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

On May 3, 2018, Jacor, LLC announced that five of its EcoBioClean® products earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product label:

  • EcoBioClean® 100 COSW with 95% biobased content;
  • EcoBioClean® Pipes/Tanks 103 CE with 95% biobased content;
  • EcoBioClean® Fresh Water 101 COFW with 95% biobased content;
  • EcoBioClean® Land 102 COL with 95% biobased content; and
  • EcoBioClean® Biological Waste 105 BW with 95% biobased content.

These products provide contamination cleanup solutions for crude oil spills and leaks, as well as lubricants, dispersants, cleaning solutions, tar, human waste, and more, in a variety of environments and temperatures. The USDA BioPreferred Program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded by the 2014 Farm Bill, and provides third-party verification of a product’s biobased content. This program was created to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 4, 2018, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed a rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016.  83 Fed. Reg. 19860.  USDA states the standard will provide “a uniform way to offer meaningful disclosure for consumers who want more information about their food and avoid a patchwork system of state or private labels that could be confusing for consumers and would likely drive up food costs,” and is intended “to provide a mandatory uniform national standard for disclosure of information to consumers about the [bioengineered (BE)] status of foods.”  Comments on the proposed rule must be received by July 3, 2018, and the announcement states that, due to the Congressionally mandated timeline for this rulemaking, the comment period will not be extended.


 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 30, 2018, 18 pro-ethanol Senators sent a bi-partisan letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting a “transparent timeline … on the regulatory pathway forward to address the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) issue,” “an expected timeline of the rulemaking process to clarify how the agency will make this change to allow higher ethanol blends access to the marketplace” and “immediate clarity to allow higher ethanol blends to be sold in the interim while the outdated regulation is being changed” as related to President Trump’s commitment to allow for 15 percent ethanol blends (E15) to be sold year-round and Pruitt’s statements in an EPA budget hearing in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment regarding EPA’s issuance of a waiver that would allow year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol.

Tags: EPA, E15, Biofuel

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced that the International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme (TCP) will present a webinar titled “Biofuels for the Marine Sector: New Opportunities and New Challengeson May 8, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (EDT) that will “give an overview of the maritime transportation sector, including its fuel and engine types, the fuel supply infrastructure, and the regulations on fuel specifications and [carbon dioxide (CO2)] emissions” and include discussion on the feasibility of current biofuels including their properties and supply.  Participation instructions are available online.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 1, 2018, DOE Secretary Rick Perry announced that up to $68.5 million in funding will be available for early-stage research of advanced vehicle technologies through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).  The announcement states that the available funding “will enable more affordable mobility, strengthen domestic energy security, and enhance U.S. economic growth.”  Projects selected through this Vehicle Technologies Office funding opportunity will address the following:

  • Priorities in advanced batteries and electrification, including cyber security related to electric vehicle charging (up to $27 million);
  • Materials for both lighter weight vehicle structures and advanced powertrains (up to $6 million);
  • Technology integration and energy-efficient mobility systems (up to $20 million); and
  • Engines and fuels, including technologies for off-road applications (up to $3.5 million), as well as the co-optimization of engines and fuels (up to $12 million).
Concept papers for this funding opportunity are due May 29, 2018, and full applications will be due July 13, 2018.Information on the application requirements is available on the EERE Exchange website and Grants.gov.

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 1, 2018, a new biodiesel requirement went into effect in Minnesota, requiring all diesel fuel sold in the state to contain five percent biodiesel from October to March and 20 percent biodiesel from April to September. This is the last stage of the Biodiesel Content Mandate that has been steadily increasing the minimum content requirement of biodiesel in diesel sold in Minnesota since September 29, 2005, when a two percent blend requirement was introduced. Since then the requirement has increased to five percent on May 1, 2009, and stayed at five percent for the winter months while the summer requirement increased to ten percent on July 1, 2014, and reached the final 20 percent requirement for the summer months this May.  Minnesota originally planned to transition to a ten percent biodiesel blend on May 1, 2012, but concerns about inadequate blending infrastructure delayed implementation. Minnesota’s government is confident that the state is prepared to switch to a 20 percent biodiesel blend, with sufficient fuel and feedstock supply and adequate blending infrastructure. Tom Slunecka, CEO of the Minnesota Soybean Growers, states consumers benefit the most from the B20 mandate, “They’re getting better, cleaner air because biodiesel is in our fuel tanks.  They’re getting the benefit of an industry that was born here in Minnesota.  It’s produced here, it’s consumed here.  So all the taxes stay right here.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 24, 2018, UPM Biofuels announced that its crude tall oil (CTO) feedstock for BioVerno renewable fuels had received the first ever RSB (Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials) low ILUC (indirect land use change) risk certification. This certificate confirms that the amount of CTO used to make BioVerno is sustainable and not diverted from other uses, resulting in little to no ILUC risk. Rolf Hogan, Executive Director of RSB, said of the certification:

The RSB is proud to count UPM among the visionary biofuel producers that are not only RSB certified for their wood-based biofuels in Lappeenranta, Finland and Brassica carinata cultivation in Uruguay, but have now received the world's first RSB low ILUC risk certification. This shows that their biofuels have not only achieved the requirements of our rigorous standard for sustainability, they have also been verified under this module, meaning they have minimal or zero risk of indirect impacts - such as deforestation or increased food prices - elsewhere in the world. With reduced greenhouse gas emissions which meet the highest standards of sustainability and transparency, as well as demonstrating the lowest impacts on nature and food production, these are the biofuels of the future

Tags: UPM, Biofuel, ILUC, RSB

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 26, 2018, the European Commission (EC) announced €22 million in funding though the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) for AgriChemWhey, a bio-economy research project aiming to convert dairy byproducts into reusable biobased products. AgriChemWhey was developed by Glanbia Ireland, University College Dublin, and Trinity College Dublin, with the objective of developing a bio-refinery that can convert low-value dairy byproducts, including excess whey permeate and delactosed whey permeate, to sustainable lactic acid. The lactic acid can then be used as a biobased fertilizer, for human nutrition, or for the production of biodegradable plastics.


 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 12, 2018, House Agriculture Committee Chair Michael Conaway (R-TX) released the Committee’s draft Farm Bill reauthorization, the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (H.R. 2).  The 600-plus page draft legislation includes a number of provisions that will be of interest to Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) members and the biofuel industry, including the following sections:

  • Sec. 6402. Biobased markets program.  Section 6402 amends section 9002(i) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 by authorizing appropriations of $2,000,000 per fiscal year and reauthorizing the program through 2023. Additionally, the section prohibits other federal agencies from placing limitations on procurement of wood products.
  • Sec. 6403. Biorefinery, renewable, chemical, and biobased product manufacturing assistance.  Section 6403 amends section 9003 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 by expanding eligibility of eligible projects. The section authorizes appropriations of 48 $75,000,000 per fiscal year and reauthorizing the program through 2023.
  • Sec. 6405. Bioenergy program for advanced biofuels.  Section 6405 amends section 9005(g) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 by authorizing appropriations of $50,000,000 per fiscal year and reauthorizing the program through 2023.
  • Sec. 6406. Biodiesel fuel education program. Section 6406 amends section 9006(d) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 by authorizing appropriations of $2,000,000 per fiscal year and reauthorizing the program through 2023.
  • Sec. 6410. Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Section 6410 amends section 9011(f) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 by authorizing appropriations of $25,000,000 per fiscal year and reauthorizing the program through 2023.
  • Section 7509. Biomass research and development.  Section 7509 amends section 9008(h) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to reauthorize appropriations for biomass research and development through fiscal year 2023

The full text of H.R. 2 and a section-by-section summary are available on the House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill webpage along with several related fact sheets.  The House Agriculture Committee marked-up and passed the bill package on April 18, 2018.  The House is likely to hold a floor vote in early May.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 25, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was seeking applications for the 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards in a notice in the Federal Register.  At the 2018 Partner of the Year Awards, Safer Choice will recognize stakeholder organizations from five broad categories:

  • Formulators/Product Manufacturers of both Consumer and Institutional/Industrial products;
  • Purchasers and Distributors;
  • Retailers;
  • Supporters (e.g., non-governmental organizations); and
  • Innovators (e.g., chemical manufacturers).

EPA states it developed the Partner of the Year Awards to recognize Safer Choice stakeholders “who have advanced the goals of the Pollution Prevention Act by reducing pollution at its source through safer chemistry.”  All applications and accompanying materials must be received by Wednesday, June 27, 2018.  Award winners will be recognized at a ceremony in the fall of 2018See alsoEPA To Hold Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit 2018."  More information is available in our memorandum “ACS GCI Announces Opening of 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards; EPA Announces Opening of 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

EPA recently announced that it will be hosting a Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit on May 14, 2018, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, that will “build off of the previous Summits, exploring topics of importance to stakeholders and the program. The Summit will include informational sessions, and also breakout sessions with a focus on dialogue and developing solutions that can advance Safer Choice.”  Registration is available online. See alsoEPA Seeking Applications For 2018 Safer Choice Partner Of The Year Awards.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 20, 2018, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) announced the opening of the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  The announcement states that EPA “supports the continuation of the awards program for 2018 under the sponsorship of the ACS GCI,” and “[t]o ensure continuity, the awards categories and guidelines are remaining the same, only the timing of the awards cycle is changing, and the ACS GCI will be managing the awards program and making final decisions about award winners.”  The award guidelines and nomination package will be posted on the ACS GCI website by April 30, 2018; Submissions will be accepted from April 30, 2018, through July 2, 2018; award winners will be notified no later than August 31, 2018; and the awards ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C. in October 2018.
 
More information is available in our memorandum “ACS GCI Announces Opening of 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards; EPA Announces Opening of 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 17, 2018, it was announced that Japan’s new biofuel policy will allow imports of ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) made from U.S. corn-based ethanol.  Japan has updated its sustainability policy to tighten the carbon intensity reduction requirements of ethanol that is used to make ETBE from a 50 percent reduction to a 55 percent reduction.  Originally, the policy only allowed sugarcane-based ethanol for import and production of ETBE, but the sugarcane-produced ethanol was not able to meet the 55 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction standard.  The new regulations will allow U.S. corn-based ethanol to meet up to 44 percent of the total estimated annual demand of 217 million gallons used to make ETBE, or as much as 95.5 million gallons of ethanol annually.
 
“The U.S. Grains Council is pleased by this decision and that Japan recognizes these improved benefits of U.S. product. We continue to work around the world, sharing the benefits of U.S. ethanol with other countries that are serious about reducing their GHG emissions,” stated Tom Sleight, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Grains Council, which has an office in Japan working closely with the Japanese government and industry.  “From this decision, it is unequivocal that continued improvements in carbon intensity reductions are critical to gain and maintain market access for U.S. ethanol.”


 
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