Weekly News Roundup

Apologies to the blog readers for this very late news roundup. It has been a busy week full of meetings and conference calls. The good part is that there had been a lot of green news as well. Have a great weekend everybody!

DuPont expands in solar

DuPont has acquired California-based Innovalight Inc., a company specializing in advanced silicon inks and process technologies that increase the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells. DuPont exceeded $1 billion in revenue from sales into the photovoltaic market in 2010, and has set a goal to reach $2 billion by 2014.

Enerkem closed $30m financing

Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals company Enerkem closed a C$29m ($29.6m) in financing through corporate equity (C$14.5m) and corporate debt (C$14.2m) transactions. As part of the equity financing round, The Westly Group, Fondaction CSN and Quince Associates, L.P. join existing investors Valero Energy, Waste Management, Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures and Cycle Capital, who had each invested in the recently announced C$59 million equity tranche.

BIOX improves glycerin grade

BIOX has secured funding to undertake upgrades at its Hamilton (Ontario, Canada) biodiesel facility to improve the quality of its glycerin by-product from crude to technical grade, which currently has wholesale market value of 30c.-40c./lb. Crude glycerin by-product from BIOX’s biodiesel production has limited market applications and requires storage and handling costs that exceed its market value. Installation of new equipment will take place in early 2012 during planned spring maintenance.

Solazyme skincare expands in Europe

Solazyme signed a distribution deal with UK’s beauty retailer, Space NK, for its algae-based skincare line, Algenist™. The skincare brand has been launched in Space NK stores and online beginning July 2011, retailing between £52 ($85) and £76 ($124). Algenist will launch in the UK with four initial product offerings.

Ecospan expands bioplastic in Philly

US bioplastic company Ecospan will open a new operations center in Exton, PA, this fall, where it plans to have a commercial production by the end of next year.  The company said the site will augment its existing production capabilities in Arizona and toll production in California, Germany, Malaysia and China. Ecospan produces a 100% petroleum-free, plant-based bioplastic trademarked BioFlow. 

EcoLogic bio-additives supply deals

US bioplastic additives company EcoLogic signed an exclusive deal to supply Letica Corp., a supplier of foodservice packaging and containers, as well as rigid plastic containers, with Eco-One™ organic plastic additives.Eco-One™ reportedly enhances the biodegradation of plastic products in a biologically active landfill. EcoLogic also made a distribution agreement with GEA Biodegradales to distribute Eco-One™ throughout Mexico. The additives are compatible with resins PE, PP, PET, PS, nylon, ABS, PVC and polycarbonate.

AkzoNobel buys China oleochem firm

Specialty chemical company AkzoNobel has acquired Boxing Oleochemicals based in Shandong, China. The company supplies oleochemical-based specialty surfactants, synthetic and bio-polymers additives. AkzoNobel plans to increase Boxing’s capacity at the Shandong site by introducing state of the art manufacturing technology. The transaction is expected to close by year-end.

BASF expands phthalate-free plasticizer output

BASF is planning to double production of its Hexamoll DINCH phthalate-free plasticizer to 200,000 tonnes/year at the Ludwigshafen, Germany, site by 2013 by building a new production facility. Demand is reportedly strong across all regions for alternative plasticizers. BASF said its Hexamoll plasticizer is now increasingly being used in medical applications and food packaging.

Solutia’s fluid in Spain solar projects

Solutia was awarded contracts to supply its Therminol® VP-1 synthetic heat transfer fluid for two new 50 MW each solar power plants with thermal storage located in Extramadura, Spain. Therminol heat transfer fluid is used to absorb concentrated sunlight, heating up to about 400 degrees Celsius. This stored heat can be used to produce energy during periods of little to no sunlight, including the evening hours. The heated Therminol is used to generate steam, which drives the power-generating turbines.

And on ICIS News (requires subscription):

Brazil-based petrochemical producer Braskem is producing renewable polyethylene (PE) for Tetra Pak’s Nestle packaging.

Dow Chemical plans to build manufacturing facilities for polyolefin encapsulant films in Schkopau, Germany, and Map Ta Phut, Thailand, next year. The investments will more than triple Dow Chemical’s capacity for speciality films used in photovoltaic modules.

Specialty chemicals company Sud-Chemie broke ground on its new €28m ($40m) straw-fed biofuel plant at Straubing in southern Germany.

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