Weekly News Roundup

The countdown begins! I need 6 more twitter followers to reach my 1000 mark before my birthday ends today. For those who are already in the twitter world and would like to get instant blog updates (and updates from conferences I attend from time to time), follow me at @ICISgreenblog.

And after that self-advertising, here are this week’s news roundup =)

Gevo denies Butamax infringement claims

Bio-butanol producer Gevo denies all claims of patent infringement filed against them relating to the production of isobutanol by Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC (a joint venture between DuPont and BP). Gevo said the company’s Integrated Fermentation Technology (GIFT) is covered by over 150 patent applications and has a different approach than  the one described in the Butamax patent.   

Construction of flue gas-to-ethanol demo plant begins

LanzaTech, Baosteel Group and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have launched the construction of a 100,000 gal/year demonstration plant that will produce fuel ethanol from steel mill off-gases using LanzaTech’s gas fermentation technology. A new joint venture company Shanghai Baosteel LanzaTech New Energy has been formed to run the unit and future commercial production facilities.

Evonik builds biodiesel catalyst plant in Argentina

Germany-based Evonik Industries plans to build a new biodiesel catalyst production facility in Argentina with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes/year. Construction is expected to start in July and the plant is scheduled to come onstream at the end of 2012. The plant will be located in Puerto General San Martin, in the Rosario region, at the heart of Argentina’s biodiesel industry.

Modular Genetics’ green surfactant patent

The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance allowing patent claims that protect Modular Genetics’ green surfactant myristoyl glutamate. The company claims the surfactant is tenfold more effective at reducing surface tension and three times more water soluble than leading marketed product. Modular is initially targeting the product for the personal care market.

Neste Oil bags renewable diesel funding

Neste Oil has secured EUR50m ($71m) from Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) to fund further research on extending the range of raw materials used for producing Neste Oil’s renewable diesel. The company has already been doing research in microbial and algal oil as well as wood-based biomass.

Argone licenses resin wafer technology to Nalco

Nalco and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reached a licensing agreement for Argonne’s resin wafer electrodeionization (RW-EDI) technology. One application for Argonne’s patented technology is bioprocessing where it allows for the continuous removal of charged products like organic acids from aqueous process streams and eliminates the requirement to continuously add neutralizing agents, avoiding resulting waste stream.

And from ICIS News (requires subscription):

Netherlands-based DSM is likely to sign several technology partnerships in biotechnology-based chemicals and fuels during 2011including the upscaling of its bio-succinic acid joint venture, the company’s chief innovation officer said.

The US Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), PlasticsEurope and 40 other plastics and chemicals trade groups have pledged to work together in fighting plastics litter and waste in oceans.

DuPont‘s commitment to biotechnology is clear and has been highlighted this year by the $6bn-plus offer for Danisco, a long-time partner in developing bioplastics.

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