Zeachem partners with P&G

As expected when it comes to dealings with Procter & Gamble (P&G), the green blog did not really get any worthwhile additional information to add to the recent press release announced by Zeachem this morning.

Zeachem said it has formed a multi-year joint development deal with P&G in bio-based chemicals (and other products) beyond C2s. If you’ve heard about Zeachem before, you probably know that they have been focusing on biomass-based ethanol and ethyl acetate using hybrid poplar as feedstock.

As per Zeachem’s agreement with P&G, the company was not able to divulge exact products or platform involved in this development deal, according to a spokesman for Zeachem.

“The joint development agreement (JDA) applies to multiple chemicals and applications and helps P&G realize their sustainability goal of 100% sustainably sourced renewable or recycled materials for all products and packaging.” – Zeachem

With P&G’s products, that could be anything from surfactants to monomers to superabsorbents, personal care…the list goes on. My personal thought is that partnering with Zeachem could expand P&G’s renewable feedstock possibilities since P&G has already partnered with Amyris on sugarcane-based specialty chemicals. I’m not also sure what’s going on in P&G’s development agreement with LS9.

No timeframe for the JDA was also disclosed. The companies said they will use Zeachem’s existing laboratory infrastructure in Menlo Park, California; pilot facility at Hazen Research in Golden, Colorado; and demonstration-scale biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon, which will start-up this year.

By the way, I forgot to post in April about P&G’s Supplier Sustainability Scorecard Result after a year that the program – which is designed to track and improve key environmental sustainability measures in P&G’s supply chain – has been launched. More than 20 leading supplier representatives worldwide were said to have participated in the creation of the scorecard, which was deployed to around 400 strategic suppliers last year.

Of the scorecards received by P&G, about 40% offered at least one innovation idea and many reportedly moved forward to become actual projects including a chemical supplier who has begun work with P&G on renewable energy, renewable materials development and ways to reduce emissions (is it Amyris? LS9? Zeachem?).

“It was the scorecard that jumpstarted those projects,” said Larry Loftus, director of purchases capability and strategy and a leader in developing the program. “I believe that many of the opportunities we identified through this process will result not only in environmental sustainability improvements but also in improvements to our bottom line as well as growth for our business partners.”

For 2011, P&aG expects to expand participating suppliers and agencies list to 600. The new scorecard system will also include a more transparent and consistent rating methodology, according to P&G.

I was actually looking at their supplier site and found that for petroleum-alternative materials and energy, P&G is said to be focusing on the following areas:

1. Materials:

o Major Chemical Spendpools (High volume/Commodities)

  • Surfactants (C8-C16 linear/branched alcohols),
  •  Packaging/NW/Film Resins (PE, PP, PET),
  • Acrylates
  • Adhesives
  •  Solvents

o Strategic materials required to drive business growth (Lower volume)

2. Energy/Energy-related services

3. Biomass Conversion technologies e.g., fermentation, gasification, other bio/chem-processes;

4. Key chemical building blocks/feedstocks: e.g., cellulosic sugars, bio-ethylene;

o Target Building Blocks: C2, C3, Benzene/Aromatics

o Avoid developments which will depend long-term on food-crops as feedstock.

Some of the key P&G principles that suppliers must adhere to become its partner:

1. No Trade-offs in Value or Performance.

• Direct replacement materials must be equal or lower cost vs. Petro-derived alternatives

• Materials must provide equal or better performance vs. incumbent materials

2. Start the journey today, but seek continual improvement towards long-term sustainable options

• E.g., avoid technologies that will depend long-term on food-crops

3. Leverage as driver for commercializing new processes/materials.

4. Pursue a risk-balanced portfolio of options to ensure we have at least one viable alternative in each major area

5. Willing to consider a range of partnership/business models

6. Investment of resources (funding, in-kind) must deliver competitive advantage in the market (e.g., exclusivity in selected fields, preferred pricing, etc)

After reading this, I still don’t have an idea what Amyris, LS9 and Zeachem are developing for P&G…

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