- Redshift, “Bamboo Transcends the Tropics for Carbon-Negative Construction”
- New Age, “Trump’s EPA Grants 31 Refinery Waivers from Biofuel Laws, Angering Corn Lobby”
- Plastemart.com, “New Bio-Based Thermoplastic Adhesive for the Bonding of Compostable Plastic Coating”
- AgWeek, “EPA Official Talks about Future of Biofuels and Carbon Sequestration”
- FoodBev Media, “Unilever Debuts Magnum Tubs Created from Recycled Plastic”
- Tech Explorist, “Solar Energy Turns into Biofuel without Solar Cells”
- Fast Company, “This Startup Created Compostable Plastic Wrap That’s Made from Shellfish Shells”
- newsnow, “New Zealand’s Gene Editing Laws Need an Overhaul, Country’s Top Scientific Body Says”
- Food Processing, “USDA Mulls Organic Gene-Altered Crops”
- The Intelligencer, “Buckingham Center Offers Biotech Startups $50 Million”
- Science Codex, “Solar Energy Becomes Biofuel without Solar Cells”
- ScienceDirect, “Development of a Biorefinery Scheme to Produce Biofuels from Waste Cooking Oil”
- Sierra Sun Times, “U.S. Senators Renew Bipartisan Effort to Repeal Ethanol Mandate”
- Feedstuffs, “EPA Issued RFS Exemptions against DOE Advice”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Trump Administration Official Visits Delaware County Refinery to Hear Gripes about Ethanol”
- Forbes, “Researchers Develop Technology to Harness Energy from Mixing of Freshwater and Seawater”
- Business Recorder, “US Ethanol Industry Nearing Breaking Point”
- The Hindu Business Line, “Adding Sugar and Salt to Catalyse Production of Biofuels”
- Successful Farming, “Update 1 – EPA Chief Defends Biofuel Waivers in Meeting with Farm Senators – Sources”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On July 22, 2019, the United Kingdom (U.K.) Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced an open consultation for the development of standards for biodegradable, compostable, and biobased plastics. The consultation welcomes views from any interested parties to identify gaps and provide expert advice on:
- The overall sustainability of biobased and biodegradable plastic products in comparison with other materials;
- Existing relevant plastic degradation standards and how they are promoted without adverse environmental effects; and
- The design and implementation of standards for biodegradable plastics to ensure they are fully biodegradable in a reasonable timeframe.
With a focus on obtaining robust evidence backed by scientific theory, direct practical experience, or analysis, rather than opinion, views from environmental scientists, bioscience or biotechnology practitioners, standards authorities, manufacturers, waste processors, consumers, producers, and certification authority experts are welcome. Consultation responses must be submitted by October 14, 2019. For further details, the call for evidence can be accessed here.
- World Economic Forum, “Cheese Energy Could Power Hundreds of UK Homes”
- Iran Front Page, “Iran Ready to Tackle Biotechnology Sanctions: VP”
- Digital Journal, “Switching to Biobased Plastics: IDTechEx Research Asks Why So Slow?”
- The Yucatan Times, “Yucatan Cenotes to Be Sanitized with Biotechnology”
- World Economic Forum, “Your Next Pair of Sneakers Could Be Made from Coffee”
- CleanTechnica, “NextEra Energy Predicts 50% Renewable Energy in US by 2030”
- inhabitat, “Sustainable Toiletries Packaged in Soap Aim to Eliminate Single-use Plastics”
- Futurism, “A Finnish Startup Is Making Food Out of Carbon Dioxide”
- Progressive Farmer, “Agencies Continue to Modernize Biotech”
- laboratory news, “Algal Biofuels Face Diverse Pathogens”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On July 8, 2019, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the winners of the Consider Corn Challenge II, a challenge intended to highlight the range of biobased materials that can be produced with field corn feedstock. The three winners included:
- ExoPolymer, Inc. for a plan to create a new profile of customizable, polysaccharide-based hydrocolloids that are domestically produced by microbial fermentation using corn sugar as a feedstock. These new hydrocolloids will meet the growing needs and performance gaps in the healthcare, personal care, food, pharmaceutical and energy industries.
- Sumatra Biorenewables, LLC for the development and production of novel monomers that are incorporated into polyamides and polyesters to provide tensile strength and low water absorption. These superior performance-advantaged materials have wide-ranging applications in the specialty nylon's industry. Opportunities include improved hydrophobicity, anti-static, flame-retardant, or have tuned mechanical strength to meet customer specifications.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service: National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, IL, for a plan to use emulsifiers, polymer films, and coatings made from corn starch and vegetable oil rather than petroleum.
The diversification of biobased uses for field corn is important in an industry that is working to move away from ethanol production as second-generation biofuel technologies become more advanced and prove to be more sustainable than earlier biofuel types. Nebraska farmer and NCGA Feed Food and Industrial Action Team Chair Dan Wesely said of the challenge, “It is encouraging for farmers to know that companies are looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives for biobased products.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 27, 2019, the Government of Canada’s Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) opened the application process for a grant to develop next generation biobased foam insulation products. Called the Plastics Challenge, this funding opportunity seeks solutions that result in foam insulation products (either spray foam or rigid foam board) that:
- Are predominantly derived from Canadian forest residue;
- Have similar insulation values (within 20 percent) as currently available petroleum-based versions;
- Would have similar cost (within 20 percent) as currently available versions;
- Are less flammable;
- Are fully recyclable at end of life; and
- Would generate less GHG emissions during manufacturing.
Applications must be submitted prior to 2:00 p.m. (EDT), August 27, 2019.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 28, 2019, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will host the first public workshop on 1,4-Dioxane in Personal Care and Cleaning Products. 1,4-Dioxane, a solvent and stabilizer for chlorinated solvents, which is produced from both petroleum sources and from biobased ethylene oxide, has been identified by DTSC as a likely human carcinogen and an emerging contaminant found in beauty, personal care, hygiene, and cleaning products. DTSC is requesting additional information from stakeholders about potential adverse impacts from 1,4-dioxane in consumer products; its presence in personal care and cleaning products; and the feasibility of removing it from these products. To view the background document and submit comments, please visit DTSC’s CalSAFER portal. The comment period closes on August 21, 2019.