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Introduction of bio-based polyTHF

Chemical giant BASF has begun commercial production of polytetrahydrofuran (polyTHF) derived entirely from biomass feedstocks. The process hinges on a microbial fermentation of sugars to produce 1,4-butanediol (BDO), which is then purified and polymerised.

Genetically engineered bacteria

BASF has licensed the BDO fermentation process from biotech specialist Genomatica, which genetically engineered the bacteria to produce and excrete BDO in sufficient quantity and purity.

PolyTHF is primarily used as a component in polyester and polyurethane materials.

“The bio-based PolyTHF 1000 is identical in quality to the petrochemical-based product.” To say it is Andrej Brejc, director Renewable Diols from BASF’s Intermediates division (sales to third parties of about 2.8 billion euro in 2014), which has made bio-based Polytetrahydrofuran 1000 (PolyTHF® 1000) available for the first time. The chemical company headquartered in Ludwigshafen is now providing this intermediate to selected partners for testing various applications in a large scale.

Opportunity for renewable raw materials

According to Brejc, “the opportunity to expand the range of products and applications made from renewable raw materials allows us and our partners to further explore the long-term market acceptance of this innovative technology.”

BASF is the world’s leading provider of PolyTHF, which is primarily used to make elastic spandex fibers for a large variety of textiles, including underwear, outerwear, sportswear and swimsuits. PolyTHF 1000 is mainly applied as a chemical building block for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is used to make for example parts of ski boots and skates, shoe soles and instrument panel skin for automotive applications as well as hoses, films and cable sheathing.

It is also used as a component of thermoplastic polyetheresters and polyetheramides. Other applications include cast elastomers, which are used, for example, for the production of wheels for skateboards and inline skates.

Source: ilbioeconomista.com
 

Innovation project SILVER saves millions

In the Dutch province of Limburg, Letters of Intent were signed between a number of SMEs that collaborate with each other in terms of the raw materials they use and the waste products they produce. The signing of the cooperation agreements took place in the presence of our team member Marco Siemerink, commissioner Bert Kersten (Sustainability and Energy), chairman Jan Zuidam of the Limburg Employers Association (LWV) and sector manager sustainability and society Bart Tonnaer of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl).

The collaboration between the companies takes place in the context of the SILVER project, using a methodology that aims to accelerate innovation in the industry. SILVER stands for: Symbiosis in Limburg and Accelerating Realization. The process is in principle very simple: companies from all sectors are brought together in informal workshops with the aim of sharing as much information as possible about raw materials, waste, energy, services, knowledge and other innovative ideas. This provides new forms of cooperation between businesses and institutions.

The basic idea is simple: to use raw materials and waste products that you produce as a company as smart and responsible as possible (and working together on this issue with other entrepreneurs). This will not only contribute to a sustainable future, but you can also increase your profits. According Bert Kersten, innovation is the foundation for growth. Over the past year and a half, the SILVER partnerships already yielded some 5 million in savings.

SILVER is a partnership between the Province of Limburg, LWV and RVO.nl. The project started in 2013 launched. Since then, some 70 companies have signed up. A recent workshop floor was good for a whopping 298 matches. Team members of www.biobased-business.eu are helping the participants to find solutions for the many obstacles they encounter.

Source: www.zuidonline.nl; Maarten van Laarhoven

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Source: Zuidonline.nl

Source: Zuidonline.nl

Development and implementation of a multi-functional construction yard in Nigeria

On Wednesday, the 11th of March 2015, our team members Peter van Leeuwen and Jacques van Egeraat have signed a contract for the development and implementation of a multi-functional construction yard in full compliance with international standards, in Port Harcourt, Riverstate , Nigeria.

This state of the art facility will be fully operational for Oil & Gas, Petro-chemical and Chemical industry that includes a private harbor. Besides construction and maintenance buildings, the project further includes a dry and wet storage terminal.

The presence of a permanent Engineering team will support the Nigerian Customer on a daily basis both active in the Netherlands and Nigeria. Both Customer and our team members in the Netherlands have agreed for a long term relationship as stipulated by the contract.

Activities have already been initiated by means of a Business Plan in which all activities to be explored are identified and implemented.

The full range of integrated services enables us to support our client on any aspect of complex developments of a large scale project on any location worldwide. This project underlines our capabilities and the confidence we can offer to our clients that expectations will be achieved or even improved.

It`s our challenge to relieve our clients of all the stress and challenges related to the projects and to manage the risk and looking for opportunities.

Hempcrete: How industrial hemp is making construction greener

In the construction industry, everything is starting to look a little greener – the windows, the lights, the plumbing, and the heating and cooling systems. So it should come as no surprise that engineers have been dabbling in a more eco-friendly version of insulation too. It’s commonly known as hempcrete, and it’s changing the way our buildings retain temperature and conserve energy.

What is Hempcrete?

Hempcrete is an insulation alternative that mixes industrial hemp fibers and binders that resemble concrete to serve as the protective envelope inside a building. It is a mix of hemp hurds and lime, but possibly also contains natural sand, pozzolans, and cement. Hemp is a key crop in Manitoba, and it is most commonly used there to produce oil and seed. Hemp is also commonly used to make fabric and paper.

Building experts have developed a method for mixing the leftover wood core with water and binders to form hempcrete. In recent years, hempcrete has been catching on as a building material in Europe, where hempcrete buildings stand ten stories tall. Today, it is also marketed under the names Canobiote, Isochanvre, and Canosmose.

How Hempcrete Works

The industrial hemp core has a high silica content, allowing it to bind well with lime. This material is lightweight – about a seventh of the weight of actual concrete. Not only can hempcrete be used in the structure of buildings, but it also acts as insulating infill between frames. Loads are carried by internal wood stud framing, making it a popular option for low-rise construction.

Environmental Benefits of Hempcrete

Many eco-friendly builders praise hemp as a material because it’s a fast-growing crop and it can grow well in both tropical and temperate climates. It’s also considered to be an eco-friendly crop because it absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows. Hempcrete is considered to be a more eco-friendly material than traditional insulation, which is made of hydrofluorocarbons and can actually produce potent greenhouse gases.

Construction Benefits of Hempcrete

Based on research findings, hempcrete has the ability to manage moisture inside walls and store heat energy.

“Hempcrete is used as an environmental barrier for providing resistance to heat transfer and managing moisture of the building envelope,” said Kris J. Dick, an associate professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and director of Alternative Village, its construction research facility. “Engineers and architectural designers practicing in the field of nonconventional material applications have clearly indicated a need for more design data regarding hempcrete.”

Hempcrete Testing

To test the durability and longevity of hempcrete in modern buildings, engineers have developed testing methods to evaluate its safety and efficiency. Alternative Village’s Kris J. Dick conducted research within a 23.8-square meter to compare hempcrete to traditional insulation in terms of energy, thermal and moisture performance. The results of his study indicated that the hempcrete provided a stable temperature inside the wall and that temperatures were consistent throughout the wall.

To broaden its mass appeal in the industry, however, more development and testing are needed to improve hempcrete’s structural strength. Experts are also beginning to consider other hemp-like natural materials that could be utilized for alternative insulation purposes as well.

Source: VIATechnik, LLC (via Linkedin)

More on biobased materials



EU lawmakers back 6% cap on food-based biofuels

The European Parliament’s environment committee on Tuesday 24 February 2015 backed a new limit on traditional biofuels made from food crops that critics say stoke inflation and do more harm than good to the environment.

Those seeking to promote a new generation of advanced biofuels made from seaweed and waste welcomed Tuesday’s vote.

But those who have invested in biofuels made from crops such as maize or rapeseed say it puts jobs at risk.

Current legislation requires EU member states to ensure that renewable sources account for at least 10% of energy in transport by 2020.

The European Parliament’s environment committee on Tuesday agreed that biofuel from food crops should not exceed 6% of final energy use in transport – a tougher limit than the 7% backed by member states last year.

It also agreed that negotiations between member states, the European Commission and the Parliament should start now on a legislative text, rather than waiting for a plenary parliamentary vote.

Thomas Nagy, executive vice-president at Novozymes , the world’s leading supplier of enzymes for the production of conventional and advanced ethanol, said Tuesday’s decision was long overdue and should help to spur necessary investment in the right kind of biofuels.

“A stable and effective framework is the only way forward to secure commercial deployment,” he said.

But ePURE, the European Renewable Ethanol Association, called on member states “to remain firm on a minimum 7% cap for conventional biofuels”.

Apart from the impact on food prices, using farmland to produce biofuels adds to pressure to free up land through deforestation, which can result in increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Green members of the European Parliament said Tuesday’s compromise deal meant changes in land use and the resulting emissions would be accounted for, although it said the proposals did not go far enough.

British liberal lawmaker Catherine Bearder also said the deal fell short, but would help to “combat deforestation, hunger and climate change”.

The European People’s Party, the main centre-right grouping in the European Parliament, regretted the outcome.

It said it could mean the failure of negotiations that still have to take place on a final legal text, protracting regulatory uncertainty that has already dragged on for years.

Source: euractiv.com