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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Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) Karin F. Baron, MSPH, and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., will present “Evaluating New Chemicals and Disconnects in Hazard Communication” during this year’s virtual PSX Conference from September 15 to 17, 2020.  Ms. Baron is a Senior Regulatory Consultant with B&C and has more than 15 years of experience developing, implementing, and managing complex chemical regulatory compliance matters for industrial and specialty chemical companies around the globe.  Dr. Engler is B&C’s Director of Chemistry and a 17-year EPA senior staff veteran.  Conference registration is now open.  Register by August 10, 2020, to get early-bird rates!

Tags: PSX, HazCom

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 29, 2020, the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) published a request for information (RFI) on challenges and opportunities in the up- and mid-stream critical materials battery supply chains. As demand for critical materials such as lithium and cobalt for the manufacturing of batteries continues to grow, DOE is seeking ways to reduce U.S. dependence on critical materials. According to DOE’s EERE, it will achieve this goal by reducing the amount of critical materials needed for battery production and recycling materials that are already in use. Consequently, the RFI is seeking input on the current state of the battery cathode materials supply chains, as well as opportunities for near-term and long-term research and development (R&D). Responses to the RFI must be submitted by July 31, 2020, and will be considered in the development of the R&D federal strategy.

DOE’s Assistant Secretary for EERE, Daniel R. Simmons, stated that “Innovation in our domestic industries and continued investment by DOE programs will help strengthen our country’s ability to manufacture and recycle these materials, and work toward more robust domestic supply chains.” His statement and the RFI itself are in response to President Donald J. Trumps’ Executive Order 13817, titled “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”

Tags: DOE, RFI, Battery

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

This June, the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis released a report titled “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.” Providing a road map for Congress to follow, the action plan has three main goals:

  • Reaching 100 percent clean, net zero emissions economy-wide in the U.S. by 2050;
     
  • Establishing ambitious interim targets to assess progress and reduce pollution in environmental justice communities; and
     
  • Achieving net-negative emissions during the second half of the century.

The action plan consists of a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for Congressional action aggressively to reduce carbon pollution as quickly as possible while making communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change and building a clean energy economy. Successfully implemented, the Select Committee’s action plan would at minimum:

  • Reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions before 2050;
  • Reduce net U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 37 percent below 2010 levels in 2030 and 88 percent below 2010 levels in 2050;
  • Avoid 62,000 premature deaths annually by 2050; and
  • Provide almost $8 trillion in cumulative climate and health benefits through 2050.

The Climate Crisis Action Plan calls on Congress not only to grow the U.S. economy and put Americans to work in clean energy jobs, but also to protect family health, protect U.S. land and waters for the next generation, and ensure that communities and farmers can withstand climate change impacts. The full report is available here.


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

On July 1, 2020, DOE’s EERE announced a request for proposals (RFP) for R&D projects that support DOE’s H2@Scale vision for large-scale, affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and utilization across various sectors. H2@Scale is an initiative focused on exploring the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resilience and sustainability of the power generation and transmission sectors. The initiative’s goal is to align diverse multibillion-dollar domestic industries with domestic competitiveness and job creation. The RFP comes from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO). Two areas of R&D are of particular interest to NREL and HFTO:

  • Advancing hydrogen fuel technologies for medium- and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles; and
  • Addressing technical barriers to hydrogen blending in natural gas.

HFTO will fund NREL services, staff time, and facilities necessary to support each selected project. Selected projects must include one or more National Laboratories and must include partners from one or more of the following: universities, industries, non-profits, associations, institutes, codes and standards organizations, or other relevant stakeholders. Proposals must be submitted on or prior to July 31, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On July 1, 2020, DOE’s EERE announced that the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) issued a Notice of Opportunity (NOO) providing small businesses and other industry partners with more affordable access to ORNL’s Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC). The NOO allows small businesses to undertake collaborative, short-term R&D projects that accelerate the development of new energy-efficient building technologies. Funded by DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO), selected participants will have access to ORNL’s experienced staff, equipment, and research capabilities. This NOO is particularly designed to significantly reduce the time, cost, and risk of bringing a novel product to market and to accelerate and streamline partnering processes. Each project cost share will be reduced from 50 percent to 20 percent to encourage innovation despite economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ORNL is requesting proposals from industry to assess whether their technological approaches could contribute to BTO’s goal of 30 percent reduction in building energy usage by 2030 relative to the 2010 baseline. Technology areas of interest include:

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), water heating, and appliances;
  • Windows and building envelope;
  • Solid-state lighting;
  • Building energy modeling;
  • Sensors and controls;
  • Grid-interactive efficient buildings; and
  • Residential and commercial building integration.
Tags: DOE, ORNL

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

On July 2, 2020, DOE announced that it has selected seven projects to conduct R&D to accelerate the adoption of performance-advantaged biofuel blendstocks. A total of $1.94 million in funding is available for the projects, which will leverage National Laboratory capabilities as part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative. The Co-Optima initiative focuses on simultaneous innovations in fuels and engines that can boost fuel economy and vehicle performance while reducing emissions.

Each of the Co-Optima initiative awardees will receive up to $300,000 in National Laboratory assistance for experimental or computational projects that leverage:

  • Capabilities in areas of bioblendstock fuel property and production research;
  • Combustion performance modeling;
  • Bioblendstock fuel property and production research;
  • Bioblendstock target identification; and/or
  • Impacts analysis.

Each awardee has committed to a 20 percent cost share contribution.

Assistant Secretary for DOE’s EERE, Daniel R. Simmons, stated that “[t]hese projects are designed to help improve energy efficiency for passenger vehicles through the use of biofuels, translating into savings at the pump.”

Tags: DOE, Biofuel

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 26, 2020, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced the winners of its 2020 Start-Up Stadium competition. The competition had 30 finalists that were evaluated during BIO Digital in June, by expert judges with backgrounds in investment, entrepreneurship, start-ups, economic development, capital formation, and academia. Five winners were chosen based on their commercially viable cutting-edge technologies and therapeutic solutions. Competition winners will receive:

  • A one-year membership in BIO;
  • Four hours of complimentary legal services;
  • One-hour advisory discussion with two venture capital firms; and
  • A “fast-track” accelerator application and nomination into the final selection phase for up to a $10,000 sequencing grant.

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

On June 16, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  EPA states that this year’s winners “have developed new and innovative green chemistry technologies that turn potential environmental challenges into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.”  The 2020 winners and their innovative technologies are:

  • Genomatica, San Diego, California, for creating Brontide™, a new brand of 1,3-butylene glycol, commonly used in cosmetics for moisture retention and as a carrier for plant extracts.  Butylene glycol is traditionally produced from fossil fuels.  Brontide™ is produced by fermenting E. coli using renewable sugars in a one-step production process, however.  This method reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the use of hazardous chemicals in the production process.
     
  • Merck, Rahway, New Jersey, for improving the process used to produce certain antiviral drugs used for the treatment of diseases including hepatitis C and HIV.  According to EPA, the new process improved manufacturing efficiency and sustainability of one important antiviral by more than 85 percent.  This method reduces waste and hazards associated with the existing process and results in substantial cost savings.
  • Johns Manville, Littleton, Colorado, for developing a biobased, formaldehyde-free thermoset binder for fiberglass reinforcement applications.  Thermoset binders are used to bind glass fibers of fiberglass mats used in carpet tile backing.  EPA states that this technology eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals, reduces water and energy use, and produces a product with a longer shelf life.
     
  • Professor Steven Skerlos, University of Michigan and Fusion Coolant Systems, for creating Pure-Cut™, an alternative to traditional metalworking fluids that uses high-pressure carbon dioxide instead of oil-based lubricants.  According to EPA, Pure-Cut™ can improve performance and machining tool life span compared to traditional metalworking fluids, while greatly reducing hazards to the environment and worker health.
     
  • Vestaron, Kalamazoo, Michigan, for producing a new biopesticide called Spear®.  This pesticide is based on a naturally occurring component inspired by spider venom that can effectively control target pests while showing no adverse effects on people, the environment, and non-target wildlife, such as fish and bees.  EPA notes that Spear® should provide growers with a new pest management tool that also lessens environmental impacts.

EPA plans to recognize the winners at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.  EPA and the American Chemical Society co-sponsor the awards.  An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2020 submissions and made recommendations to EPA for the 2020 winners.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 11, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that its Pollution Prevention (P2) Awards Program is planning to submit an information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. Before proceeding with the ICR, however, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed ICR. EPA’s P2 Program consists of a voluntary program that encourages businesses and facilities to adopt P2 projects that reduce financial costs associated with waste management and cleanup, as well as environmental costs associated with health and environmental problems. Comments must be submitted on or before August 10, 2020.

Are you curious about EPA’s P2 Program and how your entity may benefit from its Awards Program? Would you like to engage with EPA? B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C.’s (BCCM) Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and Bergeson and Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) Toxic Substances Control Act New Chemicals Coalition (TSCA NCC) have further information about all of this. For more information about BRAG or TSCA NCC, check out BRAG’s web page or contact Ligia Duarte Botelho at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 4, 2020, the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) announced the creation of the Biofuel Infrastructure Program (BIP). Designed to increase the availability of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel in Missouri, BIP partners with private entities to support biofuel producers in applying for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Investment Program (HBIIP) funding. The MASBDA Board of Directors has allocated up to $2 million statewide in grant funds. The maximum grant amount is $200,000 for each business entity and can be used to fulfill up to 25 percent of the cash match obligation required for HBIIP. Eligible project costs include but are not limited to:

  • Retrofitting of existing, or purchase and installation of new, fuel dispensers (gas and/or diesel pumps) and attached equipment, underground storage tank system components, and other infrastructure required at a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends greater than 10 percent or fuel containing biodiesel blends greater than 5 percent;
     
  • Construction, retrofitting, replacement, and improvements;
     
  • Fees for construction permits and licenses; and
     
  • Professional service fees for qualified consultants, contractors, installers, and other third-party services.

The application deadline for these grants is July 1, 2020. A non-refundable fee of $150 must accompany applications up to $25,000, and a fee of $300 for applications of $25,000 and over. For funded grants, an administrative fee of 10 percent of the grant amount will be assessed when the contract is executed. Further information can be accessed here, and the application here.

MASBDA Executive Director, Jill Wood, expressed enthusiasm for the newly created BIP, stating that her team at MASBDA “is excited to stand in the financial gap that may help some agribusinesses from applying these federal funds.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

From June 15-19, 2020, the American Chemical Society (ACS) will be hosting its annual Green Chemistry and Engineering (GC&E) Conference virtually. On June 15, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EDT), during the “Enabling a Circular Economy for Materials in the Consumer Goods Industry,” Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., B&C’s Director of Chemistry, will proudly present his abstract titled “Road-map for Innovators - Commercialization in a Circular Economy.”

In addition, Engler will present a poster titled “TSCA Tutor -- The Importance of Regulatory Awareness and Applications” on each day of the conference, from 12:00 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. (EDT). The poster presentation will highlight B&C’s complete suite of TSCA Tutor® regulatory training courses online and on-demand. This year’s conference registration is free, so check out Engler’s abstract and poster presentations!

B&C will also have a virtual exhibitor booth concurrent with the poster session mentioned above where attendees can learn more about B&C’s services, BRAG, and B&C’s affiliates The Acta Group and BCCM. Join us during our live sessions to discover more! If those times do not work for you, check us out during one of the conference’s networking breaks daily from 2:45 p.m. to 3:05 p.m. (EDT).


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 29, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a pre-publication version of a proposed anti-backsliding determination that no additional measures are necessary pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 211(v) to mitigate the adverse air quality impacts of renewable fuel volumes required under CAA Section 211(o). The proposed determination will be published in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period. CAA Section 211 requires EPA to take two actions. The first action is for EPA to complete a study to determine whether renewable fuel volumes required under CAA Section 211(o) will adversely impact air quality given changes of vehicle and engine emissions of air pollutants. This study is often referred to as the anti-backsliding study and must include consideration of various blend levels, types of renewable fuels, and available vehicle technologies. The study must also include appropriate national, regional, and local air quality control measures. EPA has completed the study, which is available here.

The second action requires EPA to make a decision on whether it should proceed down one of the following paths:

  • Promulgation of fuel regulations to implement appropriate measures to mitigate any adverse impacts on air quality as a result of the renewable volumes required by Section 211; or
     
  • Determination that no such measures are required.

In this case, EPA is proposing a determination “that no additional appropriate fuel control measures are necessary to mitigate adverse air quality impacts of required renewable fuel volumes.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

EPA announced on June 1, 2020, the availability of the latest Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory. EPA notes that this biannual update to the public TSCA Inventory is part of its regular posting of non-confidential TSCA Inventory data. EPA plans the next regular update of the Inventory for early 2021. According to EPA, the Inventory contains 86,405 chemicals, of which 41,587 are active in the United States commerce. Other updates to the TSCA Inventory include updates to commercial activity data and regulatory flags, such as consent orders and significant new use rules (SNUR).


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that it will be hosting a public virtual workshop titled “Workshop on Predictive Models and High Performance Computing as Tools to Accelerate the Scaling-up of New Bio-Based Fuels.” The goal is to determine if predictive models and high performance computing can and should be used to reduce biotechnology uncertainty and accelerate scaling-up of biorefinery/chemical production equipment and optimize operations. The virtual workshop will be held from June 9 to June 11, 2020, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EDT) each day. Registration is required by 4:00 p.m. (EDT) June 5, 2020.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 30, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EDT),the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will host a free regulatory training for industry on bioanalysis requirements and expectations. Focused on how FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approaches various issues in bioanalysis, the workshop aims to provide participants with a better understanding of how FDA performs bioanalysis. Topics to be covered, among others, include:

  • Bioanalytical method validation: history, process, and regulatory perspectives;
     
  • Biosimilars;
     
  • Regulated bioanalysis for large molecules;
     
  • Regulated bioanalysis for small molecules;
     
  • Drugs and biologics;
     
  • Bioanalysis of unstable analysis;
     
  • Repeat analysis; and
     
  • A case study on bioanalytical approaches to mitigate issues identified during bioequivalence clinical site inspection.

Registration is required.


 
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