10 of Cargill’s Next-Gen Biofuel Bets

Global agriculture and food gorilla Cargill made $2.6 billion in profit in 2010 — the century-old company doesn’t need biofuels for its bottom line. However, Cargill is one of the larger producers of ethanol and biodiesel in the U.S. and has been investing into next-gen biofuel IP.

Shell, Cargill Fuel Up Virent With $46M

For biofuels to make a dent in the U.S. fuel supply, big oil will have to get on board. Case in point: this morning biofuel startup Virent Energy Systems announced that it has raised $46.4 million from oil giant Shell and agriculture company Cargill.

When Open Platforms Get Closed: AT&T Cripples Backflip

The Motorola Backflip is AT&T’s foray into the open world of the Android phone. Unfortunately, it seems the carrier wasn’t just content to replace Google search with Yahoo’s offering, it also has disabled some of the capabilities that make an open platform like Android popular.

IBM’s Building Blocks for Greener Plastic

There are ways to make greener plastic besides making it from corn. On Tuesday, IBM’s (s IBM) Almaden Research Center and Stanford University announced a new line of organic catalysts that they say could revolutionize the green plastics industry by giving it a set of tools to build up — and break down — plastics in a more environmentally friendly and energy efficient way. While these new organic catalysts are limited to the lab right now, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) wants to try a pilot plastics recycling plant with IBM and Stanford’s catalysts that could break down polyethylene terephthalate, or PET — the plastic found in milk bottles, polyester and many other consumer and industrial goods — into its starting components, and rebuild it as a whole new range of plastics. (Oh, and it could work for bio-based plastics, too.)
“We can apply this and rip polymers, which otherwise would have gone into a landfill, back into polymer-grade monomers,” is how Jim Hedrick, IBM’s lead scientist on the effort, described it to us. Monomers are the starting components of plastics, mostly petrochemical-based, though the share that is coming from plant-based materials is increasingly growing. Polymers are the PET, PVC, polystyrene and other forms of plastic we all know and (gulp) love.
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