Not All Chemicals Are Created Equal™

Here’s another sign of the times and the mounting trend. Coming on the heels of our mid-February announcement that we supplied commercial quantities of bio-succinic acid to Oxea for use in the production of their bio-based, phthalate-free plasticizers, another major specialty chemicals company has announced its intended use of our solution for their Quinacridone pigment. The company is Clariant, a multibillion dollar, publicly-traded global entity with more than 21,000 employees worldwide and headquartered in Muttenz, Switzerland.

The news release about this decision from Clariant is here. Of special note, it includes this all-important quote from Marco Cenisio, Senior Vice President and Head of Clariant’s Business Unit Pigments: “Optimizing our own pigment production processes to incorporate renewable raw materials is part of our strategy to help address global challenges and megatrends. We are very excited about what this achievement means both in terms of improving the ecological footprint of our products and in helping our customers to be more sustainable.” 

Sound familiar? Watch this space for more news in the coming quarters about more major organizations moving toward renewable raw materials.

If you’re familiar with our news releases, you know they are straightforward. But here, where interpretation is expected, permit me to add some meaningful perspective about today’s news which is that we are supplying commercial quantities of bio-succinic acid to Oxea for use in their production of bio-based, phthalate-free plasticizers.

Number one: Oxea is owned by Oman Oil Company S.A.O.C. For anyone who may still be doubtful that mainstream petroleum companies understand the biochemical opportunity, today’s news validates the trend that traditional mainstream oil companies see the green alternative market potential. And Oxea is not a small organization. They have 1,400 employees worldwide.

Two:  In our news release as well as at this Oxea site, there is strong validation that Myriant’s bio-succinic acid is a high performance solution. For years, in the bio-based products industry, some have had their doubts about green alternative performance capabilities. Oxea wouldn’t use a green alternative if it were not up to performance standards.

The third and final point is this: We’ve been saying all along that consumers will generate a pull-through for green solutions and that suppliers will find this difficult to ignore or resist. Oxea obviously isn’t in the business of doing either. From their website on this topic (link above):  Facing the rising health and image concerns of consumers, the industry is calling for safe, high-per-forming and affordable plasticizers to meet the market requirements.

plant-at-nightIn this feature from The News Star, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal reviews a number of jobs-related successes since 2008 that have helped the state sustain and advance more prosperous times. Whether or not you’re politically aligned with the Governor, in terms of attracting jobs and industry, Louisiana is on a roll. He notes, for example, that …for the past five years in a row, more people have been moving into Louisiana than moving out of our state, reversing a 25-year trend…

One of the positive factors mentioned by the Governor in his review is Myriant’s Lake Providence plant which became operational earlier this year. But for the record, while we’re proud of this milestone and grateful for the Governor’s spotlight on us, it is we who owe a tribute to the state, not the other way around. Louisiana, its people, its infrastructure, its business policies and a host of other factors have significantly contributed to Myriant’s opportunity and success in the region.

biofuels-digestBioFuels Digest subscribers and an invited panel of distinguished international selectors recently completed their voting for the top companies in Biobased Chemicals & Materials for 2013-14. The result: Myriant earned the #3 spot on the list. The rankings, as reported by Jim Lane of BioFuels Digest recognize innovation and achievement in the sector.

Of course we aspire to be #1, but third on the list of the hottest 30 companies in our industry is nothing to scoff at. It shows we’re becoming more well-known. More people understand what we do, and how and why we do it. And, we’ve achieved a number of fundamentals and milestones, on plan and as promised. This demonstrates we have both a solid scientific vision and a business strategy that is working.

Confirming all this is the fact that Myriant is more and more often making people’s top lists. For example, as reported here, analysts at Lux Research combed through the 415 companies they profiled in the third quarter of 2013 to select 10 firms whose performance points to a near-term growth opportunity. We’re on that list, too!

This is indeed an honor for Myriant. We have been invited to Washington to tell the Myriant story in front of hundreds of diverse stakeholders involved with various aspects of the bioenergy supply chain. The two-day event, being held at the Washington Convention Center July 31st through August 1st, is Biomass 2013. Co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Advanced Biofuels USA, it is considered one of the most prestigious and important annual forums of its type held anywhere in the world. Advanced Biofuels USA, by the way, is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting public understanding, acceptance, and use of advanced biofuels. This year, marking the sixth annual conference, the focus is on the theme: How the Advanced Bioindustry is Reshaping American Energy.

My presentation on behalf of Myriant will be one of four at an Opening Plenary Session, starting at 10:10am on the first day of the conference, on the topic of Celebrating Successes – The Foundation of An Advanced Bioindustry. To be moderated by Neil Rossmeissl, Bioenergy Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy, the other presenters will be Bob Dinneen, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association; Thomas Foust, Director, National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and, John Kasbaum, Senior Vice President of Commercial, KiOR, Inc.

As noted in the program preview provided by the DOE, this year’s conference will highlight the successes of the bioenergy industry over the past 20 years and provide a forum to exchange ideas, showcase new technologies, and discuss opportunities for the future. Also important to us is the fact that this year’s conference will also focus on new directions for BETO and possible future funding opportunities. My personal hope is that it fosters open dialogue among key bi-partisan constituents who can accelerate the growth trajectory of the industry.

Like previous BETO conferences, the event will feature speakers from Congress, federal agencies, industry, and environmental organizations. Among the most notable will be Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; and, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture.