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 January 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced that 32 of the 100 research and development (R&D) awards given out by R&D Magazine have been won by DOE researchers. One of the winning R&D projects was BETO-funded and focused on a green nitration process to produce acrylonitrile. These awards are annually distributed to developers of exceptional new products/processes introduced into the marketplace. Since R&D Magazine’s first annual competition in 1962, DOE’s national laboratories have received over 800 R&D awards.

Tags: DOE, BETO, Research

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 15, 2019, DOE BETO announced that a current study being funded by DOE BETO’s Advanced Algal Systems has been published by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The study researches strains found in a single culture of green algae that might be a candidate for biofuel production. Scientists are working to develop genetic engineering tools that would allow algae to grow faster, accumulating more biomass for biofuel. Further details on the research being conducted can be accesses here.


 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On January 16, 2019, a group of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain announced the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which will advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.  AEPW membership, currently at 30 member companies, represents global companies located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  APEW has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years.  The announcement of the launch states that APEW will “develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy.”  AEPW is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect, and recycle plastics including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies.  The following companies are the founding members:  BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).

As part of its roll-out, APEW also announced an initial set of projects and collaborations that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste:

  1. Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking.  This work will include engaging local governments and stakeholders and generating economically sustainable and replicable models that can be applied across multiple cities and regions.
  2. Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models, and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.
  3. Developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors focus on and accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment.
  4. Creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders to help them identify and pursue the most effective and locally-relevant solutions in the highest priority areas.
  5. Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localized investment and engagement.  The program is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean.

The global internet broadcast that aired on January 16, 2019, is available at www.endplasticwaste.org/live.  More information is available on APEW’s website.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the extension of the deadline for algae, biomass, and waste feedstock research request for information (RFI).  EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is requesting information on research opportunities associated with alternative feedstocks that can be used in the production of biopower, bioproducts, and biofuel.  Particularly of interest to DOE are the following topic areas:  Outdoor Algae Research; Biomass Characteristics and Feedstock Performance; and Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Waste.  Seeking input from academics, industry experts, national laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders, the RFI is designed to support early-stage research and development on technologies that can contribute to the maximization of U.S. biomass resources.  Responses to the RFI must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 18, 2019.

Tags: DOE, EERE, RFI, BETO, Biofuel

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 8, 2019, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization supporting free-market, published the Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 116th Congress report for the Congress’ consideration.  The report identifies strategies for Congress to take in eliminating federal regulations that interfere in the lives of consumers, making it more difficult to access the best services and products available to Americans.  The proposed congressional agenda put forth by CEI includes nine policy areas that they believe should be the focus of reform.  Some of these areas include regulatory reform and agency oversight, trade, banking and finance, private and public lands, and energy and environment, among others.
 
In the report’s “Energy and Environment” chapter, CEI recommends that Congress freeze the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to blend biofuel into petroleum-based fuel.  CEI claims that the RFS has unintended consequences such as bidding up the price of corn, soy, and other crops, as well as driving motorists to spend more on fuel, rather than benefiting the environment.  The recommendation is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sunset the RFS Program for 2022 to assure that competition and consumer preference are the ultimate drivers leading a certain type of fuel to succeed or fail in the marketplace.  To access the full report, click here.

Tags: RFS, Biofuel, CEI

 
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BCCM is pleased to announce that B&C’s podcast “All Things Chemical™” will release an episode on January 24, 2019, on biobased equivalency determination.  The “Biobased Products:  Regulatory Challenges and Proposed Solutions” podcast will provide an overview of the term “biobased” and what it means, the current nomenclature issue surrounding the biobased industry, and how BCCM’s BRAG is addressing the issue through equivalency determination.  Stay tuned for the podcast and subscribe now on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher!  In the meantime, check out BRAG’s website for news on nomenclature issues.

Tags: B&C, Podcast

 
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On January 8, 2019, B&C and its consulting affiliate The Acta Group (Acta®) published the 2019 Forecast.  The document details the legal, scientific, and regulatory trends in U.S. and global chemical law, providing informed judgment as to the shape of key developments we are likely to see in 2019.  Sections on biobased products and biotechnology are included in the document.  The full document can be accessed here.

Tags: B&C, Acta

 

 
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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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