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Chemical Industry Weekly Innovation Round-up, Jan.6

4:57 AM MST | January 7, 2011 | By ALEX SCOTT

The year has started with a bang for U.S. biochemical players, with a flurry of announcements relating to funding deals that will take biotech projects to the next stage of commercialization: Virent Energy Systems (Madison, WI) and HCL CleanTech (Oxford, NC) say they have secured $900,000 in public funding for a project to demonstrate a process for converting cellulosic sugars. Meanwhile, Ineos has secured a grant for an 8 million gall/year biofuel unit powered by biomass in Florida. Meanwhile, biotech start-up Qteros (Marlborough, MA) says it has successfully closed a deal to raise $22 million to develop its Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP) biotech platform.
 
A feature article looking at the issue of funding innovation in biomaterials is due to be published in CW in February of this year.
 
Meanwhile, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT (Oberhausen, Germany) say they are testing how plastics can be given new characteristics by impregnating them with supercritical carbon dioxide.
 
‘Chindia’ is becoming a greater focus for R&D among major western chemical companies with both Dow Corning and DuPont separately disclosing plans to increase R&D activity in China in the past few weeks. Chemicals manufacturer PI Industries (Gurgaon, India) says it has opened a research center with Sony Corp. at Udaipur, India
 
Beyond Chemicalweek…
 
In Science Daily… 'Nanoscoops' could spark new generation of electric automobile batteries: An entirely new type of nanomaterial could enable the next generation of high-power rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric automobiles, as well as batteries for laptop computers, mobile phones, and other portable devices. The new material, dubbed a "nanoscoop" because its shape resembles a cone with a scoop of ice cream on top, can withstand extremely high rates of charge and discharge that would cause conventional electrodes used in today's Li-ion batteries to rapidly deteriorate and fail.
 
Iowa State University details research on bioplastics that have the ability to self-repair cracks.
 
BASF unveils advancements in dishwater detergents that avoid chalky residues in a video published on Youtube…












 
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