Not All Chemicals Are Created Equal™

This news represents the achievement of a major milestone in Myriant’s ongoing growth and development in becoming a major global source of bio-succinic acid at commercial scale and to rigorous targets for commercial yield and product quality. In brief, stemming from an exclusive alliance formed in 2009 to commercialize bio-succinic acid, Myriant has completed the successful scaling and commercial production of bio-succinic acid at ThyssenKrupp Uhde’s biotech commercial validation facility in Leuna, Germany. Moreover, looking ahead, based on this all-important validation, ThyssenKrupp Uhde will provide important process and performance guarantees for the bio-succinic acid process at future Myriant plants built by Uhde.

The news carries important implications for Myriant’s competitive differentiation and global funding options for capitalizing future plant facilities. As noted in the news release carrying this announcement, which you can access here from our homepage, Stephen J. Gatto, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Myriant reinforced the global importance of this validation and ongoing alliance: “Myriant has established a track record for executing against our stated milestones and also for achieving significant industry-firsts. We believe obtaining a process guarantee from ThyssenKrupp Uhde will be an important strategic differentiator for Myriant in the bio-based chemicals industry and that, when coupled with a proven, scalable process, will enable us to access lower-cost capital to fund our plant build-out program in the United States and abroad.”

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with ThyssenKrupp Uhde, it employs more than 5,900 people worldwide in the Industrial Solutions business area of the ThyssenKrupp Group. The company’s activities focus on the engineering and construction of chemical and other industrial plants.

You know by now this blogger can’t help herself. First the Leafs fell. Then, the Rangers from some city south of Boston. Next up: the Pittsburgh Penguins. Really? Do they even get ice down there in the winter? Just saying…

By all accounts they are a good team. No one expects them to roll over like the last guys in 5… But here’s the thing. Wouldn’t you have to agree it’s a bad sign when the team name is the same as a bird that can’t fly and has feet that don’t contour to skates? Do they waddle when they take to the rink? Ok, this is all in good fun. We just love our Bruins!

Go B’s!

Courtesy of All Ag News, this comprehensive review of the detailed give and take in Senate Farm Bill negotiations by Agriculture Committee members is available. It’ll tell you more than you probably would ever want to know about how sausage gets made on Capitol Hill. But of extreme relevance to us in the renewable chemicals and biorefinery business are the stated reasons, given in the report, explaining why five of the 20 committee members voted against the upper chamber’s so called Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013.

The good news, in short, is none expressed any objection to the bill’s provisions for programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, the Biorefinery Assistance Program and the Biomass Research* and Development Initiative. Here is the overview of the stated reasons why five Senators objected to the committee’s effort to date: The five Senators voting against the Senate Ag Committee’s farm bill were Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Pat Roberts of Kansas, John Thune of South Dakota, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Johanns, Roberts and Thune offered amendments and supported each other in amendments to change the target price-based program and to make changes to the food stamp program that would have cut the number of beneficiaries and costs. Gillibrand – on the other hand – voted against the bill because of the cut to food stamps.

*There’s one other really interesting and important tidbit in this report involving the value of agriculture research investment, although you have to get to paragraph 27 to find it. It is this:

USDA Chief Scientist Catherine Woteki says agricultural research is extremely important as it provides multiple benefits for ag producers and consumers – especially when it comes to the U.S. economy. For every one-dollar invested in ag research – Woteki says 20-dollars is returned to the economy.

If you’re skeptical of that analysis, take a look at agriculture’s record of achieving significant productivity gains on a shrinking amount of available land. In the article, Woteki and USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse touche on this topic: Scuse says ag production will have to increase 70-percent – and he says technology is a major part of that. In the past 30-years – Scuse says 40-million acres have been lost from agricultural production – yet production has increased because farmers are embracing technology. However – he says challenges arise because agriculture’s greatest success – through the use of technology – has led to the greatest criticism by those not living in Rural America. Woteki says people just need to look at the good track record of agriculture’s technology usage – as farmers and ranchers are producing safe food, fiber and fuel for the U.S. and the world. She says producers need to use all the tools in the toolbox to meet the growing demand of those products for the growing population.

Please stay tuned as Senate and House versions of the bill pass through the grinder of politics, positioning, and compromise.

Earlier this month, the Eberly College of Science at Penn State, which is uniquely positioned to train future scientists and leaders in the field of bio-sustainability, announced the names of 7 student winners of the 2013 Myriant Corporation Scholarship for Excellence in Bio-Energy and Energy Sustainability. Their names and a brief overview of the program may be seen at this link.

If you’re not familiar with this program, backed by a $250,000 pledge from Myriant, it was first announced by Myriant and Penn State in this news report from May, 2012.

Also of note is the fact that Myriant’s Chairman and CEO Stephen Gatto is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board in the Eberly College of Science.

Congratulations students. We at Myriant are both proud and delighted to provide this support for your continuing education in the fields of Biochemistry, Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and the related sciences, all of which we believe are pivotal to this century’s search for, and achievement of, ongoing sustainable solutions.

Let it first be duly noted we admire Canada, love Toronto, respect the Maple Leafs, yada, yada, yada, but hey, how cool was that win last night in overtime? When Boston Bruin Patrice Bergeron scored the team’s fifth goal to win the seventh and deciding game in overtime and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals some eyewitnesses say the roof at the Garden rose inches off its rafters. What a win. What dogged determination. What a ‘never quit’ effort… even as some patrons exited the building early sure of certain defeat. That the Bruins prevailed, remained confident, kept their composure and ultimately took command of the game makes us proud to call Boston home. Congrats B’s and good luck on your next series!

Next up, New York. Any Rangers fan from the Empire State interested in a friendly wager?