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MARCH 2012


Bostik is preparing for shortages in fossil fuel products PLANT-BASED PLASTIC

Le Gaïalène finds its first industrial applications


Dominique Dutartre The new president of the IAR Cluster

Special report

MICROALGAE A future cornerstone of green chemistry



Europe quivers with joy


he Bioeconomy is a concept that the English-speaking world, and in particular the Americans, understand much better than us. In France the word “bio” immediately makes us think of organic farming where the price of a kilo of leeks is

very significantly higher than normal. But in reality, the idea of the Bioeconomy is considerably more far-reaching and ambitious. It means the use of any organic resources from both land (plants and animals as well as waste) and sea for industrial purposes or energy production. This also implies the use of biotechnological processes in order to achieve the greenest chemical processes possible. So the Bioeconomy is all of the economic activity which is based on biomass. And in fact, in Europe (and even in France), we have been operating a Bioeconomy for a long time without knowing it. The sector already generates a 2 trillion Euro turnover, and involves 22 million people, or 9% of European jobs. These figures are obtained by adding together the sectors of farming, fishing, food-processing, the paper industry, biofuels, biotechnologies and all of the new plant-based chemistry which already represent a turnover of €50 billion and 150 000 jobs. Even if these figures are far from anecdotal, they are still insufficient when seen in the context of the anticipated exhaustion of the fossil fuel riches. So to

Sylvie Latieule Chief editor

The European Commission has at last adopted a new strategy for a « sustainable Bioeconomy in Europe ».

give the Bioeconomy a boost, the European Commission has at last adopted a new strategy for a “Sustainable Bioeconomy in Europe”. It has published a road map based on three key elements: investment in research and innovation, better co-ordination between key players and the policies in place in the member states and development of the market and of competitiveness. And if all goes well, by 2025, all these actions will mean the generation of not 2, but 45 trillion euros and millions of jobs, not to mention significant carbon reductions. Of course, a road map is all very well, but we are still at the starting line. The association European Bioplastics was the first to react, saying that it did

not see any concrete proposals for encouraging the development of bioplastics. At the same time, in the US, the presidential candidate Obama signed a “presidential memorandum” giving preference to biosourced products for all Federal purchases in their multiple offices and ministries. And in this sector, the United States is not starting from zero, because a “BioPreferred program” has existed since 1998, when it was started by the department of agriculture (USDA). Over the years, the program has built up a base of over 9 000 products in 64 categories to respond to everyone’s needs. By adopting this strategy, Europe has once again shown just how far behind the United States we are and how far we still have to go. FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012



N°09 - March 2012

Green 06 showcase

30 Special report MICROALGAE A future cornerstone With rising prices and the likelihood of fossil fuel scarcity, industry is showing an ever-increasing interest in renewables. Amongst these, as yet little-used microalgae could be used to supply various sectors of industry. © Roquette

© Vax

of green chemistry

08 In light BIOSOURCED ADHESIVES Bostik is preparing for shortages in fossil fuel products

IAR CLUSTER « There will be no radical changes »

COLLOQUIUM Taking inspiration from nature to develop the chemistry of tomorrow

LIGNINS Developments projects in innovative substances and materials Make way for sustainable solutions

CENTRE REGION The Valbiom cluster is encouraging biomass development

VEGETABLE BASED PLASTIC Le Gaïalène finds its first industrial applications © Barbier


36 Focus

SIMULATION Computer-assisted biorefinery

EXTRUSION Another leap forwards for Clextral


41 Contacts/ Diary

Genomatica and Novamont move forward with their joint venture

Appointments Training courses/Events

BASF invests $ 30M in Renmatix Arkema and Elevance set up a partnership

38 Suppliers


42 Index List of companies

Reflection on a definition 4

FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

Cover photography : Roquette

A cardboard vacuum cleaner

© Vax

■ Somebody had to think it up; and a young British designer, Jake Tyler, did. This vacuum made by the brand Vax has been designed with materials which are more environmentally friendly, i.e. recyclable plastic and cardboard. More fragile than plastic, the cardboard which forms the body of the unit may indeed suffer damage, but the designer has thought of everything. This cardboard casing can be replaced at any time, with a cost which is ten times less than that of a plastic shell.


Plant-based product are creeping into our daily lives, and even into our household appliances.

A strip of green on the balcony ?

■ Specialising in the design and manufacture of chargers for the world of consumer electronics, the company Mayamax calls upon numerous young French designers to develop chargers for optimal efficiency both in terms of energy as well as in terms of aesthetics. Its objective is to offer the most efficient technology in terms of power consumption and the greenest materials possible. The Biocharger 180 is thus made of a material using 40 % plantbased fibre.

■ The “oversized straddling window box” from the company Az&mut sits directly straddling the railings of balconies. It is held in place securely thanks to its two small security locks. Made in Burgundy, this window box planter is made of 70 % flax fibres and 30 % polyester resin, which makes it light, very strong, and resistant to frost.


FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

© Az&mut

© Mayamax

Greener chargers

When the leather becomes a vegetable... ■ Did you know, the reinforcing elements of the leather bag are made of plant leather? And yet it looks just like leather, and for good reason, as these reinforcements are indeed made of animal skin. However, the leather takes its name from its method of tanning; instead of using chromium and other chemicals from fossil fuels, it is inspired by traditional methods based on natural products such as tree bark.

■ Will the Bio Robot Refrigerator be the refrigerator of the future? This concept is proposed by the Electrolux Group. It comes straight from the imagination of a young Russian designer who has also been a prize winner as part of the Electrolux Design Lab competition. It has the ability to cool food, via encapsulation in a biopolymer gel, which is itself cooled by a system of infrared absorption and reemission in the visible, creating a phenomenon of luminescence. The principle of the cool box has thus been abandoned, you simply slip your apple or fish into the gel, and it comes out cooled and perfectly intact.

© Electrolux

© Louis Vuitton

Biopolymers go into refrigeration

Bayer’s green shoe ■ Bayer MaterialScience has developed a green shoe concept that uses sustainable raw materials and technologies. It contains polyurethane (PU) which is partially bio-based, non-solvent coatings and adhesives and a mixture of polycarbonate and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) based on renewable resources. Over 90 % of the components of this shoe are eco-compatible and use Bayer products.

© Ba yer

© Bayer

It doesn’t get more plant-based than this

© Hoo Design

F O C U S A flexible and elastic bioplastic ■ If you want to vegetate your home, the

Tereos Syral (a member of the IAR cluster) is producing Meriplast, a new renewable and biodegradable bioplastic, made entirely from agricultural commodities (wheat and oilseeds). This unique material has specific properties of flexibility and elasticity and a pleasant feel. It can be coloured and moulded for manufacturing interior objects (toys, furniture, etc.). Applications are under development.

© Meriplast

young designer La Chanh Nguyen has designed the Larosée bath mat based real moss, gathered in the Vosges forest. The base consists of a double layer made of recycled off-cuts of latex foam (mainly plant-based) whose cohesion is ensured by a water based environmentally friendly adhesive. Beyond a commitment to the environment, the Larosée mat guarantees your feet a new sensory experience.

Information selected by the site Agrobiobase

FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012



© Bostik

Bostik anticipates shortages of fossil fuels While sustainable development is a powerful driver, adhesives professionals are looking to expand their sources of supply to the plant world in order to alleviate possible future shortages; an interview with Bruno Charrière, R&D and Innovation director at Bostik. mers, notably cellulose ethers and we are looking into starch derivatives.


FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

And so the use of plant based raw materials in adhesive formulations is not new ? B. C. : This is a contemporary topic which has been much talked about at Bostik for 4 years. In 2010 we evaluated our plant sourcing at 9 % in value. And our vision for 2016 is around 12 to 15 %. In light of advances in the field, this view is probably too optimistic. The share of bio-based products in formulations will accelerate, but it may take several more years. © Bostik

Formule verte : 100 % owned by Total, Bostik is among the world’s largest producers of adhesives. What is special about your product portfolio ? Bruno Charrière : Bostik is a group with 1.4 billion euros in sales, specialising in adhesives and whose particularity is that we are very non-specialised. There are ten major categories of adhesives and the group has a presence in all these technologies. However we can talk about three categories of adhesives that feature among our strengths. This is the field of hot melt pressure sensitive adhesives or HMPSA*. These adhesives are typically able to be applied in a molten state without a vehicle, that is to say without aqueous or organic solvent. Bonding is effected via simple cooling. The formulations generally use tackifying resins which are polymers of low molecular weight. They can be natural or petroleum based, for example derivatives of rosin. We have another strength in elastic bonding; this area includes adhesives based on liquid elastomers which cure via chemical reaction. In this family there are polyurethane systems or silylated polyethers, which polymerise by reacting with ambient moisture. We are also developing polymers whose buildings blocks can be very diverse in nature, oil based, but also natural. Finally, our third specialty is in the field of cements and mortars modified with polymers, which have applications in construction. These formulations contain synthetic polymers as well as naturally occurring poly-

What is pushing Bostik to become interested in bio-based products ? B. C. : There is a market trend coming from our clients and end users. In consumer products, for example disposable and feminine hygiene, clients such as Kimberly Clark and Procter & Gamble are on the lookout for offers in order to increase the share of renewable materials in their products. We also have more and more demands from the transportation sector, automotive in particular. However, the amount of glue going into a finished product is often negligible and represents only a few percent of the total. In a 1 tonne vehicle, there is little more than 1 kg of glue! And it is important to be careful with the overall environmental impact of products from agricultural production to end of life, hence the importance of conducting life cycle analysis or LCA. Are there other motivations apart from sustainable development? B. C. : In fact there is an even more important trend which is the availability of raw materials. Many of our adhe-

sader is one of Bostik’s consumer trademark. Here, a bicomponent Epoxy glue.

sives are based on C4 and C5 raw materials derived from petroleum, such as butadiene, isoprene and piperylene. And these monomers, which are used to produce thermoplastic elastomers and tackifying resins are subject to shortages. On the one hand, there is the tire industry which is consuming ever more of them to produce elastomers and to alleviate a shortage of natural rubber, whose prices are soaring. On the other, steam crackers are moving towards lighter feedstocks based on ethane or methane, instead of naphtha. These steam crackers are producing more and more C2-C3 cuts to the detriment of C4-C5, which are less abundant. Already, our major customers are beginning to wonder about the availability of elastomer adhesives in the future knowing that they are essential for their products. Also, in our profession, we are beginning to look to renewable sources of monomers like the major players in the field of elastomers, such as Lanxess and Goodrich, who are forming strategic alliances with innovative start-ups. The latter have been making a lot of announcements, but ultimately it is not yet possible to predict when these new materials will be available industrially. Are you engaged in collaborative R & D ? B. C. : We are participating in the Napapi** project in partnership with Iterg and a CNRS laboratory with the support of the ADEME. We are working on the possible uses of plant compounds, derived from rapeseed oil to produce polyols which are part of the composition of high performance polyurethane adhesives for use in buildings and automobiles. This project was initiated in 2009 and will come to an end in October 2012. But it should be followed up. We are participating in the Techflax project, operated by the IAR cluster. We are working on a small component of the project which aims to develop polyurethane adhesives, this time based on linseed oil. We are also working with Total Petrochemicals and its subsidiary Futerro on adhesive formulations based on PLA. The results are not yet fully satisfactory because PLA is a glassy polymer to which it is not easy to give the properties of an adhesive, but we are making progress. In parallel, we are working with our suppliers to evaluate

Š Bostik

[INTERVIEW] In light

Bostik is an HMPSA specialist. Here we see an application in hygiene for the fixing of Lycra elastic onto a nonwoven.

new plant based raw materials. Many proposals are for new polyols, as this type of molecule is relatively easy to obtain from plant raw materials. However, it is important to bear in mind that for making polyurethanes, isocyanates are also needed. To date, there are not yet and plant based isocyanates on the market. The polyurethane obtained would be 70-75 % plantbased at best. Plant-based raw materials also have a reputation for being expensive. Is it a barrier to their more widespread introduction into your formulations ? B. C. : It is true that while our clients are interested in products from renewable sources, they are not willing to pay a significant additional cost, even more so as our polyols are often based on propylene oxide which is an abundant and cheap commodity. However, the conversion to bio-based products could accelerate on two conditions: if there are shortages of certain products such as C4-C5 cuts or bio-based products which bring new technical or functional characteristics. If the act of replacing a synthetic resin with a natural resin increases the moisture resistance of a sealant or adhesive, this additional performance may justify an extra expense. This is the direction in which we are concentrating our research at present. â– INTERVIEW BY SYLVIE LATIEULE


* HMPSA or Hot melt pressure sensitive adhesives ** Napapi or New agro-polymers for adhesives with innovative properties FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012



“There will be no radical changes”

© Pôle IAR

On 9th December 2011, Dominique Dutartre was elected president of the IAR Competitiveness Cluster for three years. This new mandate will be dedicated to the continuation of the main projects and themes of the cluster.

Dominique Dutartre, the new president of the IAR cluster

Formule Verte: Your predecessor, Daniel Thomas, is a key player in the field of research. You have a more industrial profile. So will the cluster begin to move more in that direction under your presidency? Dominique Dutartre : When Daniel Thomas was president, I was his first vicepresident. In this new term of my presidency, I particularly wanted him to become the first vice-president, and he accepted, remaining in charge of research and international relations. So I think that our different backgrounds will continue to complement each other and there will be no radical change from that point of view. The cluster is part of a continuous process which regenerates itself at source. So we’ll see the industrialisation of the first projects at the same time as the renewal of projects on the topic of biorefining, for starting production of biosourced substances as substitutes for fossil fuel derivatives.

Amongst the objectives you have set yourself, you talk of “expanding the international reach” of the cluster. How do you intend to do this? D. D. : We shall ensure that the cluster, along with some of its members, is always present at certain large international events that we will target. This will enable people who would not have the means on their own, to gain recognition through their

10 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

participation in this type of showcase. The overall idea here is to establish contacts at the events we shall prioritise, and that includes with start-ups. So we have targeted a number of large American, Brazilian and of course, European operations.

What other objectives are on your road map? D. D. : Our objective is to consolidate the specific focus of this cluster, that is, incountry biorefining. We believe that biorefining should be considered as a dual commodity, producing both food products and non-food derivatives as fossil fuel substitutes. This means that we will prioritise the production of value added substances and we will continue to participate in this work at a European level over the years to come. We will also ensure that operationally they are spread nationwide amongst the industry platforms that we have selected.

Which are they? D. D. : In the future they will be split out like this: proteins in Amiens; oleochemistry and second generation thermo-chemical biofuels in Compiègne; sugars, industrial biotechnologies and second generation biochemical biofuels in Bazancourt-Pomacle, solid-state fermentation in Nogentsur-Seine, and plant fibres and agro-materials in Troyes.

What short term projects do you have? D. D. : The big projects which are the result of the Avenir investments and the opera-

tional start-up of the big P.I.V.E.R.T. project (Picardie Innovations Végétales Enseignements et Recherches Technologiques) with the oleochemistry in Compiègne and multiple partnerships with the big names of the chemical industry. There will be a first phase which will be an investment phase in terms of research but which will then lead on to some significant projects. There is also the project concerning the problem of the structure of the plant fibre sector with FRD (Fibre recherches développement). And even if this may seem somewhat exotic in comparison to agro-resources, we are participating in GreenStars, an important project about algae.

Are you expecting new members in 2012? D. D. : Our membership numbers are growing all the time. We started in 2005 with 60-70 members, and in January 2012 we were at 206. There is another area which we are going to try and develop in the years to come: to continue to establish collaborations and conventions with part of the activity which is upstream of the IAR cluster, that is the genetics for resource transformation and synthetic biology. The cluster is currently finalising a convention with the Génopôle in Evry, for example. Until now they have been specialised more in the health and medical sectors, but some of the technologies used could well find applications in the world of industrial biotechnologies. This is the bridge that we hope to build between the Génopôle at Evry and the IAR cluster. ■ INTERVIEW BY FLORENCE MARTINACHE

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Patent pending

In light [SEMINAR] « CHEMISTRY AND ... »

Learning from nature to develop the chemistry of the future The Maison de la Chimie foundation decided to devote this year’s annual symposium in the series “Chemistry and...” to nature. It was the opportunity to recall the importance of chemistry in order to understand the natural environment and the source inspiration which it has always been.

more powerful anti cancer treatment.” In terms of the recovery of agricultural resources, scientists and manufacturers are seeking to carry out the metabolic engineering of microorganisms and enzymes in order to increase performance, concentration and production concentration. “In the past we looked for biological catalysts in extremophile bacteria. Today we are more often using functional meta-genomics combined with a construction in silico” says Pierre Monsan, a researcher at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in Toulouse and project manager at Toulouse White Biotechnology. The recombinant enzymes and microorganisms produced can be used to produce biofuels, and intermediates for chemicals and materials. Advances in metabolic engineering will thus help broaden the range of molecules accessible by industrial biotechnology. For example, Roquette, in partnership with DSM, has developed innovative biotechnological processes in place of chemical processes in order to produce bio-based succinic acid which is able to be integrated into polymers. “Plant based chemistry will be one of the pillars of the bioeconomy of the future. France is the fifth biggest chemical producer globally and the second largest exporter of cereals, and so it seems essential to me that it benefits from the greening of chemistry, which will be based on biorefineries and new industrial metabolisms” says Christophe Rupp-Dahlem, director of innovation programs at Roquette and president of the Association of Plant chemistry (ACDV), before lamenting that: “Unfortunately, the deployment of such projects is hampered by the lack of government support, unlike in foreign countries. This does not promote the establishment of the first industrial units in France.” ■

emonstrating the close link cals can build on accretionary sites in between chemistry and geology in order to develop recycling nature was the objective of processes for softer metals. “Recycling of the symposium “Chemistry slags is geo-inspired process for metal recoand Nature” held on January 25th at the very,” says Bruno Goffé, deputy scientific Maison de la Chimie in Paris. Organised by director at the National Institute of Universe the Foundation de la Maison Chimie (FMC) Sciences (INSU). and the French Federation for Chemical Mimicking nature to improve Sciences (FFC), this event brought together products and processes over 950 people to inform about and to discuss the contributions of chemistry to Today, chemists are quick to mimic natural daily life, and to show how nature is inspiprocesses to meet the needs of man, as ring the chemistry of the future. explained by Françoise Gueritte: “Chemists Indeed, chemistry has always used nature are less skilled than nature because they as a source or model in order to develop cannot reproduce certain chemical reacmolecules which are more accessible and tions. However, sometimes scientists develop suitable to human needs. “The biodiversity molecules inspired by nature which are of nature provides many therapeutic molemore effective than those available in nature. cules in terms of chemistry and structure,” For example, taxol, once isolated, can be says Françoise Gueritte, a researcher at the modified to produce molecule which is much Institute of Natural Chemistry at the CNRS. She adds: “For example, taxol, which has anti-cancer properties, is extracted from a conifer: yew. Another example is willow which yields salicylic acid, an analgesic.” The natural environment also inspires chemists working on materials, as mentioned by Clément Sanchez, the director of the Condensed Chemistry laboratory at the CNRS: “The shells of crustaceans and human bones are perfect examples of organic-mineral hybrids. They can inspire us to produce original materials which are recyclable, Biotechnology processes from R&D have to pass through the energy efficient, reliable, miniaturi- step of construction of industrial pilot projects, as for the sed and inexpensive.” Finally, chemi- Futurol project. © M. Jolyot Procethol 2G


12 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012


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Reprocessing projects for molecules and innovative materials have high variability and heterogeneity in terms of molecules and functions, which does not favour the development of specific processes. Moreover, the methods of characterisation of these molecules are still not standardised,” says Stéphanie Baumberger, senior lecturer at AgroParis Tech. “Lignin has a marked variability at different scales in terms of the plant, organ, tissue, the wall and even at a molecular level,” adds Bernard Kurek, director of the joint research unit Fractionnement des Agro-Ressources et Environnement - Agricultural Resources Fragmentation and Environment (FARE) at INRA Reims. Moreover, extraction methods (mechanical, chemical and enzymatic) often involve pre-treatment of biomass (solubilisation or catalysis) which distorts the molecules as they exist in the plant.

leum derived products. “Lignins are valuaeprocessing methods for agrible co-products which have the advantage of cultural resources are moving being renewable, which do not compete increasingly towards an intewith food crops, and which have a structugrated approach using the ral specificity with the presence of aromatic whole plant to convert biomass into bioecores. However, they are highly reactive and nergy and biobased products. Among the recovered tissues is lignocellulose, from which is extracted cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The latter is one of the focus areas of the national research group CNRS-INRA Biomatpro, whose mission is to remove the technological barriers to the optimal use of plants. The research group recently organised a workshop on the use of lignin for the development of biomaterials in order to share their potential and discuss current research. Mainly present in the walls of vascular plants, lignin is a generic term for a group of complex polymers. They consist of several aromatic molecules (derived from phenylpropanoids), and are associated with other molecules such as sugars and proteins. In industry these molecules notably come from co-products including papermaking processes and the production of bioethanol and have considerable significance Lignosulfonates from the paper industry can be used to produce for the substitution of petro- molecules with high added value.


14 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012


The CNRS-INRA Biomatpro national research group organised a workshop on the use of lignin for the development of new molecules and materials. It was an opportunity to take stock of research and the industrial potential of this renewable resource.

Multiple potential applications “Nearly 70 million tons of lignin are produced annually worldwide, of which 95 % are be recovered in the form of energy. The rest of lignins (Kraft, alkaline, organosolvents and lignosulphates) can be used for new applications with high added value such as reagents for cracking, bioactive molecules, additives or components of materials,” says Stéphanie Baumberger, before adding: “in additive form, lignins have a multitude of potential applications: plasticiser, antioxidant, antimicrobial, flame retardant, crosslinking agent or hydrophobic agent.” More specifically in terms of materials, lignins may contribute to the development of phenol-formaldehyde type


adhesives for wood panels, partially substituting fossil based phenols and limiting emissions of volatile organic compounds in the long term. “Lignins can also used as building blocks for producing polymers such as polyester or polyurethane enzymatically” adds Florent Allais, a researcher at the lignins and tannins team at the Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin (INRA / AgroParis Tech). Lignins are also used for reinforcement of hydrophobic materials, including the replacement of polyethylene or polystyrene by another which is biodegradable and derived from agricultural resources. “For example, lignosulfonates can make a material less sensitive to water, and reduce the loss of mass after immersion,” says Sonia Boisseau, a lecturer at the Research Centre for Plant Macromolecules (CERMAV). Finally, lignins also have antioxidant properties, due to the ability of phenolic cores to scavenge radicals. “They can thus help stabilise commonly used thermoplastics such as polypropylene,” says Stéphanie Baumberger (AgroParis Tech). Lignins are therefore an important source of molecules with a high potential for added value which is still rarely used.

In light



However, their diversity and variability (sometimes even within the same plant) leaves much work to be done by researchers in order to fully exploit this potential. With the emergence of green biotechnologies and biorefineries, there is no doubt that interest in these molecules will progressively increase and unlock ways to speed up the development process industrially. ■ DINHILL ON



Making way for sustainable solutions The bioplastics market is poised for strong growth. Dominated by biodegradable plastics, it is becoming progressively enriched by new sustainable families. Polyurethane, polyesters, polyamides, rubbers... most major polymers will be rivalled by bio-sourced versions.

n January 26th in Paris, the French Group of Polymers gathered together a large community of scientists from academia and industry to address the question of the synthons, biorefineries and biopolymers of tomorrow. It is a topic of the future as the market for bioplastics is still a niche. It represented a volume of approximately 0.5 Mt in 2009, out of a total of 250 Mt/year for the entire plastics industry, according to figures from the ProBIP office, gathered by Luc Averous, professor at the University of Strasbourg and head scientist for the event. The bioplastics market nevertheless promises substantial future growth, as expected volumes for 2020 are around 4.5 Mt/year. In value terms, the market is expected to reach 2.8 billion dollars in 2018 according to the American firm Ceresana, with annual growth of 17.8 %. Today, Europe is not lagging behind with a market share in biodegradables which is at almost 50 %, followed by North America and Asia-Pacific. Rebalancing is however expected in the coming years with the rise of AsiaPacific and especially South America, particularly Brazil. In this niche market, there are only a handful of biopolymers that have been proven commercially. Thus,



od ye a



The tyre sector is seeking to diversify its sourcing in plant based raw materials.

16 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

production of biodegradable materials towards bio-based sustainable materials. Future growth of these polymers will benefit more bio-sourced non-biodegradable categories which should increase from 8 % in 2010 to 47 % in 2018, according to the Ceresana study for markets such as the construction and automotive industries. Among these sustainable polymers can be found PA11, a long-used bio-based polymer, whose production dates back 40 years. But one can also mention other polyamides or families such as thermoset polyurethanes (PU) or thermoplastics (TPU), as well as polyesters. Knowing that for PU or TPU, only the polyol is generally available as in bio-sourced form. Bio-sourced isocyanates are still in the early stage of industrial production.

© CocaCola

Biosourced aromatic polymers are on the way

Coca Cola is exploring the possibility of using a 100% bio-sourced bottle.

it was biodegradable biopolymers that dominated the market at 92 % in 2010, the main representative being PLA (polylactic acid). PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) which is often associated with it recently suffered a serious setback with the cessation of the partnership between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) who elected to withdraw from their 50-50 joint venture, Telles. According to ADM, uncertainties continue to weigh on this activity, with higher costs than expected and a market adoption which has been more cautious than expected. Even more so as for the last 4 to 5 years we have begun to see a real change in terms of the industrial

In addition to the field of isocyanates, the entire aromatic chemistry sector is awaiting bio-sourced solutions. Aromatic or other surrounding cyclic structures play a fundamental role in the structure of polymers since they provide the rigidity and mechanical properties for future materials. Apart from abundant basic research, Jean-Pierre Pascault of the INSA in Lyon has compiled a list of companies which are actively working on this subject, beginning with Anellotech, Virent, Gevo, and Biofine Technology which are working on the development of aromatic structures inspired by fossil structures. Avantium, with its YXY technology, converts biomass into furan derivatives. In December, the company announced a partnership with Coca Cola for the development of a 100 % bio-sourced “plant bottle”, no longer made of PET, but rather PEF (based on Furan-2.5dicarboxylic acid). The special case of rubbers and elastomers was raised by Claude Janin, LRCCP and Elastopole scientific advisor. Rubber was once an exclusively natural product, made from rubber trees. This natural product continues to represent 20 % of the world



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supply because it has irreplaceable properties, notably an ability to crystallise under tension. It has however largely been replaced by products such as SBR and polybutadiene for tyres, EPDM for industrial rubbers, and polyisoprene, NBR and HNBR for specialised rubbers. Common to all these products is the fact that they are obtained from C4-C5 cuts from steam cracking. These cuts are becoming scarcer globally with the reduction of steam cracking loads which use more gas and less naphtha. Also today, rubber producers are having to turn to bio-based to secure their raw materials supplies. Many projects are underway; Goodyear and Genencor are working on isoprene, along with Michelin and Amyris. Lanxess and Gevo are taking an interest in isobutene and Synthos and Global Bioenergie in butadiene. However, there is a long way to go; these partnerships, of which the oldest dates back to 2010, have not yet entered the pilot phase. The day ended with a very rewarding round table bringing together manufacturers from agricultural resources (Roquette,

In light






The building sector is looking to sustainable bio-sourced solutions, such as this membrane developed with the team of Professor Averous.

Novance, the IAR cluster) and chemicals (Solvay, UIC). It found that between research into identical substitutes for fossil fuels (me too) or innovative structures with new functionalities, the question was not resolved. In some parts of the world, opportunities are created due to a high availability of competitive plant material. This is the case of ethylene based on sugar cane in Brazil, glycerol in Europe and soon succinic acid. In this case, it is more logical to adopt a “me too” approach where petro-sourced materials are replaced by their bio-sourced equi-

valent. The advantage of this strategy is that it allows for the continued working on the same types of polymers with existing industrial tools, especially for the transformers of plastic materials. On the other hand, research into bio-sourced products also brings the promise of totally innovative structures with new functionalities (e.g. the Gaïalene plastic by Roquette). It is likely that in the future, all these bio-sourced solutions will be deployed in parallel, depending on the geographic area and access to biomass. But in all cases, the biosourced solutions have to be cheaper or more innovative. Oil, especially for applications with high added value in the field of chemistry, has several more decades ahead of it. In addition, bio-sourced products have not yet demonstrated their environmental neutrality. Questions are still asked about the true environmental impact of the agricultural phase in the manufacture of biosourced products. Conducting indisputable and comparative analyses of cradle to grave life cycles is becoming increasingly urgent ■. SYLVIE LATIEULE



The Valbiom cluster encourages biomass conversion The first Biomass’Inov forum aimed to bring together the agricultural and industrial worlds to encourage nonfood reprocessing of local biomass.

was to review the opportunities which albiom Centre is a regional are arising in order to better prepare for the cluster which aims to future. promote economic developTo open, the speech by Claude Roy (genement and employment in ral councillor for Food, Agriculture and rural areas by bringing together the agriculRural Space, CGAAER) brought up the chaltural, industrial and research world together lenges of green carbon and bio-economy. on innovative projects for the reproces“The century will not end without powersing of non-food biomass. Its origins date ful global changes, which will mainly be back to 2006 with the establishment in due to climate change, but also the Eure-et-Loir of a Bioproducts mission by the economy of scarce natural resources on Chamber of Commerce and Industry and our planet.” Green carbon thus seems to be the Chamber of Agriculture of the department. In 2010, the initiative was extended to the entire central region with the creation of the Valbiom association, the 2011 winner of the “grapes of enterprise” tender by Datar, which enabled it to acquire cluster status. Within the association, the principle agricultural and forestry sectors are represented as the Centre region is characterised by a diversified pool of plant biomass from over 50 different crops: wheat, flax, hemp, rape, miscanthus and others. It also benefits The first Biomass’Inov event in Chartres. from the presence of specialia credible alternative. Today, 10 major sed research laboratories notably in biomobiomass sectors share the market, but there lecules and bioenergy (University of Tours is no global vision. Claude Roy called for a and Orleans) and partnerships with clusters governance of the earth for “management (Dream and Elastopole) and other clusters which is both rational and very productive in the region (Polepharma and Cosmetic for farmland and forests.” Valley). The Valbiom cluster which already In a round table on international perspecgroups together 57 members created an tives, Antoine Peeters, a member of Europaevent on December 6th with the holding of Bio, confirmed that in 2005 the European the first “Biomass’Innov” forum at the Cité Commission had created a platform where des Entrepreneurs in Chartres. The objective © Valbiom


18 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

various managements worked together. For 2007-2013, the budget supporting the bioeconomy was set at 4.7 billion euros, compared to 2 billion euros in the previous period. Nationally, Michel Aribart, in charge of the mission at the Ministry of Economy, said the initiatives were implemented in order to try to engage industrial players in research efforts, notably in this area. Creation of the ANR, clusters, and future investments are programs aimed at stimulating public-private partnerships. Then, industrial players from the region spoke, starting with Daniel Chazelas. In 2009 his company Grepa developed a plant fibre based composite and is now seeking to replace the matrix with a polymer which is as biodegradable and bio-based as possible. For his part, Patrick Jeulin from the Maillot company presented his Biolyse process which is in the industrialisation phase. Thanks to low temperature thermolysis, it allows for the treatment of urban or ordinary industrial waste (DIB) in order to manage, store, reprocess and dispose of them without polluting. Finally, the afternoon was devoted to three workshops: biofuels, agricultural materials and biomolecules. In the latter area, Hugues de Cherisey, a consultant, said that plant chemistry was structured around large plant sectors. The starch industry is based around cereals, potatoes, maize, and peas for glucose production. The sugar industry is based on sugar cane and beet for the production of glucose, sucrose and ethanol. Oilseeds and pulses give access to fatty oils of variable lengths. More recently, the lignocellulosic sector has aimed to utilise waste including straw. Within these channels, there are three main types of actors: agro-industrial (operators of biorefineries), chemical makers and


In light


biotech companies which bring innovation to different stages of the value chain. Ferchaud Pierre, R&D project manager at the centre for the reprocessing of carbohydrates and natural products (CVG), said that the petrochemical industry had over a century of experience and that plant chemistry was just beginning. He explained that this chemistry is being developed on the basis of molecule platforms which allow access to a whole area of chemistry; plant chemistry already counts a dozen molecules (sorbitol, levulinic acid, farnesene, glycerol and others). After these contributions, a first round table focused on the implementation of these new industries around agroindustrial groups connected upstream with agriculture and downstream with the chemical sectors. The relationships between the actors are still complex in light of a perfectly organised petroleum based sector. The second round table gave the floor to SMEs which have gone for plant chemistry: EnviroPlus which replaces petroleum

Š Claudmey

xc.h u

solvents with biobased and biodegradable products, Labema which supplies corrosion inhibitors for paints, varnishes, lubricants and detergents, and Fruitofood which had the idea of developing fruit waters for cosmetics. More than just a business opportunity, the choice of plant based products primarily reflects a civic

engagement by their leaders, convinced that the world will change and that the all petroleum model has run its course. However, they expressed their difficulties in operating in a world where oil is king, especially when they have to convince the decision makers in large industries (automotive and aeronautics) who do not give any leeway on performance. Finally, it emerged from these debates that there is a high expectation for the emergence of products, companies, and new industrial facilities in the Centre region based around the use of biomass. However, it must be kept in perspective: plant chemistry cannot substitute the perfectly organised petrochemical sector in just a few years. Even more so as, while petrol is running out, producers say that they are sitting on reserves which are good for fifty years. However, there will be a paradigm shift in the coming years and it is good to be prepared for it as soon as possible. â– SYLVIE LATIEULE, ORLEANS


In light [NEWSFLASH] BUTANEDIOL Europe’s first industrial production facility could be in the pipeline.

Genomatica and Novamont move forward with their joint venture he joint venture project between the American company Genomatica and the Italian Novamont, specialist in biopolymers and biodegradable plastics, is progressing well. The two groups have just signed the definitive agreement, following on from the letter of intention agreed last August. Novamont will hold the majority share in the company, which plans to build the first commercial production facility in Europe for biosourced butanediol (BDO). It will be located in Adria, in Italy, in an existing Novamont plant which will be specially converted into a BDO production facility. The BDO will be produced from biomass using a process developed by Genomatica. With a capacity of 18 000 tons per annum, production should

© Genomatica/Novamont


begin in 2013. The investment will total 50 million dollars and is being financed entirely by Novamont, who will also manage the facility. In addition, the Italian group has committed to purchase the entire production output of the facility. Genomatica may also puchase some of the BDO output if it so wishes. The agreement provides for the subsequent construction of a

The BDO will be obtained by bioproduction from biomass.

second BDO facility by Novamont, again using the process patented by the Californian company. We have also learned that Genomatica is in negociations with the Japanese company Mitsubishi Chemical with a view to launching a BDO production operation for the Asian markets. The results of these negociations will be made public on June 30th. ■ AUDREY FRÉEL



t the beginning of February, the German group Lanxess contributed $10 million to a pool of funds which enabled BioAmber to raise 30 million dollars (€22.6 M). This minority stake holding allows Lanxess to gain a seat on the Board of the American company. It also reinforces the partnership agreement signed in October by the two groups. The partnership is aimed at the production of phtalate-free plasticisers from succinic acid, with marketing starting this


20 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

© DR

Lanxess invests 10 million dollars in BioAmber

The petrochemical site in Sarnia is beginning a transformation towards biosourced production.

year. In addition, Lanxess is participating in the development of BioAmber’s first largescale production facility for biosourced succinic acid in

Sarnia, Ontario (Canada). The German group, which produces butyl rubber in Sarnia, will provide BioAmber with the necessary services and utilities. “Lanxess is actively engaged in the mobilization of Sarnia in order to make

it into the biggest industrial bio-park in Canada, which can supply land, energy and infrastructure for the development of new biosourced chemicals”, confirms Sandy Marshall, president of Lanxess Canada. With a capacity of 17 000 tons/year, the future BioAmber facility should be commissioned in 2013. The company still operates a production facility in France, in Pomacle (Marne), with a much smaller capacity of 3 000 tons/year. ■ A.F.


In light


he American start-up Renmatix, specialists in the production of cellulosic sugar, has just raised a total of 50 million dollars (€39 M), in a financing round initiated by BASF, who itself contributed $30 M. The start-up is developing the patented technology called Plantrose. This aims to produce industrial sugar from lignocellulosic biomass (wood, straw, cane waste). Currently it is the only solution found which can produce sugar in large quantities and at a competitive price using non-edible plant materials. “We have already demonstrated the functionality of the Plantrose process via a pilot facility. In collaborating with BASF, we are moving up to an industrial scale”, indicates Mike Hamilton, MD of Renmatix. The company expects to be


© DR

BASF invests $ 30M in Renmatix

The process can use straw as lignocellulosic biomass.

able to produce 100 000 tons per day of sugars. Based in Georgia (United States), it began laboratory-scale production at the end of 2008. A year later, it started a pilot unit capable of converting 3 tons/day of dry cellulosic biomass into xylose and glucose. ■ A.F.


L’analyse précise des liquides.

Cellectis in collaboration with Total ellectis is beginning a research partnership with Total on the development of fossil fuel substitutes derived from microalgae. The first phase of the program, due to last a year, will concentrate on the development of tools and methods for the genetic engineering of certain species of microalgae. It could then be followed by a second phase, lasting two to three years, which would focus on trait engineering (specific changes to the species and to its metabolism) for the production of compounds which are


currently derived from oil. The application of Cellectis’ genome engineering expertise will “accelerate the domestication and engineering of the microalgae species selected”. For its part, Total will bring its experience of biotechnology R&D partnerships, its knowledge of the oil and chemical industries, and its expertise in process development. The costs of the project will be split equally between the partners, as will the technologies and products which result from the collaboration. ■ A.F. FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012


Une analyse précise des liquides requiert des valeurs mesurées fiables ; notamment lorsque l’on a besoin d’une grande disponibilité et d’une longue durée de vie. En tant que spécialiste mondial en analyses physico-chimiques pour l’industrie de process et de l’environnement, Endress+Hauser allie cette exigence élevée à une grande faculté d’innovation. Des solutions complètes sur mesure analysent des valeurs précises de pH, de conductivité, de teneur en oxygène et en chlore, de turbidité ainsi que des substances nutritives et d’autres substances chimiques. C’est ainsi que nous garantissons la qualité des produits et les process de nos clients et que nous assurons la protection des hommes et de l’environnement. Endress+Hauser 3 rue du Rhin BP 150 F - 68331 Huningue Cedex Tél : 0 825 888 001 Fax : 0 825 888 009

In light [NEWSFLASH] Novozymes in collaboration with Sea6 Energy ■ Novozymes has signed a


research agreement in association with Indian start-up Sea6 Energy. The research will focus on the development of an enzymatic process for converting algae into sugar, which can then be fermented into ethanol, speciality chemicals and proteins

t the end of December, Tereos Syral, subsidiary of the agri-industrial cooperative Tereos, acquired 75% of the capital of the Haussimont starch mill (Marne). The latter had been 51% owned by the Huassimont Starch Cooperative (SCAF) and 49% owned by the company Sphere, specialists in bioplastics, which have retained 20 and 5 % of the capital respectively. Sphere has stated that it wished to keep this share in order to assure its supply of potato starch for the business of its subsidiaries Biosphere and Biotec. In addition to over 60 000 tons of starch for the food industry, the Marnebase starch mill processes


BASF pulls out of GMOs in Europe ■ The German chemical company is pulling out of its plant biotechnology business in Europe, with the loss of 140 jobs. “There is still a lack of acceptance of this technology in a large part of Europe – by consumers, farmers and political leaders”, explained Stefan Marcinowski, of BASF.

© DR

Tereos Syral buys shares in the Haussimont starch mill

The Haussimont starch mill refines potatoes.

almost 350 000 tons of starch potatoes for the paper-cardboard and bioplastics industries. It has recorded an annual turnover of 33 million euros and is supplied exclusi-

vely by the SCAF cooperative. This acquisition will enable Tereos Syral, The 3rd largest European starch producer, to complete its portfolio of raw materials with this addition of potato starch. ■ A.F.



Celtic Renewables turn to whisky

Vinythai launches production for the Asian markets

spin-off from Napier University in Edinburgh (Scotland), the start-up Celtic Renewables, is looking to whisky, or to be precise, to the by-products of its manufacture, for producing biobutanol. The process patented by


© DR


The by-products from the manufacture of whisky have sparked the interest of Celtic Renewables.

22 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

the company can also produce acetone and ethanol, in addition to products for animal feed. Celtic Renewables has revived a fermentation technology which utilises two by-products of the whisky manufacturing process; the liquid residue remaining in the copper still after distillation (known as “pot ale”) and that resulting from the malting of the barley (“draff”). The company estimates that 1.6 billion litres of pot ale and 500 000 tons of draff could be utilised in this way. A pilot study has been announced for the end of the year or the start of 2013. ■ J.C.

olvay has announced that its Thai subsidiary Vinythai has successfully inaugurated a world class facility at Map Ta Phut, in Thailand, for the production of biosourced epichlorohydrin. Production is based on Solvay’s Epicerol process, which uses glycerine, a byproduct from biodiesel production, as its raw material. Utilised for the produc-

tion of epoxy resins, epichlorohydrin is in increasing demand in the Asia-Pacific region, and this demand could now be met by the new facility. With a capacity of 100 000 tons per annum, it represents an investment of € 120 million. Vinythai is owned by Solvay, (58.77 %) and the PTT Chemical Public Company (24.98 %). ■ S.L.

SDK chooses Myriant ■ The Japanese company Showa Denko (SDK) has chosen American company Myriant as its supplier of biosuccinic acid. SDK produces biosourced PBS polymers, marketed under the brands Bionolle and Starcla, for the manufacture of biodegradable polymer films and compostable bags.



he French starch producer Roquette and its compatriot Metabolic Explorer, specialist in the development of bioprocesses, have reached a new stage in their exclusive partnership on the organic production of biosourced Lmethionine. In view of the animal testing results on this amino acid used in animal nutrition, the two partners are examining the possibility of “industrialising the process for significant production capacity” , given that the manufacturing and commercial development of the process is licenced exclusively worldwide to Roquette. In 2009, they had launched the first certification trials for poultry. The groups now say that the trials on poultry “yielded very good results in terms


of nutritional effectiveness, comparable to those obtained with petrochemically based methionine". The trials carried out on piglets in 2011 “also gave excellent results”. As a result, Roquette is currently preparing the analytical and toxicological paperwork, which should be finalised mid2012, with a view to obtaining European accreditation. The biosourced methionine resulting from this partnership is produced thanks to a fermentation bioprocess which uses renewable raw materials developed by Metabolic Explorer. Until now, this amino acid has essentially been made using chemical processes based on propylene. ■ A.F.


WV Specialty Chemicals, a division of MeadWestvaco Corporation, and DRT, both of whom are active in the production of rosin and pine resin extract derivatives, have announced the signing of a strategic alliance. According to the terms of the partnership, MWV will purchase and market the pine derivatives produced by DRT, in Europe and North America. DRT will concentrate on its key markets and its industrial expertise in addition to marketing MWV adhesive resins in Europe. Thanks to this partnership, each of their customers will have access to new products and will able to benefit from a dedicated team of experts in Europe and in the United States, with cutting edge technology research and applications laboratories. For the customers, the alliance will also mean improved production and distribution capacities



MetEx and Roquette looking at MWV Specialty Chemicals and industrial scale production DRT team up

The two partners will jointly distribute their pine resin extracts.

and prime access to the latest technological innovations. “This alliance represents a real advantage for our customers because we will be working together on the development of new products and on improving the yields from our facilities”, declared Eric Moussu, DRT’s sales and marketing director.DRT. ■ S.L.

Lower forecast for Amyris aced with certain operational difficulties, the American company Amyris, specialists in the production of renewable farnesene, has decided to reposition its strategy. Although the company has shown that its technology does work on an industrial scale, it is proving more difficult to reach and maintain the same yields obtained in the laboratory but on a larger scale. Consequently, Amyris is planning to build only one Biofene (the brand name for its farnesene) production facility on the


24 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

Brazilian site of Paraiso Bioenergia, instead of two. Neither will the facility of its partnership with Antibioticos in Leon, Spain be extended. This year, Amyris will be unable to reach production volumes in the region of 40 to 50 million litres of Biofene. To limit its losses, the group has just completed a financing round which has raised $83.7 M. The Total group, which is already a shareholder, contributed to this new funding initiative. ■ A.F.

Favini buys its green algae in Brittany ■ The Italian paper producer ched the paper in 1992, after a Favini has announced that in 2009 and 2010, it purchased 130 tons of green algae originating on the Brittany coast for the manufacture of its Shiro Alga Carta paper in its Venetian factory in Rossano Veneto. The company laun-

request from the city of Venice, which was looking for ways of using the green algae which were proliferating in the lagoon. With the drop in quantities of algae in Venice, Favini now has to find supplies outside Italy.

ZeaChem receives $232.5 M from its government. ■ ZeaChem has been selected by the American Ministry of Agriculture to receive a loan of $232.5 m (€177 M), as part of an assistance program for biorefineries. The funds will enable it to finance its first commercial biorefinery in Oregon (United States). It will have a capacity of 95 M l per year and create around 60 jobs.


Impr oving ffood ood pr operties: Improving properties: solutions b y No vance and Oleon by Novance Novance and Oleon in troduce their vegetablebased products aimed at improving the functional properties of food and food ingredients...

“PGPR, a multi-purpose v vegetable-based egetable-based emulsifier” Marjan Maes, R & D L eader aderr, F Food, ood, Novance “PGPR or polyglycerol polyricinoleate (E476) is an emulsifier made from castor bean oil, which improves the functional properties of food and food ingredients. PGPR significantly improves the flow properties of chocolate, for example when chocolate is moulded, and can be used to create a homogenous and thinner chocolate layer for dipping and coating (compound coatings, shaped chocolates and cookies coated in a thin chocolate layer). PGPR can also be used as a cost-saving alternative to partially replace expensive cocoa butter. In low fat spreads (which contain more water), now often preferred to butter or margarine (which contain more fat), PGPR is used as an emulsion stabilizer. Used as a food-grade release agent, PGPR improves mould release properties and can also be applied to conveyor belts.”

“Deliv “Delivering ering unique unique ffood food solutions” solutions” usiness Manager Manager r,, F Food, Food, Oleon Oleon An Vandenbussche, Business “Oleon markets a wide range of vegetable-based food ingredients and additives under the following brand names: Radiamuls, Glycerine and Radiacid. These ingredients and additives include: emulsifiers, medium-chain triglycerides, glycerine and fatty acids used to stabilize water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions, control fat crystallization, prevent starch retrogradation, provide plasticizing or aerating properties, prevent desiccation, and boost body energy levels... These ingredients and additives can be used alone or in combination in: margarine and shortening, starch-rich food, ice cream, dessert, chocolate and compound chocolate coating, chewing gum, meat, baby food,… In addition to achieving the desired changes in the properties of food and food ingredients, Oleon’s ingredients and additives are a vegetable-based, cost-effective and nutritionally healthy option. Food emulsifiers are complex molecular systems. Our R & D department works in partnership with universities and industrial players to develop new vegetable-based formulas offering the highest performance for food applications.” Polyglycerol polyricinoleate improves the flow properties of chocolate and compound coatings (Radiamuls Poly 2253K)

No Novance vance and Oleon ar are e subsidiaries o off the Sofiprotéol Sofiprotéol group group and ar are e specializ specialized ed in renewable renewable chemistry chemistry As tw two o major pla players yers among the leading Eur European sector off activity activity,, these opean ccompanies ompanies in this sect or o tw two o ccompanies ompanies de develop velop and mark market et o over ver 500,000 ttons off v vegetable products, ons o egetable oil-based chemical pr oducts, pr providing oviding solutions which ccombine ombine technological perf performance, safety-of-use eco-friendly ormance, sa fety-of-use and ec o-friendly sstandards tandards ffor or indus industrial trial applica applications tions and end cconsumers. onsumers. No Novance vance and Oleon o offer ffer a wide rrange ange o off rrenewable enewable pr products alternatives oducts which can be used as alterna tives tto o cconventional onventional pe petroleum-based troleum-based pr products: oducts: ffood ood ingr ingredients, edients, solv solvents, ents, emulsifiers, plas plasticisers, ticisers, rresins, esins, lubrican lubricants, ts, surfactan surfactants, ts, chemical in intermediates… termediates…

www .novance .c om www.novance .com www www

In light [NEWSFLASH] BIOPOLYMERS Arkema is going to use a monomer from Elevance, obtained by the use of the metathesis reaction on vegetable oils.

Agreement on semi-aromatic PAs ■ Rhodia, a member of Solvay, is partnering with the Dutch company Avantium on the development of polyamides from renewables-based raw materials. This agreement reinforces the collaboration which began in July between Solvay and Avantium on the use of a biosourced monomer in semi-aromatic polyamide chains. Through this alliance, Rhodia will test the biosourced polyamides in the form of fibres or technical plastics in various sectors.

26 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

Arkema wants to diversify its bio-sourcing beyond the castor-oil plant. Here a safflower.

acid, which is produced from castorbean oil and used in the production of 11-aminoundecanoic acid, a monomer of the polyamide Rilsan. On its web site, Elevance also states that the esters and acids it supplies are especially suitable for the manufacture of polyamides and polyesters, two types of polymers which are found in Arkema’s portfolio. For its part, the Arkema group will bring to the table its reco-

olefin (ethylene, butene – for the moment fossil-fuel based) and plant or even animal oils. Even if Arkema is not giving out any information on the kind of biopolymers it intends to develop, we know that the methyl ester of 9-decenoic acid is identical to within one carbon unit to 10-undecanoic

gnised expertise in polymer chemistry. “Our partnership with Elevance is giving Arkema a strategic opportunity to expand our biosourced raw materials supply sources and will allow us to consolidate our position as leader in this fast-growing market for renewable-based polymers, thanks to an increase in production capacity for our customers worldwide”, commented Jean-Luc Dubois, chief scientist at Arkema. However, these polymers will not be on the market before 2015 – 2020. Jean-Luc Dubois emphasizes that these are new chemical structures and that they will require the construction of their own production units. In 2011, Elevance had signed other partnerships with some of the big names in chemicals, including Clariant, DSM and ISP. ■ SYLVIE LATIEULE


Rhodia collaborating with Roquette hodia Acetow, a subsidiary of Rhodia (Solvay group) which specialises in the production of cellulose acetate cables for the manufacture of cigarettes, is expanding its activities to include the production of plant polymers. It has teamed up with the starch producer Roquette in order to develop starch derivatives, or more precisely starch acetate, for the paper, paint, colorant and pharmaceutical sectors. This will enable an alternative supply

to fossil fuel-based polymers. Under this agreement, the partners will combine the expertise in starch of


© vjeran 2001

rench company Arkema and Americans Elevance Renewable Sciences have announced a global partnership for the development and the production of new biosourced speciality polymers, for applications ranging from the auto industry to offshore and energy sectors. These polymers will be based particularly on a biosourced monomer supplied by Elevance, the methyl ester of 9-decenoic acid. This substance will be one of the key products of Elevance’s new biorefinery, which is due to open in Indonesia this year, with a capacity of 180 000 tons per year of vegetable oil. This unit is based on the use of the metathesis reaction, which in 2005 earned Français Yves Chauvin the Nobel Prize for chemistry, along with the Americans Robert Gubbs and Richard Schrock. It is a reaction that occurs between an


© Arkema

Arkema and Elevance are partners

Rhodia Acetow wants to diversify beyond its production of cigarette cables.

Roquette with the industrial technologies at Rhodia. Production trials of starch acetate will take place at the beginning of 2012 at one of the Rhodia Acetow sites. They will supply several tons of product so that it can be tested in the different fields of application. “At the end of these tests if they are successful, we could then begin to plan industrial scale production of these new plant-based polymers", states a Roquette spokesman. ■ A.F.

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« Chemistry and materials » industry committee



Metabolix and ADM cease their collaboration

he Japanese chemical company has announced that in its laboratory it has successfully produced samples of fully biosourced polyethylene terephtalate fibres (PET). Toray has been working in partnership with the American company Gevo. Gevo is a specialist in isobutanol produced from biomass. Using synthetic biology processes it has converted isobutanol for synthesizing paraxylene. From which Toray has synthesized terephtalic acid and, by using renewable mono ethylene glycol has managed to produce the


PET samples. A biosourced PET which, according to Toray, and under laboratory conditions, has the same characteristics as petrochemically produced PET. The Japanese group then succeeded in producing PET fibres which are entirely biosourced. This is the “proof that polyester fibres can be produced on an industrial scale from fully biosourced raw materials", enthused Toray. Present in the biosourced polylactic acid (PLA) market since 2006, Toray intends to develop its activity in biopolymers over the next few years. ■ J.C.



NatureWorks and BioAmber form AmberWorks atureWorks, which develops biopolymers in PLA (polylactic acid) under the brand name Ingeo, and BioAmber, world leader in biosuccinic acid, have announced the formation of © NatureWorks


Ingeo’s first production unit at Blair, Nebraska.

28 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

AmberWorks. This joint company will offer new biopolymers based on PLA and PBS (polybutylene succinate) compounds, which will be marketed by NatureWorks under the Ingeo brand name. This combination is aimed at improving the properties of PLA in terms of flexibility, feel, heat resistance and processability. BioAmber holds the intellectual property rights to these new PLA/PBS compounds, but NatureWorks has more tried and tested commercial expertise in relation to plastic materials processors who are specialized in thermoforming and injection molding, For applications in the food and consumer products sectors. ■ S.L.

very serious setback for Metabolix. The American group Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has decided to withdraw from their50/50 joint venture Telles, which, through the fermentation of corn starch, produces polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers. These bioplastics, marketed under the name Mirel, were aimed essentially at the production of biodegradeable packaging, particularly for agriculture, horticulture and mass consumption. According to the ADM group, despite the positive results from the partnership, uncertainties remain about the activity, with costs which are higher than planned and more hesitant adoption than expected by the markets. Telles had started its produc-

© DR

Toray has produced 100 % biosourced PET fibres

Metabolix doesn’t want to give up the PHA.

tion in 2010 at the ADM facility in Clinton, Iowa (United States), with a capacity of 50 000 tons per year. The facility, which ADM built and financed, will remain its property and will be used for other types of production. ADM has however announced 43 job losses, whilst 46 jobs will be kept. Metabolix will continue its PHA business on its own.. ■ J.C.


Ajinomoto seals an alliance with Toray he Japanese company Ajinomoto, global leader in the amino acid sector, has signed a research and marketing agreement with its compatriot Toray, a big nylon producer. Under the agreement they want to produce nylon from 1.5-pentanediamine (1.5-PD). This would be manufactured from the decarbonation of lysine, produced by Ajinomoto. Toray will then polymerize the 1.5-PD using dicarboxilic acid in order to obtain biosourced nylon fibres,


which will then be used for making garments. “The nylon fibres produced from 1.5-PD do not just form part of a sustainable development initiative because they are biosourced, they are also highly promising in terms of the development of very comfortable garments”, the partners explain. They have already conducted “successful” production tests. They now plan to develop production on a larger scale and to assess the suitability of these products for textile and plastics applications. ■ A.F.

Special report With rising prices and the likelihood of fossil fuel scarcity, industry is showing an ever-increasing interest in renewables. Amongst these, as yet little-used microalgae could be used to supply various sectors of industry.

MICROALGAE A Future © Roquette

cornerstone of green chemistry


cultivable renewable resource with applications not only in speciality chemicals, the food industry and effluent treatment, but which could also be a source of biofuel and of substitutes for fossil-fuel based substances? Look no further, the microalgae are here. These photosynthetic organisms have existed on earth for over 3 billion years and have been regularly utilised over the course of history. Scientists have discovered that phytoplankton (from which microalgae are derived) were regularly consumed by the Aztecs, and more recently by the Chadians. At the beginning of the 20th Century, researchers were already thinking that the high protein content of these microscopic algae could be used for human and animal food. During the petrol crises of 1973 and 1979, they had been the subject of research into their potential use as a fuel source. In France, they were utilised at the end of the 1970s in the production of algae feed for aquaculture. Nowadays, autotrophic cultivation is preferred by industry because it is more economic in terms of the raw materials required (just light and CO2) and simpler to set up. The production of autotrophic microalgae takes place on a continuous basis under either controlled conditions in closed systems (pho-

30 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

tobioreactors or PBR) or in automated and optimised open systems (raceway ponds). Each has a number of advantages and disadvantages. The raceways are a cheap solution for microalgae cultivation which can be quickly up and running. However, their productivity is lower than the PBRs, mainly due to their dependancy on natural environmental conditions and exposure to contaminants. The PBRs enable better control over cultivation and higher production yields. But they remain expensive to build and maintain. “Currently, what is holding back the development of microalgae is the high cost and limited production capacity. In addition, the production technology needs to be adapted to each sector of application”, says Alexandre Phulpin, the Operations Director of Phycosource, a company specialised in finding active substances based on microscopic algae. “More research is necessary in order to increase the yields of the cultivation systems”, adds Sandrine Dereux, Bio-Ingredients Manager and subject specialist for the IAR Competitiveness Cluster. And she adds: “More research is still needed into the characteristics of the different microalgae species”. Extraction processes also need to be improved, as Laura Lecurieux-Belfond, the Languedoc-Roussillon representative for the Trimatec Competitiveness Cluster says:

“Downstream, we still need to optimize the concentration of the algal biomass because of the high water content of the microalgae, which renders the extraction and drying processes less effective”.

Heterotrophic cultivation more profitable But some companies such as Martek, Nisshin, Solazyme and Fermentalg have chosen to use heterotrophic cultivation due to its higher production yields (see table). Used since the 1990s in Asia and then in the United States, heterotrophic cultivation methods involve real computer-controlled factories into which a carbonaceous substrate is introduced in order to harvest a biomass concentrate. “The technological breakthrough was when we started thinking about microalgae as something that was capable of consuming an organic substrate such as yeast or bacteria. That meant that we could multiply yields by 150 and industrialise the production of microalgae”, emphasizes Pierre Calleja (Fermentalg). And he says: “Almost all turnover generated by microalgae now comes from heterotrophic cultivation”. Microalgae are already being used in certain sectors such as cosmetics and nutraceuticals. In France, companies such as Greensea and Alphabiotech


They could also serve in ground bioremediation, for example in fossil-fuel decontamination. As far as high value-added substances are concerned, microalgae can be used in different markets. The human and animal food sectors could make use of the high protein and fat content of the algae or their pigments as food colorant. The cosmetics industry will seek to make more use of algae extracts in the form of antioxidants, lipids or coloare producing and selling microalgae of the type allophycocyanin on the international market. “The microalgae business is already a reality. But the diversity of existing species and their potential applications mean that it will take time to fully explore the potential of this resource”, explains Sandrine Dereux (IAR cluster). Microalgae could be used in numerous industrial sectors, either for the production of high valueadded substances, or in the form of basic biomass. As basic biomass, the microalgae could be particularly useful in the energy and environment markets. In the energy sector, the biomass could be used to produce bioenergies in the form of combustibles, gases (hydrocarbons, hydrogen, methane), or liquid fuels (biodiesel, biokerosene). “The production of biofuels from microalgae is not profitable at this momet in time. The cost is estimated at €10 a litre today, and the objective is to obtain fuel at a cost of less than one euro per litre”, says Laura Lecurieux-Belfond (Trimatec). “This market will be one of the latest to be conquered by scientists as a result of their progress in research”, adds Sandrine Dereux. In the environmental sector, microalgae could be used for the depollution of liquid effluent (waste water) and gaseous effluent (CO2, nitrogen oxide or sulphur oxide capture).


Comparison of systems and cultivation methods for microalgae Advantages


- Less water loss - Improved long term cultivation - High surface to volume ratio

- High cost and complex processes - Problems of scale - Maintaining the required temperature because no cooling by evaporation - Regular cleaning required due to the formation of a biofilm

- Temperature maintained due to cooling by evaporation - Moderate investment costs - Mass cultivation over large areas

- Influence of daily and seasonal temperature changes - Difficulties in keeping to a single crop (contamination) - Low concentrations of dry material

- Easier control over optimum production conditions and prevention of contamination - Potential for use of substrates to encourage growth (glycerol, organic acids, etc.) - High biomass concentration

- Cost and availability of raw materials (sugars, etc.) - Competition between the raw materials and organisms and other product technologies (based on yeasts or bacteria)

Closed photobioreactors Photoautotrophic cultivation (which uses light as the energy source and CO2 as the carbon source)

Open ponds (raceway)

Heterotrophic cultivation (which requires the addition of organic substances)

Closed bioreactors (algae digesters)

Source : National algal biofuels technology roadmap (p. 29) et Livre turquoise d’Adebiotech FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012



rants. The pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries will prioritise the extraction of pigments (certain of which could be precursors for vitamins) and lipid fractions (polyunsaturated fatty acids) from microalgae. And in the speciality chemicals sector, microalgae could be the source of substances such as flocculants, polymers, surfactants or synthons. For example, certain strains of cyanobacteria (such as spirulina) are able to store polyhydroxyalkanoates, which can be used as substitutes for non biodegradable plastics based on petrochemicals. Microalgae also supply long chain carbon compounds, which can be used in making renewables-based surfactants in addition to those produced from soil based plants. Microalgae are the focus of numerous research projects aimed at maximising their potential. In the United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a huge program aimed at reducing oil imports by a third as a result of the production of biofuels. As part of the plan, a section has been dedicated to microalgae, with a budget of 9.25 million dollars (around €6.8 M) and the DOE has issued a $9.37 million request for funding for 2012.

© Phycosource

Special report [MICROALGAE]

This section is seeking to optimize the production processes for algae via an increase in the productivity of the algae, improvements in the extraction systems for algal oils, optimization of conversion into biofuels and the utilisation of by-products. From its side, Europe is also committed to the biofuels sector with its BioFAT project (Biofuel from algae technologies). Largely funded by the European Commission, it aims to demonstrate that microscopic algae can be used for large scale pro-


Potential fields of application for microalgae


Microalgae Pharmaceuticals/cosmetics


Animal fodder Human food Added value


Volumes Vol

Creating a French microalgae sector

Bio based materials Environment




source : Etude TecKnowMetrix pour Algasud

32 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

duction of bioethanol, biodiesel and other biosourced products. In France, the Mer Paca, Trimatec and IAR clusters have launched the GreenStars project, which is seeking to develop the industrial microalgae sector. “This project, with its budget of €160 M over 10 years has enabled us to set up a joint public and private sector research institute. It is based on a private sector R&D centre with a main campus and several facilities spread around France, and its aim is to accelerate the industrialisation of microalgae production”, details Laura Lecurieux-Belfond (Trimatec). Another project undertaken by the Trimatec cluster, and named Salinalgue, is aimed at managing the cultivation and harvest of highly productive microalgae on a large scale in the open air, on disused salt beds. The program includes a biorefining activity, which is targeting the manufacture and commercialization of third generation biofuels and biosourced products from microscopic algae.

From its side, the company Roquette launched its Algohub program in 2008. It is seeking to build a microalgae industry around the markets for nutrition, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and aquaculture. “This project



© Alpha Biotech


is supported by Oseo and calls on the skills of numerous experts. But it is not our only activity in the microalgae sector. Roquette also has production facilities in Germany and China. And we have also created a joint venture with the American company Solazyme for the development of natural ingredients based on microalgae”, states Carole Petitjean, R&D communications manager at Roquette. And she adds: “We are currently prioritizing applications in the health/nutrition sectors although this does not mean that we are not considering other areas too. Roquette’s objective is to become a major player in the microalgae business”. At Phycosource, several projects are under way, as Alexandre Phulpin indicates: “We have launched a collaborative program called Kerosalg, which is aimed at building a prototype for the production of kerosene from microalgae”. Phycosource is also participating in other projects. For example, it is preparing for industrial scale production of a program to utilise the antimicrobial properties of certain species in cosmetics and nutraceutics. Microalgae compounds could thus replace substances such as triclosan and parabens. “We are also preparing to spin off some of our discoveries, such as a powerful anti-oxidant which has proved effective in the treatment of an opthalmic disease, the ARMD (age-related macular degenera-

tion)”, adds Alexandre Phulpin. The company Fermentalg for its part, launched the Eima project last summer. It is funded to the tune of €14.6 M by Oseo and by industrial producers eagerly awaiting the first algae sourced raw materials. The program’s objective is to produce microalgae on an industrial scale and involves several industrial producers (Lactalis, Rhodia, Sander, Diester, etc.) and institutional organisations (CEA, CNRS, INSA, ITERG). “Each brings its particular skills to the table. For example, Lactalis will be working more specifically on lactose substrates, Rhodia on cellulose for the production of polysaccharides and Sander on proteins for manufacturing oil cake for the animal feed industry», details Pierre Calleja, MD of Fermentalg. And he continues: “The objective for this project being to improve production technology for microalgae and to reduce the cost of this production. With this in mind, we hope to build one or two significantly sized biorefinery prototypes for processing microalgae”. The microalgae industry in France is expanding rapidly with the support of scientists, certain industrial producers and the competitivity clusters. Unfortunately, France is still lagging behind in terms of the industrial scale produc-

tion of algal biomass. “The problem is that France does not have the same resources as other leading countries on this topic, and that means that we don’t have enough prototypes», complains Sandrine Dereux (IAR cluster). A point of view which is shared by Laura Lecurieux-Belfond (Trimatec): “France is very well placed in terms of R&D, but in comparison with Asia or the United States, there is a lack of investment, both in the private and public sectors, for moving up to the scale of the prototypes”. But this does not dampen the enthusiasm of the scientists and industrialists who are committed to the microalgae projects, with the conviction that one day they will manage to extract their full potential. “We have hardly begun to discover the potential applications for microalgae. We have decades of exciting industrial innovation ahead of us”, indicates Alexandre Phulpin (Phycosource). An opinion tech io B lpha © ©A shared by Pierre Calleja (Fermentalg): “We have only seen the tip of the iceSPIRULYSAT, PRODUCED FROM berg because we have yet to discover SPIRULINE, IS more about the diverse forms of MARKETED BY microalgae. The proof is in the recently ALPHA BIOTECH AS A DIETARY completed Tara Oceans expedition SUPPLEMENT. which discovered new species of phytoplankton as yet unknown. We will need several decades if not hundreds of years to exploit their full potential”. ■ DINHILL ON FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012


Advertorial The Association Chimie du Végétal (ACDV) is developing at a strong pace. An overview of the 2012 roadmap with, as the main strategy, improvement of the competitiveness of a dynamic French sector which is an integral part of the European circular bioeconomy.

“Making plant-based chemistry a major player in sustainable development” S

ince the creation of the ACDV in 2008, its forty or so members* have had plenty of work to do : structuring the organisation, deploying expert groups, defining strategic positioning, launching the first European conference on plant-based chemistry and setting-up of technical tools (life-cycle analysis, biomass indicator, etc.). This intense activity reflects the ambition of a growing sector in which the industrial, environmental and societal challenges need to be picked up as of today. “The association wishes to act as a spearhead in France and across Europe to make plant-based chemistry a major player in sustainable development,” states Christophe Rupp Dahlem, President of the ACDV. Through a common

conquer markets in which we have a competitiveness different from that of emerging countries.” The idea is to make public authorities understand that the first industrial units must be assisted financially in the same way as demonstration units. This is a debate which the association, together with other organisations, intends to bring onto the national and European stage. The stakes are important for France. Since 2000, the added value of French industry has developed less favourably than that of the other countries in the euro zone. The manufacturing sector represents approximately 16 % of added value in France, while the average for the seventeen countries in the zone is 22.4 %. Admittedly there are no miracle solutions, but the ACDV firmly believes in the use of concrete incentives to invigorate the plant-based chemistry sector. Preference for biobased products in government contracts is one such incentive. Today, the French Procurement Contract Code allows purchasers to favour products which have a positive impact on sustainable development. The ACDV calls for the creation of a public procurement framework specially dedicated to plantbased products, similar to what exist in the US. And that is not at all. The Asso-

“The ACDV’s greatest asset is getting players to work together when they were not used to doing so.”

2 – Elipso has just joined the ACDV’s Board of Directors. Why this change? We want to shift up a gear in terms of knowledge and anticipation of the development of biobased materials. Up to now we have tended more to be watching over developments, albeit actively. From now on, we want to work with the chain of players involved in the development of biobased plastic materials, take part in work enabling good knowledge of these materials and be familiar with all the important players in this field. In addition to materials, we are also keen to be informed about developments in products

© Bassignac Gilles/Abaca. Rhodia

vision and the energy of its expert groups, the ACDV wishes to create a favourable environment in terms of regulations and innovation. These are two areas which require anticipation in order to act and react more effectively. This is the aim of the brand new project entitled CLEAR, standing for Communication and Lobbying in Europe (including France) to Administrations for Regulation and standardisation, which is the association’s strategic roadmap to guide its actions over a three-year period. The main demand shared by participants in the sector is clearly defined. Jean-Luc Pelletier, a member of the ACDV’s Board and Chief Executive Officer of the USIPA testifies to this: “A lot of aid has been granted for research, particularly through the French Future Investments programme. From now on, we are going to insist on the marketing of products.” The facts are clear. In Europe, the industrialisation aid phase is weak compared to other countries which thus gain a competitive advantage (see inset). “The risk is high,” adds the President of theACDV. “Everything suggests that research and innovation will be carried out in Europe to the detriment of industrial production which will go elsewhere. We must

Plant-based chemistry: a growing sector in which the industrial, environmental and societal challenges need to be picked up as of today.


Questions put to Françoise Gérardi, Chief Executive Officer of Elipso, a professional organisation representing plastic packaging and flexi packaging companies, recycling industry operators and logistics specialists, and a member of the Association Chimie du Végétal.

34 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

1 – What is the proportion of products based on renewable materials in the production of plastic and flexi packaging? This market is still too recent for us to be able to gauge the actual tonnages used. However, real change is taking place with a speeding-up of the use of biobased materials by plastic and flexi packaging manufacturers within Elipso. The last survey among Elipso members in 2011 showed that they were used by 38% of members.



Distribution of aid granted at national and European level for innovation projects

ciation’s 2012 strategy will emphasise the launching of an indicator for biomass content of a product and the Biomass Observatory, an initiative proposed by the authorities to which the ACDV is strongly committed. The aim is a dual one: to evaluate the production of French agricultural and forestry biomass, and define more clearly the necessary quantity and origin of biomass for future industrial projects based on plant-based chemis-

try. 2012 is more than ever a year for speaking up. Encouraged by a solid base of innovative companies and partners, the ACDV aims to put plant-based chemistry at the heart of European political and economic concerns. ■

which we use such as additives, inks and glues for example. The ACDV’s greatest asset is to have succeeded right from its creation in getting players to work together when they were not used to doing so. Acting together as a sector is the only way for us to move forward. For Elipso, participating fully in the ACDV is very much in line with our strategy which is to develop all the raw materials which can enable us to meet our customers’ needs. Diversifying sources and types of raw materials is very important. Naturally, this must be done at equivalent technical quality with validation in particu-

lar of the point of environmental impacts. All of this must be done by working within the plant-based chemistry chain.

Continuation of Plant-Based Chemistry debates in Achema 2012.


* full list of members: ** Ministry of Industry – convention – February 2010 summary report

3 – What are the topics within the ACDV which you will follow most closely? We are going to participate actively in the new Polymers Working Group to determine the needs of the market. We will thus be able to explain the needs of our packaging industry. We are taking part in the work on life cycle analyses: testing of the methodology with our companies and participation in the intelligence platform.

For all those interested in plantbased chemistry FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012



© Bayer

Gaïalene finds its first industrial opportunities partners on products in the process of being launched. Companies which, like Barber and Ceisa, want to reduce their oil dependency and their carbon footprint by combining Gaïalene with polyolefins for the best possible ratio between technical properties, product costs and the environmental tarting from zero in footprint of their films,” says the 2007, to the starting up product manager. And so, in the of a 25,000 t/year coming months, applications should industrial unit at the appear on the market with films using end of 2011 in Lestrem, it took 25 to 50 % bio-based materials thanks Roquette only 5 years to bring to to Gaïalene. In the field of injection, market a completely new plant Roquette participated in the Matoria based polymer called Gaïalene. project, notably in collaboration with According to Léon Mentink, their the car manufacturer PSA. This project product manager, the group owes led to the development of new injectathis performance to the choice of ble plastics from renewable resources structure chosen for this new polywhich meet automotive technical mer. Instead of “deconstructing” demands. “It will not replace plastics what nature does to start from such as polyamides in automotive applimonomers, Roquette chose to use a Bags for fruits and vegetables made of Gaïalene developed cations. We are aiming to find applicanatural polymeric structure as a raw by the company Barbier. tions which are less technical but material, starch, which they then accessible as a replacement for polyolefins,” modified via grafting hydrocarbon chains. sector. Indeed, they plan to use only locally says Léon Mentink. And the list of projects At present these chains are derived from produced wheat starch. “Wheat was predoes not end there. Roquette has developed fossil based polyolefins such as polyethyferred over maize because it also contains alongside compounding companies some lene or polypropylene. The new polymer 35% gluten, fibres and other components technical products such as containers for thus no longer has the properties of a used in human food,” says Léon Mentink. steam power plants, as well as shoe soles. more natural starch and is no longer soluHe adds that it is a non-GM plant, local Of note is a product launch in the design ble in water. It also thus becomes thermoand well adapted to our climate and field. The Gaïalene plant based plastic was plastic and has properties similar to those which provides good yields per hectare in of polyolefins with which it is fully miscichosen by the company Eliza, specialising France. ble. Thus, Gaïalene can be classified in the in the collection of paper and cardboards for Applications in the fields of films thermoplastics category with a melting the manufacture of baskets designed by and injection temperature around 160° C. It is also nonPhilippe Starck. “We have a huge demand biodegradable (unlike PLA), but fully recyfrom the market. Today, our priority is to In terms of opportunities for Gaïalene, clable, and is intended for durable and develop new applications and new grades,” Roquette has worked primarily on applicasemi-durable applications as a replacesays Léon Mentink. After that, apart from tions in the fields of films and injection. This ment for conventional polyolefins. But it films, injection and bottles, new areas will work led them to build a range that is also stands out from fossil based polyolebe investigated such as rotational mouladded to by incorporating new demands fins in several respects: it has a smaller carding. And beyond that, Roquette is working from clients. “In the field of films, we have bon footprint by 65 %, better printability, a already working on research into other very advanced projects with the Barbier softer feel, and antistatic properties polymeric structures with completely diffegroup on different products for packaging. among others. rent properties, targeting other markets The company Ceisa Packaging has develoAnother innovation brought about by this and applications. The results are expected ped heat shrink films for product bundling Gaïalene project is its global approach that in the next 4 to 5 years. ■ with Gaïalene,” says Leon Mentink. “We integrates upstream into the agricultural are also working very closely with other SYLVIE LATIEULE


36 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

© Barbier

Tests are being carried out in all directions because downstream demand is strong for this new thermoplastic which is similar to polyolefins.



BIOSOURCED SURFACE ACTIVE AGENTS Everyone has their own definition of a biosourced product. To bring some clarity to the matter, The European Commission has started consultations.

hat is a biosourced surface active agent? That is the question the European Commission is asking, as it sets itself the target of making Europe the top bioeconomy* in the world by 2020. Different categories of surface active agents can co-exist, from the 100% fossil fuel based to the 100% biosourced, with mixed structures in between. A surface active agent is in fact composed of a hydrophilic head, a hydrophobic head and a linker. These three types of molecule can all be found in fossil fuel-based or plant-based raw materials. Additionally, these surface active agents can be produced (or not) using processes which respect the principles of green chemistry, with life cycle assessments (LCA) which are more or less favorable, and varying (eco)toxicological profiles. Which is why it is important to reach a European consensus on their definition. As a result the European Commission has given the


© iMAGINE – Fotolia

Reflection on a definition

The cosmetics industry wants surface active agents which are 100% biosourced.

European Committee for Standardization (CEN) the job of drawing up a series of standards. In practice, the standards work on biosourced surface active agents or biosurfactants will be done by the CEN/TC-276 committee (whose secretariat is AFNOR), which is presided by Dr. Christophe Séné of Stepan Europe. The committee will work in

BIOSOURCED SURFACE ACTIVE AGENTS AT SEPPIC “At Seppic, a biosourced surface active agent must be composed of 100% plant-based raw materials. A mixed surface active agent cannot therefore be considered as a biosourced product. There are areas where it could be helpful to have just a certain percentage of biosourced raw materials, as in the bioplastics sector, where it is more difficult to reach 100%. But for surface active agents in cosmetics applications, our customers

want either 0 % or 100 %. Other percentages do not interest them. In the sector of 100% biosourced surface active agents, Seppic offers a complete range of APGs, comprising one part sugar to one part fatty alcohol. «Our production processes also respect the principles of green chemistry. They use less energy and solvents and have a lesser impact on the environment.» SÉBASTIEN KERVERDO

collaboration with the CESIO at a European level and with Aspa-Ingrecos in France and will have around three years to complete the project. Once the standards for bioproducts, and especially biosurfactants, have been created, with definitions and proposals for analytical checks, the European Commission will have to put in place the means to develop the market for these surface active agents, whilst

research could be supported via the 8th FP. “Surface active agents are important because they form the basis of detergent and cosmetic products in particular and they can have a significant impact on the environment”, justifies Dr. Christophe Séné. It should be noted that other product families such as biolubricants and bioplastics, have already started the process of definition and standardization within other CEN committees. As a result, the European Commission has been requested to organise the harmonization of the definitions proposed by the different professions (the new CEN/TC-411 committee is the horizontal structure which deals with all biosourced products). The CEFIC is also looking at the possibility of creating a transverse work group on the topic of bioproducts in order to facilitate cross-sector harmonization. ■ SYLVIE LATIEULE *economy based on non fossil-fuel biomass.


Henkel committed to sustainable utilisation ■ Three years ahead of scheraw materials used in the dule, Henkel will be buying certificates for sustainable palm nut oil for all of its detergents and household cleaning products as from 2012. For each utilisation of surface active agents including palm nut oil, an equivalent sustainably produced quantity will be integrated into the supply chain. Because although palm oil is primarily used in agribusiness, palm nut oil is one of the most important renewable

production of surface active agents for household detergents and cleaning products. It should be noted that Henkel is participating in the Round Table on sustainable palm oil (RSPO), in the Green Palm programme and in the “Palm Oil Coalition”. The group has created the “Forum on Sustainable Palm Oil” whose aim is to promote the use of sustainable palm and palm nut oils. FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012


Suppliers [NEW PRODUCTS] SIMULATION Caspeo has developed simulation software that determines the best process plans.

s the biorefinery concept starts to take off, the engineering company Caspeo has adapted its Usim Pac tool to simulation of processes in this field. “It can be used to design an entire plant. When deciding between different process schemes, it can compare scenarios, particularly in terms of predicting material results, reducing waste and the overall economy of the process,” says Marie-Amélie de Ville d’Avray from Caspeo. It can be used for an entire plant or set of plants, and it can also be applied to a production line or a single piece of equipment. For an existing process, the software can also be applied to a change of sourcing, for example a transition from a fossil based raw material to plant based raw materials. The special feature of this software is its ability to integrate an extremely varied selection of raw materials from biomass, from household waste to maize grain. “We can even provide simulations using the whole plant,” says Marie-Amélie de Ville d’Avray. The strength of Caspeo resides in its ability to work on heterogeneous solids which are difficult to simulate, and to provide consistent material results whatever the heterogeneity of the raw material. This expertise comes from the mining sector. The company was created in 2004 by former researchers from the BRGM (Bureau of Geological and Mining Research) in Orleans with the goal of providing software tools and services for process analysis, based on materials, modelling and simulation of processes from the mining industry. Very quickly the creators of Caspeo felt that the tools and methods they had developed for the mineral industry might be of interest in the processes of biomass conversion (chemical or energy). Like a precious metal trapped inside an ore, a plant compound can be

38 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

© Caspeo

The computer assisted biorefinery A

Marie-Amélie de Ville d’Avray

considered as constituting as having highvalue imprisoned in it, at low concentrations, within a heterogeneous solid matrix. Its extraction also uses a series of physical treatments from crushing and sieving, to physical and chemical extractions as well as biotechnological processes. This is followed by operations for purification, concentration, evaporation and drying. “All of these steps are characteristic of a mining process, and can be applied to plant extraction, sometimes with identical equipment,” says Marie-Amélie de Ville d’Avray. In summary, the tools and

methods of mining can be perfectly transposed. It was then a question of convincing the agricultural resources professionals. “It took longer than we expected,” says Marie-Amélie de Ville d’Avray. “It turned out to be necessary to undertake a deeper R&D process in the context of collaborative projects.” Thus in 2006 the company worked with the CVG (Carbohydrate Recovery Centre) and then took part in several collaborative projects, notably within the IAR cluster. “From the start a trusting relationship was established with the CVG and we were able to take part in a very interesting collaboration. Because in order to develop simulation tools, we must first feed our models with real data, and the quality of the model depends on data quality.” Caspeo were able to benefit from quality data from the CVG, which led to the development of the Usim-Pac tool, originally designed for the mining sector.

Testing every possible scenario Today, most of the income for Caspeo, which employs six people, still comes from the mining sector. But the company is hopeful of finding a place for itself in the agribusiness sector. The market is still cautious and actors are continuing to design their installations empirically, notably in the scale-up phases for a transition from laboratory scale to pilot or industrial scale. However, the Caspeo multiscale tool can already test every possible scenario in this sector which is evolving at breakneck speed, and its performance will not stop there. Caspeo plans to further improve the tool notably by incorporating LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) data and other process data. In two years from now they plan to move from providing services to the marketing of a complete software tool. ■ SYLVIE LATIEULE

[NEW PRODUCTS] Suppliers EXTRUSION Results are improving for the division of Legris-Industry specialising in the treatment of biomass.

Another leap forward for Clextral


© Photo Clextral

ith 64.7 million euros of orders taken in 2011, Clextral, a division of the Legris Industries group, specialising in the BIVIS extrusion, grew by +28% compared to 2010, and by +18% compared to its previous record in 2008. This acceleration in orders brought, firstly, by the global leadership in technologies by Clextral in extrusion and drying for the cereals processing industry, and secondly, by its technological differentiation in the field of reprocessing of cellulose (paper pulp). It relies on its strong international reach and its increased its R&D, notably

In terms of activity and profitability, 2011 confirmed their good performance in 2010 with 48.5 million euros in revenue and 4 million dollars in operating income, representing an operating margin of 8.2%. To support its growth and Clextral testing centre. anticipate retirements, the company expects to recruit in the transformation of 20 to 30 new personnel in biomass. The international 2012. They are notably intenetwork was extended in grating apprenticeships and 2011 with the opening of two professionalisation contracts, new offices in Vietnam and in cooperation with local Brazil, bringing to 10 the schools and universities. implantations of Clextral 36 young people under 30 outside France, and strengthehave joined the company in ning its presence on five contithe last 2 years. ■ nents.


A two in one procedure for facilitating the harvesting of microalgae ■ Algae are cultivated in photo bioreactors or in basins. In order to use the cells of microalgae and their components in an economical manner, it is essential that the algae are separated smoothly, without damaging their cell membranes, as well as using little energy. Harvesting of microalgae consists of the separation of water and micro-algae cells in order to reduce residual moisture and thus improve the performance of thermal drying. Following this drying then comes a chemical and/or mechanical extraction to extract the oil contained in these cells. The Flottweg process offers

the advantage of continuous and automatic operation and obtaining concentrated algae with a high level of dryness (pellet-able concentrate). It works in two stages: the first is a pre-concentration, for example through flotation. The second step is dehydration of this concentrate using the Flottweg Sedicanter. It is a horizontal centrifuge, designed for the treatment of fine suspensions and pastes, such as biomass from fermentation, yeast type creams or enzyme concentrates. The Flottweg Sedicanter generates a centrifugal field of up to 10,000 g for optimum separation of micro-algae.


An oil for metals which is 100% green ■ Condat has announced the launch of a new soluble machining oil for all types of materials, called the Mecagreen 450. Just as for the other oils in the same range, Mecagreen 450 is composed of an assembly of 100% plantbased esterified oils. As well as being free of harmful substances (chlorine, DEA, nitrites, bactericides which give off formaldehyde, phenolic derivatives, heavy metals and silicons), the new formulation is also Boron and bactericide free, in anticipation of future regulations. Its formulation based on the use of Paraben-free preservatives gives it stability against attack from harmful bacteria. It also keeps the machines cleaner, with no marks left after solvent degreasing, and extends the life-time of the tools.

Suppliers [NEW PRODUCTS]

The Drôme has equipped itself with a cutting edge technological facility A

cess to expertise and to a diverse range of technologies. That is what the Drôme’s technological facility Extralians offers, as a specialist in plant extraction. Based in Nyons, the facility is a consortium of two industrial partners (Distillerie Bleu Provence and Synthevert Systems), the Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Sources (CEA), and the Chambers of Agriculture (CA) and Commerce and Industry (CCI) of the Drôme. “Two events are at the origin of the Extralians project. Firstly, the farming sector wanted to group together the skills in the extraction of aromatic products present in the south of the Drôme. Secondly, the CEA wanted to outsource its extraction facility for supercritical CO2 from its Tricastin site”, says François Arnaud-Miramont, co-developer of the program. Extralians offers services ranging from R&D right up to the pre-production of plant extracts. To do this, the facility employs around 15 people and can use several extraction technologies (steam, hydroalcoholic and supercritical CO2 extraction), which can be used with separation techniques such as preparative chromatography, membranic separation or supercritical CO2 fractionation, spread over several sites. “Our facility can process volumes of solid product of up to 30 litres by supercritical CO2 extraction, up to 100 litres by steam extraction, and up to 100 kg by hydroalcoholic extraction. As far as solid products on an industrial scale are concerned, we have three extraction units. For the extraction of solid products by supercritical CO2, the capacity is two times 200 litres, whilst for distillation, the capacity is two times 5 000 litres. And capacity reaches one ton per batch for hydroalcoholic extraction. The unit suitable for liquid extraction in supercritical CO2 comprises two fractionation columns with a CO2 flow rate of 80 and

40 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

The Extralians facility possesses a supercritical CO2 extraction unit.

400 kg/h and a pressure of between 250 and 350 bar”, says François ArnaudMiramont. And he adds: “Our techniques are not aimed just at plant-based raw materials but also at other products such as fish oils or the purification of used oils”.

Services for different industry sectors The Extralians technological facility is aimed at different kinds of users, as François Arnaud-Miramont indicates: “We are interested in any kind of organisation : From small and medium sized businesses, to major companies needing a one-off service, to public research laboratories. The idea is to make the skills and R&D tools available”. The services on offer are aimed at sectors such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, nutraceuticals or biomaterials. “As far as our R&D services are concerned, we are aiming at many different sectors. However, for the industrial production of extracts,

our equipment is not necessarily suitable for the requirements of some sectors such as pharmaceuticals for example, which require particular manufacturing practices”, explains François Arnaud-Miramont. As for the future, the consortium would like above all to have a facility which is economically balanced, especially for its supercritical CO2 business. ”We also hope that in the medium term we can develop local economic activity by encouraging the installation of businesses around this facility and the development of new plantbased raw materials production”, says the co-developer of Extralians. Lastly, Extralians would like to develop an everincreasing range of diverse and innovative R&D and production tools. “One of the key directions for future technology will be to develop extraction techniques which are even more environmentally friendly, as in distillation, which although currently a heavy fossil fuel consumer, is now turning towards sustainable energy”, underlines François Arnaud-Miramont. ■ DINHILL ON

© Extralians

PLANT EXTRACTION The department of the Drôme has launched its own industrial development unit, called Extralians. This technological facility based on plant extraction offers R&D services or pre-production prototyping.

Contacts/Diary [TRAINING]


logy company Antisoma. Before joining this group, he held several positions in the biotechnology and health field. He was also a member of the BIA.

Paul Colonna Chair of Sustainable Development


Glyn Edwards Acting Director-General The BioIndustry Association (BIA), which gathers together the biotech industry in the UK, has appointed Glyn Edwards as Acting Director General. Between 1998 and 2011, G. Edwards was CEO of the biotechno-

Sandra Grisinelli Tel: 03 68 85 49 98


Bio-sourced materials and bioplastics Audience: technicians, senior technicians and executives


François Loos

© Tristan Paviot

The College de France has appointed Paul Colonna as Chair of Sustainable Development-Environment, Energy and Society, created with support from Total. He succeeds Jean-Marie Tarascon who held this position for the 2010-2011 academic year. Mr. Colonna is director of research at the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) and Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the French project Futurol, launched in 2008, whose ultimate objective is to produce second generation bioethanol.

President Graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines engineer, François Loos (58) has been appointed Chairman of the Board at Ademe at the Council of Ministers of December 21st 2011. He succeeds Philippe Van de Maele. Mr Loos began his career as an engineer in several companies, in France and Germany. In 1985, he joined Rhône Poulenc to run their plant in Thann, and then the Lohr group (1990-1993). François Loos has been involved in politics at a local level since 1992. He was elected regional councillor in

Dominique Dutartre President The IAR cluster (Industries and AgroResources) elected Dutartre Dominique, 62, as president, on December 9th. Previously senior vice president, he succeeds Daniel Thomas who had held the post since 2008. The latter has become the first vice president of the IAR cluster. An agronomist, D. Dutartre has worked throughout his career in agricultural organisations, such as the cooperative Champagne-Céréales of which he is deputy director general. He is also Chairman of ARD (Agro-industry Research and Development), Procétol 2G, co-manager of Siclaé and director of INRA.

[EVENTS] MARCH 27 , ROMAINVILLE Adebiotech symposium on biorefinery of by-products from industry and the environment TH

APRIL 29 -MAY 2 , ND

ORLANDO, UNITED STATES, Bio : The world Congress on industrial biotechnology and bioprocessing


STRASBOURG Technical meeting « bioplastics : biobased and/or biodegradable polymers » organized by the Alsatian materials Critt

JUNE 4TH-6TH, STRASBOURG Green chemistry Audience: technicians, senior technicians and executives

CPE LYON Valérie Thoraval Tel: 04 72 32 50 60

APRIL 2ND-6TH, LYON Fermenters and fermentation Audience: engineers, pharmacists, senior technicians

MAY 23RD-24TH,

JUNE 18 -22 , MILAN, ITALY EBCE 2012 : 20th edition of the European conference on biomass

Towards a sustainable chemical industry: “green” and “sustainable” processes, principles and industrial implementations Audience: R&D chemists, organic and inorganic chemists, development engineers for chemical and para-chemical processes, practitioners of allied industries (para-chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paint and pigments, materials etc.) as well as equipment makers


JUNE 19TH, DIJON Agrocomposites companies meetings: Business meeting and conferences for players in Agrocomposites tualites/race



8 international conference on renewable resources and biorefineries

SEPTEMBER 10TH-13TH, -welcome

PORTO, PORTUGAL WasteEng 2012 : 4th International Conference on engineering for the recovery of biomass and waste products

MAY 30TH, STRASBOURG Processes of polymer synthesis Audience: senior technicians and engineers

White and green chemistry Audience: engineers, senior technicians, technicians

TH nts/composites-agenda/jeceurope-2012

CHÂLONS-EN-CHAMPAGNE Salon Sinal : 4th edition of the expo dedicated to the non-food use of agricultural resources


JUNE 18TH-20TH, LYON TH e_bioraffineries/inscription.p hp

PORTE DE VERSAILLES JEC Europe 2012 : international expo on composite materials


Alsace, then a deputy in the Lower Rhine. In 2002 he was appointed Delegate Minister for Higher Education and Research, then Delegate Minister for Foreign Trade and finally, Delegate Minister for Industry (2005-2007).

NOVEMBER 5TH-7TH, LYON FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012




21 3ème COUV 19 23 5 25 17 27

Businesses and organisations referred to in this edition

A ACDV p 12 Ademe p 9, 41 ADM p 16, 28 AgroParis Tech p 14, 15 Ajinomoto p 28 Alphabiotech p 31 Amyris p 17, 24 Anellotech p 16 ANR p 18 Antibioticos p 24 Arkema p 26 Aspa-Ingrecos p 37 Avantium p 16, 26 Az&mut p 6

B Barbier p 36 BASF p 21, 22 Bayer MaterialScience p7 BioAmber p 20, 28 Biofine Technology p 16 Bioindustry Association p 41 Biosphere p 22 Biotec p 22 Bostik p 8 BRGM p 38

C CA p 38 Caspeo p 38 CCI p 38 CEA 33, 38 Cefic p 37 Ceisa Packaging p 36 Cellectis p 21 Celtic Renewables p 22 CEN p 37 Ceresana p 16 Cermav p 15 CESIO p 37 CGAAER p 18

42 FormuleVerte - N°09 - March 2012

Clariant p 26 CNRS p 9, 12, 15, 33 Coca-Cola p 16 Collège de France p 41 Condat p 39 Cosmetic Valley p 18 CPE p 41 CVG p 19, 38

D Datar p 18 Diester p 33 Distillerie Bleu Provence p 38 Dream p 18 DRT p 24 DSM p 12, 26

Greensea p 31 Grepa p 18

H,I,K Henkel p 37 IAR p 7, 9, 10, 17, 30, 31, 32, 33, 38 INRA Reims p 14 Insa Lyon p 16 INSA p 33 Insa Toulouse p 12 INSU p 12 ISP p 26 ITERG p 9, 33 Kimberly Clark p 8

L,M E Elastopole p 18 Electrolux p 7 Elevance p 26 EnviroPlus p 19 Europabio p 18 Extralians p 38

F, G Favini p 24 Fermentalg p 30, 33 FFC p 12 Flottweg p 39 FMC p 12 Fruitofood p 19 Futerro p 9 GDR CNRS-Inra Biomatpro p 14 Genencor p 17 Genomatica p 20 Génopôle d’Évry p 10 Gevo p 16, 17, 28 GFP p 16 Global Bioenergy p 17 Goodrich p 9 Goodyear p 17

Labema p 19 Lactalis p 33 Lanxess p 9, 17, 20 Legris-Industries p 39 Louis Vuitton p 7 LRCCP p 16 Maillot p 18 Martek p 30 Mayamax p 6 Mer Paca p 32 Metabolix p 16, 28 MetEx p 24 Michelin p 17 MWV Specialty Chemicals p 24 Myriant p 22

N,O NatureWorks p 28 Nisshin p 30 Novamont p 20 Novance p 17 Novozymes p 22 Oséo p 33

P, Q Phycosource p 30, 33 Polepharma p 18 Pro-BIP p 16 Procter&Gamble p 8 PSA p 36 PTT p 22

R, S Rhodia p 12, 33 Roquette p 12, 17, 24, 26, 33, 36 Sander p 33 SCAF p 22 SDK p 22 Sea6 Energy p 22 Seppic p 37 Solazyme p 30, 33 Solvay p 17, 22, 26 Sphere p 22 Stepan Europe p 37 Synthevert Systems p 38 Synthos p 17

T,U Telles p 28 Tereos Syral p 7, 22 Toray p 28 Total Petrochemicals p 9, 21, 24 Trimatec p 30, 32, 33 UIC p 17

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N°9 March 2012  

providing a green alternative to petroleum-derived raw materials in all industries formulation

N°9 March 2012  

providing a green alternative to petroleum-derived raw materials in all industries formulation