Weekly News Roundup

I’m starting to prepare my bioplastic presentation for BIOPLASTEK 2012 on March 30 as well as studying for my first school exam this semester so bear with my empty blog this past few days. 

On February 20, I’m also attending Jim Lunt’s pre-conference seminar on NatureWorks’ Innovation Takes Roots annual event in Orlando, so hopefully, I’ll be getting a lot of bioplastic information to share (and tweet).

Here are this week’s news roundup. I’ll have a separate post for biofuels news, speaking of which, Enerkem and Ceres just filed their IPOs. We’ll see if their S-1 form will have anything on industrial chemicals as well.

Roquette, Rhodia in bio-cellulose acetate

Roquette and Rhodia Acetow have partnered to develop new starch derivatives-based polymer cellulose acetate and cellulose acetate fiber. Trials of starch acetate production is expected to be carried out from early 2012 providing several tons available for testing in diverse industrial applications that include paper, paint, dye and pharmaceuticals.

DaniMer partners with EnerPol

Bioplastic producer DaniMer Scientific has partnered with EnerPol, an upstream oil and gas technology firm, to promote DaniMer’s degradable polymers that can be used in the oil and gas extraction process. DaniMer recently expanded its polymer application into the oilfield services sector through the development of a series of new biodegradable polymers.

DuPont, Suntech partners in solar initiatives

DuPont and solar panel producer Suntech Power Holdings are collaborating on technology advancements, supply chain optimization cost reduction initiatives and co-marketing opportunities to help expand adoption of solar energy. The companies aim to further improve solar energy technology to help reduce costs and build greater awareness of its benefits to consumers.

Carbon Sciences’ syngas catalyst 

Carbon Sciences plan to demonstrate its proprietary catalyst fo ruse by existing syngas plants by the end of 2012, which the company said will deliver more output at a lower cost and will be an attractive drop-in replacement for existing steam reforming plants. Existing steam reforming plants worldwide usually replace their catalysts every 3-5 years and could cost as much as $5m-$10m, according to Carbon Sciences.

Solvay operates fuel cell-based electricity

Solvay has commissioned its 1 MegaWatt (MW) industrial demonstration Fuel Cell at the SolVin plant in Lillo, Antwerp, Belgium. The Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell converts coproduced hydrogen in the plant into electricity and is now producing for weeks at a steady rate. The Fuel Cell has generated over 500 MWh in about 800 hours of operation, which amounts to the electricity consumption of 1370 families during the same time frame.

2011 VC investment at $4.9bn

Ernst & Young reported US venture capital investment in cleantech companies reached $4.9bn in 2011, flat in terms of deals and down 4.5% in terms of capital invested compared in 2010. Energy/electricity generation segment led investment last year with $1.5bn raised through a total of 71 rounds, down 5% in dollars invested from 2010. Growth last year was supported by five cleantech IPOs, Solazyme, Gevo, Kior, Rentech and Intermolecular. A total of $688.2m was raised through cleantech IPOs in 2011.

ACC launches energy campaign

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has launched a new energy advocacy and awareness campaign, “From Chemistry to Energy” to promote development of energy policies highlighting chemistry’s role in enabling a sustainable, secured energy future in the US. A recent ACC study found that the use of chemistry in energy-saving products and technologies helps save up to 10.9 quadrillion BTUs of energy annually, enough to power up to 56m households or up to 135m vehicles per year, and saving Americans up to $85bn/year in energy costs.

On ICIS News (requires subscription):

US-based agricultural processor Bunge expects its sugar business to soften in 2012 in response to an ongoing drought in Brazil.

Dover Chemical Corp has agreed to pay $1.4m (€1m) and to end production of certain chlorinated paraffins in order to resolve federal allegations that it violated the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Justice Department said.

Global chemical major BASF and Hyundai Motor Group have jointly developed a one-of-a-kind concept car that is lighter, more fuel-efficient and more environment-friendly, a senior BASF official said.

High recycling rates will bring on more positive public reception of plastics, a senior executive of US-based ExxonMobil said.

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