<body> --------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive »
Nature Blog Network

    Northern European countries launch the Nordic Bioenergy Project - "Opportunities and consequences of an expanding bio energy market in the Nordic countries" - with the aim to help coordinate bioenergy activities in the Nordic countries and improve the visibility of existing and future Nordic solutions in the complex field of bioenergy, energy security, competing uses of resources and land, regional development and environmental impacts. A wealth of data, analyses and cases will be presented on a new website - Nordic Energy - along with announcements of workshops during the duration of project. Nordic Energy - November 14, 2007.

    Global Partners has announced that it is planning to increase its refined products and biofuels storage capacity in Providence, Rhode Island by 474,000 barrels. The partnership has entered into agreements with New England Petroleum Terminal, at a deepwater marine terminal located at the Port of Providence. PRInside - November 14, 2007.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicks off the meeting in Valencia, Spain, which will result in the production of the Synthesis Report on climate change. The report will summarize the core findings of the three volumes published earlier by the separate working groups. IPCC - November 12, 2007.

    Biopact's Laurens Rademakers is interviewed by Mongabay on the risks of large-scale bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) proposals. Even though Biopact remains positive about BECS, because it offers one of the few safe systems to mitigate climate change in a drastic way, care must be take to avoid negative impacts on tropical forests. Mongabay - November 10, 2007.

    According to the latest annual ranking produced by The Scientist, Belgium is the world's best country for academic research, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Belgium's top position is especially relevant for plant, biology, biotechnology and bioenergy research, as these are amongst the science fields on which it scores best. The Scientist - November 8, 2007.

    Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, today announced the acquisition of Celsys BioFuels, Inc. Celsys BioFuels was formed in 2006 to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology developed in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at Purdue University. The Celsys technology is based on proprietary pretreatment processes for multiple biomass feedstocks, including corn fiber and distiller grains. The technology was developed by Dr. Michael Ladisch, an internationally known leader in the field of renewable fuels and cellulosic biofuels. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Purdue University to join Mascoma as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Business Wire - November 7, 2007.

    Bemis Company, Inc. announced today that it will partner with Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, to develop and sell renewably resourced flexible films using patented Plantic technology. Bemis - November 7, 2007.

    Hungary's Kalocsa Hõerõmû Kft is to build a HUF 40 billion (€158.2 million) straw-fired biomass power plant with a maximum capacity of 49.9 megawatts near Kalocsa in southern Hungary. Portfolio Hungary - November 7, 2007.

    Canada's Gemini Corporation has received approval to proceed into the detailed engineering, fabrication and construction phases of a biogas cogeneration facility located in the Lethbridge, Alberta area, the first of its kind whereby biogas production is enhanced through the use of Thermal Hydrolysis technology, a high temperature, high pressure process for the safe destruction of SRM material from the beef industry. The technology enables a facility to redirect waste material, previously shipped to landfills, into a valuable feedstock for the generation of electricity and thermal energy. This eliminates the release of methane into the environment and the resultant solids are approved for use as a land amendment rather than re-entering the waste stream. In addition, it enhances the biogas production process by more than 25%. Market Wire - November 7, 2007.

    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The bioeconomy at work: Dow successfully completes testing phase for biobased polyols

In September, Dow Polyurethanes, a business group of The Dow Chemical Company, successfully completed preliminary development of natural oil based polyols (NOPs) for urethane formulations and will begin product sampling with a select group of customers immediately. Dow plans to begin market development scale production of the next-generation biobased polyols before the end of the year. The green polymer compound is made from soy oil, even though other natural oils will be used later on. Its production is based on a novel process dubbed RENUVA, which is carbon neutral and reduces fossil fuel inputs by up to 60 percent.

Polyols are compounds with multiple hydroxyl functional groups available for organic reactions. A molecule with two hydroxyl groups is a diol, one with three is a triol, one with four is a tetrol and so on. The main use of polymeric polyols is as reactants to make other polymers, such as polyurethanes. These materials are ultimately used in a wide variety of applications such as rigid and flexible foams, adhesives, sealants, coatings, elastomers and more. The biobased polyols made with RENUVA technology will help manufacturers of commercial and consumer products in the furniture and bedding, automotive, carpet and CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers) markets to more effectively differentiate themselves and meet their customers' growing demand for finished products that are both high quality and environmentally sound. With this polyol, the bioeconomy has now developed plant-based, renewable alternatives for most commonly used petroleum based polymer groups.

Producing polyurethanes from natural oil sources isn't a completely new concept, but Dow's approach is. The company developed a distinct, multi-step process - 'RENUVA' Renewable Resource Technology - to break down and functionalize the vegetable oil molecules, then reconstructs them in combination with traditional polyurethane molecules to achieve quality and consistency (schematic, click to enlarge). RENUVA creates polyols with a reduced impact on the environment. Life-cycle analysis done by researchers shows the technology is greenhouse gas neutral and uses 60% fewer fossil fuel resources than the conventional polyol technology. This technology enables products with high levels of renewable content and without the odor often associated with bio-based polyols.

Since first announcing its intention to conduct small-scale product testing of NOPs with select customers in June of 2005, Dow has continued to invest in further advancing the technology and capabilities of these next generation products. The company has now achieved the performance milestones necessary to support moving ahead to the market development scale production phase.
Our developmental work has reached the point where we are now able to produce natural oil based polyols that can match or exceed the performance of hydrocarbon-based products, and at fairly high levels of natural oil polyol content. Dow’s continued work in developing NOPs illustrates our continued commitment to pursuing practical technology options for small scale, economical and enviromentally advantaged feedstocks where they make sense, support our business strategies and, most importantly, meet the needs of our customers. - Pat Dawson, business vice president, Dow Polyurethanes
Early developers of NOPs experienced several performance challenges when incorporating NOPs into formulations such as retaining tensile strength, resiliency, and compression set. And, as they increased the level of NOPs in formulations, the processability of the foam was often compromised:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Dow’s mastery of polyurethanes chemistry enabled it to make significant progress on many of these critical performance issues. The company achieved this improved level of performance by creating optimized blends of NOPs and propylene oxide polyols. By working with a select group of customers during this next phase, Dow will continue to refine the performance attributes of these products so that they meet specific customer needs.

To enable more extensive product sampling and scale-up of small, beta projects, Dow plans to begin market development scale production of soy-based polyols in 2007. Meanwhile, the company is exploring various production options to support additional capacity as customer demand for the products grow. Based on progress in this second phase, Dow will evaluate options for this new line of natural oil based polyols, which includes bringing on additional capacity and expanding into new applications and geographies.

Dow’s investment in natural oil based polyols is consistent with the company’s recently announced 2015 Sustainability Goals, one aspect of which calls for investment in products and technologies that will help reduce industry’s dependency on non-renewable resources. Natural oil based polyols can be made from soybeans, sunflower seeds or rapeseeds, although Dow’s technology currently focuses on a polyol that contains a significant percent of oil extracted from soybeans.

Dow’s intention is to ultimately develop a NOP-based multi-generational product line that provides customers with superior solutions to meet their needs in applications such as flexible slab, molded, and some CASE applications. In addition, other Dow businesses, such as Dow Automotive, are working with their customers to introduce natural oil polyols into automotive applications.
We now have the technology, the results and the capabilities to take the first step toward providing a full line of natural oil based polyols to customers around the globe. - Pat Dawson, business vice president, Dow Polyurethanes
Dow is the world’s largest producer of polyether polyols, a leading producer of quality aromatic isocyanates, such as MDI and TDI, and a major supplier of propylene oxide, an essential component of polyether polyols. Dow’s polyurethanes products and formulated systems are used in rigid foams, flexible foams, adhesives, sealants, coatings, and elastomers, as well as many other applications. Dow also offers the latest in polyol technology with its VORANOL VORACTIV polyols, part of an ongoing initiative by Dow to lead the industry in providing high-performance products with reduced VOC-emissions.

Dow Polyurethanes: Cleaner, Greener, Performance Polyols - Enabled by Breakthrough Technology from Dow [*.pdf].

Dow Polyurethanes: Natural Oil-based Polyols for C.A.S.E Applications [*.pdf].

Dow Polyurethanes: Breakthrough Technology from Dow Polyurethanes Promotes Sustainable Chemistry and Excellent Product Performance - September 25

Dow Polyurethanes: Dow Polyurethanes Successfully Completes Testing Phase for Natural Oil Based Polyols - September 25


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home