“The bioeconomy is challenged by the fact that bio-products have to be anyway competitive vs traditional ones, but it can also open new opportunities if we set our minds not (only) to make copies of petroleum products but also to take completely new approaches to the material world”. To say it in this exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista is Barbara Secchi, Senior expert Bio-materials and EU network at Bridgestone (the world’s largest tire and rubber company) Technical Center Europe based in Rome. With Mrs Secchi we talk about bioeconomy and the bio-based future of the tire’s industry, “possibly using biomass that is not competing with food (2nd generation biomass)”.
Succinity GmbH, the joint venture between Corbion Purac, the worldwide market leader in lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives and lactides, and BASF, German chemical giant, for the production and commercialization of biobased succinic acid, has announced the successful start-up of its first commercial production facility.
Korean automaker Kia has revealed that the company’s new Soul EV (electric vehicle), which will have its world premiere at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show starting later this week (February 8-17), has achieved UL (Underwriter Laboratoires) Environment validation for bio-based organic carbon content for ten per cent of its interior materials. UL Environment describes itself as a global independent safety science company.
“The biobased economy has an unprecedented ability to reconcile growth, jobs, rural development and sustainability. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2020, biorefining could generate globally over € 225 billion Euro per year across the whole biomass value chain. Policy makers around the globe are waking up to the potential of the biobased economy progressively”. To say it in this exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista is Sebastian Søderberg, Vice President, Biomass Conversion, of Novozymes, the Danish biotech company with a strong focus on enzyme production and world leader in bioinnovation. With Søderberg we talk about bioeconomy, with a special focus on European policies to encourage the development of the sector: “A comprehensive policy – says the Danish top manager – should therefore stimulate both the demand (tax incentives, production support and feed in tariff) and supply (feedstock collection and supply-chain incentives) for biobased products as well as unlock the necessary investments for demonstration and first-of-its-kind commercial-scale plants (e.g. through the PPP on Biobased Industries)”.
There is a new French-Belgian joint research program in the bioeconomy. Naturex, the global leader in specialty plant-based natural ingredients, headquartered in Avignon, and Galactic, the world expert in lactic acid and lactates based natural ingredients, headquartered in Brussels, launched it last Friday to develop a range of preservation systems that include both anti-microbial and antioxidant protection.
The US Center for Automotive Research (CAR) announced Thursday that it will be the lead agency in a $1.47 million grant under the federal “Make It In America Challenge” to boost the use of bio-based materials in cars. Partners in the effort include the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, the Macomb-St. Clair Workforce Development Board and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences.
“Our project, ‘Building Capacity and Capability in the Bio-Based Materials Manufacturing Sector,’ will build and expand on this distinctive combination of assets to support job creation and attraction of domestic and foreign direct investment in the agricultural manufacturing sector, as well as greater development of a supply chain for bio-material products to support the U.S. automotive industry,” said Kim Hill, director of the Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies group and project lead at CAR.
Novamont’s bio-based butanediol (BDO) plant, established as a joint venture (Mater Biotech) with San Diego-based Genomatica, will come on stream next year. To say it was yesterday Alberto Castellanza, sales manager of the Italian company, at K 2013, the Trade Fair for Plastic materials and rubber, in Düsseldorf (Germany).
Solvay Specialty Polymers has announced a major extension of its Kalix high-performance polyamide (HPPA) product line, launching a new portfolio of bio-based high-performance polyamides offered for use in smart mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other smart mobile electronics. The introduction includes the Kalix HPPA 3000 series, the first bio-based amorphous polyphthalamides (PPAs), and the Kalix 2000 series, a family of bio-sourced semi-crystalline polyamide grades that provide outstanding impact performance. Solvay unveiled the new materials at K 2013 (Hall 6 Stand C61), the 19th International Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber Worldwide, which runs October 16-23, in Düsseldorf, Germany.
A fungus and E. coli bacteria have joined forces to turn tough, waste plant material into isobutanol, a biofuel that matches gasoline’s properties better than ethanol. University of Michigan research team members said the principle also could be used to produce other valuable chemicals such as plastics.
Basf, Cargill and Novozymes have announced the achievement of an important milestone in their joint development of technologies to produce acrylic acid from renewable raw materials by successfully demonstrating the production of 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP) in pilot scale.
3-HP is a renewable-based building block and one possible chemical precursor to acrylic acid. The companies also have successfully established several technologies to dehydrate 3-HP to acrylic acid at lab scale. This step in the process is critical since it is the foundation for production of acrylic acid. In August 2012, Basf, Cargill and Novozymes announced their joint agreement to develop a process for the conversion of renewable raw materials into a 100 percent bio-based acrylic acid.