Weekly News Roundup

Before I indulge myself into the holiday (and shopping) mood, let’s get this weekly news roundup out of the way, which seems to be biofuels-centric. By the way, the blog just received an interesting news from LanzaTech and Global Bioenergies so we will take a look at it later this week — after I finished my shopping.

For the US readers, enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday!

ConocoPhillips enters biomass fuels

ConocoPhillips has partnered with Enviva LP, a manufacturer of processed biomass fuel in the US and Europe, to create a new company called ECo Biomass Technologies which will bring torrefied biomass fuels to the market. Torrefaction involves superheating biomass to create highly efficient fuel akin to coal. ECo Biomass’ initial facility, scheduled to start in 2013, will produce wood pellets that will be sold under agreements with major utilities.

BASF creates global battery biz

BASF has created a new Battery Materials global business unit that will be effective January 1, 2012. The new business will integrate BASF’s existing battery activities and catalysts division focused on cathode materials development), intermediates division focused on electrolyte formulations, and BASF Future Business GmbH that is focused on next-generation lithium battery opportunities.

Rivertop Renewables bags $1.5m

Rivertop Renewables has received a $1.5m bridge round investment from Cultivian Ventures, a venture found focused on high tech opportunities in the food and ag sectors. The funding will allow Rivertop to continue commercialization of its first products – glucaric acid-based detergent builders and corrosion inhibitors.

Waste Management invests in Fulcrum

Waste Management has closed an equity investment in Fulcrum Bioenergy and at the same time has secured a loan of up to $70m for Fulcrum’s proposed Sierra Biofuels plant located east of Reno, Nevada. The plant, designed to process 147,000 tons/year of waste and produce 10m gal/year of ethanol, will start operations in 2013. Waste Management has previously committed in a separate feedstock agreement to supply the Sierra BioFuels plant with post-sorted municipal solid waste.

DuPont changes cellulosic ethanol name

DuPont Industrial Biosciences has changed its cellulosic ethanol business formerly known as DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE) to DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol. DuPont said it is entering the next phase in making its advanced biofuels a commercial reality. DuPont’s Vonore, Tennessee, demonstration facility can produce 250,000 gal/year f ethanol while plans for the new Iowa facility are set to produce 27.5m gal/year, which is expected to start in 2013.

Grace expands silica gel output

W.R. Grace & Co. has expanded its silica gel manufacturing facility in Sorocaba, Brazil, to support growth in renewable fuels demand. Grace’s TriSyl® silica improves a refinery’s economics by removing contaminants from natural oil feedstocks more efficiently than alternative products.

Innovia, Sappi partners in laminates

Innovia Films and Sappi Fine Paper Europe have joined forces to develop next generation plant-based laminates, which could be used in food, confectionery and pharmaceutical packaging. The laminates will be designed to provide technical functionality and will be suitable for composting. The companies have now started trials with converters to demonstrate the capabilities of such laminates in terms of sustainability and technical packaging solutions.

BlueFire Renewables forms SucreSource

BlueFire Renewables has formed a wholly-owned subsidiary SucreSource, which will focus on the production of cellulosic sugars to establish commercialization-scale pathway for companies with back-end fermentation, bio-reactor and catalysis processes. SucreSource will capitalize on the process design packages already completed by BlueFire, providing either a 34,000 tons/year or 163,000 tons/year source of cellulosic sugars.

Mission NewEnergy’s in palm waste

Malaysia-based Mission NewEnergy is constructing a 60,000 tonne/year waste processing facility in Sabah, Malaysia, that will recover palm oil from waste material called Spent Bleached Earth (SBE) in the palm oil refining process. The SBE will be used to produce biodiesel. The waste processing facility will start operations in September 2012.

And in ICIS News (requires subscription):

China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance (CPIA) plans to conduct an antidumping and antisubsidy survey on photovoltaic (PV) products imported from the US.

Brazil-based Novvi, the 50-50 joint venture between US-based Amyris and Brazilian agribusiness Cosan, expects to start commercial production of renewable base oils in 2012.

Arizona Chemical has established a legal entity to operate in China, the US-based pine chemical producer said.

Braskem’s environmentally friendly “green” plastics account for 10% of the company’s polyethylene (PE) revenue, the Brazilian company said.

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