Weekly News Roundup

A really, really late news roundup from last week….

Metabolix bags $6m grant from DOE

Metabolix has been awarded a $6m grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE), which the company will use for its research on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) in switchgrass to allow co-production of chemicals and densified biomass. Metabolix also plans to further develop a new platform chemical called crotonic acid directly from PHA-containing switchgrass. Aside from Metabolix, the US DOE also awarded a total of $47m to organizations such as Cellana LLC, Domtar Paper Company, Exelus, University of Florida, University of Kansas Center for Research, University of Kentucky, and the US Forest Service – Rocky Mountain Research Station, to fund R&D projects that will support biofuels, bioenergy and biobased products from biomass.

Air Products in Carbon Capture deal

Air Products has signed agreements with Valero Energy and Denbury Onshore to proceed with a planned carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project in Port Arthur, Texas. Air Products will design, construct and operate the CCS system from its two steam methane reformers located within Valero’s refinery. Around 1m tons of carbon dioxide are expected to be captured and delivered via a pipeline for injection into Denbury’s enhanced oil recovery projects in Texas.

Lignin demo plant onstream

FPInnovations in partnership with the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio Economy (CRIBE), Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) and AbitibiBowater is now producing its first batches of operational lignin in Thunder Bay, Ontario, for Canadian researchers. Lignin can be used as a green alternative to many petroleum-derived substances, such as fuels, resins, rubber additives, thermoplastic blends, nutra- and pharmaceuticals, etc.

SC Johnson focuses on sustainable palm oil

SC Johnson announced that it will only purchase palm oil-based ingredients originating from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015. SC Johnson uses palm oil ingredients in home cleaning products as a stabilizer. It also uses a small amount in some of its air care products.

Honeywell triples green blowing agent output

Honeywell said it has tripled production capacity for its low-global warming potential (GWP) blowing agent HFO-1234ze to meet growing demand in foam and aerosol applications.  The production expansion was made in Honeywell’s small-scale facility in Buffalo, NY, US. The blowing agent was accepted for use in foam and aerosols by the US Environmental Protection Agency last year in June. HFO-1234ze is non-flammable, non-ozone depleting and has a GWP of 6, aiming to replace H134a (GWP of 1,430) and HFC-152a (GWP of 124).

Jacobs wins biomass gasification contract

Jacobs Engineering Group received a contract from Goteborg Energi AB for the GoBiGas project, a 20 megawatt biomass gasification and methanation project in Goteborg, Sweden. The plant, scheduled to come online in 2013, will produce biomethane from biomass, which will be distributed in existing Goteborg gas grid.

And on ICIS News (requires subscription):

Asian petrochemical players should continue investing in green energy and technologies to keep the industry sustainable, amid tighter environmental regulations and high energy costs, top industry officials said.

A set of specification standards for a glycerine grade to be used in engine coolants is nearing release by ASTM International, market sources said.

Lowering import duties would be a first step for Europe to reach its EU 2020 goals for the use of renewable raw materials, chemicals trade group Cefic said.

Spolchemie is considering expanding its 28,000 tonne/year epichlorohydrin (ECH) plant at Usti nad Labem, the Czech Republic, the chairman of the chemicals producer said.

INSIGHT: Feedstock fears drive biotech partnerships.



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