The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

As explained in the notice issued by Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), with President Trump’s signing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892), the blenders tax credit was extended retroactively for 2017.  Qualified biofuel blenders are eligible for a tax credit of $1.00 per gallon of biodiesel or renewable diesel used in the blending process in 2017.  The blenders tax credit was one of several biofuel-related tax incentives that were extended retroactively.  The incentives, which also include tax credits for second-generation biofuel production and alternative fuel vehicle refueling property, and a special allowance for second generation biofuel plant property, were not extended through 2018.


 
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By Kathleen M. Roberts

On February 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the release of its 2017 Project Peer Review Report.  The report contains recommendations provided during the March 2017 Project Peer Review.  The biennial Peer Review process aims to gather feedback and recommendations from stakeholders on BETO’s research and development portfolio to help BETO identify the most efficient and effective ways to accelerate the development of an advanced bioenergy industry.  BETO will use the results of the 2017 Peer Review to inform programmatic decision making, modify or discontinue existing projects, guide future funding opportunities, and support other budget and strategic planning objectives.  As reported in the BRAG blog post BETO Announces Availability Of Project Peer Review 2017 Presentations, the 2017 Project Peer Review presentations are available on the BETO website.

Tags: DOE, BETO

 
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By Kathleen M. Roberts

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced the development of a method to create a supertough renewable plastic with improved manufacturability.  The method involved the addition of a small amount of silanes to polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic commonly used in packaging, textiles, biomedical implants, and 3D printing.  The new bioplastic demonstrated improved tensile strain and tensile toughness, without a loss in tensile strength and modulus.  According to ORNL’s Soydan Ozcan, the new method offers a fast, scalable route to increasing PLA toughness, which will broaden the use of PLA.


 
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The Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference 2018 (ABLC) will be held February 28 - March 2, 2018, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.  ABLC is the gathering point for top leaders in the Advanced Bioeconomy -- bringing together the entire spectrum of advanced fuels, chemicals, and materials chief executive officers (CEO) and senior executives, business developers, research and development (R&D) leaders, strategic partners, financiers, equity analysts, policymakers, and industry suppliers. 
 
Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Senior Chemist for Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), will present during the Renewable Chemicals Summit.  Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D., Manager of BRAG, will participate as a panelist in the “Federal Perspective & Programs” forum.  Register online.

Tags: ABLC

 

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On February 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announced in the Federal Register that it has withdrawn support for the Farm-to-Fleet Biofuel Production Incentive (BPI) program.   CCC determined that, due to limited available funds, the BPI program is no longer a priority.  USDA and the U.S. Department of Navy (Navy) launched the Farm-to-Fleet program in 2013 to provide incentive funds to companies refining biofuel in the United States from certain domestically grown feedstocks converted to drop-in biofuel for delivery to the Navy.  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy (BRAG®) blog post, USDA Issues A Notice of Available Funds For The Farm-To-Fleet Biofuel Production Incentive, in December 2016, CCC announced the availability of up to $50 million in funding to support the BPI payments through 2018.  The current notice states that CCC is cancelling funding for BPI payments to companies for deliveries not yet solicited or procured, and withdrawing support for biofuel blends solicited by the Navy.  BPI payments required under the existing commitments will continue to be made.


 
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By Kathleen M. Roberts

On January 31, 2018, the European Commission (EC) launched a new investigation into subsidized imports of biodiesel from Argentina.  The investigation was initiated based on a complaint filed by the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) on behalf of producers representing over 25 percent of the European Union (EU) biodiesel production.  The EC determined that the complaint includes sufficient evidence that the Argentinean biodiesel producers have benefitted from a number of subsidies granted by the Government of Argentina.  The investigation provides another means for imposing tariffs on biodiesel imported from Argentina following successful challenges to the anti-dumping (AD) duties set in 2013.  In September 2017, the EU reduced the AD duties for Argentinean biodiesel to between 4.5 and 8.1 percent, from initial rates of 22-25.7 percent.


 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On February 5, 2018, Neste, a member of BRAG, announced that the use of its renewable fuels in place of fossil fuels resulted in a reduction of 8.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The significant emission reduction is primarily attributed to Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel and Neste's increased production volumes at its three renewables-producing refineries.  The reduction was calculated by comparing the lifecycle GHG emissions of the renewable fuels Neste produced in 2017 to that of conventional diesel.  Neste states that use of its renewable diesel also improves local air quality by reducing exhaust emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulates, and carbon monoxide.

Tags: Neste, GHG, Biofuel

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 25, 2018, Alberta Innovates announced the launch of the Bio-Resource Information Management System (BRIMS), which was developed in conjunction with Silvacom Ltd.  BRIMS is a publicly available data and information management system that collates inventories from forestry, agriculture, and municipality sectors to create a centralized, comprehensive spatial warehouse of biomass, ecosystem services, and land-use data.  Silvacom and Alberta Innovates designed the system with data partnerships from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC).  BRIMS is intended to advance the bioeconomy in Alberta by informing bio-resource management and investment decisions.


 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the availability of presentations from its Advanced Development and Optimization (ADO) Workshop.  As previously reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG­®) blog post DOE Advanced Development And Optimization Workshop, the workshop took place at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on December 12-13, 2017.  Discussion focused on how the new ADO program area can best serve stakeholders in developing the bioenergy industry, existing assets from past investments, and future needs and opportunities for maximizing such assets’ value.  
 
The following presentations are available on the BETO website:  

Tags: DOE, BETO, Workshop

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 23, 2018, DOE announced that researchers at PNNL have developed a catalyst capable of converting ethanol directly into butadiene.  Butadiene is the building block for nearly every major synthetic plastic or rubber in the U.S, including tires, fuel hoses, and children’s toys.  The project, which is sponsored by BETO, aimed to generate butadiene from renewable sources by developing a new catalyst that can convert ethanol into butadiene.  The current ethanol-to-butadiene catalysts required pure ethanol, free of water, to be passed through multiple times to achieve a 70 percent yield.  The team of PNNL researchers has developed a silver nitrate powder and zirconyl nitrate-based catalyst capable of converting 70 percent of aqueous ethanol to butadiene in a single pass under industrially-relevant conditions.  According to Vanessa Dagle, it is the most active ethanol-to-butadiene catalyst reported to date and introduces the possibility of renewable ethanol as a source of butadiene in addition to petroleum.


 
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By Kathleen M. Roberts

On January 26, 2018, the International Trade Administration (ITA) published in the Federal Register a notice of an open meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC).  The meeting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on May 10, 2018, in Washington, D.C and will be the seventh and final in-person meeting of the current charter.  The meeting will include REEEAC subcommittee working sessions, a discussion on next steps for each subcommittee, consideration of recommendations for approval, and an update from the Department of Commerce (DOC) and other agencies on major issues affecting the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.  An agenda will be available upon request by May 4, 2018.  Stakeholders interested in participating in the meeting must register with Victoria Gunderson (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on May 4, 2018.

Tags: ITA, REEEAC

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 25, 2018, the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a ruling on anti-dumping (AD) measures on biodiesel from Indonesia, following Indonesia’s request for consultations with the European Union (EU) in June 2014.  The ruling is the latest in a series of legal challenges to EU AD duties on biodiesel imports from Indonesia and Argentina that were established in 2013. Similar to the WTO ruling for Argentina, the panel ruled in favor of several challenges to the AD duties for Indonesia.  For instance, the panel determined that the EU should have used the prices recorded by the producers and failed to calculate correctly a normal profit margin.  While Indonesia argued that the measures should be withdrawn, the panel did not make specific recommendations on how the EU should adapt its measures.  The EU AD duties for Indonesia remain those set in 2013, specifically between 8.8 and 20.5 percent. Both parties have 60 days to submit an appeal.


 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 22, 2018, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) announced that a new study on lifecycle energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission effects of biodiesel updates and reaffirms the benefits of using the renewable fuel.  The report was published jointly by ANL, Purdue University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Researchers gathered data on the energy and emissions from farming soybeans, the feedstock for approximately half of U.S. biodiesel.  Among the data collected was the largest survey of biodiesel production facilities to date to determine the amount of energy used to convert fats, oils, and grease into biodiesel.  The data was analyzed using ANL’s flagship Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET®) LCA model and predicted economic impacts.  The results demonstrate that biodiesel reduces GHG emissions by a range of 66 to 72 percent, compared to petroleum diesel.  Jim Duffield, former USDA Agricultural Economist, stated that “[the report shows] the highest GHG reduction of any heavy-duty transportation fuel and reflects biodiesel’s natural ability to store solar energy in a liquid form compatible with today’s engines and power generation technologies.”
 
The study also models the indirect land use change (ILUC) to quantify the future impact of such predicted change in land use.  According to Farzad Taheripour, one of the Purdue University authors, “[d]ata available today shows that farmers all around the world are increasing productivity on existing farm land. Calibrating the model to these real-world trends improves the accuracy and reduces the predicted emissions of biofuel expansion.”  The improved model demonstrates a 30 percent reduction in ILUC emissions compared to the score adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2015.

Tags: NBB, Biodiesel

 
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