IHS Chemical Week


Chemical Industry Weekly Innovation News Round-up, June 29

2:36 PM MDT | June 29, 2011 | By ALEX SCOTT

The safety of nanomaterials continues to be a key issue for innovative chemical companies, and the discussions are intensifying, particularly in Europe. The European Commission says within weeks it will publish its definition of a nanomaterial – a key factor which will determine how the European Union (EU) will introduce additional controls for certain chemicals while introducing no restrictions for others. Watch this space – where the commission goes, others such as the US EPA are likely to follow. The key message from the commission at a meeting attended by CW on Thursday June 23 in Brussels is that the existing chemicals regulation adequately manages risks posed by nanomaterials.

On the other hand, the promotion of innovation based on the use of nanomaterials also needs more discussion, Cefic tells CW. Cefic is discussing internally how to communicate and promote the use and benefits of nanomaterials to a wider audience.

Among other innovation news this week BASF and Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa; Brasilia), a leading Brazilian agricultural research institute, have signed an agreement to codevelop novel agricultural technologies for Brazilian farmers.

There have been a series of developments this week in pharma manufacturing. Among the most important, Lonza has introduced a novel cell culture medium for manufacturing therapeutic biologic drugs from mammalian cells. DSM also this week has unveiled a novel downstream processing technology for manufacturing therapeutic proteins.

All is not well in pharma R&D, however, with a study by Thomson Reuters showing that R&D spending among pharma companies is down for the first time ever. The innovation return from investment in R&D is dropping, the study shows.

Beyond CW…

Elevance is developing some elegant chemistry in the field of biomaterials. A tech tie up disclosed this week between Hutchinson (Paris) and Elevance in renewable rubber shows how broadly Elevance’s core metathesis technology may be applied.

Science Daily reports that researchers have developed a gold plated window as the transparent electrode for organic solar cells. Contrary to what one might expect, these electrodes have the potential to be relatively cheap since the thickness of gold used is only 8 billionths of a meter.

Also in Science Daily, developments in the production of graphene could make faster electronics possible. Scientists have developed light detectors made of graphene and analyzed their properties.

Finally, the Paris Air Show has pushed out a press release that has been picked up by Biofuels Digest that looks ahead to what materials scientists will be up to in the year 2050. According to the story, by 2050 you will be able to fly from New York to Europe in one hour in a rocket plane fueled by algae.

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