Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Biopolymer & PHA Producer Meredian Receives Investment from Perry- McCall

Meredian Inc., a privately held biopolymer manufacturer and one of the world's largest producers of PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), announced the receipt of an investment from the world class engineering and construction group, Perry-McCall. Prior to this investment decision, the group was selected and is currently building out Meredian's manufacturing facility to produce the completely biodegradable plastic.

"As part of our validation of proof of concept and business model we addressed scalability with Tate and Lyle and modularity and buildout with Perry Mcall. Our model has been validated every step of the way by third party credible professional organizations," said Paul Pereira, Executive Chairman to the Board of Directors at Meredian Inc. In August 2013, the Engineering and Construction Group of Perry-McCall started working with the Engineering and Process Development Group at Meredian to create the design for the facility. After eight months of studying the process and working on the design, the internal group of Perry-McCall approached their President, Wayne McCall, about investing their own personal money in the project. After the preliminary design was completed in April, the engineering and construction company approached Meredian's Executive Chairman, Paul Pereira regarding their desire to invest.

"We are extremely excited about the project, because they have found a way to clean up landfills," said Wayne McCall of Perry-McCall. "While it takes between 500-1000 years for petroleum to break down, these bioplastics only take 5-6 weeks. The environmental and economic impacts are huge, and for us being design contactors, the product Meredian produces can develop more business for us."

Meredian's innovative biopolymer is at the leading edge of unparalleled advancement in the Bioplastics field, which they presented at the 9th Annual Biopolymer Symposium in May. Some of the recent accomplishments include gaining the FDA approval for Food Substance Contact, harvesting the first crop of canola to be used to create the PHA and partnering with the global provider Tate and Lyle to demonstrate the ability for Meredian's product to be manufactured on a mass scale. Additionally, they have also received four certifications and two statements from Vinçotte International confirming their PHA formula is completely biodegradable in six different mediums. They are the only biopolymer manufacturer in the world that has received certifications of biodegradability in anaerobic, soil, freshwater, marine, industrial composting and home composting.

In addition, Dr. Isao Noda, Chief Science Officer at Meredian has just been awarded a Professorship at Peking University, one of the most prestigious Universities in China.

McCall believes the supportive move is a "Win, Win" due to the fact the company has more investment dollars and the engineering group has an even greater reason for the project to come in under budget and ahead of schedule.

Source: Meredian, Inc.

Monday, August 25, 2014

DuPont's Collaborative Programs Help Replace Metal and Reduce Weight of Vehicles

Ask anyone in the automotive design or engineering community what technologies they are working on to lower emissions and improve fuel economy and half the time you'll hear "lightweighting," according to the results of a July WardsAuto survey sponsored by DuPont. Also topping the list are engine efficiency programs, vehicle electrification and adoption of diesel for engines.
Sixty six percent of the nearly 900 respondents said again this year that the 2017-2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards) could get more stringent as a result of the upcoming mid-term reviews. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards require, on an average industry fleet-wide basis, 163 g/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which would be equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.3 L/100km) if this level were achieved solely through improvements in fuel efficiency.
"The automotive industry is racing to develop safe, fun and affordable vehicles that are much more fuel efficient and produce far fewer emissions," said Pat E. Lindner, president, DuPont Performance Polymers. The EPA in April released a report on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions that concluded "automakers are off to a good start," and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in June published a Summary of Fuel Economy Performance report that shows auto manufacturers project fleet production is just above 34 mpg in 2014.
"We still have a long way to 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025," he said. "This is a marathon — not a sprint. Clear strategies need to be set, checkpoints need to be established and the most effective tool we have in this race is collaboration."
Results of the fourth annual survey also found powertrain systems are the primary target for today's lightweighting efforts and, while aluminum is expected to be relied on heavily to meet new CAFE standards, engineering plastics, advanced composites and multi-material or hybrid solutions will serve the industry well.
When asked to rate their confidence in the ability of today's materials to portfolio to help them meet the stringent regulations, half the respondents said they were only "moderately confident." "That rather ‘middle of the road,' ambivalent assessment of the material palette suggests we need to work together to continue to drive innovation," said Jeff Sternberg, director of DuPont Automotive Technology. "There is no silver bullet — every part and vehicle system faces a different set of requirements — but it is pretty clear that the automotive design and engineering community needs more support from advanced materials suppliers to reduce vehicle weight. The most effective approach involves value-chain collaboration to understand the needs and develop new materials, new designs, new manufacturing methods — or all three — to find solutions."
Current DuPont collaborative programs include DuPont™ Vizilon™ Thermoplastic Composite technologies, a family of solutions that combines strength and stiffness into lightweight structures to replace metal; advanced battery separator materials and battery chemistries that improve the range of hybrid and electric vehicles; and renewably sourced materials that offer the same or better performance than petroleum-based alternatives.
Now in its fourth year, the DuPont-sponsored survey with WardsAuto was conducted by Penton Market Research, Overland Park, Kan. Forty-five percent of the nearly 900 respondents indicate they work for system, component or parts manufacturers; 25 percent work for an automaker; and 30 percent work for engine, engine-service, engineering/design companies or automotive-related industries. Sixty four percent work in engineering, design, research or quality roles; 23 percent in sales, marketing, purchasing or corporate management role; and 13 percent represent manufacturing, production or other.
DuPont offers more than 100 materials and product families for the global automotive industry. Through its global application development network, DuPont Automotive is committed to collaborating with customers throughout the value chain to develop new products, materials, components and systems that help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect people and the environment.

Source: DuPont

Monday, August 18, 2014

NASA & Others Start LAUNCH, a Platform to Advance Green Chemistry Using Renewable Sources

LAUNCH is an open innovation platform that was founded by NASA, NIKE, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and The U.S. Department of State to identify and foster breakthrough ideas for a more sustainable world. LAUNCH aims to move beyond incremental change and make an impact at a system-wide level.
LAUNCH is currently focused on positively transforming the system of materials and manufacturing, which can have dramatic social, environmental and economic impacts on the world. In order to harness the innovation needed to advance this system, LAUNCH has issued a series of global challenges to address key barriers. Its current challenge focuses on green chemistry, a crucial component in a sustainable materials and manufacturing system. A portfolio of approximately 10 innovators will be selected for support, networking, and mentoring from influential business and government leaders.
With this LAUNCH System Challenge: Green Chemistry, LAUNCH seeks innovations that leverage or advance 'green chemistry' to transform the system of materials and manufacturing to one that advances global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet's resources. When referring to green chemistry we are using the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, the definition which the Environmental Protection Agency also uses, in order to provide a common framing.
LAUNCH SYSTEM CHALLENGE: Green Chemistry seeks innovations in:
  • Solutions that reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in materials and processes.
  • Solutions that enable the use of low environmental impact, renewable feedstocks.
  • Chemistry that enables end-of-life recycling or maximize the potential for closed loop systems while minimizing hazard.
  • Solutions that increase energy, water, and raw material efficiency, minimizing the use of constrained resources.
  • Solutions that maximize community, worker, consumer, and environmental safety from hazardous chemicals.
  • Enabling models, education, and tools to help industry and consumers select greener chemistry alternatives.

Source: LAUNCH

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Genomatica to Focus on Nylon Intermediates for 3rd Set of Biobased Processes in Development

Genomatica announced that major nylon intermediates – including hexamethylenediamine, caprolactam and adipic acid (HMD, CPL and ADA) – are the focus of its third publicly-disclosed development program. Genomatica is developing complete process technologies for the biobased production of these intermediates, which it will then license to major firms in the nylon value chain. These three chemicals, with a total market of over $18 billion per year, are used primarily in the production of nylon 6 and nylon 6,6, also referred to as the polyamides PA 6 and PA 6,6.
Genomatica has been building a comprehensive set of nylon program assets over the last few years. The nylon program builds on a large body of intellectual property (IP), which includes but is not limited to eight issued U.S. patents and numerous pending applications worldwide, as well as trade secrets that include engineered strains, with some of the IP developed internally and some from a recent IP acquisition. A number of the concepts described by Genomatica’s patent filings have been validated in experimental proofs of concept, demonstrating feasibility. These include the successful demonstration of certain metabolic pathways; production of certain nylon intermediates in various microorganisms; and efficient methods to produce and recover certain nylon intermediates from the fermentation.
Genomatica’s nylon intermediates program follows commercialization and licensing of its GENO BDO™ process, and strong progress with its butadiene program, which has gained over $100 million in industry support, with Versalis and Braskem as anchor partners.
Nylon intermediates program targets important advantages
Genomatica is focused on developing biobased processes that deliver the exact same chemicals as those made with petroleum-based feedstocks, along with better overall economics and greater sustainability. For nylon intermediates, Genomatica’s processes are intended to provide on-purpose alternatives to current processes while avoiding the price volatility or limited supply sources of current raw materials such as benzene or adiponitrile. Genomatica’s technology also has the potential to avoid unwanted byproducts and waste streams characteristic of many current processes.
Genomatica’s integrated biotechnology platform, which combines process engineering, predictive computer models, and experimental biotechnology, has been key to Genomatica’s confidence in the feasibility of delivering commercially-advantaged processes in this field.
Development of commercial processes for nylon intermediates is expected to take several years, and follow a sequence of technical, partnership, scale-up and commercialization milestones.
Program sponsors gain opportunity for advantageous positions
As with its butadiene program, Genomatica is inviting leaders in the nylon value chain to join as development partners for its nylon intermediates program. Development partners have the opportunity to engage throughout the program, influence priorities and gain early access to the resulting process technology. Genomatica believes that such access can provide important time-to-market and competitive advantage to program sponsors.
Supporting quotes
“Genomatica’s team, broad IP portfolio and integrated biotechnology platform enable us to develop processes for multiple high-volume chemicals,” said Christophe Schilling, Ph.D., CEO of Genomatica. “Nylon intermediates are of high interest to us, and a natural target for our R&D and process engineering strengths. We’re excited to formally unveil our nylon program.”

Source: Genomatica