Japan’s Kao Corporation has joined the $120 million venture previously announced by Genomatica and Unilever to scale and commercialise plant-based alternatives to palm kernel oil. The firm described this is as a key move towards meeting goals of becoming carbon-neutral by 2040 carbon-negative by 2050, by making responsibly sourced palm oil and derivatives a critical feedstock.
Solvay is to expand its rare earths operations in La Rochelle, France, to enter the value chain for permanent magnets based on alloys of rare earths. These are mostly imported into Europe at present and many rare earths are in short supply. The company itself claims to be the technology leader in their separation, recycling, purification, finishing and formulation.
Japan’s Toray Industries has announced that it opened a research centre in Singapore in June. The centre is carrying out R&D into ‘electronic information materials’ and providing technical support in Southeast Asia. The company as a whole is seeking to build a global R&D structure spanning Japan, Korea and China.
Altana and Covestro have separately made exits from the 3D printing market, in each case selling to a specialist in the field. The former has sold its stake in 3D printing systems manufacturer DP Polar to 3D Systems, while the latter is to sell its Additive Manufacturing business to Stratasys.
Livent has signed a sourcing agreement, under which it will supply General Motors (GM) with battery-grade lithium hydroxide for six years from 2025. GM intends to use this in its battery cathodes, which will power electric vehicles such as the recently revealed Chevrolet Blazer EV (pictured), Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq.
Evonik has made several moves to limit its dependence on Russian supplies of natural gas at its German sites. The company said that this is less of an issue in other countries but “in Germany, on the other hand, a loss of Russian gas supplies would seriously jeopardise chemical production”.
Cell engineering company Ginkgo Bioworks has acquired the troubled synthetic biology specialist Zymergen for a market capitalisation of $300 million. It will now look for “strategic alternatives” for the new drug discovery business once this is complete. Both boards have approved.