Weekly News Roundup

Yes, this week’s news roundup is one day early (or four days late I guess) as the blogger is going to be in the middle of a big editorial board meeting this Friday and trying to promote the blog’s course towards fame (back me up here now my faithful readers!). I might also be able to get an interview with the CEO of Thailand-based PTT Chemical very early Friday morning – crossing my fingers.

Maybe I should just camp out in the office on Thursday night after school…

On Wednesday, we received a formal announcement about PTT Chemical acquiring 50% of US bioplastic producer NatureWorks. The green blog had the opportunity to interview NatureWorks marketing director Steve Davies, and the interview will be on ICIS Chemical Business’ October 24 issue under the Green Chemicals column.

Speaking of ICB, my article (subscription required for this link) about my interview with DSM on their bio-adipic acid strategy came out this Monday. As I’ve mentioned before, DSM  is looking to commercially produce drop-in biobased adipic acid (produced either through fermentation or chemo-catalytic routes) by forming partnerships along the value chain. DSM said a ‘cost-advantaged and more sustainable route’ for adipic acid will offer significant value in the company’s polyamide markets. DSM has a global leading position in caprolactam, a key precursor to polyamide 6.

DSM said it is looking at a 100,000-150,000 tonne/year commercial scale with the possibility of entering the market around five years or so.

Next week, I will be in Vienna attending ICIS’ 8th Oleochemicals conference. If there’s a free wifi, I will try to tweet some of them via @ICISchemicalbiz so stay tune! When I come back, I will start on my interview with BlueMarble Bio as well as information on Renmatix, updates on Dow and BASF. Did I already mention that my first midterm exam is coming up on Oct. 25? Whew!

For now here are this week’s news roundup (I’m separating a post on several bioplastic news that I came across the past two weeks):

Allylix starts Valencene production

Allylix has begun production of valencene for the flavor and fragrance industry in large-scale commercial quantities using 200,000 liter fermentation tanks. Allylix’s fermentation process is said to offer a stable supply of valencene at a fifth or less of the cost of these traditional methods. Valencene is an orange flavor and fragrance material being used as a key element in beverage, confection and OTC healthcare flavors, among other applications. Traditional methods of producing valencene entail extracting it from the peel of valencene oranges.

LanzaTech partners with Virgin Atlantic

In partnership with New Zealand-based LanzaTech, Boeing and Swedish Biofuels, Virgin Atlantic plans to use jet fuel made from waste gases captured from industrial steel production. The waste gas using is fermented and chemically converted into jet fuel using Swedish Biofuels Technology. A demo flight with the new fuel is planned in 12-18 months.  LanzaTech expects to have a commercial facility producing the waste gas-based fuel by 2014.

Eastman expands non-phthalate plasticizers 

Eastman Chemical is increasing manufacturing capacity of its Eastman 168 non-phthalate plasticizer at its Kingsport, Tennessee site by 6,000 tons/year. The additional capacity is expected to begin before the end of 2011. Eastman said market and regulatory pressures are driving manufacturers of toys, childcare articles, medical devices and other PVC plastic products to switch to non-phthalate plasticizers.

Virent’s biofuel gets Air Force thumbs up

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) corroborate the potential of Virent’s jet fuel and confirm that it warrants further study as a 100% renewable fully synthetic standalone jet fuel or as a 50/50 blend with petroleum based jet fuel.  AFRL has released analytical test results of Virent’s plant-derived fuel with technical corroborator Shell. As larger volumes of Virent jet fuel become available, the AFRL will conduct further analysis, focusing on fit-for-purpose testing as required by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Honeywell, Sinochem in green blowing agents

Honeywell and Sinochem are forming a 50/50 joint venture to produce and sell in China HFC-245fa, a non-ozone-depleting rigid foam blowing agent used in insulation for appliances, construction, transportation and other energy efficient foam insulation to meet growing demand in the Asia region. The joint venture, to be located in Taicang, Jiangsu Province, is expected to begin production in late 2013. Honeywell’s newly launched next generation HFO lower-global-warming-potential blowing agent – Solstice™ Liquid Blowing Agent — may also be produced by the joint venture.

Dyadic raises $3m Dyadic International, a global biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of enzyme and protein products for the bioenergy, industrial enzyme and biopharmaceutical industries, has completed a private placement of $3m in convertible subordinated secured promissory notes (the “Notes”) to five investors. Dyadic expects to use proceeds from this offering for working capital including continued investments in research and development, new product introductions and general corporate purposes.

And on ICIS News (requires subscription):

In the same breath used to admit defeat at the hands of the California State Assembly this session, proponents of proposed legislation that would have banned California vendors from serving food in polystyrene (PS) foam containers vowed to return next year for another try.

US-based polylactic acid (PLA) manufacturer NatureWorks said on Wednesday it will invest in a new plant in Thailand, following PTT Chemical’s (PTTCH) purchase of a 50% stake in the company.

Eastman Chemical
presented a new line of bisphenol A-free (BPA-free) copolyester products in Mexico as an alternative for polycarbonates (PC).

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