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News Meet Corbion On

News Meet Corbion On June 18 th , CSM, Purac and Caravan Ingredients have launched the new company name and brand. The new name and strategy mark the latest stage of the ongoing transformation of the company into a leading provider of biobased products, with activities in biobased food ingredients and biochemicals. Based on the strong foundations of Purac and Caravan Ingredients, Corbion has a wealth of expertise in the world of biobased food ingredients and biochemicals, combined with a rich history of service and innovations spanning more than a century. After steam powered technology (1 st industrial revolution), the information technology revolution (2 nd industrial revolution), and the energy revolution (3 rd industrial revolution, in its early stages), Corbion believes that biotechnology will become the 4 th industrial revolution. Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop useful products. For thousands of years, humankind has used biotechnology in agriculture, food production, and medicine to solve problems and improve the quality of life. Corbion’s technology is based on renewable resources. Their lactic acid technology is key in this, but Corbion also identifies business opportunities in adjacent organic acid platforms, such as biobased succinic acid and Bio-FDCA. For bioplastics, Corbion’s markets include automotive, consumer electronics, apparel and packaging. MT Bioplastics Oskar 8 th Global Bioplastics Award calls for proposals Initiated for the first time in 2006 by European Plastics News, the only Global Bioplastics Award will be granted in 2013 for the 8 th time. The Bioplastics Oskar recognises innovation, success and achievements by manufacturers, processors, brand owners or users of bioplastic materials. bioplastics MAGAZINE is proud to present this award now for the third time and the international judging panel of five experts from the academic world, the press and industry associations from America, Europa and Asia sincerely encourage companies and individuals to propose candidates for the 8 th Global Bioplastics Award 2013. Proposals for own developments and achievements are of course welcome. Deadline for submission of proposals is August 31 st , 2013. To be eligible for consideration in the awards scheme the proposed company, product, or service must have been developed or have been on the market during 2012 or 2013. In the next issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE will publish a shortlist and from these finalists the winner will be announced during the 8 th European Bioplastics Conference on December 10 th 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Winners of the last few years include Danone, Econcore, Takata and IfBB (Institue for Bioplastics & Biocomposites). More details about how to submit proposals can be found at our website. Solvay invests in bio-based PA Solvay, an international chemical group, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, recently announced to invest in a PA6.10 production unit on Saint-Fons Belle-Etoile Platform (Lyon, France) Solvay Polyamide & Intermediates (P&I), a major global producer of polyamide 6.6 intermediates and polymers, decided to invest in the production unit of PA6.10, a partly bio based polymer, to better serve its customers seeking for more ecofriendly solutions. This investment is the final phase of an efficient and rigorous piloting and sampling process which confirmed their commitment to integrate a PA6.10 production line using state-of-the-art technologies. This strategic unit will contribute to broadening the company’s product offer and strengthening its commitment to environmental care. “This investment is part of our continuous efforts to build on our product capabilities and develop a greener chemistry” explains Christophe Bertrand, Solvay Polyamide & Intermediates Industrial Director. Indeed, a standardized measurement on pure PA 6.10 resin has confirmed that 62.5% of its carbon is from a renewable source. In addition to reducing its carbon footprint, this material helps to reduce the use of non-renewable resources compared with other polyamides that are entirely petrochemical-based. More than a new asset, this decision is a step forward in the Solvay deep rooted culture of responsible chemistry, as stated in a press release by Solvay. MT 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/13] Vol. 8

Events A place for biobased performance materials to grow But where is the market? by Karen Laird Some three years ago, a dedicated research programme on biobased performance materials was established in the Netherlands with the aim of developing new biopolymers and improving the properties of the existing materials in the market. Industrial partners from the entire value chain have come together in this programme to carry out R&D projects - 8 in total - varying from the development of novel renewable polyamides to chitosan-based antimicrobial coatings. At the annual Biobased Performance Materials Symposium that recently took place in Wageningen, the Netherlands, the results of various projects to date were presented by a number of speakers. The Biobased Performance Materials (BPM) programme was created as a place for biobased performance materials to grow. Around the world, interest in biobased materials was - and still is - increasing at a rapid pace. Research and development is therefore vital, in order to keep abreast of the trends and developments in this area. The BPM programme offers researchers what Christian Bolck, director of the BPM programme, called a unique opportunity to investigate technological routes, not only for improving the properties of these materials but also to produce cost-competitive biobased performance plastics. Kick-starting the market, a government task? These positive efforts notwithstanding, a number of speakers at the symposium also pointed to the difficulties in actually achieving solid results as far as the actual implementation of biobased materials is concerned. Quoting former US president Bill Clinton, symposium chairman Jan Noordegraaf, CEO at Synbra Technologies argued that “it’s the economy, stupid”. “The products are there, but the market is not picking up,” he said. In his view, government action is needed to create a level playing field for biobased plastics, and he advocated the creation of a packaging tax levy, similar to the system that is currently in place in the Netherlands for cars, as a means to promote the manufacture and use of bioplastics. “Alternatively”, he said, “We can let the Chinese do it, and lose EU jobs.” A brave new world While the economy is an important factor, psychology is also involved. Stefaan de Wildeman, of the recently opened Aachen Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials noted that a fundamental mind switch is needed in order to make the transition away from fossil feedstocks. Today, the industry largely thinks in terms of petroleum-based materials and how to replace these with bio-derived substitutes: the socalled drop-ins. Wildeman: “Nature has so much more to offer. Why should we stick to the current building blocks while switching resources from fossil to renewable? We should ask ourselves: are the blocks that contribute to sustainability the same blocks that were derived during the non-sustainable era?” His conclusion: “A new chain needs to be created.” While Europe talks, we build For the biopolymers industry to succeed in Europe, however, a number of conditions remain to be met, including the establishment of a viable feedstock policy, commitment from the major brand owners to high-volume applications, support - a stamp of approval - from the NGOs, and government support in creating a market and its willingness to share the (financial) risks. Right now, the European government is talking the talk, but not yet walking the walk, said Marc Verbruggen, CEO of NatureWorks LLC. He went on to describe the tax benefits that are in place in Asia, the loan guarantees and the market support for biopolymers that exist in the US, and even quoted a Chinese entrepreneur who noted pointedly that “while Europe talks, we build.” “There is still time for Europe to play a dominant industrial, instead of just an R&D, role,” said Verbruggen. “A solid feedstock policy is essential - right now, the EU still has a biofuel mindset - and a financial support framework must be created – whether on the supply and/or on the demand side.” He continues to be optimistic: “We can be cost competitive. And consumers want green products.” It’s up to us to make sure they get them. If it’s up to Marc Verbruggen, they will. In his view, “We are a green commodity plastic player, competing in the commodity space. We need to be both cost and performance competitive.” To that end, NatureWorks recently announced it was investigating the possibility of intrinsically lowering the feedstock costs of its PLA by using methane, “thus eliminating the use of plants as intermediates,” said Verbruggen, and effectively silencing the land use debate. If the technology works, it will significantly impact the cost structure of PLA. Potentially, it’s the next game changer in biopolymers, and a technology the industry would do well to watch. bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/13] Vol. 8 11

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