Weekly News Roundup

The blog apologizes for the lack of weekly news roundup in the past two weeks. Unfortunately, the blog is at the second-bottom of the chain between my day job at the magazine and night work at school. My friends and family will tell you my personal life is at the very bottom (violin starts playing now…)

I just finished my article on Japanese chemical companies and their renewable chemical strategies (this was really a tough one but thanks to Lux Research and Jim Lunt for providing some input, and Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsui and Teijin for participating). The article is going to be published on October 24.

In the meantime, there were a lot (and I mean a lot!) of press announcements that came out this week. We will post a separate one on biofuels as well as about this new company called Renmatix, which had a press meeting and live webcast held in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

For now, here are our latest news roundup:

Plaxica bags £5m financing

UK-based bioplastic producer Plaxica has raised £5m ($7.8m) in equity funding from Imperial Innovations, Invesco Perpetual and NESTA Investments. Plaxica is said to be developing next generation polylactic acid (PLA) polymers and platform chemicals.

Siluria raises $20m financing

Siluria raised $20m for its series B financing led by UK-based Wellcome Trust and joining Siluria investors Alloy Ventures, ARCH Venture Parners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Lux Capital and Presidio Ventures. Siluria uses waste methane gas as feedstock to produce fuels and chemicals.

FKuR and Braskem in green PE deal

Germany based bioplastic compounder FKuR and Brazil-based chemical firm Braskem have signed a compounding agreement for Braskem’s sugar-based polyethylene (PE) plastic BioPE. The partnership will result in the first tailor-made green PE compounds available in Europe.

Methanex to buy Enerkem’s methanol

Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals company Enerkem has entered an offtake deal with Methanex for the sale of methanol to be produced at Enerkem’s facility in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Enerkem’s subsidiary Enerkem Alberta Biofuels will produce the methanol as well as cellulosic ethanol at its 10m gal/year plant in Edmonton scheduled to start in 2012.

Electrochaea launches methane subsidiary

US-based Electrochaea LLC has launched a subsidiary in Denmark where it plans to test its waste carbon dioxide-based energy technology with European energy company E.ON, Denmark’s University of Aarhus and energy trading firm Nordjysk Elhandel. Electrochaea;s technology uses waste CO2 and convert it into methane. Testing is expected to take 12-18 months. If successful, the first commercial facility will be in operation within the next 3 years in Denmark.

OriginOil partners with US DOE

Algae developer OriginOil is working with the US Department of Energys Idaho National Laboratory to develop standards for converting biomass including algae into biofuels and other products. The collaboration will include how algae can add energy content to other feedstocks such as woody and herbaceous materials for energy production. OriginOil said using the whole algae feedstock with its lipid still in the cell is more energy-efficient than focusing on harvesting its oil products for drop-in biofuels.

Algae scale-up bioreactors available

BioVantage Resources announced the availability of algae scale-up bioreactors to reduce time to commercialization, facilitating small-to-large volume production of phototrophic cultures. The units have been designed to enable repeatable, reliable production of high-quality algae even at commercial scales.

And in ICIS News (requires subscription):

The development of new shale gas plays in the US will not weaken Coca-Cola’s commitment to bio-based packaging, a representative from Coca-Cola said who spoke at the 2011 Pack Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dutch paints and coatings producer AkzoNobel plans to adopt more bio-based feedstocks, part of a larger strategy to improve its sustainability record.

ECO Plastics has started building a new recycling facility at Hemswell in the UK as part of its joint venture with Coca-Cola.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared trichloroethylene (TCE) “carcinogenic to humans.”

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