IHS Chemical Week


Chemical Industry Weekly Innovation Round-up, March 17

9:11 AM MDT | March 17, 2011 | By ALEX SCOTT

Major petrochemical companies are starting to make serious moves into the markets for biomaterials and biofuels. In an interesting R&D initiative, Total Petrochemicals, IFP Energies and its subsidiary Axens have formed an alliance to develop a new technology for the production of bio-ethylene by hydration of ethanol. The new technology, based on Total Petrochemicals' proprietary catalyst, will result in "a competitive production of bio-ethylene from renewable resources with lower energy consumption and lower CO2 emissions," Total says.
In another deal, BP has agreed to pay $680 million to acquire 83%  of the shares of Companhia Nacional de Açúcar e Álcool (CNAA; Sao Paulo) from Açúcar e Álcool Fundo de Investimento em Participações and Açúcar e Álcool II Fundo de Investimento em Participações, and to refinance 100% of CNAA's existing long term debt.
Biosuccinic acid producer BioAmber says its technology gives the company a clear path to biobased adipic acid that, like its biobased succinic acid, is lower cost and has a better environmental footprint that the current petroleum route.
Algae oils firm Solazyme (San Francisco) filed plans March 11 for an IPO of up to $100 million, which the company says it will use to fund research and development and capital expenditures.

A bipartisan group of four House members has introduced a bill, the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2011, to make permanent the U.S. research and development (R&D) tax credit.

Beyond Chemicalweek…
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT): NJIT professor Somenath Mitra has developed a faster, better and cheaper desalination process that uses carbon nanotubes. The process creates a unique new architecture for the membrane distillation process by immobilizing carbon nanotubes in the membrane pores. Conventional approaches to desalination are thermal distillation and reverse osmosis.
The world’s first pilot plant to produce nanocellulose was inaugurated by research company Innventia in Stockholm (Sweden).

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