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 and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has negotiated with patent holders to make genetically modified (GM) seeds available at the right time, price, and place to international and African-based technology owners. A business model provided by AATF and its partners, this initiative, called Seeds2B Project (Seeds2B), enables these business owners with the appropriate technologies to license their products to seed companies in Africa. Seeds2B aims to engender agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa, replacing low quality, costly, and unavailable seeds with GM modern, quality varieties through testing, registration, and the establishment of distribution systems.

Tags: AARF, Africa, GM

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On May 31, 2019, the Brazilian government’s Ministry of Energy’s Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE -- Energy Research Company) held an auction for the supply of sustainable energy and biofuel sources for the State of Roraima’s capital, Boa Vista, and its neighboring areas. A federal energy company, EPE provides the Ministry of Energy with R&D services designed for subsidies of the energy sector, covering electricity, petroleum, natural gas and its derivatives, and biofuels. Out of 156 competitions, the nine auction winners presented projects on natural gas, biodiesel, biomass, hybrid solutions, biofuels, solar, and photovoltaic batteries. Winners totaled a capacity of 294 megawatts (MW) to be installed, including seven renewable sources, which will have 15-year contracts and a diesel power plant for seven years starting in June 2021.


 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced that, in partnership with its National Laboratories, it is dedicating the months of May and June to the public exploration of renewable biomass feedstocks used for the production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower in support of the U.S. bioeconomy. This means that during the months of May and June 2019, BETO will be sharing information on “Bioenergy Feedstocks Out Your Window” via social media and offering webinars on new research. The June webinars will focus on research strategies that enable supply-chain improvements in biomass quality and consistency through blending, preprocessing, diversity, and landscape design in development of conversion-ready, lignocellulosic feedstocks for production of biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts.

Tags: DOE, EERE, BETO

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 29, 2019, DOE EERE’s BETO reminded funding applicants of the upcoming deadline for concept paper submissions for a $79 million funding opportunity for bioenergy research and development (R&D): June 3, 2019. In support of DOE’s goal to provide consumers and businesses with a range of domestic energy options that are affordable, reliable, and secure, this funding opportunity announcement focuses on advancing BETO’s objectives. It includes biopower, biofuels, and bioproducts, aiming to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value products from waste or biomass resources. The opportunity includes ten topic areas:

  • Cultivation Intensification Processes for Algae
     
  • Biomass Component Variability and Feedstock Conversion Interface
     
  • Efficient Wood Heaters
     
  • Systems Research of Hydrocarbon Biofuel Technologies
     
  • Optimization of Biomass-Derived Jet Fuel Blends
     
  • Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Wastes
     
  • Advanced Bioprocessing and Agile BioFoundry
     
  • Plastics in the Circular Carbon Economy
     
  • Rethinking Anaerobic Digestion
     
  • Reducing Water, Energy, and Emissions in Bioenergy

For further details, see the EERE Exchange website.

Tags: DOE, BETO

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 22, 2019, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill (S. 1614) to amend the Clean Air Act (CAA) to modify the definition of “renewable biomass” under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The CAA currently prohibits the use of biomass from federal lands in the making of renewable fuels as defined by the RFS.  The bill would allow the use of biomass from certain federal lands needing ecological restoration in the making of renewable fuels.  The bill also is intended to make it financially feasible for private landowners to remove low-value brush that impacts wildlife habitats and poses fire risks.  Under the bill, all mill residuals -- like sawdust and shavings -- can be used for biofuels and it requires biomass harvested from federal lands to be done in accordance with all federal laws, regulations, and land-use plans and designations.

Tags: CAA, Biofuel, RFS

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 22, 2019, DOE EERE announced Ohio State University’s year one win of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge.  The EcoCAR competition, a four-year collegiate engineering competition focused on advancing energy technologies in the transportation sector, challenges universities to apply advanced propulsion systems, electrification, and other innovative technologies to transform their vehicles from design concept into reality.  Sponsored by General Motors and MathWorks, the teams have a total of four years (2018-2022) to build an energy efficient, connected, and semi-automated vehicle for the car sharing market. The program builds on DOE’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) by providing the student teams with competition management, team evaluation, and logistical support throughout its four years.

Tags: DOE, EERE

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 28, 2019, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) posted a podcast “Inside OCSPP with EPA Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn” to its All Things Chemicalweb page. In its podcast, Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of B&C, presented a very special guest, the Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP):  Alexandra Dapolito Dunn.
 
As Assistant Administrator Dunn has spent just over five months in office, she and Lynn sat down and talked about what it has been like to take over OCSPP at this crucial time when the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), post-Lautenberg, is just coming into its maturity.  They discussed the challenges OCSPP is currently facing, and how Alex and her team have kept morale up while managing to meet all of the many deadlines imposed on OCSPP thus far. This was a fantastic opportunity to gain insight into what has been going on inside the OCSPP over the last few months, and what to expect from it in the next few months.

Tags: Podcast, TSCA

 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that on May 30, 2019, it will begin publishing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5 notices, including premanufacture notices (PMN), microbial commercial activity notices (MCAN), and significant new use notices (SNUN), their attachments, including any health and safety studies, any modifications thereto, and all other associated information in ChemView -- in the form they are received by EPA, without review by EPA.  EPA states that it will not be reviewing confidential business information (CBI)-sanitized filings before publishing.  EPA states that this announcement will be the first of several reminders that EPA sends and, in addition, EPA has incorporated a reminder to check accompanying sanitized submissions as part of the Central Data Exchange (CDX) reporting module for TSCA Section 5 notices.
 
EPA’s announcement states the following as guidance for submitters to take heed of before submitting their TSCA Section 5 notices:

  1. Verify the asserted CBI claims are correct and consistent; and
     
  2. Verify the sanitized versions of the form, attachments, and file names are checked for proper and consistent CBI redactions and that watermarks or stamps indicating CBI are removed.
Tags: EPA, TSCA

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2019, EPA announced a new version of a mapping tool designed to assist in the reduction of food waste by displaying facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food. According to EPA, the Excess Food Opportunities Map serves as an online “matching” service, linking, for example, owners of anaerobic digestion facilities with people looking to dispose of organic waste, including excess food. These anaerobic digestion facilities control organic decomposition in an oxygen-free, sealed tank to produce bioproducts and biosolids for on-site use or sale. This interactive map is part of EPA’s attempt to address the 133 billion pounds of wasted food in the U.S. through the diversion from landfills. It displays locations of potential excess food generators and recipients of excess food in industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors. The interactive and easy-to-use map was initially designed in 2014 by the Office of Research and Development’s (ORD) Regional Sustainability and Environmental Sciences Research Program (RESES). Since then, it was taken over by the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) and has evolved from a regional tool to a national one. The most recent version 2.0 includes 1.2 million potential excess food generators and identifies about 4,000 recipients.

Tags: EPA

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the 2019 Better Buildings Report, announcing the progress made by public- and private-sector organizations that participate in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Better Buildings Initiative. Aimed at improving U.S. energy efficiency, partners in the Better Building Initiative represent 32 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 12 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 12 percent of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13 percent of total commercial building space. According to the report, together they leverage new energy-saving technologies, collaborate to overcome obstacles, invest in innovative projects, and achieve impressive energy savings. Investing in the commercial, industrial, residential, and public sectors to improve energy, these market leaders’ achievements include:

  • Savings of approximately $4 billion since the program started;
     
  • Savings of more than six billion gallons of water;
     
  • Cost savings of about $5.3 billion over the last seven years; and
     
  • An increase in the creation of new tools and strategies targeting efficiency barriers, among other achievements further outlined in the report.
In addition, 20 of the partners and allies achieved their energy, water, or financing goals this year.  Since the program began, 85 partners have now met their original goals. The full report can be accessed here.
Tags: DOE, EERE

 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 22, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced via the Federal Register the availability of a draft guidance for industry titled “Development of Therapeutic Protein Biosimilars: Comparative Analytical Assessment and Other Quality-Related Considerations.” The draft guidance is a revision of the 2015 guidance titled “Quality Considerations in Demonstrating Biosimilarity of a Therapeutic Protein Product to a Reference Product.” It provides recommendations on the design and evaluation of comparative analytical studies that intend to demonstrate that a proposed therapeutic protein product is biosimilar to a reference product licensed under the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act). Additionally, the draft guidance makes recommendations to sponsors on the scientific and technical information for the chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) portion of a marketing application. Comments on the draft guidance are due on or prior to July 22, 2019.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 15, 2019, the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved approximately $11 million for clean energy demonstration projects that include biofuels, renewable gas, and microgrids. Funded by CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program, in support of clean transportation innovation, $2 million from the total funds have been approved for technology and investment solutions in hopes of demonstrating cost-effective and more sustainable processes for creating biomethane for waste hauling trucks. Funding was also awarded in support of renewable gas production using wood waste from trees killed by beetle infestation and drought, as well as in support of the natural gas sector. Microgrids at schools and residential areas in the City of Lancaster are also being supported by a $5 million grant.  The project’s distributed energy resources will be integrated and managed by a virtual power plant that optimizes cost savings, grid resilience, and revenue generation. Further details can be found in CEC’s business meeting agenda.


 
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