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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.


    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.


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Monday, September 03, 2007

Metabolic Explorer partners with IFP to develop propanediol from biodiesel byproduct glycerin

Metabolic Explorer (Metex), an industrial biotechnology company focused on the bio-production of green bulk chemicals announced that it has signed an agreement with the Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) to accelerate the scale-up of its proprietary technology for the production of 1,3 propanediol (PDO) from glycerol, the major byproduct of biodiesel production.

PDO is a bulk chemical used in the manufacture of a new class of polyester fibres as well as coatings and plastic films. The chemical can be formulated into composites, adhesives, laminates, powder and UV-cured coatings, mouldings, novel aliphatic polyesters, copolyesters, solvents, anti-freeze and other end uses. The rapidly growing PDO market is forecast to be worth $3.5bn within the next five years.

Metex has developed a range of proprietary technologies which allow it to design highly efficient bacteria able to produce existing bulk chemicals from a wide range of renewable bio-based feedstocks. The fermentation methods provide sustainable solutions to the chemical industry, offering significant economic and environmental benefits over oil-dependent chemical processes.

Under the new agreement, the company expects to benefit from IFP’s in-depth technical expertise in production process design & engineering as well as in process economic optimisation for the development of a new benchmark process to manufacture PDO from glycerol (glycerin). The partnership will improve the global economics of the biodiesel production process and provides Metex with the feedstocks it needs to produce PDO.
Our agreement with IFP is one important step to ensure that we are developing the most economic industrial process for the bio-production of PDO. This collaboration strengthens METabolic EXplorer’s ability to develop economic bio-based solutions that are real alternatives to the current petrochemical processes. - Benjamin Gonzalez, CEO of METabolic EXplorer
The PDO process could play a crucial role in the overall economics of biodiesel production, thus highlighting the potential to transform the value chains of many post-petroleum bulk chemicals.

Others working on the similar green chemistry technologies have projected that optimizing biodiesel production in such a way that it yields a higher quality type of glycerol to be converted into PDO, could make the product 15 times more valuable (earlier post):
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

METabolic EXplorer is a leading 'green chemistry' company focused on the production of bulk chemicals. It has developed cell factories for five important bulk chemicals which together have current sales of approximately $11 billion. These products have applications in fibres, biodegradable plastics, paints, solvents and second generation biofuels. The company’s strategy to capture a significant element of major economic benefits that its novel technologies deliver is to use a collaborative business model to allow it produce and market its bulk bio-chemicals.

Metex is also involved in the development of biobutanol made directly from starch. This promising biofuel is produced in a way similar to ethanol, but has many advantages over the more widely used biofuel.

As an international research and training center, the IFP is developing the transport energies of the 21st century. It provides public players and industry with innovative solutions for a smooth transition to the energies and materials of tomorrow – more efficient, more economical, cleaner and sustainable. To fulfill its mission, IFP has five complementary strategic priorities: pushing back the boundaries in oil and gas exploration and production - converting as much raw material as possible into energy for transport - developing clean, fuel-efficient vehicles - diversifying fuel sources - capturing and storing CO2 to combat the greenhouse effect. An integral part of IFP, its graduate engineering school prepares future generations to take up these challenges.

References:
Metabolix Explorer: Agreement designed to develop an optimised production process for Metex’ proprietary bulk chemical PDO - Ausgust 30, 2007.

Biopact: Steps to biorefining: new products from biofuel leftovers - August 10, 2007

2 Comments:

Blogger Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Congrats on becoming The Blog of Note!!! Interesting blog reading!!!

JJ

3:11 PM  
Anonymous battery new said...

Over the next few years chassis development in the junior formulas will be fascinating. The success of Ligier and Mygale in F3 is forcing the tectonic plates of the single-chassis formula apart, and surely it can only be a matter of time before other marques attempt to enter cars into GP2 or WSR.

2:25 PM  

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