EPI Environmental Products Inc. is pleased to announce the receipt of a ‘Certificate of Conformity’ from the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), authorizing EPI to supply their TDPA® oxo-biodegradable plastic additives and products in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE Government has recognized the potential detrimental implications of plastic pollution on the environment. Nevertheless, a complete ban on plastic products is undesirable, while attempting to recycle all discarded plastic is impractical. The Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) has been mandated to enforce compliance of all new plastic bags with the bio-degradability requirements specified in the UAE Standard 5009/2009.
Effectively, all new plastic bags must be 100% degradable; thus, if discarded in the environment, the plastic must degrade without causing any harmful contamination. Therefore, the manufacture and supply of plastic products in the UAE is strictly contingent on their degradability credentials having been approved by the ESMA. Quality control is further ensured by periodic independent testing. EPI’s TDPA® oxo-biodegradable plastic products have been accredited by the ESMA to conform to the relevant standards. As they are 100% degradable and recyclable, when discarded, they will bio-degrade into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass, which are all inherent constituents of the natural environment.
Indeed, as the pioneer in the development and commercialization of oxo-biodegradable plastic additives, EPI is well-positioned to enter a collaborative partnership with the UAE Government to achieve our shared ambition of achieving sustainable and eco-friendly means of utilizing plastic products. Through a corporate philosophy of innovation and rigorous scientific validation of its technology, EPI remains the industry leader, as demonstrated in the superior degradation performance of EPI’s TDPA® oxo-biodegradable plastic additives compared to those of competitors.
The problem of pollution caused by degradable plastic waste is immediately apparent; moreover, if timely action is not taken, it represents a future environmental calamity. EPI applauds the UAE for their initiative in taking such positive action in dealing with this very real problem, and would like to thank all those involved in the certification process, for their dedication to a cleaner, healthier tomorrow.
About EPI Environmental Products Inc.:
Established in 1991 in Canada, EPI Environmental Products Inc. (EPI) with its UK subsidiary EPI (Europe) Ltd. has become a world leader in the fight against plastic waste. EPI licenses proprietary technology that causes plastic to degrade. Plastic bags, plastic film, plastic packaging and other single-use plastics can remain in the environment for decades. When these products are manufactured using EPI’s additives, they will degrade and subsequently biodegrade when discarded in soil, in the presence of microorganisms, moisture, and oxygen.
Two geoscience faculty members at The University of Montana have started a partnership with a private company to sustainably produce commercial products from algal biomass.
Potential products include organic fertilizers, natural pigments, food flavorings, fatty acids for biofuels, cholesterol-reducing compounds for food additives, and natural anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer drugs. Natural inputs and nontoxic production methods will give potential products a competitive advantage over similar products produced from petroleum and other nonrenewable sources.
Carrine Blank, a research assistant professor in UM’s geosciences department, and Nancy Hinman, a geosciences professor, are working on the project with Blue Marble Biomaterials, a company specializing in fully sustainable, zero-carbon, specialty chemicals.
The company was founded by Kelly Ogilvie and James Stephens, a UM alum. Stephens, also the company’s chief science officer, leads Blue Marble’s role in the collaborative effort, which largely takes place in the company’s biorefinery near the Missoula airport.
“Our goal will be to tap into Blue Marble’s carbon dioxide waste stream and then turn that CO2 into algal biomass,” Blank said. “We will then work together to harvest commercial products from that biomass.”
She said the diverse collection of patent-pending cyanobacterial and microalgal strains they work with derive from a number of regional waters, including Puget Sound, Washington’s Soap Lake, and local rivers and lakes in Montana. Additional strains come from soil.
Blank said she and Hinman are working to publish a paper about the research being used with the UM/Blue Marble partnership.
Stephens says UM’s favorable attitude toward industry partnerships was one factor in the decision to move the company from Seattle to Missoula in 2010.
“Partnering with UM is key to our research and development program,” Stephens said. “Innovation happens at the nexus of science and market opporunity. This partnership combines Blue Marble’s expertise in chemistry, microbiology and industrial manufacturing with the University’s excellence in research methodology, geoscience and biology. By combining these strengths, we are able to take advantage of an existing market opportunity.”
Joe Fanguy, UM director of technology transfer, said the research partnership with Blue Marble offers an excellent example of how university research can aid private industry and help the Montana economy.
“Successful research collaborations with innovative companies like Blue Marble are a priority for the University’s research enterprise,” Fanguy said. “These partnerships stimulate new research, new inventions, new educational opportunities and, ultimately, new, high-wage jobs in our community, which is a big win for Missoula and Montana.”
Blank says such industry partnerships also offer educational opportunities for UM students. Since 2010 Blue Marble has hired six UM graduates, including four students from the College of Technology. Currently, Blue Marble hosts five interns from UM who gain broad experience in biology, chemistry, engineering and business operations.
The use of ethanol as an alternative motor fuel has been steadily increasing around the globe over the past few years. Being an oxygenated fuel, it is less polluting compared to gasoline and it can be produced from corn via fermentation. In the United States, most of the ethanol is produced from corn by dry corn milling. Production of ethanol from corn is fraught with several environmental and social issues. Cellulosic biomass may become an alternative feedstock for ethanol production. Since the United States has a large cellulosic biomass production base. Ethanol produced from cellulosic feedstock and utilized as a substitute for gasoline could help in promoting rural development, reducing greenhouse gases, and achieving energy independence.
There are numerous challenges, both technical and infrastructure-related, associated with commercializing lignocellulosic biomass as a feedstock for ethanol production. While large quantities of various crop wastes go unused throughout the world, these lignocellulosic materials are difficult to efficiently convert into chemical products due to their complex polymeric structures. Innovative new technologies that couple biotechnology and chemistry with process engineering are necessary in order to achieve efficient commercial processes.
In this report, PEP presents process designs and associated cost estimates for producing ethanol in the United States from cellulosic biomass such as wood chips, corn stover, corn cobs and municipal solid waste. Six economic models are provided of which five are based on biochemical approaches, while one is based on a thermochemical approach. The biochemical routes considered in this report are: dilute acid pretreatment with ammonia conditioning, dilute acid pretreatment with lime conditioning, concentrated acid hydrolysis, ammonia pretreatment, and conventional corn dry milling. The thermochemical approach considered is indirect gasification of biomass followed by chemical synthesis of ethanol from syngas. While the technologies considered are very promising, the production cost of cellulosic ethanol does not yet meet the goal set by U.S. Department of Energy (a minimum ethanol selling price of $1.49/gal by 2012, in 2007 dollar). This is largely due to the high capital investment required for a new plant. Large scale initiatives underway in the United States could change the competitive situation for cellulosic ethanol in the longer term. Some of these initiatives include development of feedstock infrastructure to lower the potential cost of cellulosic feedstock. Other initiatives are underway related to processing technologies for lowering fixed capital requirements.
Virent and The Coca-Cola Company Sign Agreements to Develop and Supply 100% Renewable, Recyclable PlantBottle™
Virent and The Coca-Cola Company announced today they have entered into a new strategic partnership to accelerate the commercialization of renewable, recyclable materials for beverage packaging. The companies have signed multi-year, multi-million dollar Joint Development and Supply Agreements to scale-up Virent’s plant-based Paraxylene (PX), trademarked BioFormPX™, as a route to commercially viable, 100% renewable, 100% recyclable PlantBottle™ PET resin. Virent’s BioFormPX will be used in Coca-Cola’s existing supply chain to make 100% bio-based PTA that will be mixed with biobased MEG to produce PlantBottle™ PET Resin with 100% bio-based content.
“The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to provide its customers with PlantBottle™ packaging made from 100% renewable and recyclable materials is a bold example of visionary brand leadership,” said Lee Edwards, CEO of Virent. “I am delighted that Virent’s partnership with Coca-Cola will play a significant role in achieving this vision.”
“While the technology to make bio-based materials in a lab has been available for years, we believe Virent is a company that possesses technologies that have high potential for creating them on a global commercial scale within the next few years,” said Rick Frazier, Vice President, Commercial Product Supply, The Coca-Cola Company. “This is a significant R&D investment in packaging innovation and is the next step toward our vision of creating all of our plastic packaging from responsibly sourced plant-based materials.”
Virent and The Coca-Cola Company will rapidly progress both development and engineering under this effort, with Virent targeting 2015 for the first commercial plant opening. The majority of the PX produced from Virent’s first plant will be allocated for purchase by The Coca-Cola Company’s supply chain partners for the Company’s product packaging. Virent will reserve the remainder of the BioFormPXTM for market development in complementary PET and polyester applications.
The world’s largest soft-drink maker introduced the PlantBottle™ packaging in 2009, which consists of a conventional plastic made with up to 30 percent plant-based material. Since that time, The Coca-Cola Company has aggressively sought viable plant-based options for the remaining 70 percent of the material. Virent’s BioFormPX™ product will allow Coca-Cola to offer its customers up to 100% renewable, 100% recyclable bottles which can be processed through existing manufacturing and recycling facilities.
Virent is replacing crude oil by creating the chemicals and fuels the world demands using a wide range of naturally-occurring, renewable resources. Their patented technology features catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based sugars and agricultural residues into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and chemicals for plastics and fibers. The products are “drop-in” replacements that enable full utilization of existing logistics infrastructure without blending limitations. The development of Virent’s BioForming® technology platform is supported through strategic investors including Cargill, Shell and Honda, as well as 120 employees based in Madison, Wisconsin.
Gevo, Inc., a leading renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, today announced a groundbreaking agreement with The Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola) to create renewable para-xylene from plant based isobutanol, which will accelerate the development of Coca-Cola’s second-generation PlantBottle™ packaging made from 100% plant-based materials. Gevo will work with Coca-Cola to enable and deliver an integrated system to produce renewable para-xylene, a key building block towards reaching Coca-Cola’s goal of creating all of their packaging from renewable materials. The work will take the technology from lab-scale to commercial scale and support Coca-Cola’s efforts to lead the beverage industry away from fossil-fuel based packaging by offering an alternative made completely from renewable resources.
“While the technology to make biobased materials in a lab has been available for many years, we believe Gevo possess technologies that have high potential to create it on a global commercial level within the next few years,” said Rick Frazier, Vice President Commercial Product Supply, The Coca-Cola Company. “This is a significant R&D investment in packaging innovation and is the next step toward our vision of creating all of our PET plastic packaging from responsibly sourced plant materials.”
Coca-Cola identified Gevo as a leader in the race to commercialize renewable PET following an exhaustive search and evaluation of technologies from around the world. The global market for PET is 54 million metric tons and has a value of $100 billion, with approximately 30% used for plastic bottles. In this next generation of PlantBottle™ packaging, Coca-Cola plans to produce bottles entirely from renewable raw materials.
“We are extremely gratified to have won the confidence of The Coca-Cola Company and are excited to support Coca-Cola’s sustainable packaging goals with this agreement to develop and commercialize technology to produce para-xylene from biobased isobutanol,” said Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo. “New technologies need champions. The Coca-Cola Company is in a unique position to drive and influence change in the global packaging supply chain with this development. You cannot ask for a better champion than one of the world’s most respected and admired consumer brands.”
Isobutanol is a four-carbon fermentation alcohol that can be converted into para-xylene using known chemical processes. Para-xylene is a key raw material in PET production. Gevo has previously announced supplying Japanese chemical giant Toray with lab-scale quantities of renewable para-xylene. Toray has successfully converted Gevo’s para-xylene into PET films and fibers.
Gevo is converting existing ethanol plants into biorefineries to make renewable building block products for the chemical and fuel industries. The Company plans to convert renewable raw materials into isobutanol and renewable hydrocarbons that can be directly integrated on a “drop in” basis into existing chemical and fuel products to deliver environmental and economic benefits. Gevo is committed to a sustainable biobased economy that meets society’s needs for plentiful food and clean air and water.
Avantium and The Coca-Cola Company sign partnership agreement to develop next generation 100% plant based plastic: PEF
Exceptional functional properties make biobased plastic PEF a suitable alternative for future beverage packaging following technology break-through by Avantium
Dutch research and technology company Avantium has developed a patented technology YXY to produce 100% biobased PEF bottles. Currently PET is the most widely used oil-based polyester. Based on the performance of the new PEF material, Avantium believes PEF will become the next-generation biobased polyester.
Today the company announced an agreement with The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) to further co-develop Avantium's YXY technology for producing PEF bottles. First milestones include the start-up of an Avantium PEF pilot plant, officially opened on December 8th in Geleen, the Netherlands. It is expected that other large co-development partners will join from early 2012.
Avantium's CEO Tom van Aken: "Our YXY solution for the packaging industry creates a new biobased plastic with exceptional functional properties at a competitive price. We believe it is economically viable and has a significantly reduced environmental footprint. We have already made bottles with exceptional barrier and thermal properties and our production process fits well with existing supply chains. We plan to initiate commercial production of PEF in about three to four years."
PEF can be derived from any biomass feedstock containing carbohydrates, such as sugarcane, agricultural residues, plants and grains. Using YXY as a fast and efficient chemical-catalytic technology, these carbohydrates can be converted into a wide variety of bioplastics.
Current process economic estimates indicate that PEF will be a viable alternative to petroleum-based PET. Says Tom van Aken: "PEF is 100% biobased and when commercialized will be fully recyclable. We believe that PEF fulfills key criteria to become a next generation biobased plastic for food, beverages and other applications. We are very excited about the co-development phase we are entering with The Coca-Cola Company to continue the development of PEF and make this new material ready for mass production and recycling. Their leadership and experience in commercializing biobased materials make them a great partner to work with as we commercialize this exciting new material".
On 8 December, Avantium officially opened its pilot plant in the Netherlands, to start up its YXY process at scale. The pilot plant, with a capacity of 40 tons per year, produces PEF material for application development. The collaboration with The Coca-Cola Company is key to secure a smooth transition into the mass production phase of PEF bottles. Avantium is also actively discussing partnerships with other leading brand owners to develop PEF bottles, fibers and film. In the longer term Avantium will license its YXY technology to enable large scale, world-wide production and use of its biobased plastic materials.
Avantium is a leading technology company specialized in the area of advanced high-throughput R&D. The company develops and commercializes YXY - its brand name for the technology to produce chemical building blocks for green materials with exceptional product properties at a competitive price. Combined with the significant reduction in environmental footprint, Avantium's lead application PEF, fulfills all key criteria to become the next generation biobased plastics for bottles, film and fibers.
Avantium has demonstrated the value and commercial potential of its unique technology by collaborating with leading companies in the energy and chemical industries. It has a proven track record in offering fast and efficient chemical catalytic development services and systems to market leaders such as BP, Shell and Sasol. Avantium offices and headquarters are based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Avantium has developed YXY (pronounced as icksy) - a family of green building blocks for making materials and fuels that can compete on both price and performance with oil based alternatives, but which have a superior environmental footprint. YXY is a patented technology that converts biomass into Furanics building blocks, such as FDCA (2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid). FDCA is the monomer that can be used for the production of the bio-based polyester PEF (Poly-ethylene-furanoate). YXY has the potential to become the perfect solution for today's challenges, using carbohydrates as feedstock to enable the manufacture of green and sustainable products. This fast and cost-effective production process is based on Avantium's catalytic technology. YXY can be implemented in existing chemical production assets. Avantium is collaborating with leading companies in the industry to develop and produce green materials and fuels based on YXY building blocks. See www.yxy.com for more information.
Total (CAC: TOTF.PA) and Amyris, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMRS) signed agreements to expand their current R&D partnership and form a joint venture to develop, produce and commercialize a range of renewable fuels and products.
Total and Amyris have agreed to expand their ongoing research and development collaboration to accelerate the deployment of Biofene® and develop renewable diesel based on this molecule produced from plant sugars. The ambitious R&D program, launched in 2010 and managed jointly by researchers from both companies, aims to develop the necessary stages to bring the next generation renewable fuels to market at commercial scale. Total has committed to contribute $105 million in funding for an existing $180 million program.
In addition, Total and Amyris have agreed to form a 50-50 joint venture company that will have exclusive rights to produce and market renewable diesel and jet fuel worldwide, as well as non-exclusive rights to other renewable products such as drilling fluids, solvents, polymers and specific biolubricants. The venture aims to begin operations in the first quarter of 2012.
“The creation of the joint venture and the implementation of the new renewable diesel R&D program are two more major steps forward for Total, which is aiming to become a key supplier in renewable fuels,” commented Philippe Boisseau, President of Gas & Power at Total. “Renewable fuels produced with Amyris’s advanced technology will benefit from the know-how and customer access of Total, which operates in more than 130 countries. It will strengthen Total’s position in the global renewable diesel market, which is projected to nearly double in size to 32 million tons in 2020 from 17 million tons in 2010.”
“From fuels to chemicals and beyond, Amyris is working to usher in a new era when customers and consumers no longer have to compromise on traditional measures of value and performance when choosing a renewable alternative to petroleum-based products,” said John Melo, President & CEO of Amyris. “With this expanded relationship and Total’s vast distribution network, as well as Total’s stated commitment to invest in production units, we expect to be able to co-develop products and, ultimately, deliver a global supply of sustainable renewable fuels at commercial scale. This is an ambitious undertaking ideally suited for our two companies.”
About the Technology Amyris has developed advanced microbial engineering and screening technologies that modify the way microorganisms process sugars. Amyris is using this industrial synthetic biology platform to design microbes, primarily yeast, and use them as living factories in established fermentation processes to convert plant-sourced sugars into renewable chemical and transportation fuel products.
Amyris operates laboratories and a pilot plant in California as well as a pilot plant and demonstration facility in Brazil. Amyris has been scaling its Biofene production in Brazil, Europe and the United States through various production arrangements and is currently building additional dedicated facilities in Brazil.
This technology will help make it possible for producers to blend renewable hydrocarbons produced from sustainable biomass and organic waste into fuel in proportions that significantly exceed the current 7% set by European Union regulations or other government mandates. Renewable diesel developed by Total and Amyris will deliver energy density, engine performance, and storage properties comparable to the best petroleum diesel, as well as improved lubricity and superior cold weather performance.
About Total Total is a leading international oil and gas company with operations in more than 130 countries. Total is also a world-class chemical producer. Its 93,000 employees put their expertise to work in every part of the industry - exploration and production of oil and natural gas, refining and marketing, gas and power, and trading. Total is working to keep the world supplied with energy, both today and tomorrow. Total is striving to diversify its supply to help meet growing energy demand in the long term. Total is a world leader in solar energy and also has an interest of around 22% in biotech company Amyris. Additionally, Total is actively engaged in many R&D projects focusing on renewable energies, in particular solar energy and biomass. For more information, visit www.total.com.
Cereplast Introduces Three New Technologically Advanced Compostable Resin Grades Offering Improved Properties to the Bioplastics Market
All Received Certification of Compostability From DIN CERTCO
Cereplast, Inc. (Nasdaq:CERP), a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable plastics, today announced that their three new resin grades, Compostable 3002, Compostable 3010, and Compostable 3020, have received DIN CERTCO certifications of compostability. These new resin grades provide superior properties and are for use on blown film extruder lines for the manufacture of compostable bags.
Compostable 3002, Compostable 3010, and Compostable 3020 can substitute polyethylene for carry bag and trash bag applications, and provide a range of thickness, tear resistance and stretch. These materials, which consist of Ingeo® PLA and other compostable components, provide excellent processability, good tear resistance and reduced stretch under load when compared to the competition. All three resins are DIN CERTCO certified to be compostable up to 1.0 mil (0.0254 mm) thick. DIN CERTCO is the most prominent institute for standardization in Germany, and is highly regarded world-wide. DIN CERTCO is one of two certifying bodies recognized by EU Bioplastics for the certification of bioplastics, a requirement for selling compostable resin in Europe.
"The market has been demanding improved properties for compostable films, and we are excited to introduce a new range of bioplastic resins that provide superior processability, better tear resistance, and less stretch," said Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, Frederic Scheer. "Consumers will particularly be pleased, as bags that stretch too much are a common complaint amongst shoppers, and our new compostable resins provide a solution."
About Cereplast, Inc.
Cereplast, Inc. (Nasdaq:CERP) designs and manufactures proprietary biobased, sustainable plastics which are used as substitutes for traditional plastics in all major converting processes - such as injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding and extrusions - at a pricing structure that is competitive with traditional plastics. On the cutting edge of bioplastic material development, Cereplast now offers resins to meet a variety of customer demands. Cereplast Compostables® resins are ideally suited for single-use applications where high biobased content and compostability are advantageous, especially in the foodservice industry. Cereplast Sustainables® resins combine high biobased content with the durability and endurance of traditional plastic, making them ideal for applications in industries such as automotive, consumer electronics and packaging. Learn more at www.cereplast.com. You may also visit the Cereplast social networking pages at Facebook.com/Cereplast, Twitter.com/Cereplast, Youtube.com/Cereplastinc and Stocktwits.com/symbol/CERP.
Arkema launches new versions of its Rilsan®, Rilsamid® and Orgalloy® technical polymers dedicated websites
Arkema has brought on line www.rilsan.com, www.rilsamid.com and www.orgalloy.com, three comprehensive information platforms on its long-chain polyamide product offering. Reflecting Arkema’s strong brand recognition and application know-how in its end-markets, all three sites present the specific technical features and the various grades available in each of the three product lines.
www.rilsan.com is entirely devoted to Rilsan®, a polyamide 11 of 100% vegetable origin manufactured exclusively by Arkema in the world. The website describes its remarkable physical, mechanical and chemical properties, illustrated with extensive comparative test results. The preferred partner to manufacturers for over 60 years in diverse markets ranging from offshore and automotive to electronics and sports, Rilsan® offers unrivalled value thanks to its unique combination of properties and environmental advantages. This ultra high performance material is suited to applications in extreme pressure, temperature and chemical environment conditions.
www.rilsamid.com features all the technical data and characteristics of polyamide 12, recently renamed Rilsamid®. This oil-based high performance polymer is used in some of Rilsan®’s markets for applications requiring excellent physical, mechanical and chemical properties, albeit slightly below the level of Rilsan®’s properties.
Both these sites also set out Arkema’s service offer in support of its sustainable development policy and that of its customers: Rcycle, a program entailing the collection of certain wastes or certain end-of-life applications manufactured from Rilsan® or Rilsamid®, for subsequent recycling and reuse. Hence, Arkema develops new ranges of recycled polymers jointly with its customers.
Finally, www.orgalloy.com presents the Orgalloy® range of polyolefin-based polyamides. The website reviews the properties and applications of Orgalloy®. This alloy takes the best of polyamide’s properties (sturdiness, rigidity, temperature stability and chemical resistance), while affording decisive benefits derived from its polyolefin part (high productivity and easy processing).
Soon you may be able to buy olive oil in bioplastic bottles made from a compound found in olive skins, thanks to the work of a Spanish researcher.
Jesús Zorrilla has found a way to extract PHAs (poly-hydroxy-alcanoates) from the residues of olive skins, which in turn can be used to make plastic containers that are non-toxic and 100 percent biodegradable.
According to a press release from Jaen’s Sierra de Segura, an olive oil denomination of origin, Zorrilla used byproducts from one of the D.O.’s olive oil mills to develop the compound.
Not only would the bioplastic containers be suitable for food, they would be ideal for olive oil, “because unlike conventional plastic bottles derived from petroleum, they avoid any risk of carcinogenic polymers migrating into the oil,” the D.O. said. They also have factors that protect oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light.
“Furthermore, this new bioplastic would provide a way to make use of the olive skin residue from olive oil production, which currently has no economic value.”
“An olive oil mill which processes about 10,000 tons of olives a year could obtain 30,000 kilos of bioplastic, which would bring in additional revenue of €200,000 ($268,000).”
Patent development is underway and Zorrilla is keen to hear from any companies involved in packaging or research and development that might be interested in helping finance the remaining phase.
Masterbatch Yields Three- to Five-Fold Increase in Melt Strength of PLA over a Wide Range of Drawdown Ratios
A new melt strength enhancer in masterbatch form increases the pull force that can be applied to polylactic acid (PLA) by 300 to 500% over a wide range of drawdown ratios, making possible higher throughputs in extrusion and thermoforming while reducing scrap rates, it was announced by Teknor Apex Company.
Terraloy® MB-90001A1 melt strength enhancer broadens the processing window of PLA in cast film and sheet for clear end products such as clamshell containers used in produce packaging, food service takeout, and other applications. At loading levels of 6 to 10%, the masterbatch dramatically increases the extensional force that can be applied to PLA during processing at drawdown ratios as high as 35:1.
“Poor melt strength has limited productivity in the processing of standard PLA and prevented use of the resin in certain applications,” said Edwin Tam, manager of new strategic initiatives for the Bioplastics Division of Teknor Apex. “Besides overcoming these obstacles, the new Terraloy masterbatch disperses more efficiently and uniformly in PLA than additives that come in powder form and does not affect the clarity of neat PLA.”
Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), a renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, today received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on another aspect of its yeast technology that enables the low-cost, high-yield production of biobased isobutanol.
Gevo was awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,071,358, covering additional “Methods of Increasing Dihydroxy Acid Dehydratase (DHAD) Activity to Improve Production of Fuels, Chemicals, and Amino Acids.”
“This invention further details and protects the innovations contained in the Gevo yeast organism to turn an industrial yeast strain into a highly efficient cell factory to produce isobutanol,” said Brett Lund, EVP & General Counsel of Gevo. “We continue to expect the breadth and strength of our patent estate to grow considerably over the coming months as our patent applications convert into issued patents.”
Gevo is converting existing ethanol plants into biorefineries to make renewable building block products for the chemical and fuel industries. The Company plans to convert renewable raw materials into isobutanol and renewable hydrocarbons that can be directly integrated on a “drop in” basis into existing chemical and fuel products to deliver environmental and economic benefits. Gevo is committed to a sustainable biobased economy that meets society’s needs for plentiful food and clean air and water.
By mixing 100% pure PLLA with 100% PDLA, a fast cycle and heat-resistant injection mouldable PLA with very good temperature and impact properties is made that far exceeds the properties of the individual polymers. With a Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT) of 123°C Synterra® IM material performs much better than conventional PLA and the impact strength is comparable to that of ABS. After injection molding the IM material is able to withstand boiling water. With this development Synbra Technology sets a step in developing a new generation of high performance biopolymers.
The polymerization of the optical isomers PLLA and PDLA takes place at Synbra Technology in Etten-Leur, in a plant with a capacity of 5000 t / annum, which was commissioned early 2011.
Synbra Technology expects further growth in its PLA business as many brand-owners and retailers in Western Europe prefer to use bio-based and non-GMO PLA that is also heat-resistant.
Shortly after introducing its Synterra ® IM material, an injection mouldable high heat PLA, Synbra Technology was awarded at the Accenture Blue Tulip Awards at the RAI Elicium, in Amsterdam.
`This Blue Tulip Award in the category ‘Making more out of less’ is the ultimate reward for the entire team that participated in the successful development of our Synterra® IM grade, which is made from Cradle to CradleSM certified PLA,` said Peter Matthijssen, Commercial Manager of Synbra Technology.
In recognition of the purity of the raw materials used, the PLA of Synbra was Cradle to CradleSM certified by EPEA in Hamburg and is thus the first PLA in the world with this certification. Application of this PLA also improves various properties such as toughness and temperature resistance of several other bio-based recipes, in which PLA is an important constituent.
More information: Synbra Technology bv
Cereplast, Inc. (Nasdaq:CERP), a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable plastics, today announced a three year distribution agreement with GAMA Plastik AS to supply bioplastic resin in Turkey. GAMA Plastik is projecting to purchase 200 metric tons per month in 2012 leading to significant increases in purchased resin in 2013. Cereplast anticipates generating revenue from the agreement approximately within the next 90 days.
GAMA Plastik is a leading plastic trader located in Istanbul, Turkey. They are one of the fastest growing plastics markets in the world and third in terms of market share in Europe behind Germany and Italy. GAMA Plastik has been in the plastic industry for 15 years and recently began producing compounds and specialty plastics for appliances and the automotive industry. Today, GAMA Plastik has capacity to produce 30,000 metric tons per year. For more information please visit www.gamaplastik.com.
"Over the last 15 years we have developed industry expertise and a knowledgeable customer base regarding sustainable plastic raw materials. We are very excited to start this partnership with Cereplast and all our customers are ready to use our products containing Cereplast's raw material. Turkey has a young and dynamic population and market strength in Europe. Cereplast's name and quality in compostable and sustainable bioplastics will help both companies increase their market share," stated Aydemir Esencan, CEO of Gama Plastics Group.
"We are pleased to reach another agreement in Turkey with an established and well respected corporation such as GAMA Plastik," stated Frederic Scheer, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, Inc. "Turkey represents a large and growing market opportunity for our biobased, sustainable plastics with 9% GDP growth and one of the fastest growing plastics markets in the world. Our agreement with GAMA Plastik is for three years with an initial target of 200 metric tons per month in 2012, with significant plans for tonnage growth in 2013 and beyond. We foresee this growth trend to continue over the next five years as demand for the product continues to increase and we look forward to working alongside with our new business partner GAMA Plastik over that period."
About Cereplast, Inc.
Cereplast, Inc. (Nasdaq:CERP) designs and manufactures proprietary biobased, sustainable plastics which are used as substitutes for traditional plastics in all major converting processes - such as injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding and extrusions - at a pricing structure that is competitive with traditional plastics. On the cutting-edge of bioplastic material development, Cereplast now offers resins to meet a variety of customer demands. Cereplast Compostable®resins are ideally suited for single-use applications where high biobased content and compostability are advantageous, especially in the food service industry. Cereplast Sustainable®resins combine high biobased content with the durability and endurance of traditional plastic, making them ideal for applications in industries such as automotive, consumer electronics and packaging. Learn more at www.cereplast.com. You may also visit the Cereplast social networking pages at Facebook.com/Cereplast, Twitter.com/Cereplast, Youtube.com/Cereplastinc and Stocktwits.com/symbol/CERP.
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t might be the most novel use of a coconut since Gilligan and the Professor transformed one into a radio.
In an effort to reduce the use of petroleum and make the parts lighter and more natural-looking, the Ford Motor Co. has teamed up with branded consumer product manufacturer Scotts Miracle-Gro Company to incorporate coconut fibers as a renewable feedstock in molded plastic parts for Ford's vehicles.
The project draws on discarded coconut husks, also called coirs, a waste stream from Scotts' soil and grass seed products. Scotts mixes coconut coir into one of its grass seed mixes, Turf Builder EZ Seed, and a planting soil, Miracle-Gro Expand 'n' Grow; the natural fibers hold 50 per cent more water than plain potting soil. (FYI, the company goes through more than 70 million pounds of coir a year in its consumer products.)
Once the coconut coir comes to Ford, researchers combine it with plastic to deliver additional reinforcement to the part while eliminating the need for some petroleum. Along with making use of a renewable resource and saving someone the job of having to bury or otherwise get rid of the husks, the new part is anticipated to be lighter in weight, thereby offering that all-important fuel saving opportunity. "This is a win-win situation," said Dr. Ellen Lee, a Ford technical expert on plastics. "We're taking a material that is a waste stream from another industry and using it to increase the sustainability in our vehicles."
But here's a twist: while just about every other bioplastic application you can name has a primary goal of looking exactly like a traditional petroleum-based plastic part, the natural long fibers of the coirs will remain visible in the plastic. If that strikes you as a manufacturing flaw...well, Ford disagrees, claiming the parts "will offer a more natural look than typical materials."
According to Ford, target applications of the coconut coir-plastic parts include door trim, seat trim, storage bins, centre console substrates (an unseen part under the finish trim), and possibly underbody panels or exterior trim. Ford is currently testing the coirs for durability, and also to see if the natural flame-resistant properties of coconut coir carry over to the manufactured composite.
While there's no word yet on when the first commercial application will be ready, the project is the latest in a long line of Ford product initiatives that derive from recycled or growing - and sometimes edible - materials. Since 2008, Ford has offered soy foam seat cushions and head restraints; the soy content is now up to 20 per cent and the remainder is traditional petroleum-based foam. Ford is also working with wheat straw mixed into plastic, castor oil foam used in instrument panels, and recycled yarns on seat covers.
Gilligan and Co. might well be proud.
Bioethanol produced by Borregaard will be delivered to motorists who fill Bensin95 at Statoil petrol stations in eastern Norway.
Borregaard has entered into an agreement with Statoil concerning sale of all the company can deliver of available bioethanol, which is a quantity of 44,000 litres per month. Statoil will be picking up its first load this week.
Borregaard is the world's largest manufacturer of 2nd generation bioethanol, with a production of around 20 million litres per year. The bioethanol that is produced in Borregaard's biorefinery is produced by extracting sugar from wood, which is then fermented to make ethanol. At present, Borregaard delivers bioethanol from its Sarpsborg facility for heavy goods vehicles and buses in the Oslo region. The contract with Statoil means that the company can also deliver the additive for use in cars:
"This means that we now deliver around a quarter of our bioethanol production for fuel. Our products have a good climate footprint, with a reduction in CO2 of at least 80%, compared with conventional fuel. Based on our current production, it may be possible to increase deliveries to the fuel market," says Pål Espen Ramberg, Borregaard's manager for ethanol production.
"By mixing bioethanol with normal petrol, the highest possible numbers of motorists will be able to drive on environmentally sound Norwegian bioethanol. This is a positive development and a step in the right direction. We are certain that this is an important and specific measure that will reduce emissions from the transport sector for many decades to come," says Dag Roger Rinde, Managing Director of Statoil Norge AS.
The ethanol is mixed with the petrol that is delivered from Sjursøya in Oslo to Statoil petrol stations in eastern Norway. All of the bioethanol that Statoil Norge uses complies with the European standard for ethanol used as a petrol additive, and all vehicles that can drive on Bensin95 can use Bensin95 containing five percent bioethanol.
The contract with Statoil contributes to an exciting collaboration and is in line with the long-term investment areas at Borregaard. The company has developed a new process for production of bioethanol and biochemicals from various biomasses (including waste products from agriculture) and is in the process of building a NOK 130 million pilot plant to develop this process. Borregaard has been given NOK 58 million in funding for this project from Innovation Norway's support scheme for environmental technology, which emphasises the development of 2nd generation biofuels.
For the first time in history, Norwegian, wood-based bioethanol is to be added to petrol for Norwegian consumers.
Laurel BioComposite, LLC opened a new pilot plant this month and shipped Bio-Res pellets from its first production run to a major customer for trials.
The manufacturer will test the odorless bio-material to develop enhanced adhesive applications for home products. These trial results will contribute to the database established by customer-tested Bio-Res-based injection molded parts which show a 10 percent increase in stiffness and tensile modulus.
These improved performance properties are due in part to the material's ability to lower specific gravity when compared to conventional fillers like calcium carbonate and talc. Bio-Res cost-effectively raises the renewable or "green" content of plastic products by as much as 40 percent. The product provides a direct replacement for traditional petroleum-based resins in a variety of manufacturing processes for plastics.
Made from corn-based distillers grain, a non-edible by-product of ethanol plants, Bio-Res is produced using a two-tank batch system. Distillers grain is fed to the tanks which sequentially feed a single positive displacement pump that discharges to a decanter. Once the material completes the drying process it is milled and made ready for shipment to a pelletizing operation. During processing Bio-Res sequesters carbon dioxide and does not use toxic compounds. The plant is currently producing 250 pounds of the bio-material an hour. Production could reach 1,000 pounds an hour by the end of the year based on customer demand.
Bio-Res is available in a powder or pellet form and mixes easily with polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid and PHA. Bio-Res pellets are made of 60 to 80 percent bio-material. Injection molders can insert the pellets directly into injection molded parts to reach desired levels of bio-content. The material can also be blended with various resins. Bio-Res is especially suited for use in a range of industries including shipping, lawn and garden, agriculture and automotive applications.
The interest in bioplastics has strongly increased over the last year, noted the association European Bioplastics. This trend was once more confirmed by the attendance record at the 6th European Bioplastics Conference. More than 400 visitors came to Berlin on 22 and 23 November to listen to the 29 exciting speeches from renowned industry experts. Furthermore, the accompanying exhibition and networking-formats met with high response.
With around 420 visitors from more than 250 companies and institutions from all over the world the European Bioplastics Conference once more established a record and remained the leading bioplastics industry event and the industry‘s information and networking platform number one. This year, more than 80 per cent of the participants came from Europe, 10 per cent from Asia, and the better part of the remaining 10 per cent from North and South America.
In his keynote speech Maurits van Tol, DSM Bio-based Products & Services, commented the worldwide potential of bioplastics: "Mass production of bioplastics is around the corner, and such large scale plants with their better cost structure will increase the chances of bioplastics in the relevant markets. The long awaited breakthrough of bioplastics in the worldwide market is near."
Another positive comment came from Werner Ressing, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology who considers bioplastics an important pillar of economic growth: "Bioplastics offer numerous opportunities to increase the economic value added of the German and European economy."
The presentations showcased the potential of bioplastics from many different perspectives. A number of innovations were introduced - new materials, additives and end-of-life approaches. The session on 'bioplastics and sustainability' offered insights into environmental communications as well as into certification concepts.
A highlight of the 6th European Bioplastics Conference was the Bioplastics Magazine‘s 'Annual Global Bioplastics Award'. This year the panel of judges selected Danone GmbH (Germany) to be the winner. By using different bioplastics for the packaging of its brands Activia and Actimel, Danone made a significant contribution to moving bioplastics from a niche packaging product to a mass market product.
In view of the increased interest in bioplastics over the past year and with this successful event, Andy Sweetman, Chairman of European Bioplastics, offered a positive outlook for 2012: "The development of the bioplastics industry is picking up speed. We need clear framework conditions in Europe and a strong united voice to demand them. In 2012 the role and work of our industry association European Bioplastics, will become more and more important in order to support our young industry. Established and leading formats, such as the annual conference are of major importance to guarantee a rich and multi-facetted exchange of knowledge about bioplastics."
Dr John Williams, Head of Materials for Energy and Industry at the NNFCC, gave a presentation on "Feedstock Sustainability and Bioplastics: How other Bio-Markets Influence the Bioplastics Chain". To download his presentation click here.
Global biopolymer leader Braskem and bioplastics specialist FKuR have signed a distribution agreement for Green PE. Taking effect immediately, FKuR will be the official distribution partner for Braskem´s Green PE in Europe. This latest development follows the compounding contract which was signed between the two partners for tailor made compounds based on Green PE, already announced in September 2011.
This new business field is another milestone that helps make our “FKuR - plastics made by nature®” strategy a reality. As a leading player in the European Bioplastics market we are happy to be part of Braskem’s innovative campaign for changing resource utilisation,” said Dr. Edmund Dolfen, FKuR’s CEO.
“Our ´Green PE´ has the same technical properties as regular PE made from crude oil. But it is a unique and ground-breaking product made from natural resources. For Braskem, it was important to find a partner who has extensive knowledge in promoting bioplastic specialties in a commodity market,” declared Fabio Carneiro, Renewable Chemicals Commercial Officer at Braskem.
With its European sales force, FKuR will be an additional technology and technical contact support, development advisor and logistic partner for Europe.
Furthermore, tailor-made compounds made from Braskem’s Green PE will be available under FKuR’s brand name TerraleneTM.
In September 2010, Braskem became the world’s first producer of LLDPE and HDPE from renewable resources. The ethanol used to make Green PE is made from sugarcane produced in Brazil. The renewable resource ratio per product can reach up to 100%, depending on the application. As a result of Braskem’s technology and raw material source, each ton of green polyethylene produced captures up to 2.5 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another advantage is that Green PE is 100% recyclable using existing processes. In addition, because Green PE is not biodegradable, the CO2 captured during the sugarcane cultivation process remains sequestered for the plastic's entire life cycle. Finally, Braskem’s Green PE has the same technical properties and processability as fossil-based polyethylenes. This means that Green PE processing does not require any new investments in equipment or technical adjustments, which represents a distinct advantage for the manufacturing industry.
Versatile drinking cups with a green profile
At this year’s Luxe Pack in Green Iggesund is presenting single-use drinking cups made of paperboard coated with biodegradable bioplastic. Invercote Bio is the name chosen by Iggesund for the combination of its own paperboard and the Italian company Novamont’s Mater-Bi. Both materials are certified as biodegradable.
“Popular opinion believes it is a waste of resources to use virgin fibre-based board in single-use products,” explains Jonas Adler, who is responsible for these products at Iggesund Paperboard. “In fact, this practice is environmentally sound, not least because these cups can be used in all the waste streams stipulated by the European Union. The cups can be recycled as a material, recovered as energy, composted or used to produce biogas. Few other materials can offer these benefits, and the result is savings both in handling costs and a reduced need for storage facilities.” The cups being shown by Iggesund are converted by SCATOLIFICIO DEL GARDA S.p.A. and have an ingenious double-walled construction designed to protect the user’s hand from hot beverages. But Iggesund’s future plans for Invercote Bio extend far beyond just drinking cups.
“We envision a wide range of applications in the food distribution and large-scale catering industries,” Adler says. “With Invercote Bio, there is no need to separate the food waste from the packaging, which offers major advantages at the waste handling stage.”
Adler is convinced that the market for compostable products is growing and will continue to do so. One example of this trend is the stipulation by the organisers of the London 2012 Summer Olympics that all the catering materials must be compostable, so it will be easy to produce biogas from the waste.
“At the moment Invercote Bio is being bought by customers who want a biodegradable material for its environmental features. When people realise the potential for improved profit during the waste handling stage, then sales will really take off,” Adler concludes.
Puma has been making some serious changes to its sustainability initiatives and has come out the front-runner in many areas. The company recently told Greenpeace that it would phase out all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020. Earlier this year, it was the first company to put a financial value on environmental impact.
Last year the company launched its Clever Little Bag, a reusable bag to replace shoeboxes made from 65 percent less paper and energy. Now it wants to lead the way in materials technology and tackle what happens to their goods once people no longer want to use them.
Unlike Patagonia which encourages its customers to buy less, Puma wants its clothes to be compostable. By closing the loop, the company hopes to reduce its impact and is confident that compostable clothes and sneakers will be the future. The company is also focusing on products that can be easily recyclable. The Guardian reports that Puma CEO, Franz Koch, explained that the company is working with its partners to develop products with a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ design. He elaborates that:
“It follows two circuits, the technical and the biological: I can use old shoes to make new ones or something completely different, such as car tires. In the biological cycle, I can make shoes and shirts that are compostable so I can shred them and bury them in the back garden. We are working on products that meet these two criteria.”
Compostable clothing may be something out of the future, but if you closely follow industry news, it is not that bizarre. German fashion designer and microbiologist Anke Domaske experimented with milk to produce a skin-friendly, compostable fabric. She now has a Hanover-based company called Qmilch. A Japanese microbiologist has come up with a Spud Coat, a raincoat made of bioplastic derived from potato starch – it is 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. It even comes with a seed-bomb integrated into its fabric that will sprout a vegetable garden once the coat breaks down. At Miami Swim Week this year, Linda Loudermilk debuted a completely compostable swimsuit made from plant starch.
Compostable clothing certainly is an innovative idea and one, if promoted by a major brand, that could soon become mainstream. Reusing and reducing are still the most important ideals in the sustainability trinity but as recycling is the third, it cannot be ignored. Although Koch did not specify when the company would launch these products, it is obvious from his statements that they could be ready for release in the near future. It would be interesting to see how the fabric tests out against athletic activity and also how compostable it will be for amateur gardeners.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are developing very tiny electrochemical sensors that can monitor the rate of degradation of biodegradable, magnesium-based medical implants. These could possibly prevent extra surgical procedures in persons requiring medical implants.
One of the main reasons for medical implants is fractured bones. Implants will stabilize the structure of the bone and also help in the healing process. Medical implants have traditionally been made of non-biodegradable materials, such as titanium. Now, biodegradable implants that are magnesium-based are available. When non-biodegradable implants are used, a follow-up surgery is necessary to remove the implant after the cure. Magnesium-based biodegradable implants, on the other hand, can degrade within the body and avoid the need for a removal surgery.
The head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, William Heineman led the research team comprising of Xuefei Guo and Julia Kuhlmann, graduate students and an undergraduate researcher, Timothy Meyung.
A way to monitor the rate of degradation of a magnesium implant is required, which has led to this study for a miniature sensor. Meyung stated that he has been conducting research on solid-state ion selective electrode designs. The present design included use of carbon nanotubes as ion-to-electron transducers. These hold promise for miniaturizing ion-selective sensors, he added.
To determine the effectiveness of the miniaturized sensors they have to be tested in an in vitro Corrosion Characterization System, which will imitate the human body’s environment. The project has received funds through an Engineering Research Center grant from the National Science Foundation.
The prize has been awarded to Danone in recognition to his exceptional commitment with the use of bioplásticos in the containers of his products. The sixth Prize of Bioplásticos, this year awarded exclusively by the magazine of the only organ of the industry of bioplásticos, went to the known mark of feeding Danone GmbH. Marianne Schweiger, engineer senior of development of packaging of Danone received the prize the past 22 November during the 6 ª European Conference of Bioplásticos of Berlin.
The annual prize of bioplásticos established in 2006 by the publication 'European Plastics News'. This prize recognises/recognizes the paper exerted by an owner of a mark or a alone person and recognises/recognizes the contribution contributed by the companies, products or services to a greater development of the bioplásticos through the innovation or specific concepts of imaginative marketing. This year, five judges that belong to the academic world, to the press and to the commercial associations of America, Europe and Asia, selected to this known mark in Haar, near city to Munich, from a long list of ideas of first level and innovations. The judges considered that Danone, like owner of the international mark, did a significant contribution to the movement bioplásticos from a product packed of niche for a product of massive market with the launching of Activia and Actimel in containers bioplásticos (PLA and HDPE Green). This means that nowadays more than half of the products Danone in the German market pack in bioplásticos.
Toray Succeeds in Production of the World's First Fully Renewable, Biobased Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Fiber
Toray Industries, Inc. has succeeded in producing laboratory-scale samples of the world’s first fully renewable biobased PET fiber by using fully renewable biobased PET derived from biobased para-xylene from Gevo, Inc. , a leading company in renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels.
Gevo has succeeded in converting isobutanol, produced from biomass by employing its own highly effective production method that uses synthetic biology, to synthesize para-xylene employing conventional chemical process used in commercial operations.
Toray used terephthalic acid synthesized from Gevo’s biobased para-xylene and commercially available renewable mono ethylene glycol (MEG) as raw materials, and successfully produced the PET samples by applying a new technology and PET polymerization in June this year. This biobased PET has exhibited properties equivalent to petro-based PET in laboratory conditions.
Toray has also succeeded in the production of a fiber using this fully renewable biobased PET for the first time in the world.
PET has one of the highest production volumes among petrochemical products in the world. Around 40 million tons of polyester fiber, for which PET is the source, is produced worldwide annually. Polyester fibers are widely used in our daily life as well as in industry, and it is one of the core products manufactured and sold by Toray.
The success of this trial, albeit under laboratory conditions, is proof that polyester fiber can be industrially produced from fully renewable biomass feedstock alone. This is a significant step that would contribute to the realization of a sustainable, low-carbon society.
Toray is planning to exhibit this laboratory-scale fully biobased PET fiber samples at Eco-Products 2011, which will be held at The Tokyo Big Sight in December 2011.
Under its management policy that all business strategies must place priority on the global environment in an effort to help realize a sustainable low-carbon society, Toray has been promoting the development of biobased polymers while expanding the businesses related to biobased materials such as poly lactic acid (PLA). The expansion of biobased polymers is an important initiative central to the Group’s Green Innovation projects under its new medium-term management program “Project AP-G 2013”, launched in April this year.
Under the corporate slogan "Innovation by Chemistry", Toray will enhance its efforts to develop advanced materials to contribute to the progress of a sustainable, recycling society.
In an effort to cut down on workplace waste and costs, France-based Gobilab introduces The Gobi, a reusable water bottle made with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. Tritan is a new-generation copolyester with a balance of properties that help extend product life, including lasting clarity and dishwasher durability. Tritan is also free of bisphenol A (BPA).
The Gobi holds 400 milliliters (13.5 ounces), or the equivalent of three disposable cups, and can replace hundreds of plastic cups per employee each year, saving on workplace waste and overhead costs. Recognizing employees in the European workplace throw away many disposable cups daily, Gobilab developed The Gobi.
“To ensure product sustainability, we analyzed the environmental impact of every stage of the development process prior to introducing The Gobi made with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester,” said Florence Baitinger, one of three Gobilab creators. “Eastman helped facilitate this process by providing data and test results regarding the life-cycle assessment of Tritan. Overall, Eastman proved to offer the best option for product safety, sustainability and performance.”
BPA-free Eastman Tritan™ copolyester was selected for The Gobi because it met all the design needs related to clarity, toughness and dishwasher durability. In addition, Gobilab valued that Tritan is odor- and stain-resistant, so The Gobi will maintain its aesthetic appeal over time.
“We were interested in creating an appealing, sustainable solution,” Baitinger said. “We found that existing reusable water bottles looked too sporty for everyday, indoor use. We decided to design something more appropriate for the office. The result is a luxurious, personalizable water bottle employees can use safely, over and over again.”
The Gobi also features a pink, green or blue base made with thermoplastic polyurethane that can be customized by inserting an image, photo or message. When the bottle is filled, the liquid magnifies the image, photo or message. The personalization allows users to differentiate The Gobi with company or school colors. The sturdy base also lets employees take The Gobi to meetings without the risk of tipping and spilling.
The bottles are available online at the Gobilab website.
For more information about Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, visit www.tritantough.com or www.eastman.com/brands/eastman_tritan.
For more information about Gobilab, visit www.gobilab.com.
About Eastman Chemical Company
Eastman’s chemicals, fibers and plastics are used as key ingredients in products that people use every day. Approximately 10,000 Eastman employees around the world blend technical expertise and innovation to deliver practical solutions. The company is committed to finding sustainable business opportunities within the diverse markets and geographies it serves. A global company headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., USA, Eastman had 2010 sales of $5.8 billion.
For more information, visit www.eastman.com.
Founded in June 2010, Gobilab is an independent business run by three partners who work with strategy, corporate social responsibility and websites. Gobilab’s goal is to raise societal awareness of environmental issues by offering innovative alternatives to products and services that have a great impact on the environment.
For more information, visit www.gobilab.com.
Leftover lettuce, old bunches of flowers, potato peelings, coffee grounds: the average kitchen generates lots of organic waste. This can be turned into nutrient-rich compost in an industrial composting plant, but only if it is collected separately in advance – and that can be a bothersome and unhygienic task. Throw the leftovers straight into the bin and you will be confronted with a foul-smelling residue after emptying it. Lining the bin with a paper bag means liquid soaks through, the paper tears. This dilemma results in large quantities of compostable material ending up in the normal rubbish and subsequently being incinerated, using lots of energy in the process. Alternatively, biodegradable waste is disposed of in regular plastic bags, which must be painstakingly removed at the composting plant.
BASF has a solution to this problem: the compostable plastic Ecovio® FS. In an industrial composting plant, this innovative material biodegrades within four weeks. Bin liners made from Ecovio FS are strong and tear-resistant, even if the waste inside is wet. Liquid from tea bags or fruit leftovers does not seep through – reducing unpleasant odours and putting an end to laborious bin-scrubbing. Once full, the bag can simply be put out for collection with its contents.
The plastic’s properties first underwent extensive investigation in pilot projects at composting plants in Germany, Canada and Australia. But would the new compost bags pass the test when used on a large scale? To find out, BASF and its project partners examined the bags under real-world conditions. The study took place in Bad Dürkheim in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, from April to June 2011. Around 65,000 households each received ten Ecovio FS bio-waste bags free of charge, and could buy more if needed. Consultancy IBK-Solutions GmbH was responsible for analyzing the compost. “The results were very positive,” says Erhard Freunscht, the Bad Dürkheim council member responsible for waste management. “Residents really took to the new bin liners, as was clear from the number of bags put out for collection. And after around three weeks, the bags had biodegraded – a complete success from our point of view.”
The key to Ecovio FS’s outstanding compostability lies in its composition. The material comprises a partly petroleum-based, compostable plastic called Ecoflex® FS, and polylactic acid made from corn starch. Polylactic acid, which is derived solely from renewable raw materials, tends to be brittle in its pure state. But when combined with Ecoflex, a flexible plastic is created that can be used to manufacture a variety of products, including bin liners. In the controlled conditions of an industrial composting plant – high temperature and humidity, defined oxygen levels – microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria break the plastic down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. In other words, they transform the bag and the bio-waste into valuable compost.
“Both components of Ecovio – Ecoflex and polylactic acid – are biodegradable,” explains Professor Andreas Künkel, Head of Research for Biopolymers at BASF. “For a material to be biodegradable, it is unimportant whether the feedstock is plant- or petroleum-based. What matters is the structure of the molecules. Because this synthetic polymer has been engineered for outstanding biodegradability, microorganisms can easily digest it.” Ecovio FS’s superior biodegradable properties are recognized internationally, and it conforms to all relevant standards for compostable and biodegradable plastics in Europe, North America and Asia.
Bio-waste bin liners are by no means the only application. Paper cups can be covered with a thin layer of Ecovio FS, making them both waterproof and compostable. The same applies to shrink films for drink bottle packaging. And not only bin liners but also shopping bags can be manufactured from Ecovio. Agriculture, too, stands to benefit: by using biodegradable mulch films for their crops instead of conventional polyethylene film, farmers can simply plough it into the ground instead of painstakingly collecting it after the harvest.
International demand for biodegradable plastics is on the rise, with experts estimating an annual market growth of around 20 percent in the next few years. And BASF, a leading manufacturer of bioplastics, has significantly expanded its Ecoflex and Ecovio production capacity to keep pace. In future these plastics should make organic waste collection much easier – so more ends up as compost and less in landfill.
The Info Box
What are bioplastics?
The term “bioplastics” describes two groups of products – “bio-based” and “biodegradable” plastics.
Biobased plastics are made either wholly or partly from renewable raw materials and include polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoates, starches, cellulose, chitin and gelatine. Biobased plastics can also be biodegradable – but this is not always the case. Non-biodegradable biobased materials include biocomposites and composite materials made from wood and plastic.
Biodegradable plastic : Special bacteria release enzymes that break down the material’s long polymer chains into small parts that the bacteria subsequently digest and turn into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. To be designated biodegradable in line with the European standard DIN EN 13432, at least 90 percent of the material must have decomposed within 180 days under controlled conditions – high temperature and humidity, and defined oxygen levels. Once these standards are met, the product may display the seedling logo signifying compostability. Biodegradable plastics do not have to be made from renewable raw materials; they can also be petroleum-based. The raw material is unimportant; what matters is the chemical structure of the plastic.
When is using bio-based and/or biodegradable plastic a good idea?
There are no clear-cut advantages or disadvantages to using fossil-based or renewable raw materials per se. It is best to decide on a case-by-case basis, taking environmental concerns, cost-effectiveness and social impact over the entire product life cycle into account. BASF’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis has shown time and again that bio-based plastics are not always more eco-efficient than their petrochemical-based counterparts. If relatively little water and fertiliser are required, and transportation routes are short, using plant-based raw materials can be best for the environment. But if a large amount of energy is needed to process the materials, this beneficial effect can soon be reversed.
Biodegradable plastics are not necessarily more eco-friendly than other plastics. But for certain applications, they are the best solution – such as mulch films for agriculture, compostable food packaging or shopping bags. The latter have been available at discount supermarket Aldi Süd for the past few years: shoppers can use them a number of times before reusing them at home as compostable bin liners.
Agreement with the Brazilian petrochemical company envisages the supply of raw material for 2,000 seats made of 100% renewable plastic for the Dutch stadium
Braskem, the leading thermoplastic resin producer in the Americas and the world's largest producer of biopolymers, established a partnership with Amsterdam ArenA to supply Green Plastic to be used in the production of seats for the multifunctional Dutch stadium. In addition to the 52,000 existing seats, two thousand new seats manufactured with Braskem's plastic made from ethanol will be installed in the coming months. By the end of the next two years, all 54,000 seats will be made of plastic from 100% renewable raw material, using Brazilian technology. The announcement will be made on Friday, the day the Netherlands celebrate its national Sustainability Day.
The installation of the "sugar seats" - as these seats are being called - is part of the strategy to turn the Amsterdam ArenA into a landmark of the world's most sustainable capital. The stadium was inaugurated in 1996, and its remodel will not adversely affect the events, like today´s friendly soccer match between the Netherlands and Switzerland. The entire remodeling project follows sustainability guidelines. In 2015, the stadium will be ecologically neutral, producing no carbon footprint.
Braskem produces Green Plastic since September 2010, when the Company inaugurated the world's largest plant of ethylene made from ethanol in city of Triunfo (Rio Grande do Sul state), with annual production capacity of 200 ktons of polyethylene. Unlike fossil plastic, Green Plastic presents a positive environmental result: each ton of plastic produced avoids the emission of 2.5 tons in carbon dioxide (CO2).
"The use of Green Plastic at the Amsterdam ArenA is fully in line with Braskem's strategy of becoming the world's leading company in sustainable chemicals", said Marcelo Nunes, Braskem's Renewable Chemicals Director. "Braskem's partnership with Station Amsterdam complements other alliances already consolidated in recent months, uniting companies that seek sustainable solutions", added the executive.
The project of the green ethylene plant, which was developed with Braskem's proprietary technology, received investments of R$500 million. The product is supplied to important clients in Brazil and abroad, such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Toyota Tsusho, Natura, Tetra Pak, Danone and Chanel, among others.
Unitika Fiber, a Japanese fibre and textile manufacturer, has developed a special fibre using our high-performance Rilsan® PA11 polyamide, which is made from renewable materials. This fibre, called Castlon, is designed to meet the textile industry’s growing demand for plant-based materials—without compromising on performance.
Rilsan® was used by the textile industry on a large scale 50 years ago, but has since shifted into other applications. Today it looks set to make a comeback. Three years ago, Unitika Fiber, a Japanese fibre and textile manufacturer, began developing synthetic fibres for woven fabrics using Arkema’s Rilsan® Polyamide 11. Thanks to joint R&D efforts between Unitika Fiber and Arkema’s Kyoto Technical Center, scientists were able to develop a new, high-tech thread called Castlon.
Castlon found its first industrial application in March 2009 when it was used in car floor mats. Other applications should soon follow. “Manufacturers of high-performance clothing and sports equipment should be very interested in this fibre” remarks Shigetsugu Kuriiwa, polyamide pellet bio-product applications market manager at Arkema Japan. In October 2009, Unitika Fiber stepped up the development and manufacture of Castlon by opening a new unit at its Okazaki plant, where the group consolidates its production.
Castlon has been successful because it is lightweight, long-lasting, and resistant to stains and shocks. The fibre has all the characteristics that made Rilsan® Polyamide 11 such a hit in other industries. Moreover, Castlon is a plant-based material, making it “naturally” competitive in a market that is concerned about sustainable development.
Rilsan® Polyamide 11 is made from castor oil, and castor crops—unlike cotton—can be grown without irrigation and in semi-arid climates. In addition, the castor plant does not require intensive use of pesticides, nor does it compete with food crops. Indeed, Unitika Fiber chose the name Castlon as a reference to the fibre’s plant origins. “Unitika Fiber wanted to develop a high-performance fibre made from bioplastics and our Rilsan® PA11 met this need perfectly", explains Shigetsugu Kuriiwa. "Many thanks to the skills of our technical polymer R&D staff, Yoshiyuki Shimonishi, development manager and Sophie Chunn, development engineer for successfully coordinating this effort".
Old and new energy crossed paths in the American midwest last week: a new cellulosic ethanol refinery called Project LIBERTYis on the way in for Emmetsburg, Iowa, while the U.S. State Department appears to have shut the door on the notoriousKeystone XL oil pipeline project through Nebraska. The new refinery is being built by the POET biofuel company and it will be the first commercial scale biofuel plant in the U.S. to produce ethanol from dried leaves, stalks and other corn waste. Project LIBERTY represents another step forward in America’s long, slow transition out of high-risk fossil fuels such as the tar sands oil that would have gone through the Keystone pipeline, but it also reveals that there can be some unexpected stumbling blocks along the way.
Biofuels and Rural Economies
First, the good news: Project LIBERTY is only in the early site preparation phase of construction and it is already beginning to create new agricultural jobs in the area, bearing out one key focus of President Obama’s biofuels policy. Aside from the temporary work created during construction, the Twin Cities’ Star Tribunereports that farmers in the Emmetsburg area are hiring extra help to bale and store tens of thousands of tons of dry corn stover (the stalks and other detritus left over from harvest) that will be used in massive quantities by the new refinery when it opens in 2013.
A Bump in the Road for Biofuels
Unfortunately, according to a press release from POET last week, the preliminary stover baling operation has hit a snag. Farmers in the area did gather up an impressive 61,000 tons after this year’s harvest but they haven’t delivered it to the refinery’s storage site. They are waiting for word on the status of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in the 2012 federal budget. A delay could put a major glitch in POET’s ongoing research into the most efficient and sustainable ways to handle large amounts of stover. Republican representatives in Congress have stated their willingness to monkey wrench President Obama’s economic initiatives in order to win the next election, so it’s little wonder that Project LIBERTY Director Jim Sturdevant seemed a little nervous in that press release, closing with a polite but urgent reminder that “Research is paramount to what we’re doing in Emmetsburg.”
Corn Stover and Sustainability
Research into stover handling will be a key factor in Project LIBERTY’s long term viability because, while it is tempting to think of post-harvest leftovers as “free” biomass, crop waste can’t be removed willy-nilly without affecting the long term health of the soil. Jim Lane of Biofuels Digest covers that issue in a recent article onbiofuel profitability, noting that about a ton of stover has to be left in the field for every 2-3 tons harvested, in order to protect the soil. The farmers supplying POET are being somewhat more conservative according to a company-affiliated blog. So far they are removing only about 25 percent of available stover, though that number that could eventually rise (or fall) as more research is gathered.
Biofuels and Fossil Fuels
Sturdevant emphasizes that Project LIBERTY is a direct stakeholder in local farmland preservation, noting that, “Not only do we have to keep a consistent flow of biomass to the facility, we need to ensure that farmers know how to harvest in a manner that maintains soil health.” That’s a clear contrast with the devastation incurred by other energy harvesting operations such as tar sands oil extraction and mountaintop coal mining, so it will be interesting to see what kind of support the farmers of Emmetsburg get in the next federal budget compared to the support traditionally rendered to the fossil fuel industry.
EcoSynthetix Inc. (TSX: ECO), a renewable chemicals company that produces a family of commercially proven bio-based products, today announced that it has commissioned a new 80 million pound production line within the existing facility in Oosterhout, The Netherlands, bringing the Company's current annualized capacity to 155 million pounds. It is the first of two new 80 million pound lines that the Company expects to bring on line by the end of the year. The new Oosterhout line was completed on time and on budget.
"Having additional capacity in our Netherlands facility puts us in a stronger position as we build our customer base globally," said John van Leeuwen, Chairman and CEO of EcoSynthetix. "The strength of our mill trial activity gives us the confidence to continue to build capacity to ensure that we have the capability to meet customer needs. With performance parity relative to competitive products, a significant price advantage and an extremely cost-pressured end market, we believe it is a matter of "when" rather than "if" large-scale adoption of our ECOSPHERE® BIOLATEX® binder takes place within the coated paper and paperboard market."
The new line employs the latest state-of-the-art emulsifier technology, providing EcoSynthetix with higher throughput and improved margins relative to its original two lines. The Company's fourth line is expected to be installed later this year in Tennessee, bringing the total annualized production capacity to 235 million pounds.
The installation of the Oosterhout line follows on the heels of EcoSynthetix commissioning its BIOLATEX® binder pilot plant located at the Company's Centre of Innovation in Burlington, Ontario. The pilot plant is being used for research and development purposes to support new product development. It supports the Company's plans to further penetrate the paper and paperboard industry and expand into new markets, as it continues to displace petrochemical polymers with a low cost, bio-based alternative.
About EcoSynthetix Inc. (www.ecosynthetix.com)
EcoSynthetix Inc. is a renewable chemicals company specializing in bio-based products that can be used as inputs in industrial manufacturing for a wide range of consumer products. The Company's products offer a reduced carbon footprint and are marketed primarily on the basis of lower cost, stable pricing and equal or superior performance. EcoSynthetix's lead product, ECOSPHERE® BIOLATEX® binders, is used commercially by a number of the global top 20 manufacturers in the coated paper and paperboard industry.
'The Global Biodegradable Plastic Packaging Market Will Reach $1.85bn in 2011' Says Visiongain Analyst
The Biodegradable Plastic Packaging Market 2011-2021 is Visiongain's new packaging report. The biodegradable plastic packaging market is gradually gaining significance in the vast global packaging industry. Whilst the recession impacted demand for all types of packaging; upcoming environmental issues and diminishing fossil reserves have raised concerns, resulting in steady growth for biodegradable plastic packaging. Visiongain expects the global packaging market and in particular, the biodegradable plastic packaging market to demonstrate solid growth. Visiongain calculates that the global biodegradable plastic packaging market will reach $1.85bn in 2011.
The emerging economies, which in total maintained positive growth during the crisis, will continue to register strong growth, driving demand for sustainable, eco-friendly biodegradable plastic packaging products in the coming decade. Rising concerns over environmental hazards, carbon footprint emission and waste reduction targets specified by different countries and the trend towards 'green packaging', are the factors likely to boost the market for biodegradable plastic packaging solutions. Contributing further to the growth of the biodegradable plastic packaging market are the factors including consumers and retailers acceptance for eco-friendly packaging; reformation in regulatory trends; support for biobags and biodegradable packaging from retailers; and escalating oil prices boosting the demand for alternative packaging materials.
The biodegradable plastic packaging market was immune to the recent economic downturn as consumers' increasing concerns about personal, as well as environmental, health and wellness continues to drive the need for biodegradable packaging innovations. Moreover, technological advancements related to lightweight packaging will further boost the demand in the industry. Furthermore, key industry players and manufacturers are opting for better materials made from renewable sources for packaging purposes thus keeping them out of the landfills.
Environmental-friendliness and sustainability have become basic qualifying criterions for all packaging products. In this regard, the biodegradable plastic packaging market is at a distinctive advantage since biodegradable plastic naturally has properties which make it one of the easiest materials to recover and recycle, or else decompose in nature. Biodegradable plastic packaging has a competitive advantage over other packaging materials, which makes it easier to recycle, reduce and reuse to raise its eco-friendly profile.
Visiongain forecasts the biodegradable plastic packaging industry to exhibit solid growth, driven by three major drivers - escalating demand for environmentally friendly, sustainable packaging of goods, healthier lifestyles worldwide and rapidly developing emerging markets with growing consumer demand for biodegradable plastic packaging across all submarkets.