Scandinavian multinational company Stora Enso opened Europe’s largest wood fibre-based biocomposite plant. The opening ceremony took place last June 4 at the company’s Hylte Mill outside of Halmstad in South-west Sweden, and was attended by more than 150 guests. Stora Enso’s investment of €12 million in a biocomposite plant is part of the company’s ongoing process of becoming a renewable materials company. It aims at showing that Stora Enso is a leader in the bioeconomy, with the ability to provide innovative, more sustainable alternatives to plastic.
BASF Venture Capital is to invest in LanzaTech, a biotech company headquartered in Chicago (USA). Using special microbes, LanzaTech has developed a technology for gas fermentation that first enables ethanol to be produced from residual gases containing carbon monoxide and hydrogen. By re-using waste streams instead of incinerating them, industrial companies can reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
LanzaTech, and its joint venture partner, Shougang Group, a leading Chinese iron and steel producer, announced the successful start-up of the world’s first commercial facility converting industrial emissions to sustainable ethanol. The facility, located at the Jingtang Steel Mill in Caofeidian in Hebei Province, began operations on May 3.
“The future of the chemical industry is the global migration to chemicals and chemical processes that improve the environmental impact of chemicals and reduce the negative health effects associated with chemicals and their production”. To say it in this exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista is Virginia Klausmeier, founder and CEO of Sylvatex, the California-based company which has developed a renewable nano-chemistry platform that has applications in solutions for industry processing, materials stability, and fuels.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
API, an Italian company specialized in the production of thermoplastic elastomeric compounds and bioplastics, which was acquired by global materials company Trinseo in July 2017, and ICM (Industria Chimica Mediterranea), a key player in the footwear and leather goods industry, joined forces to develop innovative and sustainable technical fabrics.
Italian industrial biotech company Bio-on, specialized in the sector of bioplastic of high quality, organic and biodegradable at 100%, set up AMT Labs S.p.A., a newco dedicated to the study, development and production of innovative materials for the tobacco world. Now AMT Labs company, capitalised with 10 million euros, sees the entry of GimaTT, with a 20% share for an investment of 2.2 million euros. GimaTT is a leader in the design and assembly of automatic machines on eletronic basis for the the packaging of products derived from tobacco and, in particular, those of new generation at reduced risk. Gima TT is controlled by IMA S.p.A. and is listed on the Star segment of the Italian Stock Exchange since October 2017.
A new bio-based alternative solution is now available for dry cleaners. Working with UK company Green Biologics and their facility in Minnesota, German chemical company Kreussler Inc. is now making dry cleaning solvent from corn grown by about 500 family-owned farms in the heartland of America. SOLVONK4 offers one single ultrapure solvent that cleans better than Perc without any of the environmental or health-related concerns.
Neste, the Finnish producer of renewable fuels from waste and residues, acquired sole control and 51% of the shares of animal fat trader IH Demeter B.V., making Neste the controlling shareholder. The current owners shall remain as co-owners. The transaction is awaiting for and is subject to regulatory approval.
There is a new company in the world bioeconomy: Metsä Spring Ltd, the new innovation company established by Metsä Group. The company will, together with partner organisations, invest in new endeavours with the target to identify and develop new business opportunities in sustainable forest-based bioeconomy and circular economy. Niklas von Weymarn has been appointed CEO of the company. He transferred to Metsä Spring from the position of VP, Research in Metsä Fibre, also part of Metsä Group. The office of Metsä Spring is in the heart of the internationally-acknowledged Otaniemi innovation campus in Espoo, Finland. The establishment of the new innovation company – the Finnish multinational company underlines – does not affect the current research and development activities of Metsä Group’s current business areas.
“The bioeconomy promises to lead the next rising wave of global economic development. Renewable energy, renewable raw materials and recyclable products pose a positive challenge to our current fossil fuel dependence”. John Bell, Director at the European Commission in charge of bioeconomy, talks to Il Bioeconomista.
In this long exclusive interview, he talks about the new strategy on bioeconomy, the EU’s new research and innovation programme, the role of member states and regions and the connection between bioeconomy and society.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso