By Lynn L. Bergeson
This month, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, published its 2019 Sustainability Report titled The Future Is Clean. In its 2019 report, ACI outlines its sustainability goals, which include increased transparency, the reduction of GHG emissions, and the move toward a circular global economy. As part of its activities to achieve such goals, ACI has worked on filling knowledge gaps, harnessing power in the power of convening, uniting for a cleaner world, and further developing its sustainability organizations. In its report, ACI also highlights its support for the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how its future goals can positively contribute to the SDGs.
Managed by B&C® Consortia Management (BCCM), BRAG is a consortium of international and well-respected member organizations and companies engaged in the development of biobased or renewable chemical products. BRAG members recognize the importance of advocacy, education, and communication. For further information, see the BRAG webpage on membership.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On July 24, 2018, a research team at the North Carolina State University announced that biobased glucaric-acid or lignin additives can increase the robustness of polyvinyl alcohol fibers, which can be used in biofriendly products including polymers, detergents, paints, and diapers. The team plans to continue its R&D as a movement towards greener alternatives to support industries using additives with known varying levels of toxicity. This discovery could play a large role in processing plastics for safe contact with food, people, and the environment. In 2004, DOE listed glucaric-acid as one of the top 12 sugar-derived chemicals with the potential to be economic drivers for a biorefinery. Lignin is low in cost and also a waste by-product of the pulp and paper industries, which can also make commercial scale production feasible.
On August 6, 2015, BioAmber Inc. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd announced the opening of their joint succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ontario. This joint venture cost approximately $141.5 million to build and has a capacity of 30,000 tons of succinic acid per year, making it the world's largest succinic acid plant. The plant uses technology to produce succinic acid from sugar at a lower cost than traditional petroleum-based production. The chemical intermediary is used in the production of plastics, textiles, personal care products, and more.
Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) members BASF Corporation (BASF) and Nozoymes announced another milestone in their development of acrylic acid production from renewable raw materials. According to the September 15, 2014, announcement, these two BRAG members, along with Cargill, have successfully converted 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP) to glacial acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers. This work is a result of the August 2012 joint agreement between BASF, Novozymes, and Cargill to develop renewable raw materials into biobased acrylic acid. The group has now selected the process for further scale-up of this work. More information is available online.
On April 9, 2014, Montana-based renewable chemicals producer Rivertop Renewables (Rivertop) announced that it has raised $26 million from Cargill, First Green Partners, and existing investors. The Company explains in its press release that it "will leverage these funds and an existing manufacturing relationship to produce market development quantities of salts of glucaric acid for select customers. In addition, it will complete construction and begin operations at a semi-works facility at its headquarters in Missoula, where it will optimize its process for world-scale deployment. Rivertop plans to hire more than 20 employees in the next 12 months to support commercial development, effectively doubling the size of its workforce." A copy of the Company's press release is available online.
Advanced process technologies provider Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies Ltd. (JM Davy) and renewable specialty chemical company Rennovia, Inc. have announced that they are teaming up to develop, demonstrate, and commercialize catalytic process technologies for the production of biobased glucaric acid and adipic acid. According to Rennovia's press release, "nder the collaboration, Rennovia and JM Davy will work together to develop and demonstrate the processes based on Rennovia's technology for the catalytic aerobic oxidation of glucose to glucaric acid, as well as the catalytic hydrogenation of glucaric acid to adipic acid. The goal of the collaboration is to develop and jointly license a technology package enabling commercial production of these chemical products." A copy of the press release is available online.
On March 3, 2014, BASF announced the successful start-up of the first commercial production facility resulting from the joint venture between Corbion Purac and BASF (Succinity®) for the production and commercialization of biobased succinic acid. The plant, located at the Corbion Purac site in Montmeló, Spain, has an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons and is producing commercial quantities of biobased succinic acid for the global market. In addition to this first facility, Succinity plans a second large-scale facility. The final investment decision for this facility will be made following a successful market introduction. A copy of BASF's press release is available online.
On February, 19, 2014, it was announced that BioAmber Sarnia, Inc. (BioAmber Sarnia) has received a $10 million loan from the Government of Canada to help the company build the largest commercial plant that will produce biobased succinic acid. Funding is being provided under the Canadian Government's AgriInnovation Program, which is an initiative designed to accelerate the pace of innovation by supporting research and development activities in agri-innovations. The BioAmber Sarnia project is expected to create 60 direct and 155 indirect jobs, and help corn farmers by requiring in the first year of production 1.5 million bushels of corn and in future years three million bushels per year. Succinic acid is used to produce a wide range of products, including paints, plastics, resins, and pharmaceuticals. A copy of BioAmber's news release on the announcement is available online.
On January 23, 2014, 13 industry groups sent a letter to President Obama and the Interagency Working Group on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security (Working Group) urging the exclusion of any "federal requirement to assess or implement so-called Inherently Safer Technologies (IST)." A copy of the letter is available online. In response to the West Texas fertilizer distributor explosion last year, the Working Group has been tasked with carrying out Executive Order 13650 -- on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.
In the letter, the industry groups express concern with a focus in a recent Working Group report on "safer alternatives." They argue that sufficient safeguards and incentives exist to promote IST where possible, and caution against a federal requirement for IST.
Specialty chemical company Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. announced this week the commercial availability of Inherent™ C18 Diacid, a mid-chain length, biobased diacid that will, as the company describes in its press release, enable "producers of polyamides and polyurethanes, lubricants and adhesives to significantly expand their portfolios with cost-competitive products that demonstrate performance not possible from products made with more common, shorter-chain diacids." A copy of the company's press release is available online.