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.

On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has opened nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA).  Since 1996, these awards have honored companies and institutions that develop processes and products to help protect public health and the environment.  EPA’s strong support for the adoption of green chemistry has helped strengthen the development and commercialization of green chemistry products, leading to significant environmental benefits alongside economic benefits.  Previous PGCCA winners annually eliminate 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents and 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases, and save over 21 billion gallons of water.  There are six award categories for 2017:

Focus Area 1:  Greener Synthetic Pathways; 

Focus Area 2:  Greener Reaction Conditions;

Focus Area 3:  The Design of Greener Chemicals;

Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business);

Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher); and
Specific Environmental Benefit:  Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions).

Nominations for these awards are due to EPA by December 31, 2016, with more information about the selection criteria and how to enter on the EPA PGCCA website.


On October 11, 2016, Microvi Biotechnologies Inc. (Microvi) announced that it had been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for work on new biocatalytic technology that converts the methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) found in biogas into valuable liquid chemicals.  This technology utilizes the biogas created at landfills and wastewater treatment plants that is usually burned off into the atmosphere due to the current burdensome conversion process.  Microvi’s technology is expected to be much more efficient than conventional gas-to-liquid conversion processes, and will produce in-demand chemicals such as biobutanol.


On October 11, 2016, the Biofrontiers platform, a group of industry and civil society stakeholders brought together by the European Climate Foundation, released policy recommendations for the European Union’s (EU) 2030 climate policy.  The group stated that the transport sector has become the largest source of carbon emissions in the EU, and is therefore an urgent area to tackle following the Paris climate change agreement.  Policy recommendations put forth by the Biofrontiers platform, as stated in the Biofrontiers report, include:

Energy and climate policy for 2030 should ensure deep cuts to lifecycle emissions and safeguard food, soil, water and biodiversity. Incentives should be linked to the availability of sustainable feedstocks.  Site-specific assessments are needed to create confidence in feedstock supply chains.

Within [current EU energy policy focusing on fuels with low carbon intensity], support for advanced alternative fuels should be prioritised.

A realistic and responsible binding target for fuel suppliers for advanced alternative fuels in 2025, with a higher target range set for 2030.

Policymakers should have regard to other objectives in forestry, climate, agriculture and waste management.  Where there may be competition between liquid transport fuel production from wastes and other waste management options, policy should “encourage the options that deliver the best overall environmental outcome,” as required by the Waste Framework Directive.

Any 2030 policy framework should be designed with flexibility to allow novel fuel technologies and different feedstocks to be eligible for support as they arrive on the market, subject to life cycle analysis and sustainability assessment.


The American Chemical Society (ACS) has announced the 2016 Heroes of Chemistry at the ACS Fall National Meeting.  Of the four products showcased by the awards, Honeywell UOP’s Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™ represented the biobased industry.  This biobased jet fuel “is cleaner burning than conventional jet fuel and can be blended up to a 50/50 ratio with petroleum-based jet fuel.”  The awardees were Chad Cavan, Ralph Davis, Donald Eizenga, Daniel Ellig, Stanley Frey, Tom Kalnes, Michael McCall, Hieu (Sunny) Nguyen, James Wexler, and Randall Williams.  This prestigious award was created in 1996 to recognize chemical scientists that have developed products contributing to the welfare and progress of humanity.


The Algae Biomass Summit is the largest algae conference in the world.  This is where leading producers of algae products go to network with industry suppliers and technology providers, where project developers converse with utility executives, and where researchers and technology developers rub elbows with venture capitalists.  Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor.  B&C Senior Chemist Richard E. Engler will chair “Legal, IP, and Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities” on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.


North Carolina Biotechnology Center, “$1.87M Grant Lets NCBiotech Lead SE Sorghum Initiative

AZO Cleantech, “Biofuels Researchers Engineer Plant Lignin and Explain Evolutionary Path

GreenBiologics, “Green Biologics Announces New Brands for High Purity, Bio-Based Products

Reuters, “Shell Oil Bids $26 Million for Abengoa's Advanced Biofuel Plant

University Of Delaware, “New Brew in Quest for Biofuel” 

Global Times, “Biofuels ‘Will Support Rural Incomes, Green Economy'
Tags: Biofuel, AZO, DOE


On October 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a public meeting on the draft Algae Guidance for the Preparation of [Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)] Biotechnology Submissions (Algae Guidance) in the Federal Register.  This meeting will receive public input and comments on the draft Algae Guidance that describes EPA’s data needs for supporting risk assessments of genetically engineered algae and cyanobacteria that are manufactured, imported, or processed, and are subject to regulations under Section 5 of TSCA.  The meeting will be held in Tempe, Arizona on October 27, 2016.  Only 120 people will be able to attend the meeting in person, however, due to space limitations.  Registrants not able to attend in person can access the meeting through a live web stream and teleconference capabilities.  Registration is available through the Eastern Research Group (ERG) website.


On October 11, 2016, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register seeking applications for the 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.  The Partner of the Year Awards were developed in 2015 to recognize Safer Choice stakeholders advancing the goals of the Pollution Prevention Act, as well as the Safer Choice program through safer chemistry.  There are five broad categories of the awards:

Formulators/Product Manufacturers of both Consumer and Institutional/ Industrial (I/I) products; 

Purchasers and Distributors;


Supporters (e.g., non-governmental organizations); and

Innovators (e.g., chemical manufacturers).
Applications are due by December 16, 2016, with award winners being announced at a ceremony in late spring of 2017.


On October 4, 2016, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission (EFC) published a report,  Course Correction: It’s Time to Rethink Canadian Biofuel Policies, arguing for the termination of biofuel subsidies.  The report claims that Canadian biofuel policies have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions an average of three million tonnes annually, accounting for less than 0.5 percent of Canada’s total GHG emissions.  Annual costs of the biofuel policies were estimated to be C$640 million, resulting in an estimated average per-tonne cost of GHG emission reduction ranging between C$128 and C$185.  The report then argues for increased carbon pricing policies over the production subsidies and biofuel mandates that are currently in place as a more cost effective strategy for reducing GHG emissions.
Renewable Industries Canada (RIC) has spoken out against the report, calling the study “skewed, flawed, and unacceptable,” as it ignores independent biofuel cost benefit analyses as well as current government data (data used in the study was from a report published in 2010).  RIC claims that biofuel mandates have returned over C$5 billion to the Canadian economy, created 14,000 jobs since 2007, and provided a C$3.7 billion net return on government investments.  RIC does support carbon pricing policies, but argues that the best approach to reducing GHG emissions is a holistic approach that includes a variety of policies, incorporating carbon pricing as well as biofuel mandates.



On October 3, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.  This proposed rule includes suggestions to improve the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and related pro-renewable fuel regulations.  Updated regulations included in the proposed rule include allowing biofuel producers to process feedstock and then convert the material into fuels at different facilities, and an expansion to the availability of high-ethanol fuel blends.  The proposed rule allows increases to the types of feedstocks that biofuels can be produced from, allowing cellulosic biofuels to be produced from short-rotation poplar and willow trees; renewable diesel and biodiesel to be produced from non-cellulosic portions of separated food waste; and cellulosic diesel to be produced from compressed cellulosic feedstocks and petroleum.  Comments will be due 60 days after the proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register.


On October 4, 2016, Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development, posted a blog item “The Bio-Based Economy and Renewable Energy: USDA’s Record of Success,” reviewing the history of USDA’s work with the biobased economy.  USDA Rural Development has spearheaded the effort to promote economic growth through expansion of the biobased industry.  Lisa Mensah outlines positive impacts of USDA’s programs, stating “domestic energy-related emissions have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years.  Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 40-year low and declining.  In the last eight years, USDA has helped lead an effort to promote the domestic production and use of advanced biofuels and biobased products, supporting millions of jobs and pumping hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars into the U.S. economy.”  The post also explores the economic benefits that the biobased industry has created for farmers and ranchers, especially though the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), and the Repowering Assistance Program.  USDA’s support of the biobased economy has been central to the steady growth of the industry over the years, and will continue to be integral in the future.


On September 28, 2016, the City of New York passed a bill, 47 to three, increasing the amount of biodiesel in the city’s heating oil.  Heating oil in New York City currently contains two percent biodiesel, which will increase to five percent on October 1, 2017, ten percent in 2025, 15 percent in 2030, and 20 percent in 2034.  The first increase from a two to five percent biodiesel blend is expected to reduce an equivalent amount of emissions, taking 45,000 cars off the road, with the final target of a 20 percent reduction of emissions equivalent to removing over 250,000 cars.  This legislation, which is expected to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, is part of New York City’s target to reach an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions between 2005 and 2050.



On September 22, 2016,  Clarifying Current Roles and Responsibilities Described in the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (Update to the Coordinated Framework) was published in the  Federal Register . This proposed update provides a comprehensive summary of the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with respect to the regulation of biotechnology products. More information about what this means for the future of biotechnology and the biotechnology industry is available in the Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) memorandum "Biotechnology: White House Releases Proposed Update to the Coordinated Framework and National Strategy for Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products." Comments are due by  November 1, 2016 , at  5:00 p.m. (EDT).

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