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.

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On December 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the release of a request for applications (RFA) for Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects.  The SBIR program is comprised of three phases. During Phase I, applicants determine the scientific or technical feasibility of their proposed ideas. Phase II requires a more comprehensive application, outlining the proposed effort in further detail. The purpose of Phase III is to stimulate technological innovation and return on investment from research carried out in the prior two phases.  Applicants must have successfully completed a USDA Phase I project before applying for a Phase II grant. 
 
NIFA is soliciting applications under 13 topic areas, including Biofuels and Biobased Products.  Projects dealing with agriculturally-related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all 2018 SBIR topic areas. 
 
Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on March 8, 2018.  More information on the RFA is available on the NIFA website.

Tags: USDA, SBIR

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 28, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued in the Federal Register a notice regarding its final determination on the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia.  Pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930, ITC determined that an industry in the United States is materially injured by reason of imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, which have been found by the Department of Commerce (DOC) to be subsidized by the governments of Argentina and Indonesia.  ITC completed and filed its determinations on December 21, 2017, after holding a hearing on November 9, 2017, in which all interested parties were permitted to appear.  The views of ITC will be published in USITC Publication 4748 (December 2017), entitled Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia: Investigation Nos. 701-TA-571-572, which will be available on the ITC website shortly.

Tags: ITC

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On December 21, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the launch of its online hub focused on sustainable aviation solutions.  Decarbonizingaviation.com is an online platform designed to raise awareness and facilitate dialog in reducing the aviation industry's carbon footprint.  The results of a recent survey by Neste demonstrate that 50 percent of travelers consider it important that their airline goes above and beyond regulations to be environmentally friendly, and that most passengers are willing to pay a fee for renewable jet fuel.  With nearly 90 percent growth in air travel predicted between 2016 and 2035, a transition towards carbon neutral growth is needed to curb the rise in carbon dioxide emissions from aviation.  According to Paul Paoletta, Head of Neste Aviation Solutions, “Neste is working relentlessly to help airports and all aviation stakeholders to take advantage of sustainable low-carbon fuels in their operations.”


 

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On December 12, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program:  Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019 final rule.  This final rule sets the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in 2018, as well as biomass-based diesel for 2019.  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post EPA Issues Final 2018 RFS Requirements, the final volume requirements are:

  • Cellulosic biofuel, from 311 million gallons in 2017 to 288 million gallons in 2018;
  • Advanced biofuel, from 4.28 billion gallons in 2017 to 4.29 billion gallons in 2018;
  • Renewable fuel, from 19.28 billion gallons in 2017 to 19.29 billion gallons in 2018; and
  • Biomass-based diesel, 2.1 billion gallons in 2018 and 2019.

​​ These final volumes change the percentage standards to 0.159 percent for cellulosic biofuel, 2.37 percent for advanced biofuel, 10.67 percent for renewable fuel, and 1.74 percent for biomass-based diesel.  This final rule becomes effective on February 12, 2018.
 
Additionally, EPA announced the availability of its “Periodic Reviews for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.”  Pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA must conduct periodic reviews of certain aspects of the RFS program.  In the report, EPA describes its interpretation of the statutory requirement to conduct periodic reviews, and prior actions that EPA has taken to fulfill its obligations to conduct such reviews.

Tags: EPA, RFS

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the availability of up to $100 million in funding to support innovators through early-stage research and development (R&D) projects focused on technologies to transform the nation’s energy system.  The funding will be provided through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) OPEN funding opportunity.  OPEN funding opportunity announcements (FOA), which are typically issued on a triennial basis, allow ARPA-E to support projects outside the scope of existing ARPA-E focused programs.  The FOA is open to a broad variety of projects, including renewable electricity generation and the production and distribution of renewable fuels.
 
Concept papers in response to the FOA are due by 5:00 p.m. (EST) February 12, 2018.  More information on the FOA is available on the ARPA-E website.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 11, 2017, the Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) announced its intent to issue a Directed Funding Opportunity (DFO) aimed at accelerating innovation and adoption of new practices and technologies to determine the root cause of biomass handling failures and designing solutions.  FCIC is a collaborative network of eight DOE national laboratories dedicated to understanding and addressing technical risks in developing and scaling up biomass harvest, storage, preprocessing, and conversion technologies.
 
The DFO is open to industrial and academic partners interested in collaborating with research experts and leveraging unique technology capabilities at the DOE national laboratories to address the most pressing industrial feedstock handling, preprocessing, and conversion challenges related to feedstock chemical, physical, and mechanical variability.  FCIC anticipates awarding between $500,000 and $2,000,000 for a project duration of 12 to 18 months.
 
FCIC plans to issue the DFO through its website.

Tags: FCIC, DFO, DOE, Research

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On December 12, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG, announced that its additional production capacity for renewable diesel, renewable aviation fuel, and raw materials for various biochemical uses will be located in Singapore.  Following the decision, Neste will develop the technical design for the new product line, with the goal of securing a final investment decision by the end of 2018 and starting production by 2022.  The project will expand the capacity of Neste’s Singapore refinery increased to three million tons by 2020 and will incorporate an enhanced pre-treatment unit in preparation for the use of increasingly poor-quality waste materials.


 

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 8, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register regarding its plans to submit an information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on recordkeeping and reporting for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  The notices states that the ICR aims to streamline and update estimates related to the RFS program and consolidate all RFS estimates into one, consistent, and easy-to-understand format.
 
EPA is seeking public comment and information to enable it to: 

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of EPA’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
​​According to the notice, EPA intends to amend the ICR based on the comments received.  More information regarding the ICR is available in the EPA docket.  Comments are due by February 6, 2018
Tags: EPA, RFS, Biofuel

 
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