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Business Roundup

March 14, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 11

Bridgestone will spend $63 million to build a solar film plant in Walbrzych, Poland, by 2013. The facility will produce up to 1,100 metric tons of ethylene vinyl acetate film per month. The material is used to fasten the silicon cell of a solar module to its glass enclosure.

Nova Chemicals has signed a memorandum of understanding with Caiman Energy to source ethane from the Marcellus Shale deposit for use at its petrochemical complex in Sarnia, Ontario. Under terms of the agreement, Caiman will expand its gas processing plant in Fort Beeler, W.Va., and sell Nova 20,000 barrels of ethane per day.

Lanxess has broken ground on a $14 million compounding plant in Gastonia, N.C. The plant will be Lanxess’ first polybutylene terephthalate and nylon compounding plant in the U.S. and will have a capacity of 20,000 metric tons per year when it is completed next year. Additionally, Lanxess and joint-venture partner DuPont plan to double capacity at their PBT compounding plant in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany.

Celanese CEO Dave Weidman has donated $10 million to establish a center for global leadership at Brigham Young University’s Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering & Technology. Celanese notes that top engineering schools such as MIT, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan recently have set up similar centers.

Amprius, a spin-off from Stanford University, raised $25 million in a recent funding round to help it commercialize its silicon-based electrode technology for lithium-ion batteries. The company says it has validated its batteries for use in applications such as smartphones and is working on incorporating them into electric cars.

Monsanto has signed a multiyear collaboration with Sapphire Energy that will give it access to Sapphire’s algae-based research to discover genes that could be applied to agriculture, particularly in the field of yield and stress. Sapphire focuses on designing modified algae that can produce oils to be used in gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Amyris has signed a fourth contract manufacturing agreement for the production of its renewable chemical intermediate farnesene. Antibióticos, a manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, will produce farnesene for Amyris from sugar at its facilities in León, Spain.

Dow Chemical has signed a letter of intent with Solazyme to develop algal oils for biobased dielectric insulating fluids used in transformers. The letter says Dow may buy up to 20 million gal of the oils from Solazyme in 2013. The firms may develop the oils for other Dow products as well.

Anacor Pharmaceuticals and the nonprofit Institute for OneWorld Health will work together to discover antibacterial compounds for treating shigellosis, an infectious disease that causes bloody diarrhea. IOWH has received funding for the project from the U.K.’s Department for International Development.



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