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FOCUS

ON

CATALYSTS

the production of second generation ethanol by 2010.

exothermic oxidative dehydrogenation process will be much greener.

Second-generation biofuels are closer than you think

Press release from: Novozymes A/S, Krogshojvej 36, 2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark. Tel: +45 4446 0000. Fax:

Chimie Pharma Hebdo, 23 Mar 2009, (459), 4 (in French)

Novozymes has created a new product family that can hydrolyze cellulosic feedstock, the raw material of second-generation biofuel production. Studies indicate that with cellulosic ethanol as a major contributor, 25% of the global consumption of gasoline can be replaced by 2030. Novozymes’ new product family is made up of a cellulase preparation specifically designed to have increased levels of beta-glucosidase activity and a unique performance booster for complete cellulose hydrolysis as well as a hemicellulase for liberation of hemicellulose, enabling higher ethanol yields. Novozymes has promised the biofuel industry that enzymatic solutions for second- generation bioethanol will be ready by

+45 4446 9999. E-mail: info@novozymes.com. Website: http://www.novozymes.com (24 Mar 2009) & ICIS Chemical Business, 30 Mar 2009, 10 & Chimie Pharma Hebdo, 30 Mar 2009, (460), 8 (in French) & NP Investor, 24 Mar 2009 (Website:

Successful Arkema & hte research project in converting glycerol to acrolein and acrylic acid

http://www.npinvestor.dk/) (in Danish)

BASF and Dow open HPPO plant

On 12 Mar 2009, Arkema and hte AG, the high throughput experimentation company, have announced the successful conclusion of a research collaboration on catalysis for glycerol to acrolein and acrylic acid conversion. The objective of the project initiated by Arkema consisted of providing performance screening for a variety of new suitable catalysts for conversion reactions of glycerol, a biodiesel by-product derived from biomass, to acrolein and acrylic acid. Arkema, which has already registered a number of patents in this field, opted for the services of hte’s laboratories in Heidelberg which use a proprietary parallel testing technology to accelerate this process of exploration and evaluation, thus moving interesting catalysts more quickly from experimentation to potential commercialisation.

BASF and Dow Chemical have brought online their hydrogen peroxide-to-propylene oxide (HPPO) jv plant at Antwerp, Belgium. The 50:50 jv unit, which features a jointly- developed novel HPPO technology, has the capacity to produce 300,000 tonne/y of propylene oxide.

Chemical Week, 23 Mar 2009 (Website:

http://www.chemweek.com) & Chemical and Engineering News, 16 Mar 2009, 87 (11), 21

NEW

2010.

BioTimes (Novozymes’ Enzyme e-zine), Mar 2009, 4-5 (Novozymes A/S, Krogshoejvej 36, 2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark. Tel: +45 8824 9999. Fax: +45 8824 9998. Website: http://wwww.novozymes.com/biotimes)

TECHNOLOGY

The first lead-free replacement for Lindlar catalysts

Efficient method for lignin removal unveiled

BASF Catalysts has developed two lead-free, palladium-based catalysts using its proprietary NanoSelect technology that supports commercial- scale production of heterogeneous catalysts containing unimodal nano- sized metal crystallites. Unlike Lindlar catalysts, which are widely used at present in selective hydrogenation reactions, NanoSelect catalysts LF 100 and LF 200 contain no lead impurities, allowing their use in alkyne to alkene hydrogenation reactions for products that have zero tolerance for lead impurities such as APIs. In addition, they only contain one-tenth of the palladium level found in Lindlar catalysts, resulting in cost savings.

Press release from: Arkema, 420, rue d’Estienne d’Orves, F-92705 Colombes, France. Tel: +33 1 4900 8080. Fax: +33 1 4900 8396. Website:

The new pre-treatment process for cellulosic ethanol production developed by Nippon Oil can efficiently remove lignin from biomass at low temperatures with the use of a speciality gas (undisclosed – Ed). In addition, the new method is said to result in lesser environmental effects compared with existing pre-treatment processes, including thermal treatment and the utilization of sulfuric acid. Lignin needs to be removed from biomass material before it can be processed further for ethanol production. Meanwhile, Nippon Oil has partnered with seven other firms to develop by 2015 a 200,000 klitre/y bioethanol production technology at a cost of Yen 40/litre (42 cents/litre).

http://www.arkema.com (12 Mar 2009) & Chimie Pharma Hebdo, 23 Mar 2009, (459), 9 (in French)

Green polymers

DSM and the French starch and starch- derivatives company ROQUETTE confirmed during the international Life Sciences Forum, BioVision, that its bio- based succinic acid demonstration plant in Lestrem (France) will be operational by the end of 2009. The pilot scale production has proven that this biological route for producing succinic acid can be commercially viable. The first tests for customers are already underway with this ‘green’ succinic acid. For the first time succinic acid, a chemical building block used in the manufacture of polymers, resins, food, and pharmaceuticals among other products, will be produced using biological means.

Speciality Chemicals, Mar 2009, 29 (2), 16-17

Argonne focuses efforts on new platinum-based catalyst

Japan Chemical Week, 12 Mar 2009, 50 (2506), 5

Argonne National Laboratory in the US (part of the Department of Energy) has identified new platinum-based catalysts for the dehydrogenation of propane to propylene. The current endothermic industrial process is expensive and not very environmentally-friendly. A new

European project for biofuels from cellulose

The Optfuel consortium led by Volkswagen and joined by IFP and 10 industrial companies and public bodies aims to develop second generation biofuels using the biomass

Meuse-Rhine Journal, 15 Mar 2009, (202) (Wadsworth & Wadsworth Assoc, PO Box 42, NL- 6245 ZG, Eijsden, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 43 4093719. Fax: +31 43 4098899. Website:

http://www.meuse-rhine-journal.com)