Skip to Main Content

Latest News

March 15, 2010
Volume 88, Number 11
p. 12

Advancing Biomaterials

Cost Reduction: Chemical firms target alternative fuels and feedstocks

Marc S. Reisch

Seaweed could be a new source for isobutyl alcohol fuel. Bio Architecture Lab
Seaweed could be a new source for isobutyl alcohol fuel.
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Latest News

October 28, 2011

Speedy Homemade-Explosive Detector

Forensic Chemistry: A new method could increase the number of explosives detected by airport screeners.

Solar Panel Makers Cry Foul

Trade: U.S. companies complain of market dumping by China.

Novartis To Cut 2,000 Jobs

Layoffs follow similar moves by Amgen, AstraZeneca.

Nations Break Impasse On Waste

Environment: Ban to halt export of hazardous waste to developing world.

New Leader For Lawrence Livermore

Penrose (Parney) Albright will direct DOE national lab.

Hair Reveals Source Of People's Exposure To Mercury

Toxic Exposure: Mercury isotopes in human hair illuminate dietary and industrial sources.

Why The Long Fat?

Cancer Biochemistry: Mass spectrometry follows the metabolism of very long fatty acids in cancer cells.

Text Size A A

Four major chemical companies have undertaken initiatives to advance biofuels and biomaterials. Their projects continue the industry’s exploration of new feedstocks that would decouple it from petroleum and natural gas.

In two instances, companies are using algae to generate alternative fuels. In the first case, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will fund half the cost of a $17.7 million project involving DuPont and biofuel and chemical specialist Bio Architecture Lab to use macroalgae—better known as seaweed—to produce the fuel isobutyl alcohol. Ultimately, DuPont and partner BP hope to commercialize seaweed-based isobutyl alcohol through their existing transportation fuels joint venture, Butamax Advanced Biofuels.

In the second algae-based project, Honeywell subsidiary UOP will demonstrate a project to capture carbon dioxide and turn it into fuel. DOE will provide $1.5 million to capture CO2 from exhaust stacks at a Honeywell caprolactam plant in Hopewell, Va., and deliver it to an algae cultivation system. Oil extracted from the algae will be converted to biofuel.

“There has been an upsurge of interest in algae over the last few years,” says Samhitha Udupa, a research associate at market research firm Lux Research. “It’s the next hot feedstock.” That interest also underscores chemical firms’ efforts to seek alternatives to volatile petroleum-based fuels and feedstocks, she points out.

France-based Arkema is also looking at biomaterials as an alternative feedstock. In its case, the firm intends to explore the use of glycerin, a by-product of the process that converts vegetable oil into biodiesel, as a raw material for acrylic acid. It has set up a three-year, $15 million program including academic partners at its R&D center in Carling, France, where it also operates a propylene-based acrylic acid plant.

Finally, Albemarle will participate in the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium, an academic, government, and industry initiative to develop infrastructure-compatible, biobased fuels.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Services & Tools

ACS Resources

ACS is the leading employment source for recruiting scientific professionals. ACS Careers and C&EN Classifieds provide employers direct access to scientific talent both in print and online. Jobseekers | Employers

» Join ACS

Join more than 161,000 professionals in the chemical sciences world-wide, as a member of the American Chemical Society.
» Join Now!