IHS Chemical Week


Chemical Industry Weekly Innovation Round-up, Dec. 16

10:07 AM MST | December 16, 2010 | By ALEX SCOTT

By CW journalists this week…
A feature story that we published this week on CW 247 and in the print magazine details synthetic biology and the implications that this amazing toolset may have for the processing of biomass into commercial chemicals. Experts cited in the article (including a video interview with Novozyme’s president and CEO Steen Riisgaard) provide their take on the significance of synthetic biology developments announced earlier in the year by the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI; San Diego, CA).
Chemical companies continue to forge ahead with the development of low cost biomaterials. One such move was announced this week for the production of the animal feed ingredient betaine: Fine chemicals firm Novasep (Pompey, France), and Daniso (Copenhagen), say they have jointly developed a “cost-effective, environmentally friendly process” to produce betaine - an ingredient in short supply - from vinasses.
Also this week, Bayer says it will cap its R&D spending but enhance innovation efficiency for the year ahead.
Meanwhile, Clariant has disclosed plans to spend €50 million ($66 million) to expand its global R&D site at Frankfurt, Germany by the end of 2012.
Beyond CW…
In Science Daily…Sweet and biodegradable: Sugar and cornstarch make environmentally safer plastics: A new lactide-based variety of catalysts, which initiate or sustain reactions in chemical processes, is improving the production of ‘green’ plastics, making them stronger and more heat-resistant. This research has applications in a variety of manufacturing fields, from car parts to plastic cups -- and is a significant step in the "greening" of the plastics and chemical industries.
In Science Daily…Study improves understanding of method for creating multi-metal nanoparticles. A new study sheds light on how a technique that is commonly used for making single-metal nanoparticles can be extended to create nanoparticles consisting of two metals -- and that have tunable properties. The study also provides insight into the optical properties of some of these nanoparticles.
In the Western Farm Press… Energy Department offers $30M in grants for advanced-biofuel projects. The Department of Energy is making available $30 million in grants for projects that promote the development of advanced biofuels that don't require special infrastructure to use or distribute, Secretary Steven Chu said. The program will focus on streamlining processes that convert biomass into advanced biofuels and bio-based products. "Developing the next generation of American biofuels will enhance our national energy security, expand the domestic biofuels industry and produce new clean energy jobs," Chu says.

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