Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mitsubishi and Thailand's PTT closer to production of biobased poly(butylene succinate) plastic.

Mitsubishi and PTT are moving forward with plans to make renewably-sourced poly(butylene succinate), PBS.  PBS is biodegradable, but currently is made from petrochemical succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol.  Bio-based versions of these monomers will be used at the new project in Thailand.

In September 2009, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, MCC, announced an exploratory joint development with Thailand's PTT, and it appears that the partnership is thriving.  Yesterday, Japan Chemical Web quoted a Mitsubishi source saying that details of the new operation will be finalized by June or July.  The capacity of the facility - a key indicator of the perceived value of the venture - is unknown.

MCC brings process technology for the manufacture of the succinic acid, and marketing power to sell the PBS through its existing GSPla brand.  PTT will contribute expertise in operations and logistics. 

The past year has been one of vigorous global activity in the commercialization of bio-based succinic acid.  In addition to the Mitsubishi/PTT venture, plans for bio-based succinic acid production have been announced by BASF/Purac, DSM/Roquette, Myriant, and DNP/ARD.

If these efforts all come to fruition, worldwide production of succinic acid could increase by as much as 500% in five years.  If that happens, we will be hearing a lot more about the virtues of plant-based succinic acid as the challenge shifts to marketing all of that new capacity.

Success or failure of biobased chemical production is more strongly governed by local economic forces than traditional petrochemical manufacturing.  For this new PBS venture, Mitsubishi and PTT have a value chain that makes shrewd use of local factors.   Locating the plant in Thailand means an inexpensive and stable supply of biomass, a lower-than-average cost of production, and access to an established market in Japan and growing markets in Asia as a whole.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Follow my research notes on green fraud. Subtopic "Green Fraud in China" - Disposable Tableware Indiscriminately Marked "Degradable"

So many unanswered questions arise from this news item published last year in China.

"Disposable Tableware Indiscriminately Marked "Degradable"

News Alert: Much tableware marked “degradable” on the market are not really environment-friendly products. From December 1st, only the disposable tableware which will be completely degraded into carbon dioxide or methane, water can be labeled as degradable tableware. The new national mandatory standard "General requirements of plastic disposable tableware" has promulgated, and will come into effect on December 1st, after that, the false degradable products will not going to swindle in the market any longer."

My first thought is that since this was fraud in many (most?) cases, why will new standards have any effect?

link (looking for better ones):


Thursday, March 4, 2010

We have been waiting for a peek at Rennovia. We wait no more!

My army of webwatching robots reports that Rennovia has lifted the wraps on its website.

Take a look for yourself: http://rennovia.com/

My first impression is that it is a lot like Symyx, but focused on renewables.

High-throughput catalyst discovery will provide more active or commercially viable catalysts, but renewable chemistry has a lot of other things holding back newcomers in the current market, so Rennovia will be looking for partners, I'm sure, that have sophistication in feedstock logistics and downstream processing.

Rennovia's new website alludes to this,

These processes are designed to be readily scalable and to employ standard chemical production and purification equipment. Rennovia’s process technology will integrate seamlessly, and potentially employ, existing manufacturing assets.
This is a value proposition that has a lot going for it, but has yet to become a buzzword. Rennovia may help to change that.

Here's the new logo and tagline.

Tell me what you think.