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.

On May 31, 2017, Deinove, a biotech company focused on producing high-value compounds from rare bacteria, announced the beginning of the second phase of a project with Flint Hills Resources to develop a nutritional supplement for animal feed.  Flint Hills Resources is a member of BRAG and a leading refining, petrochemicals, and biofuels company in the United States. 

During the first phase of the project, which began in November 2015, several bacterial strains were selected from Deinove’s library to produce target compounds.  The second phase will involve:​

  • Producing the additives in sufficient quantities to test their beneficial effects on the target animal species and analyze the results obtained;
  • Optimizing the fermentation parameters; and
  • Defining the technical and economic conditions for the development of the production process.

Depending on the results of efficacy tests, one or two strains may be selected for the industrialization step. 


 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 29, 2017, UPM Biofuels announced that its BioVerno renewable diesel and BioVerno sidestream products, including naptha, turpentine, and pitch, received certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB).  BioVerno renewable diesel is manufactured from crude tall oil, a residue of pulp production.  The RSB Certification evaluates the sustainability of biobased products against 12 principles that have been approved by non-governmental organizations (NGO), United Nations (UN) agencies, and other stakeholders and demonstrates compliance with the European Union Renewable Energy Directive’s sustainability criteria.   


 

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 23, 2017, President Trump released the Administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which includes significant cuts to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) budgets.  According to the proposed budget, funding for DOE would be cut by 5.6 percent to $28 billion, with $636 million allotted for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and $56.6 million for the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).  The proposed DOE budget aims to eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.
 
The proposed EPA budget of $5.7 billion would cut funding by 31 percent when compared to estimated 2017 appropriations.  Funding for the Clean Power Plan and climate change research and partnership programs, such as the Energy Star program, would be eliminated.  Also included in the cuts would be a $17 million reduction in funding for the Federal Vehicle and Fuels Standards and Certifications program, which oversees the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  According to EPA, it will continue to implement, maintain oversight of, and evaluate compliance with the RFS program in 2018
 
Under the proposed budget, funding for mandatory USDA programs would decrease from $123 billion in FY 2017 to $116 billion in FY 2018 and funding for discretionary programs would decrease from $26 billion to $21 billion.  The Biomass Crop Assistance Program and the Rural Energy for America Program are among the programs targeted for elimination. 
 
More information on the proposed agency budgets is available at the DOE, EPA, and USDA websites.

Tags: DOE, EPA, USDA, Budget

 
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On May 23, 2017, EERE published in the Federal Register a solicitation for candidates to fill vacancies on the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee.  The committee meets quarterly to advise DOE and USDA points of contact on the Biomass R&D Initiative and priority technical biomass R&D needs, and to make written recommendations to the Biomass R&D Board, while aiming to not duplicate efforts of other federal advisory committees.  Nominations are due to Dr. Mark Elless, the EERE Designated Federal Officer, by June 30, 2017

The next Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee meeting, which is open to the public, will take place June 15-16, 2017, in Washington, D.C. and will focus on developing advice and guidance that promotes R&D leading to the production of biobased fuels and biobased products.  Stakeholders interested in attending the meeting and/or presenting oral comments should contact Dr. Mark Elless (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) and Roy Tiley (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) at least five business days prior to the meeting.  Meeting minutes will be available for public review on the Biomass R&D website following the meeting.  More information on the meeting is available in the Federal Register notice.

 
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By Kathleen M. Roberts

On May 24, 2017, DOE announced that 68 small businesses across 24 states will receive a total of $72 million in grants to support innovative R&D.  The funding was provided by DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  The 68 small businesses received Phase II R&D awards after demonstrating technical feasibility for innovations during their Phase I grants and competed for funding for prototype or process development during Phase II.  Two of the 73 proposed projects involve the production of biobased products, specifically:

  • Visolis, Inc received $1,010,000 to produce C5 hydrocarbons from organic waste biomass; and
  • Trash2Cash-Energy LLC received $999,909 to convert landfill gas to drop-in renewable fuel.

Additional awards may be announced as additional appropriated funds become available to the DOE SBIR and STTR programs.  More information on the recipients is available at the DOE Office of Science website.


 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) International Trade Association announced in the Federal Register a public meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC).  The meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2017.  REEEAC is focused on export promotion for the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.  During the meeting, REEEAC will discuss next steps for each sub-committee, consider recommendations for approval, and hear from officials from DOC and other agencies on major issues impacting the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.  Stakeholders interested in attending are required to register with Victoria Gunderson (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on July 21, 2017.  To be considered during the meeting, comments must also be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on July 21, 2017


 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

The 21st Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E), hosted by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, will be held in Reston, Virginia, on June 13-15, 2017.  GC&E is a gathering opportunity for over 500 academic, industrial, and government stakeholders to network and learn about the developments in sustainable approaches to chemistry, chemicals, processes, and products.  The event features over 40 technical sessions, a robust poster session, keynote lectures, workshops, social events, and a Green Expo. 

Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor.  Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Senior Chemist for B&C, will present on June 15, 2017, during the Products as Solutions to Real-World Sustainability Challenges: Incentives & Barriers session, sharing his perspective on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), its effects on renewable feedstocks, and how TSCA reform has changed things.  Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D., Manager of BRAG, will also be attending the conference and will be pleased to discuss questions that attendees may have about the regulatory issues facing biobased and renewable chemicals.  Registration is available online.  We look forward to seeing you there.

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) and Alberta Innovates are hosting SPARK 2017 to support game-changing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and advance the bioindustrial sector.  The conference will take place November 6-8, 2017, in Edmonton, Canada.  SPARK 2017 aims to inspire, motivate, and support researchers and innovators by connecting them with others working to advance innovative technology across four key areas, including:

  • Bioindustrial Development and Biological GHG Emissions;
  • Industrial Processes and Energy Efficiency;
  • Reducing GHG Footprint from Fossil Fuels; and
  • Low-emitting Electricity Supply. 

Abstract submissions are due by June 19, 2017.


 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 10, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) generation data for April 2017, reporting that nearly 1.5 billion RINs were generated during the month.     

Nearly 17.3 million D3 cellulosic biofuel RINs were generated in April, bringing the total for 2017 to 49.9 million, including 1.3 million D3 RINs generated for ethanol, 17.9 million generated for renewable liquefied natural gas, and 30.7 million generated for renewable compressed natural gas.  Of the 49.9 million RINs, 44.7 million were generated by domestic producers, and 5.2 million were generated by importers.
 
More than 279.6 million D4 biomass-based diesel RINs were generated in April, resulting in a total of 973.3 million for 2017.  The majority of RINs, 736.5 million, were generated for biodiesel, with 235.9 million for non-ester renewable diesel, and 937,219 for renewable jet fuel.  Nearly 694.9 million RINs were generated by domestic producers, with 168.5 million generated by importers and nearly 109.9 million generated by foreign entities.
 
For D5 advanced biofuel, 7.0 million RINs were generated in April, which brought the total for 2017 to nearly 22.7 million.  Naphtha accounted for the majority of RINs generated, 10.9 million, with 8.1 million generated for ethanol, 890,603 generated for heating oil, and 2.7 million generated for non-ester renewable diesel.  In 2017, all D5 advanced biofuel RINs were generated by domestic producers.
 
Nearly 1.2 billion RINs were generated for D6 renewable fuel in April, resulting in a total of nearly 4.9 billion for 2017.  The majority of RINs were generated for ethanol, nearly 4.8 billion, with nearly 84.8 million generated for non-ester renewable diesel.  Nearly 4.8 billion RINs were generated by domestic producers, with 3.8 million generated by importers and nearly 84.8 million generated by foreign entities.
 
The data indicates that no D7 cellulosic RINs have been generated in 2017.

Tags: EPA, RIN, Biofuel

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 18, 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the abstract submission deadline for its tenth annual Bioeconomy 2017: Domestic Resources for a Vibrant Future conference has been extended.  Abstracts for the Bioeconomy 2017 Interactive Poster Session and Open Technical Session will be accepted until May 26, 2017.  All posters are required to feature an interactive element, such as voting or polling, social media, games and challenges, or other activity that involves the audience’s participation.
 
As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post, “DOE Hosts Tenth Annual Bioeconomy Conference,” the event will take place on July 11-12, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia.  Registration is available online.


 
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By Kathleen M. Roberts

On May 12, 2017, the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) praised Governor Terry Branstad for signing into law the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund bill (HF 643), which provides $3 million in funding for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program.  IBB stated that it, along with industry partners, worked closely with legislature to ensure the funding language was included in Iowa’s budget, and acknowledged Branstad for being a steadfast supporter of funding renewable fuels and the infrastructure program, which is designed to encourage fuel retailers to offer biofuels.  Grant Kimberley, the IBB Executive Director, stated that proactive state policies played a key role in expanding Iowa’s biodiesel production and maintaining Iowa as the leading national producer.  According to the Iowa Department of Revenue, 471 on-road Iowa retailers carried biodiesel blends in 2016 compared to 304 in 2011.

Tags: IBB, Iowa, Biofuel

 
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By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 15, 2017, the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT (Fraunhofer UMSICHT) announced the launch of TO-SYN-FUEL, a project involving 12 industrial, scientific, and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) partners focused on building up, operating, and demonstrating the production of synthetic fuels and green hydrogen from waste biomass.  TO-SYN-FUEL is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program and will utilize the TCR® technology developed by Fraunhofer UMSICHT to convert residual biomass into hydrogen-rich synthetic gas, biochar, and liquid bio-oil, which will be converted further into a diesel or fuel equivalent via high pressure hydro-deoxygenation (HDO) and conventional refining processes.  The goal of the project is to demonstrate and validate the technical and commercial viability of the integrated technology.  According to the researchers, scale up of 100 plants using TO-SYN-FUEL technology throughout Europe would avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to five million people per year and divert millions of tons of organic wastes from landfill to sustainable biofuel production.


 

 
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