At Elevance we are striving to improve on how things are done in the chemical industry. While there’s plenty of space for improvement in our industry, its also always good to remind everyone how important “chemicals” are to us all. This article from Scientific American does a very good job. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/03/08/chemical-is-not-a-bad-word/
Together with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Elevance announced today that we will be coming to southwest Mississippi to build our first North American manufacturing facility, located near Natchez, Miss.
Over the next five years, Elevance will be investing in a multi-phase project at the former Delta BioFuels facility to convert the operation into a world-class bio-refinery and derivatives operation based on Elevance’s metathesis technology. The operation will complement our Asian Joint Venture with Wilmar International and expand our global footprint.
By building biorefineries in multiple geographies, we are responding to our customers’ demands for innovative environmentally friendly products in a cost-effective and scalable way and bringing competitive manufacturing and high-value jobs back to the United States.
The Governor, State of Mississippi and community of Nachez have been very supportive partners to help facilitate this project. We appreciate their support and are pleased to now be a part of the Natchez community.
We announced yesterday the completion of a one million-pound production run of specialty chemicals made from renewable feedstocks. We have provided this production run as a response to the requests we are receiving from customers for larger volumes of the novel renewable products we will be making at the world-scale biorefinery we are building with Wilmar International in Surabaya, Indonesia.
The specialty chemicals produced by this run include alpha olefins and novel esters that will be used by our customers in applications such as surfactants for detergents and cleaners, personal care products, lubricants and additives for lubricants and fuels.
In ICIS Magazine’s September 28, “Seeking Cheap, Green Surfactants” piece, author Doris De Guzman explores the growing interest in green materials in the surfactants industry, specifically for use in personal care products and detergents.
De Guzman explains the problem manufacturers and formulators have experienced since the “green” movement hit mainstream — keeping price low and performance high — all while keeping up with demands of being green.
One challenge has been combining high performance with cheaper, renewable-based surfactants and the ability to “increase the level of green ingredients in formulations without compromising performance.”
To overcome these challenges, manufacturers and formulators have increasingly switched from petroleum to oleochemical-based surfactants. “High petroleum prices and growing supply of Asian palm oil has driven the replacement of petrochemical-based alcohols with oleochemical-derived ones for several years. Alcohol is a major raw material for surfactant manufacture.”
“Oleo alcohols accounted for 60% of the global detergent alcohols market five years ago, says Neil Burns, managing partner for US-based consultancy Neil A. Burns. Today it is almost 70% and the trend continues with planned investments in oleo alcohol production capacity.” However as De Guzman points out, this trend is as much about supply availability and costs as it is about increasing sustainability.
At Elevance, our efforts in the area of surfactants, like in the other areas we are targeting for development, are focused on generating cost-effective performance improvements from renewable feedstocks.
Our biorefinery produces oleochemicals that will compete in today’s oleo alcohol markets as well as novel specialty chemicals that can be utilized as building blocks for the next generation of surfactants. Our collaboration with Wilmar will help us address the needs of the oleo alcohol markets and the recently announced collaboration with Stepan Company is targeting performance enhancements from our specialty chemicals to enable a new level of performance and economics. This combination of possibilities inspired Burns in a second article to deem Elevance’s joint venture with Wilmar “revolutionary.” We tend to agree.
Elevance Enters Joint Development Agreement with Stepan to Commercialize Novel Surfactants & Antimicrobials
Elevance announced yesterday it entered into a joint development agreement with Stepan Company to evaluate and commercialize novel surfactants, antimicrobials and polyurethane polyols based on Elevance’s specialty feedstocks, including 9-decenoic ester and C18 di-basic ester.
Stepan’s joint development with Elevance represents a significant opportunity for both companies. It brings together complimentary capabilities and will accelerate development of high value specialty products needed in markets targeted by both companies.
Our business model is one of partnerships. We have established them in technology, feedstocks, manufacturing and markets. Each of these collaborations (whether publicly announced or still confidential) is creating opportunity for our partner in addition to helping to transforming the petrochemical industry to sustainable, renewable based products.
We are pleased to be working with Stepan to deliver value to their customers and achieve growth through innovation.
Crain’s Chicago Business featured Elevance in the August 2 issue, highlighting the company’s growth and innovation in the specialty chemicals industry.
Writer John Pletz noted, “While others struggle to turn a profit squeezing fuel out of corn, K’Lynne Johnson is turning crops into chemicals.”
The article declared that Elevance “may have hit on a formula that’s sustainable not just environmentally but also financially. Making agricultural feedstocks into chemicals costs about as much as producing ethanol, but the chemicals sell for twice as much. That makes the business profitable without the taxpayer subsidies that prop up the ethanol industry.”
Seth Snyder, a biofuels researcher at Argonne National Laboratory in Darien said that Elevance is “extremely vital to the area.” For an area that is familiar with the agriculture and petrochemicals industries, Pletz writes “renewable chemicals offer not only the prospect of new jobs for local workers but also a new market for Illinois farmers.”
As Elevance strives to be a leader in the space, Johnson acknowledges that customers are “skeptical that there are very many technologies that can deliver cost and performance, and they’re right. There have not been very many technologies that have been able to deliver. We believe we can.”
Read the full article, available for viewing by subscription or free-trial.
Donde Anderson, a catalyst chemist here at Elevance Renewable Sciences is being featured in BIO’s promotion of U.S. based green jobs. BIO worked with various green chemical companies to produce an ad featuring recent new hires in the bio-based industry sector.
Donde is responsible for providing process chemistry support for the manufacture of Elevance’s specialty chemicals. Donde leads efforts to lower the cost impact of olefin metathesis catalyst usage in process economics. Some of her efforts are sponsored by external agencies such as the United Soybean Board and the Saskatchewan Canola Development Council.
Her extensive research allows for the enhancement of established processes and the creation of new technologies. Donde’s previous experience includes positions at Dow Chemical where she was a member of the Rotational Assignments Program.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Northwestern University and was a member of the Integrated Science Program at Northwestern. Donde received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and completed her thesis under the direction of Professor Robert H. Grubbs, whose development of ruthenium olefin metathesis catalysts provided the technological foundation for Elevance.
The ad features other recent hires to the green and biobased community and links back to BIO’s web site. The ad will run throughout June on www.TheHill.com in the Energy and Environment section. We’re proud to have Donde as a member of the Elevance team, and to have her featured in the BIO ad.
On the heels of last week’s blog about Green Technology Pioneers, Elevance’s EVP of Market Development and Sales – Andy Shafer, attended the annual conference of The Green Chemistry and Commerce Council. The Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) is a project of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and involves leading companies across sectors to focus on problems and solutions involving chemistry. The group has active participation from companies not generally associated with chemistry: Nike, Steelcase, Sysco (who hosted the conference) and Staples.
The group believes in innovation thru collaboration, two principles that Elevance is committed to as we work to transform the chemical industry.
There is an excellent video about the GC3, their passion for sustainable chemistry and how they are working to achieve it at http://www.greenchemistryandcommerce.org/about.whatisGC3.php Take a look and applaud the companies and people involved in this effort for being another example of Green Technology Pioneers.
The green technology industry is growing by leaps and bounds as more consumers and investors realize the potential of products produced using cleaner innovations. Credit for this success can in large part be attributed to the new technologies that companies like Elevance bring to the table. But as CBS News points out in its list of, “40 Who Paved the Way for a Green Revolution,” our industry has received a great deal of support from early environmental pioneers who sought renewable solutions.
CBS ‘s list includes scientists, politicians and theorists from ancient Rome to modern day who have had a significant impact the “green” movement. The list is also divided it into areas of interest: solar, transportation & oil, grid, electronics, alternative energy, scientists & politicians, and food & water. The result was a broad range of contributors to clean technology.
For example, Archimedes in the third century B.C., made the list for proposing setting ships on fire by transferring solar heat with bronze shields. Arnold Schwarzenegger was selected for being pivotal in making the green tech debate an economic issue instead of an environmental one.
This list will continue to grow as the industry grows, but it does highlight the many different types of people that have contributed to the green industry. I encourage you to take a look and learn more about green technology innovators of the past and present.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently issued a report titled, “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” a study exploring women’s role in science and engineering. The study concluded that although significant progress has been made, women are still underrepresented in the fields of science and math and stereotypes and cultural biases continue to impede women’s success.
The study found beliefs about women’s intelligence, stereotypes, self-assessment, spatial skills, the college student experience, university and college faculty, implicit bias and workplace bias explain the social and environmental barriers preventing participation in science and technology field.
To encourage women to consider scientific and engineering fields, families, schools, and communities can create an environment of that dispels negative stereotypes around these industries. One example would be to institute programs supporting the development of girls’ confidence in their ability to learn math and science.
As a woman CEO of a technology company with a strong basis in the science and chemicals industry, I am very pleased to see studies like this one taking place. Not only does this study take into account the “unspoken” thoughts of many people in the industry, it provides solutions for future women scientists, executives and engineers. Throughout my 18-year career in the oil and petrochemicals industry, I have seen a significant change in the number of women active in the field and believe more positive change can happen.
At Elevance, we have multiple women who are leading the charge to create positive change. Mary Bjorklund is one of our key process engineers and has been instrumental in advancing our biorefinery engineering. Donde Anderson is one of our key catalyst chemists. Her expertise has deepened our knowledge of effectively converting different natural oils enabling a significant reduction in our manufacturing costs. Both Donde and Mary’s interest and belief in Elevance’s successful technology make them strong contributors on our team. They have strong backgrounds in the chemicals and energy industry and have seen firsthand the value of science and technology.
The bio-chemical industry is growing and needs the contributions of bright, passionate men AND women. With all of the possibilities, Elevance encourages women and girls to explore educational and employment opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.