Weekly News Roundup

The blog apologizes for the delay in my NatureWorks/PTT interview story on ICIS Chemical Business. This was supposed to come out and October 24 and will now be out on November October 31. In the meantime, here is a free access link on my story about Japanese chemical companies and their renewables chemicals strategies.

The story is part of ICB’s Japan issue published this week. For the blog, here are this week’s news roundup:

Solazyme, Unilever extends deal

Solazyme and Unilever continued their collaboration deal with a new commercial development agreement, which is funded by Unilever to expand the companies’ current research and development efforts. Initially, the two parties will continue focusing innovation efforts on the production of tailored oils for use in soap and personal care product applications, while committing additional efforts to developing new tailored oils for use in other applications.

Amyris forms Brazil Biofene JV

Amyris and ETH Bioenergia, a Brazilian producer of ethanol, electric energy and sugar will form a joint venture to produce BiofeneĀ®, Amyris’s renewable farnesene by 2014. The JV would be able to access up to 2m tons/year of sugarcane crush capacity at one of ETH’s greenfield mills in Brazil. The joint venture will be controlled by ETH, and Amyris will have exclusive marketing rights for the Biofene produced at the facility.

Verenium bags $16m financing

Verenium has entered into an agreement with Comerica Bank and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (“Ex-Im Bank”) for two 18-month, secured revolving credit facilities totaling up to $13m. The proceeds of these facilities will be used for general working capital purposes. Verenium has also put in place a facility for up to $3m in secured equipment financing to help support the planned build-out of its research and bioprocess development laboratories and corporate headquarters in San Diego.

Arcadia gets grant for plant oils

Arcadia Biosciences received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) worth $950,000 to develop technology that enables plants to produce high levels of oil in their leaves and stems. The technology could significantly increase the amount of energy produced by plants, making the production of biofuels and other oleochemicals more cost efficient and environment friendly. Vegetable oil is the most concentrated source of energy made by plants, but is usually made only in seeds.

EcoLogic bioplastic additives in Argentina

EcoLogic’s Eco-One additives for enhancing biodegradation of plastics are now being used by La Primera de Cuyo, a leading manufacturer of flexible packaging in Argentina, in a new line of polyethylene plastic bags. In accordance with ASTM D5511, EcoLogic said the plastic bags will undergo significant biodegradation in biologically active landfills.

Ford, Scott Miracle-Gro in coconut R&D

Ford and the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company are researching the use of coconut fiber reinforcement for molded plastic parts in automobiles. Coconut coir is a natural fiber from the husk of a coconut, and ScottsMiracle-Gro uses the material as a carrier for its soils and grass seed products. In a car interior, the material could be used in storage bins, door trim, seat trim or center console substrates. It could also potentially be used on underbody and exterior trim. Ford is currently testing the material’s properties to ensure it passes all of the company’s durability tests and if it has natural flame-retardant properties.

And in ICIS News (requires subscription):
  • Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals signed a fundamental agreement with a group of companies experienced in renewable energy to study the feasibility and collaboration in building a solar and wind electricity generation facility at Midorigahma in Tahara City, Japan.
  • The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is interested in investing in Brazilian bioresearch projects related to the transformation of biomass into chemical products and polymers as well as biofuels, Brazilian business intelligence firm Maxiquim said.
  • German producer LANXESS hopes Asian countries would adopt tire labeling to give consumers informed choices in a push for wider use of fuel-efficient or “green tires”, company executives said.

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