vor 3 Jahren

Issue 02/2016

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  • Bioplastics
  • Plastics
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  • Biobased
  • Products
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  • Packaging
  • Polymers
  • Environmental

News daily upated news

News daily upated news at NatureWorks: methane as third-generation feedstock The new USD 1 million 771 m² (8,300 sqft) laboratory at NatureWorks world headquarters (Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA) is the latest milestone in the company’s multi-year program to commercialize a fermentation process for transforming methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into lactic acid, the building block of Ingeo PLA biopolymer. It includes the hiring of six scientists to staff the new facility. The methane to lactic acid research project began in 2013 as a joint effort between NatureWorks and Calysta Energy, Menlo Park, California, USA, to develop a fermentation biocatalyst. In 2014, laboratory-scale fermentation of lactic acid from methane utilizing a new biocatalyst was proven, and the United States Department of Energy awarded USD 2.5 million to the project. In 2016, the opening of the new laboratory at NatureWorks headquarters marks another major advancement in the journey from proof of concept to commercialization. “A commercially viable methane to lactic acid conversion technology would be revolutionary,” said Bill Suehr, NatureWorks Chief Operating Officer. “It diversifies NatureWorks away from the current reliance on agricultural feedstocks, and with methane as feedstock, it could structurally lower the cost of producing Ingeo. It is exciting to envision a future where greenhouse gas is transformed into Ingeo-based compostable food serviceware, personal care items such as wipes and diapers, durable products such as computer cases and toys, films for wrapping fresh produce, filament for 3D printers, deli packaging, and more.” Based on the research collaboration between NatureWorks and Calysta, NatureWorks hopes to subsequently develop a 2,223 m² (25,000 sqft) pilot plant in Minnesota by 2018 and hire an additional 15 employees. Within the next six years the company is looking at the possible construction of a USD 50 million demonstration project. It’s conceivable that within the next decade NatureWorks will bring online the first global-scale methane to lactic acid fermentation facility. KL | Avantium and BASF: JV to make PEF BASF and Avantium announced in mid-March that they have signed a letter of intent and entered into exclusive negotiations to establish a joint venture (JV) for the production and marketing of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), as well as marketing of polyethylenefuranoate (PEF), based on this new chemical building block. The JV will use the YXY process ® developed by Avantium in its laboratories in Amsterdam and pilot plant in Geleen, Netherlands, for the production of biobased FDCA. It is intended to further develop this process as well as to construct a reference plant for the production of FDCA with an annual capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes per year at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. The aim is to build up world-leading positions in FDCA and PEF, and subsequently license the technology for industrial scale application. FDCA is the essential chemical building block for the production of PEF. Compared to PET, for instance, PEF is characterized by improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen. This can lead to longer shelf life of packaged products. Due to its higher mechanical strength, thinner PEF packaging can be produced, which means less material is required. This makes PEF particularly suitable for the production of certain food and beverage packaging, for example films and plastic bottles. After use, PEF can be recycled. “With the planned joint venture, we want to combine Avantium’s specific production technology and application know-how for FDCA and PEF with the strengths of BASF,” said Dr. Stefan Blank, President of BASF’s Intermediates division. “Of particular importance is our expertise in market development and large-scale production as an established and reliable chemical company in the business of intermediates and polymers,” Blank added. “The contemplated joint venture with BASF is a major milestone in the development and commercialization of this game-changing technology. Partnering with the number one chemical company in the world, provides us with access to the capabilities that are required to bring this technology to industrialization,” said Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium. “The joint venture will further strengthen the global technology and establish the market leadership for FDCA and PEF. With BASF, we plan to start production of FDCA to enable the first commercial launch of this exciting bio-based material and to further develop and grow the market to its full potential.” KL/MT | 6 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/16] Vol. 11

News CO 2 -based building block for PEF Stanford scientists have discovered a novel way to make PEF from carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and inedible plant material, such as agricultural waste and grasses as a low-carbon alternative to PET. “Our goal is to replace petroleum-derived products with plastic made from CO 2 ,” said Matthew Kanan, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford. “If you could do that without using a lot of non-renewable energy, you could dramatically lower the carbon footprint of the plastics industry.” The scientists focused on the development of polyethylenefuranoate, or PEF. The properties of PEF, including their advantages over PET have been described manifold in bioplastics MAGAZINE. However, the plastics industry is trying hard to find a low-cost way to manufacture it at scale. The bottleneck has been figuring out a commercially viable way to produce the precursor FDCA sustainably. Instead of using sugar from corn to make FDCA, the Stanford team has been experimenting with furfural, a compound made from agricultural waste that has been widely used for decades. But making FDCA from furfural and CO 2 typically requires hazardous chemicals that are expensive and energy-intensive to make. “That really defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to do,” Kanan said. The Stanford team’s approach has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions, Kanan said, because the CO 2 required to make PEF could be obtained from fossil-fuel power plant emissions or other industrial sites. KL/MT Hybrid technology to make biobased nylon Engineers at Iowa State University have found a way to combine a genetically engineered strain of yeast and an electrocatalyst to efficiently convert sugar into a new type of nylon. Previous attempts to combine biocatalysis and chemical catalysis to produce biobased chemicals have resulted in low conversion rates. That’s usually because the biological processes leave residual impurities that harm the effectiveness of chemical catalysts. The engineers’ successful hybrid conversion process is described online and as the cover paper of the Feb. 12 issue of the journal “Angewandte Chemie International Edition”. “The ideal biorefinery pipelines, from biomass to the final products, are currently disrupted by a gap between biological conversion and chemical diversification. We herein report a strategy to bridge this gap with a hybrid fermentation and electrocatalytic process,” wrote lead authors Zengyi Shao and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier, Iowa State assistant professors of chemical and biological engineering who are also affiliated with the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) based at Iowa State. KL/MT IKEA to move away from fossil plastics IKEA SUPPLY AG and Newlight Technologies have announced that they have entered into a supply collaboration, and technology license agreement that will supply IKEA with AirCarbon from Newlight’s commercial-scale production facilities and enable IKEA to produce AirCarbon thermoplastic under a technology license. Under the agreement, IKEA will purchase 50 % of the material from Newlight’s 23,000 tonnes per year plant in the United States, and subsequently IKEA has exclusive rights in the home furnishings industry to use Newlight’s carbon capture technology to convert biobased greenhouse gases, first from biogas and later from carbon dioxide, into AirCarbon thermoplastics for use in its home furnishing products. Both the companies will work together to identify and select the low cost carbon sources and development of the technology to use a range of renewable substrates, with a long term goal to develop capacities up to 453,000 tonnes per year. The AirCarbon plants are initially intended to run using biogas from landfills as their sole carbon feedstock inputs, with expansion into other AirCarbon feedstocks over time, such as carbon dioxide. Minh Nguyen Hoang, Category Manager of Plastics at IKEA of Sweden says: “IKEA wants to contribute to a transformational change in the industry and to the development of plastics made from renewable sources. In line with our sustainability goals, we are moving away from virgin fossil based plastic materials in favor of plastic produced from renewable sources such as biogas, sugar wastes, and other renewable carbon sources. We believe our partnership with Newlight has the potential, once fully scaled, to be an important component of our multi-pronged effort to provide IKEA’s customers with affordable plastics products made from renewable resources.” Added CEO of Newlight, Mark Herrema: “IKEA’s partnership with Newlight marks an important shift in how the world can make materials: from fossil fuels to captured carbon, from consumption to generation, from depletion to restoration. IKEA is a leader in the concept of harnessing its operations to improve the world, and we are proud to be a part of that effort.” IKEA’s long-term ambition is for all the plastic material used in their home furnishing products to be renewable or recycled material. The company is starting with their home furnishing plastic products, representing about 40 % of the total plastic volume used in the IKEA range.” KL/MT | bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/16] Vol. 11 7

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