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 December 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that new funding is available for Small Business Innovation (SBI) research and technology transfer. The announcement states that EERE expects to fund more than 100 new projects, which will total approximately $20 million. Nine EERE technology offices will fund the proposals submitted, including three joint office topics: Advanced Manufacturing with Fuel Cells, Advanced Manufacturing with Geothermal, and Advanced Manufacturing with Solar. There are 41 subtopics that range from Algae Engineering to Wind Turbine Blade Recycling. Letters of intent are to be submitted to EERE on or prior to January 7, 2019, 5:00 p.m. Eastern, followed by the submission of applications, which are due on February 25, 2019, 11:59 p.m. Eastern. To view the full funding opportunity announcement (FOA), please click here.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biofuel

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 17, 2018, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) announced that a team of biologists and chemists has received $2 million in funding from DOE. These funds are to be used in the development of platforms to produce biobased monomers, which will be used in the manufacture of renewable and biodegradable plastic polymers called polyurethanes. The funded research will also involve improved tools for accelerated algal production systems. UCSD Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Professor, Michael Burkart, states: “Our strategy is to go from renewable algae feedstocks all the way to products that people actually want to buy.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 20, 2018, DOE announced the release of the latest Direct Current podcast episode. The podcast covers the potential existing in waste-to-energy technologies and how DOE scientists are working towards transforming waste into useful energy. The podcast delves into the science of making bioenergy from various waste products, including kitchen grease, raw sewage, algae, and coffee grounds.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service announced a final rule on the National Bioengineered (BE) Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS).  The rule, which will be effective on February 19, 2019, and implemented on January 1, 2020, established the new mandatory NBFDS addressing genetically modified (GM) labeling. Food manufacturers, importers, and other entities that label foods for retail will be obligated to disclose information about BE food and BE food ingredients. An extended implementation date has been set for small food manufacturers, with a deadline of January 1, 2021. Established under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, NBSDF is intended to provide a uniform national standard in disclosing the status of BE foods to consumers. Voluntary compliance ends on December 31, 2021, with mandatory compliance starting on January 1, 2022.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 21, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in the Federal Register that the Syracuse Research Corporation (SRC) will be assisting the EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) in the creation of a database that will cover key data from past biotechnology submissions, and the creation of a biotechnology literature database with documents provided or referenced in Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) biotechnology submissions. The databases may include Confidential Business Information (CBI) and SRC will be given access to information submitted to EPA under all sections of TSCA. Under this contract, EPA may provide SRC access to CBI materials on a need-to-know basis only. All access to CBI will take place at EPA Headquarters and SRC sites in Arlington, Virginia, and Syracuse, New York, in accordance with EPA’s TSCA CBI Protection Manual. The contract will be effective until April 2, 2022, unless it is extended. SRC personnel will be required to sign nondisclosure agreements and will be briefed on security procedures prior to gaining access to CBI.

Tags: EPA, TSCA

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 18, 2018, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency of the United Kingdom (UK) published a policy paper titled “Our Waste, Our Resources:  A Strategy for England.” The paper outlines the strategy to be implemented for the preservation of material resources through minimizing waste, promoting resource efficiency, and moving towards a circular economy. The strategic framework to be put forth is guided by two objectives: (1) to maximize the value of resource use; and (2) to minimize waste and its impact on the environment. It aims to deliver five strategic ambitions to work towards:

  • Assuring that all plastic packaging on the market be reusable, recycled, or compostable by 2025;
  • Eliminating food waste to landfill by 2030;
  • Eliminating avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan;
  • Doubling resource productivity by 2050; and
  • Eliminating avoidable waste of all kinds by 2050.

Meant to complement other government strategies related to environment and resource productivity, the framework focuses on innovation. The strategy, for example, includes the launching of a call for evidence on the development of standards for biobased and biodegradable plastics in early to mid-2019. Highlighting the potential use of biowaste in the production of biogas, the paper defines what is called a “lifecycle” approach that complements the model of a circular economy. To grow the UK’s bioeconomy, this “lifecycle” approach is designed to reduce waste through reusing biodegradable and biobased products to extend the lifetime of resources. It would include the production of a waste hierarchy and food surplus for animal feed or biomaterial processing, increasing resource efficiency and waste reduction.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 21, 2018, EPA announced the call for nominations for the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (GCCA). A national award to honor entities that have developed new processes or products using green chemistry approaches, the award focuses on approaches that assist in the protection of public health and the environment. Nominations for the awards include five innovation categories and are due by January 15, 2019. The five categories are: small business, greener synthetic pathways, design of greener chemicals, academic, and greener reaction conditions. Interested parties should read the GCCA Nomination Package for the awards prior to the submission of a nomination. The 2019 GCCA ceremony and reception for the winners will be held on June 10, 2019, in Washington, D.C.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) announced on December 14, 2018, a request for proposals (RFP) for Maine’s Forest Resources. Managed by Biobased Maine on behalf of MTI, the RFP for the Emerging Technology Challenge aims to deploy a forest industry technology in Maine, where forest biomass is used in the production of a value-added product for sale. MTI is a “publicly funded, nonprofit corporation with the core mission to diversify and grow Maine’s economy by encouraging, promoting, stimulating, and supporting innovation and its transformation into new products, services and companies, leading to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Maine.” In support of the industrial biotechnology growth across the globe, MTI wishes to ensure that Maine is part of the bioeconomy. Eligible candidates must have submitted information to MTI’s request for information (RFI) in July 2018, and must submit RFP applications by January 25, 2019. MTI will award up to $1.5 million in grants for one or multiple projects. For further information on how to apply, please click here.


 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 6, 2018, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) wrote a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that, in 2019, any infrastructure package to be considered include a focus on the clean energy economy to address climate change. Emphasizing that climate change is, in fact, real and caused by humans, Senator Schumer refers to the Administration’s recent National Climate Assessment report and the drastic need to reduce emissions. In the letter, Senator Schumer outlines a number of policies that must be included in an infrastructure package in the next Congress. Among these policies are the need to:

  • Invest in research, development, and deployment of clean energy, energy efficiency, carbon reduction, and energy storage technologies;
  • Provide permanent tax incentives and investments for domestic production of clean energy and renewable power; and
  • Invest in upgrades in clean energy for public schools, buildings, and other infrastructure.

Senator Schumer concludes his letter to President Trump highlighting that “[t]he challenge is immense, but so is the opportunity to revitalize and modernize our infrastructure, create new jobs and economic opportunities, and position the United States as a leader in clean energy innovation.”


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced a request for information (RFI) on algae, biomass, and waste feedstocks that can be used in the production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. DOE BETO’s request seeks information from industry, academia, national laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders. Specifically, information is requested on outdoor algae research, biomass characteristics and feedstock performance, and renewable energy from urban and suburban waste. Responses to this RFI should be submitted electronically to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 4, 2019.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 17, 2018, DOE issued the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Encouraging qualified small businesses with strong research capabilities in science or engineering, the following DOE program offices are offering funding opportunities:

  • Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response;
  • Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation;
  • Office of Electricity;
  • Office of Environmental Management;
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy;
  • Office of Fossil Energy;
  • Office of Fusion Energy Sciences;
  • Office of High Energy Physics; and
  • Office of Nuclear Energy.

Phase I Release 2 topics can be found here and the FOA, here. First-time applicants are required to complete a number of registrations prior to submitting an application. DOE recommends candidates start applying at least six weeks prior to application submission.

Tags: DOE, Funding, SBIR

 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that registration is now open for the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2019 Project Peer Review. The event will take place in Denver, Colorado, from March 4-8, 2019. BETO’s early-stage research and development portfolio is to be presented to the public and reviewed by experts from academia, industry, and federal agencies. The portfolio includes projects across BETO’s various technology areas: Advanced Algal Systems, Conversion Technologies, Feedstock Supply and Logistics, Advanced Development and Optimization, and Analysis and Sustainability.

Tags: DOE, EERE, BETO

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 10, 2018, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) submitted a letter urging Congress to investigate the reason for which DOE has not spent all of its 2018 fiscal year funding for clean energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D). In the letter to Congress, NRDC expresses concerns that certain DOE Administration officials may be purposefully hindering clean energy RD&D funding from innovative businesses focused on clean energy. The analysis of public data reveals that 79 percent of DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) funds for clean energy RD&D has not been spent from the 2018 fiscal year budget. In addition, 14 percent of the funds have not been spent by DOE’s EERE. According to NRDC, “[t]he consequences of the funds remaining unspent with no apparent plan for utilization is not only an insult to congressional direction but undermines U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs in developing the next generation of clean energy technologies.”

Tags: NRDC, DOE, Biofuel

 
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