Archive for the ‘‘Green’ Marketing’ Category

Another Plastics from Bio-Mass Discovery

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Science and the chemical industry are spending tremendous research resources to discover and perfect effective bio-based alternatives to petroleum raw materials.  They’ve achieved some notable scientific breakthroughs, including bio processes to make ethanol and other alcohols, for motor fuels and as ingredients in paints, cleaners, inks and plastics.  Now, a new discovery at University of Massachusetts Amherst may someday lead to a practical bio- alternative to one of the world’s largest volume consumer plastics.

PET is among the world’s most widely used plastics materials.  Each year, chemical factories churn out tens of Billions of pounds PET, which is made into a broad variety of everyday objects – polyester fabric and clothing, plastic soft drink bottles, rigid plastic automobile parts and precision connectors for computer electronics, thin films for food packaging, photography and kids’ balloons.

At the heart of the process for making PET is the raw material, para-xylene (P-X).  Up to now, all P-X has been derived from petroleum raw materials, but scientists at University of Massachusetts Amherst claim to have invented an efficient route to make P-X from glucose, a simple sugar that can be derived from a variety of bio-mass sources.

A healthy dose of caution, however —  Don’t bet the farm or the kids’ college funds on bio-PET displacing the petro version any time soon.  While the lab work shows an exciting promise, achieving economics to compete with conventional P-X, one of the least expensive petrochemical raw materials, will be a tall order.

For more, see:

High-Yield Path to Making Key Ingredient for Plastic, Xylene, from Biomass

ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2012)

‘Greener’ Materials …

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

We hear a lot of discussion of concepts like ‘sustainable’, ‘renewable’, ‘green’ and ‘environmentally friendly’.  Definitions can be fairly fuzzy, but it’s clear that being ‘green’ (or ‘sustainable’ or ‘environmentally friendly’) signifies some notable level of success in one of these areas:

Renewable raw materials, derived from ‘natural’ (that is, plant or animal) sources.  In fact, huge volumes of traditional industrial and consumer products are already made from renewable raw materials, including: 

* detergents, personal care and cleaning products, and paint resins made from plant oils

* alcohol fuels from corn and from sugar processing wastes

* RAYON, CELLOPHANE and families of cellulosic additives derived from wood, used in food processing, adhesives and coatings.

R&D is aimed primarily at discovering and selectively breeding higher yielding strains of non-food plant sources.  There is, in addition, intense interest in formulating consumer products with higher proportions of renewable materials, including, notably, these sorts of materials sourced from non-traditional suppliers.

Biologically-based processes for transforming raw materials (usually from renewable sources) into intermediate or finished products. 

* Enzymes harvested from micro-organisms on an industrial scale improve our laundry and cleaning products, bakery and other food items, and textile and papermaking

* Fermentation produces important pharmaceutical ingredients and ethanol for fuel 

Intense R&D aimed at bio-routes to traditional fossil-based industrial materials has already resulted in commercialization of a bio-based raw material for better carpet fibers and polyester plastics, and promises success with other chemical building blocks within the next couple of years.

Recycle, compost or bio-degrade to minimize products’ end-of-life impact.  Plastic soft drink bottles, water bottles and containers for many household cleaners are recycled in the billions of pounds per year around the world.  Compostable of degradable materials, like PLA and PHA plastics, are reducing the environmental impact of fast food packaging and disposable food service items.  Regulations, and improvements in recovery and re-use technologies, will expand the range of materials that can be practically recycled or safely degraded.

– Conscientious, and economy-minded, companies and consumers are reducing the cradle-to-grave carbon footprint of products they make and use, through improved energy efficiency and waste reduction, tighter supply chain management, and overall operating excellence.

 To discuss how we can help you can learn more about ‘green’ materials in your marketplace and about opportunities for your company’s growth and success, contact

Markets for “Green” Chemicals

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Here is a quick summary of a consulting project I recently completed.
If this sort of assessment would be valuable to you, please contact:
Bob Brothers
Marketing Intelligence & Strategy

Working with the client’s VP of Business Development, Marketing Intelligence & Strategy Associates created profiles of the US and European marketplace for a selected family of industrial chemicals. MISA prioritized important market opportunities and developed marketing strategy and implementation recommendations for “green” versions of these products, made from a new, environmentally friendly manufacturing process.

MISA Principal Bob Brothers conducted interviews with key industry participants and utilized published information sources, to:

– Define the size and value of key end uses, and profile major suppliers and consumers of the targeted products.
– Explain the buying decision processes of key potential customers, and their protocols for evaluating and approving new products and suppliers
– Determine key customers’ and end users’ attitudes, materials selection and marketing practices around “green” products and formulations.
– Explain the impact of European REACh regulations upon targeted market segments in the EU and the resulting limitations and opportunities for the client to enter the European marketplace.

Insights and recommendations provided by MISA gave the client confidence to accelerate its investment and business development activities in the new “green” manufacturing process.

Marketing Green Technologies – Part 1, for Inventors

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Karen posed a couple of entertwined questions over on one of the Linked-In Group discussions:
“How can inventors of green products find and market to potential customers?”
“How can companies find new ‘green’ products and evaluate their effectiveness?”

For the inventor —
Having been there for most of my working life, I know that marketing even the best new product to industry isn’t easy. Most manufacturing companies are inherently conservative and cautious about adopting new products and new designs. And well they should be! Their caution is certainly understandable when viewed against the company’s responsibility for the safety of workers and the community and the efficient operation of million or hundreds of millions of plant investment.

Wearing my marketing hat, I often emphasize the emotional, non-rational side of b2b sales. However, in the case of new and unproven manufacturing products, it is vital to give the design engineer or maintenance leader confidence – built on hard data and credible experience – that your product won’t fail. In many cases, the cost of a failure (to the company and to the individual career) so far outweighs the potential and uncertain benefits that they just won’t take a chance.

That being said, companies are always happy to find ‘better and cheaper’. But in my experience, few are able to invest people resources to systematically monitor and assess new products. More typically, engineers will look for solutions to problems as they arise. Thus, it is vital to be visible (or memorable) when the engineer encounters the problem.

Bottom line – Being in ‘the right place at the right time’ means being in many places – print ads, internet, trades shows, customer visits – most of the time.