Weekly News Roundup

Here’s the blog’s late news roundup (as usual). A couple of biofuel news that came out the past two weeks will be in a separate post.

Arkema buys bio-polyamide producer

French specialty chemical firm Arkema has acquired Chinese companies Hipro Polymers, a producer of biobased polyamide 10,10, and Casda Biomaterials, a producer castor oil-based sebacic acid which is used to manufacture polyamide 10,10. Both companies – which are predominantly owned by a joint venture between privately owned Chinese specialty chemical company Feixiang Chemicals and Bain Capital – report aggregate sales estimated at $230 M for 2011, and employ 750 people on two sites in China.

GlycosBio picks Toyo Engineering

Glycos Biotechnologies has chosen Toyo Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for its industrial biochemical that will be build in Johor, Malaysia, and scheduled to be completed in second quarter of 2013. GlycosBio’s refinery will have initial capacity of up to 30,000 tonnes by 2014 and will subsequently scale up to 90,000 tonnes. Target biochemicals from the plant will include isoprene and ethanol from crude glycerin.

Codexis launches cellulase for biobased chems

Codexis has introduced its cellulosic enzyme CodeXyme product line to convert biomass to sugar for use in bio-based chemicals production. The cellulase enzymes is said to have the potential to deliver lower-cost sugar from abundant, locally available feedstock enabling an economically viable biobased chemical industry. The company expects to have commercial samples for customers in the chemicals industry broadly available in the second half of 2012.

Allylix begins nootkatone production

Alllylix has begun production of nootkatone for the flavor and fragrance industry in large-scale commercial quantities using 200,00 liter fermentation tanks. Nootkatone is the flavor and fragrance material that gives grapefruit its aroma and is used as a flavor ingredient in beverage, confection, frozen dairy as well as a fragrance material in perfumes, colognes, fabric and personal care products.

Ansell buys Yulex stakes

Australia-based Ansell Limited has purchased a minority share of Yulex, a manufacturer of biopolymers derived from guayule – a commercial crop and the only rubber-producing species other than the Brazilian rubber tree. Ansell and Yulex executed an exclusive agreement for the global development, manufacturing and distribution rights for medical gloves, personal protective equipment gloves, and condoms made of guayule latex.

Laurel BioComposite’s first shipment

Laurel BioComposite has opened its new 250 lb/hour pilot plant in November and shipped Bio-Res pellets from its first production run to a major customer for trials. Bio-Res is made from corn-based distillers grain and can be blended with polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid and PHA. Bio-Res pelletes are made of 60-80% bio-content and is suitable for use in industries that include shipping, law and garden, agriculture and automotive applications.

Biodiegradable plastic additive grades ok’d

EcoLogic’s Eco-One additives for enhancing biodegradation of polyamide (Nylon), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP) and clear-molded polypropylene have achieved compliance with Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) for use in food contact applications in Brazil. EcoLogic had previously announced that the company’s Eco-One additives for enhancing biodegradation of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) achieved compliance in August of 2011. Eco-One additives are distributed in Brazil by EcoLogic’s partner, TIV Plasticos.

And in ICIS News (requires subscription):

US-based industrial biotechnology firm Codexis expects to make its first commercial sales of its cellulosic-sugar-based detergent alcohol products by 2014.

US-based oleochemicals producer Vantage Specialty Chemicals is close to being sold, with a private equity firm the likely buyer, several sources in the financial community said.

The UK is likely to implement the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED) as of 15 December 2011, the press officer for Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Redcar Ian Swales said.

China’s Jiangsu Haiqing Biotechnology started up its first 100,000 tonne/year methyl ester sulfonates plant at Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province.

Global demand for bio-degradables and bio-based plastics will more than triple to over 1m tonnes in 2015, valued at $2.9bn (€2.1bn), according to a market research study by Cleveland-based industry research firm, The Freedonia Group.

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