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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The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology brings together business leaders, investors, and policy makers in biofuels, biobased products, and renewable chemicals.  The event taking place July 23-26, 2017, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, features two new tracks on Flavors, Fragrances and Food Ingredients; and Agricultural Crop Technologies and Biomass Supply.  Registration is now open.


 
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■  Stars and Stripes, “A Few Good Plants:  Military Looking for Way to Make Biodegradable Germinating Munitions
 
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Bloomberg Quint, “Buffett, Icahn Interests Square Off in Biofuels Law Fight
 

University of Minnesota, “Researchers Invent Process to Produce Renewable Car Tires from Trees, Grass

 
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On January 31, 2017, two bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress that propose to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the national biofuels mandate.  The first bill would require the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to assess the performance, safety, and environmental impact of mid-level ethanol, and the implications of the use of mid-level ethanol blends compared to gasoline blends containing ten percent or less ethanol.  The second bill would reduce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cellulosic biofuel volume requirements under the RFS program to what is commercially available pending a NAS report on the environmental and economic impacts and feasibility of large scale production of cellulosic biofuel.


 
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On January 24, 2017, the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump to express its commitment to working with Trump and his administration and to outline its top priorities, including the continuation of EPA’s Safer Choice Program.  In the letter, CSPA states that companies have made significant financial and employee investments to develop products that qualify for the Safer Choice logo and to market the products as Safer Choice products.  CSPA requested that Trump support the voluntary program, arguing that elimination of it would negate the innovation that resulted from the costly efforts.  In addition to continuing the program, the letter suggests that EPA expand the Safer Choice Program to include antimicrobial products that meet the criteria as long as they are not specifically prohibited from using the logo under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).


 
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On January 25, 2017, the Urban Air Initiative (UAI), along with the Energy Future Coalition and the states of Kansas and Nebraska, filed a request for correction of information petitioning EPA to correct its models on motor vehicle fuel emissions that limit the use of higher blends of ethanol.  In the petition, UAI claims that EPA continues to publish inaccurate data regarding ethanol emissions that originated with its fuel effects study and vehicular emissions computer model, MOVES2014, and describes the fundamental flaws in the design of the study.  UAI relied on peer reviewed scientific studies to refute EPA’s ethanol emissions estimates, and called on EPA to respond to the request within 90 days.


 
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On January 17, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the rebranding of its “Neste Renewable Diesel” to “Neste MY Renewable Diesel,” and the updating of other names within the renewable products family to “Neste MY” brand names.  Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a low-carbon drop-in renewable fuel that does not require vehicle modifications, and can be refueled into any blending ratio due to its compatibility with existing diesel fuels.  Compared to conventional petroleum diesel, Neste MY Renewable Diesel enables up to 80 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the lifecycle.


 

 
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On January 18, 2017, Christopher Grundler, the Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), signed a notice inviting comment on its analysis of the upstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production of sugar beets for use as biofuel feedstock.  The notice describes the analysis performed, which considers the extraction of non-cellulosic beet sugar for conversion to biofuel and the use of the remaining beet pulp for animal feed, and how EPA may use the analysis to determine whether biofuels from sugar beets qualify as renewable fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program based on the GHG emission threshold requirement.  The notice states that biofuels from sugar beets could qualify as renewable fuel or advanced biofuel, depending on the type and efficiency of the fuel production process technology used.  A prepublication version of the report is available now, with a final publication date to be announced.  A 30 day public comment period will begin after the formal proposal is published in the Federal Register.


 
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On January 19, 2017, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory issued a $55 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to establish additional Integrated Biofuel Production Enterprise (IBPE) capabilities to increase the domestic production capacity of advanced biofuels.  The U.S. Air Force anticipates granting one award of up to $55 million in funding with the recipients required to share at least 50 percent of the total project cost.  The project will include the design, construction and/or retrofit, operation, and qualification of a domestic IBPE with a capacity to produce at least ten million gallons of neat biofuel per year.  The FOA states that proposals can involve Brown Field expansion and/or modification of existing Pilot-scale facilities, commercial-scale facilities, or new Green Field construction.  Notice of intent to submit a proposal is due by April 25, 2017, with full proposals due by May 25, 2017.


 
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On January 11, 2017, the Government of Ontario released a discussion paper titled “Developing a Modern Renewable Fuel Standard For Gasoline in Ontario,” which provides context for the new RFS requirements.  The discussion paper explains that Ontario aims to keep the following considerations in mind when designing the RFS policy:


 
Ensure a level playing field for fuels, regardless of technology or origin;
 

 
Set ambitious but achievable goals;  
 

 
Support near and long-term GHG emissions;
 

 
Improve diversity among low-carbon fuel options for consumers;  
 

 
Provide a clear performance standard and necessary certainty to support investments;
 

 
Consider the overall impact on fuel suppliers and consumers;  
 

 
Offer flexible methods for compliance supported by transparent platforms;
 

 
Complement other related policies; and  
 
Collaborate with the federal government to coordinate renewable fuels programs.


Ontario is seeking comments on the design options outlined in the discussion paper, including targets and blending requirements, flexibility mechanisms, assessing lifecycle emissions, and transparency.  Comments are due by March 12, 2017.


 
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On January 27, 2017, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), signed a framework joint development agreement with Itaconix, a specialty chemicals company and U.S. subsidiary of Revolymer, to explore opportunities for biobased polymer production.  According to the agreement, Itaconix will provide proprietary polymerization technology to turn itaconic acid from fermented sugars into polymers and AkzoNobel will carry out the development and commercialization of the biobased polymers.  The deal aligns closely with AkzoNobel’s sustainability agenda and will generate biobased polymers with unique properties for use in everyday applications while furthering the development of biobased chemistry on a large scale.


 

 
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On January 17, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote to the American Petrochemical and Fuel Manufacturers (AFPM) denying its petition for partial supplemental waiver of the 2016 cellulosic biofuel standard under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The letter was sent in response to AFPM’s December 28, 2016, petition for a supplemental waiver on the basis of an inadequate domestic supply of cellulosic biofuel, as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG ® ) blog post Petition for Waiver of 2016 Cellulosic Biofuel Volumetric Requirements.  In its response, EPA stated that the actual number of cellulosic biofuel Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) or waiver credits that will need to be retired for compliance will not be known until the compliance deadline, since the compliance obligation is calculated on a percentage basis.  EPA anticipates that an additional 19 million 2016 cellulosic biofuel RINs will be generated in 2017, resulting in 197 million 2016 cellulosic RINs overall.  When combined with the 39 million carryover RINs from cellulosic biofuel produced in 2015, EPA estimates the total number of cellulosic biofuels RINs to be 236 million, which is greater than the 227 million RINs expected to be necessary for compliance.


 
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EPA released RIN generation data for December 2016, reporting that more than 1.8 billion RINs were generated during the month.  More than 16.8 million D3 cellulosic biofuel RINs were generated in December, bringing the total for 2016 to 178 million, including 3.8 million D3 RINs for ethanol, 66.8 million for renewable liquefied natural gas, and 107.5 million for renewable compressed natural gas.  Of the 178 million RINs, nearly 160 million were generated by domestic producers, and nearly 19.2 million were generated by importers.

More than 524 million D4 biomass-based diesel RINs were generated in December, resulting in a total of nearly 4.0 billion for 2016.  The majority of RINs (3.28 billion) were generated for biodiesel, with 715 million for non-ester renewable diesel.  More than 2.85 billion RINs were generated by domestic producers, with 830 million generated by importers.

For D5 advanced biofuel, 6.0 million RINs were generated in December, which brought the total for 2016 to 97 million.  Ethanol accounted for the majority of RINs generated, nearly 61.3 million, with nearly 26.3 million generated for naptha, 1.54 million generated for heating oil, and 7.93 million generated for non-ester renewable diesel.  Of the 97 million RINs, 62.6 million were generated by domestic producers, 34.4 million were generated by importers, and 312 million were generated by foreign entities.

Nearly 1.30 billion RINs were generated for D6 renewable fuel in December, resulting in a total of nearly 15.2 billion for 2016.  The majority of RINs (14.7 billion) were generated for ethanol, with 169 million generated for biodiesel, and 281 million generated for non-ester renewable diesel.  More than 14.7 billion RINs were generated by domestic producers, with 179 million generated by importers, and 281 generated by foreign entities.

The data indicates that no D7 cellulosic RINs were generated in December.  In 2017, a total of 534,429 cellulosic RINs were generated for cellulosic heating oil.  All of the D7 RINs were generated by importers.

Tags: EPA, RIN, Biofuel, Data

 
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On January 26, 2017, EPA published a final rule delaying the effective date of 30 EPA regulations, including the RFS Program:  Standards for 2017 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018 final rule.  The rulemaking follows the Presidential directive to postpone for sixty days the effective dates of all regulations that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect to give the President’s appointees or designees the opportunity for further review and consideration of new or pending regulations.  The new effective date is March 21, 2017.  More information on the RFS final rule is available in the BRAG blog post “EPA Publishes Final 2017 RFS Requirements.

Tags: EPA, 2017, RFS, Biofuel

 
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