U.S. industrial biotech company Geomatica won the prestigious 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Award given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its Brontide® natural butylene glycol. Honoring groundbreaking scientific solutions to real-world environmental problems, the win for Brontide natural butylene glycol marks the third EPA award held by Genomatica and makes them one of only four companies to win the award three times in the program’s 25-year history.
“The bioeconomy offers great opportunities for the European chemical industry to create new products, diversify its raw material base and reduce its dependence on non-renewable resources”. To say it – in this long exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Daniele Ferrari, CEO Versalis, the Chemical Division of Italian oil giant ENI, and President CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council. Ferrari talks with us about the main challenges the European chemical industry is facing, the circular bioeconomy and the next steps of Versalis in the green chemistry field.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
Amsterdam-based Avantium, a leading technology development company and forerunner in renewable chemistry, will officially open a pilot biorefinery for its Zambezi technology in Delfzijl, Netherlands. Opening ceremonies will take place in Amsterdam on 10 July and in Delfzijl on 13 July. The province of Groningen is supporting the pilot biorefinery with a RIG (‘Regionale Investeringssteun Groningen’) subsidy of €1.8 million.
“The Ipo (Initial public offering, editor’s note) of Versalis is not yet in Eni’s plans”, Massimo Mondazzi, CFO of the Italian oil giant, said last Friday during a conference call with analysts answering the question about the chemical quotation hypothesis. “We want to maintain and strengthen Versalis, there are no Ipo projects. The option is not in the plans,” he said.
Eni, the Italian oil giant, announces that the negotiations with the U.S. investment fund SK Capital over the sale of a majority share in Versalis S.p.A. have been terminated due to an impossibility to reach a resolution on certain issues, including the future governance of the company. Therefore, starting from the second quarter results, Eni will fully consolidate Versalis within the group’s accounts.
The Italian green chemistry will speak American. Eni confirms that it is in search for a partner for Versalis, its synthetic rubber and chemicals company. In a meeting at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (Mise), between Mise, Eni, Versalis and representatives from the National Confederation of Industry and Trade Unions regarding the prospects for Eni’s petrochemical business, the Italian oil and gas company said it intended to retain a “significant stake” of Versalis in the partnership to “ensure its objectives are successfully met”.
“I am convinced that what we lack today to confirm the value creation potential of the industrial biotechnology are concrete examples of investments to construct real industrial operations that are profitable and that create manufacturing jobs.
So all national and European initiatives – co-investment, easing of regulatory procedures, tax incentives, etc. – that will facilitate risk-taking in the industrial phase will be welcomed to demonstrate the industrial biotechnology’s potential and accelerate its development”. To say it – in this interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Benjamin Gonzalez, founder and CEO of METabolic EXplorer, a French green chemistry company that develops and patents innovative, fermentation-based industrial processes. Waiting for EFIB, the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy – which will take place next October 27-29 in Brussels – Il Bioeconomista will host a series of interviews with CEOs, who will be guest speakers in Brussels. Today we offer the second, after the first with Ilkka Hämälä, CEO of Metsä Fibre, published last 21 August.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
Versalis (the chemichal subsidiary of Eni), Industrial Relations Eni and the trade unions have reached an important agreement on the project at the Porto Marghera site (close to Venice) to redesign production facilities and regain competitiveness.
A great success. This was Ecochem, the event on sustainable chemistry and bio-based economy which was held in Basel November 19 to 21. The three-day conference saw the presence of the major players (more than 2000 attendees and approximately 200 speakers) of the global bioeconomy: the chemical industry which is investing strongly into biotechnology. But also giants of other sectors, like Nike that has begun research programs for the use of biological resources in its products, strategic consulting firm like McKinsey – which confirmed that the future of the chemical industry will be green and sustainable – young biotech companies like the German Evocatal and the Portuguese SilicoLife, and investors like Sofinnova and Capricorn Venture.
The University of California-Berkeley, University of Minnesota, Northeastern University and 10 other colleges and universities that have signed the Green Chemistry Commitment, intended to increase the number of green chemists and scientists in the US and the business opportunities available to them.