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 Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 15, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced the latest open funding opportunity for 40 new projects (OPEN 2018).  The funds add up to $98 million and are designed to support research and development (R&D) innovators’ projects to transform the U.S. energy system.  Solicitations for ARPA-E OPEN funding are available for scientists and engineers focused on transformational technologies across ARPA-E’s mission.  The projects fall into nine categories:

  • Centralized Generation;
  • Distributed Generation;
  • Electrical Efficiency;
  • Grid;
  • Grid Storage;
  • Manufacturing Efficiency;
  • Transportation Energy Conversion;
  • Transportation Fuels; and
  • Transportation Vehicles.

Of those selected, approximately 43 percent of OPEN 2018 projects will be led by universities, 35 percent by small businesses, and the remainder by large businesses, non-profit organizations, or federally funded R&D centers.  The 40 projects announced will take place in 21 different states and ARPA-E will announce other new program areas.  A list of winners can be found here.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 27, 2018, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the discovery of a new process that uses biomass gasification.  Developed by the Bioenergy Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the process converts solid biomass into gas under high temperatures, creating a new blendstock that is low on aromatic compounds.  The blendstock consists of high-octane gasoline that can be produced in a few efficient and accelerated steps.  “This success provides a path for industry to scale up this novel breakthrough technology in the near term,” writes Zia Abdullah, NREL Program Manager.  Additionally, NREL’s research has contributed to DOE’s Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative.  NREL’s new technology aims at increasing the market penetration for biofuels and advancing U.S. energy security.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biofuel

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 30, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final renewable fuels volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2019 and the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020.  The final rule establishes that the 15-billion gallon targets originally set by Congress for 2019 will be maintained and primarily met by corn ethanol.  Additionally, in 2019, advanced biofuel volumes will increase by 630 million gallons and cellulosic biofuel volumes by 130 million gallons over the 2018 standard.  The biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 will increase by 330 million gallons over the 2019 standard of 2.1 billion gallons.

Tags: EPA, RFS, Biofuel

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 4, 2018, as part of its efforts to crowdsource solutions to increase energy productivity, DOE announced it will issue two new prizes as part of its Manufacturing Innovator Challenge.  The first new prize focuses on Biobased Additive Manufacturing (BAM) and will be distributed to three winners.  BAM involves the production of rapid prototyping of complex structures through biobased three-dimensional printing.  To qualify for the BAM prize, candidates are required to identify new materials that are made from at least 90 percent plant matter or algae, and that can meet or improve the performance of current three-dimensional printing materials.  Applications for this award are now open and must be submitted by January 10, 2019.
 
The second prize announced focuses on Novel Concepts for Large-Scale Three-Dimensional Printing, which will be awarded to three applicants as well.  This prize aims to award applicants that identify spaces where three-dimensional printing can play a role in breakthrough technologies.  Applications for this award are now open as well and must be submitted by February 1, 2019.  The Challenge also includes other award opportunities that can be found here.

Tags: DOE, Research

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 4, 2018, EPA announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  Sponsored by EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACSGCI), these awards promote the development and use of novel green chemistry for environmental and economic benefits.  There are five award categories for which eligible candidates can be nominated:

  • Greener Synthetic Pathways (Focus Area 1);
  • Greener Reaction Condition (Focus Area 2);
  • The Design of Greener Chemicals (Focus Area 3);
  • Small Business; and
  • Academic.

Eligibility for nominations requires that candidates’ technology meets the following criteria:  (1) it must be a green chemistry technology with a significant chemistry component; (2) it must include source reduction; (3) it must be submitted by an eligible organization or its representatives; (4) it must have a significant milestone in its development within the past five years; (5) it must have a significant U.S. component; and (6) it must fit within at least one of the three focus areas of the program.  The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2019, to be presented in the summer of 2019.  Self-nominations are allowed, there is no entry fee or standard form, and one can nominate more than one technology.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 28, 2018, the European Commission (EC) published a document called “A Clean Planet for all: A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy.”  Due to EC’s expressed concerns about climate change, part of this new long-term vision includes new rulings that facilitate the production of bio-fertilizers, encourage the production of biogas from manure treatment, and increase biomass imports.  Emphasizing the crucial role of biomass in a world with a 30 percent higher population in 2050, the report states that “biomass can directly supply heat.  It can be transformed into biofuels and biogas and when cleaned can be transported through the gas grid substituting natural gas … And it can substitute for carbon intensive materials, particularly in the building sector but also through new and sustainable bio-based products such as biochemicals.”  The report also analyzes the economic and social impacts of these new rulings, and highlights the critical role of the European Union (EU) in leading a low-carbon transition at the global level.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 29, 2018, the Government of Ontario, Canada, submitted for public comment the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (Plan).  The Plan outlines the government’s commitment to addressing climate change through the protection of land, air, water, and reduction of waste and greenhouse gas emissions.  Posted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Plan would increase ethanol use in gasoline by 15 percent in 2025, increase the use of renewable gas and fuels, establish emission performance standards for large emitters, and provide financial assistance for emissions reduction initiatives.  As part of the work on the plan, the next steps to make the actions outlined final include continued engagement with Indigenous communities, the establishment of a climate change advisory panel, the implementation of priority initiatives, and monitoring progress.  The Plan is open for comment until January 28, 2019.


 
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BCCM is pleased to announce that Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) podcast “All Things Chemical™” will release an episode on biobased equivalency determination.  The podcast will be presented by B&C’s Director of Chemistry, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., who is a 17-year veteran of EPA and is one of the most widely recognized experts in the field of green chemistry.  It will provide an overview of the term “biobased” and what it means, the current nomenclature issue surrounding the biobased industry, and how BCCM’s Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) is addressing the issue through equivalency determination.  Stay tuned for the podcast in the next month and subscribe now on on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher!  In the meantime, check out BRAG’s website for news on nomenclature issues.

Tags: Podcast

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), in New Mexico, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), in California, received the Excellence in BioPreferred Procurement Awards for Fiscal Year 2018. Both LANL and LLNL are U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories and have been awarded for the testing and adoption of biobased products within their operations. The awards reflect the laboratories’ achievements in advancing the objectives of USDA’s BioPreferred Federal Purchasing Preference Program. In their welding shop, LANL adopted a biobased lubricant used on metal-cutting machinery to replace the traditional oil-based lubricants formerly used. The biobased lubricant is not only more efficient, but also ensures safer work areas by reducing the potential for slips and falls. In addition, the biobased lubricant reduces the number of labor hours it takes to complete the welding operations and the costs for waste disposal. LLNL, on the other hand, converted all food service ware to biobased and compostable products, collecting 68 metric tons of compostable waste for reuse and recycling.

Tags: USDA, DOE, Research

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

As some may recall, on October 29, 2018, DOE announced the topic areas for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) for research and development (R&D) proposals for funding by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) in fiscal year (FY) 2019. The original timeline for the nine topics proposed by EERE intended for the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) was scheduled to be released on November 26, 2018. On the aforementioned date, however, instead of the FOA, DOE announced a delay in the original schedule pending the completion of the internal DOE administrative review process. The notice did not specify when applicants should expect the FOA, but stated that DOE will notify interested parties when it has been issued. Other important dates related to the FOAs do not seem to be affected by the delay at this time.

Tags: DOE, Research

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

Climate Transparency, a global partnership of international organizations to stimulate G20 climate action and empower zero carbon technologies through transparency, published in early November 2018 their annual “G20 Brown to Green -- The G20 Transition to A Low-Carbon Economy” report. The report summarizes carbon-reducing activities across all G20 countries, utilizing 80 indicators. In an assessment of the climate policy and efforts performance of each G20 country, the report identifies gaps and highlights the financial flow necessary for the renewable sector to succeed. The report demonstrates that the transition into low-emission has been particularly successful in Mexico and in France, while particularly lagging in Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Tags: Carbon

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 16, 2018, scientists at the Israeli Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev announced the discovery of a new technique to produce biofuel from human excrement. In an attempt to reduce carbon footprint and address poor sanitation in Global South countries, scientists at BGU developed a technique called hydrothermal carbonization. By hydrothermally carbonizing raw solid human waste biomass, hydrochar, a coal-like sterilized substance, can be produced and used for household cooking and heating. Given energy scarcity and lack of basic sanitation in parts of the world, this new technique “could potentially serve as a sustainable sanitation technology with a closed-loop cycle approach while recovering energy and nutrients.” In addition to hydrochar, the newly developed technique also produces a liquid that is nutrient rich and can, consequently, be used as a fertilizer.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 13, 2018, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that the Finish airport operator Finavia has decided to adopt Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel in its vehicles at four airports. Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a low-carbon biofuel produced 100 percent from renewable raw materials. Finavia’s switch to this renewable biofuel is part of its goal to reach carbon neutrality within its airports by 2020. The use of Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel is not new in Finland. The biofuel has been in use at Helsinki airport for over a year now in Apron buses, reducing Finavia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 610 metric tons. Neste’s Vice President of Marketing and Services in Finland, Sam Holmberg, stated that Neste is pleased to cooperate with Finavia and has plans to extend the biofuel’s availability to Northern Finland in the near future.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 6, 2018, DOE EERE will host a webinar on “Biomass Production and Water Quality in the Mississippi River Basin” at 8:00 a.m. (EST). The webinar will be presented by Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who will delve into the “modeling and analyses of potential implications of biomass production on nutrients and sediments in each of the six tributaries of the Mississippi River Basin.” Discussions will be held on methodology, data sources, water quality estimates, and system boundary. Register here.

Tags: DOE, Webinar

 
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