Albemarle reports 3Q 2012 results

Albemarle reports 3Q 2012 results

FOCUS chemical production, thus making the transition from laboratory experiment to commercial manufacture. The impact of learning curves during the s...

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FOCUS chemical production, thus making the transition from laboratory experiment to commercial manufacture. The impact of learning curves during the startup of such facilities is elucidated. According to Nexant, global bio-based chemical production could rise to in excess of 5 M tonne/y by 2015. Amyris is in the process of commissioning a farnesene facility in Sao Paulo state, Brazil, with production likely to commence in 2013, and capacity of 50 M litre/y being reached in 2016. Despite previously claiming that it would be able to produce 40-50 M litres in 2012, Amyris is now focusing its farnesene commercialization at the Brazilian site, which is adjacent to a sugarcane mill operated by Paraiso Bioenergia, and will continue contract manufacture only at the Tate & Lyle plant at Decatur, IL. In May 2012, Gevo commissioned its first commercial plant for bio-based isobutanol at Luverne, MN. In addition to obtaining a patent on an efficient microbial process for isobutanol production from sugar, in Jul 2012 Gevo reached agreement with Beta Renewables on the development of an isobutanol process using cellulosic biomass. In Jan 2012, ZeaChem completed construction of a plant in Oregon for making acetic acid and ethyl acetate from sugar. Via a $232.5 M loan guarantee and a $25 M grant from the US Department of Agriculture, ZeaChem plans to start production of 250,000 gal/y of ethanol during 2012 via consumption of cellulosic biomass and conversion of ethyl acetate. BioAmber has formed a jv with NatureWorks that will enable production of compounded resins for a variety of uses via the combination of polylactic acid (PLA) and polybutylene succinate. NatureWorks has been in the process of commercializing PLA over the last ten years and is currently expanding a unit at Blair, NE, so that capacity is in excess of 150,000 tonne/y. Original Source: Chemical and Engineering News, 17 Sep 2012, 90 (38), 10-15 (Website: © American Chemical Society 2012

Biofuel from microalgae offers promise but still some way to go A number of companies are researching into the production of




biofuel from microalgae. However, a low cost process has still to be developed. The US firm Sapphire has built an open air photosynthesis unit in New Mexico. It aims to produce 1.5 M barrels in 2014. Other farms are in development in California, Florida, Hawaii, and Australia. Compagnie du Vent (GDF Suez subsidiary) is part of a French consortium including Air Liquide, which is developing a former salt marsh in Gruissan near Narbonne. Solazyme has used an opaque tank process to produce the first microalgae-based fuel for aircraft usage. Fermentalg has also chosen the same route. Bio Fuel System is testing a photosynthesis method in Spain. Vattenfall and Enel are growing algae using carbon dioxide emitted from their energy plants. The Australian company Algae-Tec is to build a European plant to produce aviation biofuel. Synthetic Genomes has made progress on microalgae which give improved yield for oil processing. ExxonMobil plans to invest $300 M in its research over 10 years. Original Source: La Tribune, 19 Oct 2012, (Website: (in French) © 2012

BASF, Novozymes, Cargill join on biobased acrylic acid BASF has signed an agreement with agribusiness Cargill and Danish enzymes specialist Novozymes to codevelop technologies for making acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. The existing method for acrylic acid production involves the oxidation of propylene derived from crude oil. Novozymes and Cargill have jointly worked on renewable acrylic acid technology since 2008, developing microorganisms capable of converting renewable feedstock from undisclosed sources into a chemical precursor to acrylic acid, particularly, 3-hydroxypropionic acid. BASF will bring to the new partnership relevant competencies in production and downstream processing. The company has also entered into partnership with Denmark-based biotechnology firm Terranol to accelerate development of C5 yeast for the rapid commercialization of biomass-based advanced biofuels currently in the

development phase. Meanwhile, Chemtex, which sources catalysts from Novozymes for use in advanced biofuels, will build a new plant in the USA through a €78 M partnership with the US Department of Agriculture. The plant should be in operation by 2014, with construction expected to begin in late 2012. It will produce ethanol from energy grasses and agricultural waste as feedstock, using Beta Renewables’ Proesa technology. The plant will most likely be located in Sampson County, NC. Original Source: Speciality Chemicals, Sep 2012, 32 (9), 8 (Website: © Quartz Business Media Ltd 2012

COMPANY NEWS Albemarle reports 3Q 2012 results Albemarle Corp reported 3Q ended Sep 2012 earnings of $99.3 M, or $1.1/share, compared to 3Q ended Sep 2011 earnings of $116.1 M, or $1.28/share. The company reported net sales of $661.2 M in 3Q 2012 compared to net sales of $723 M in 3Q 2011, with approximately 66% of the change attributable to lower metals surcharges in 2012 in the Catalysts business. Original Source: Albemarle Corporation, 2012. Found on PR Newswire, 17 Oct 2012, (Website:

BASF and CSM establish 50-50 jv for bio-based succinic acid BASF and Purac (a subsidiary of CSM) are establishing a jv for the production and sale of bio-based succinic acid. The company will be named Succinity GmbH and will be operational in 2013. The establishment of Succinity GmbH is subject to registration with the relevant competition authorities. The company headquarters will be in Düsseldorf, Germany. BASF and CSM have been conducting research on succinic acid under a joint development agreement since 2009. The complementary strengths in fermentation and downstream processing led to the development of a sustainable and highly efficient