclosed) from investors for the core facility.

Agrivida and Syngenta in sugar collaboration

Agrivida is collaborating with Syngenta Ventures to develop advanced crop technology such as corn, sorghum, switchgrass and miscanthus that will provide low-cost sugars for biofuels and biochemicals applications. Under the terms of the agreement, Syngenta licenses to Agrivida access to crop technology and intellectual property in return for Agrivida equity.

Toyota looks to improve sugarcane yield

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in joint development with the National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region (KONARC), has created a high-throughput DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis technology that can substantially shorten the time needed to improve varieties of sugar cane and improve plant performance. TMC believes the technology will constitute a major step toward achieving the goal of shortening the period needed for sugar-cane improvement by 50%.

Evonik inaugurates biomass plant

Evonik New Energies GmbH inaugurated its first bio-mass CHP (combined heat and power) plant in the Saarland, Germany, that generates an electricity output of 1.8 MW and a thermal output of 8 MW. The CHP plant uses 40,000 tonnes of untreated woodscrap for feedstock. The organic Rankine cycle power plant technology (ORC for short) is also being used in the Saarland for the first time.

P&G’s first US plant with zero-waste landfill

The Procter & Gamble Company‘s Auburn, Maine, site became the first P&G manufacturing plant in North America to achieve zero waste to landfill. More than 60% of its waste is recycled or reused, while the remainder is converted to energy. The company’s goal is to achieve less than 0.5% disposed manufacturing waste by 2020 for all of its facilities worldwide.

And on ICIS News (requires subscription):

Bayer MaterialScience will open a pilot plant in early spring to research using carbon dioxide (CO2) in the manufacture of polymers.

A total of 4,300 substances were registered under the EU’s Reach chemicals regulation by the 30 November deadline including 900 not sold in Europe when the regulation became law, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) said.

EU member states will have to ban the manufacture of polycarbonate (PC) infant feeding bottles with bisphenol A (BPA) from 1 March 2011, the European Commission said.

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