By Lynn L. Bergeson
On October 11, 2018, the European Commission (EC) released a statement announcing its new action plan for a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe. The new action plan, originally announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent, aims to “improve and scale up the sustainable use of renewable sources to address global and local challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.” In his remarks, EC Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, emphasized the need for systemic changes as key drivers of change for the bioeconomy sector. Renewable and sustainable solutions depend on collaborative efforts by governments and industry stakeholders. Based on this premise, EC’s new strategy focuses on three key objectives that include 14 measures to be taken as early as 2019. The three objectives are to:
- Scale up and strengthen the biobased sectors;
- Rapidly deploy bioeconomies across Europe; and
- Protect the ecosystem and understand the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy.
These long- and short-term objectives focus on modernizing the European biobased economy and call for systemic changes that will reduce the large underused biomass and waste potential. The action plan will be further discussed and outlined during a conference with stakeholders, hosted by the EC on October 22, 2018, in Brussels.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On October 15, 2018, the American Chemical Society (ACS) held the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. This year, five awards were given to academics, scientists, and business innovators across the biobased industry sector. Promoting environmental and economic benefits of developments in green chemistry, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute hosts this event on an annual basis. Of particular interest in this year’s ceremony was the “Greener Reaction Conditions Award” presented to Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, L.L.C. for their research: A Practical Way to Mass Production of Chitin: The Only Facility in the U.S. to Use Ionic Liquid-Based Isolation Process. Awarded for its commercialization of a safe, environmentally friendly, low energy demand, and overall cost efficient process to produce chitin from seafood waste, Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, L.L.C., holds the only facility in the U.S. that uses an ionic liquid-based isolation process. The zero-discharge process is a key development in the biobased industry due to the fact that all components of the waste crustacean biomass are monetized, recycled, and reused.
ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners also included:
- Academic Award -- Professor Frank Gupton and Professor Tyler McQuade, Virginia Commonwealth University, “Increasing Global Access to the High-volume HIV Drug Nevirapine through Process Intensification”
- Small Business Award -- Chemetry, Corp., “The eShuttleTM Technology for Propulene Oxide and Reducing CO2 Emissions in the PVC Supply Chain”
- Greener Synthetic Pathways Award -- Merck & Co. and Merck Research Laboratories, “A Sustainable Commercial Manufacturing Process for Doravirine from Commodity Chemicals”
- Designing Greener Chemicals Award -- Corteva AgriscienceTM Agriculture Division of DowDuPontTM, “RinskorTM Active -- Improving Rice Production While Reducing Environmental Impact”
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. congratulates all ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners for their invaluable contributions to a more sustainable and renewable future.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
In September 2018, researchers Harmen Willemse, from The Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN), and Dr. Maarten van der Zee, from the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research Center, published a White Paper on “Communicating the bio-based content of products in the EU and the US.” Analyzing how bio-based content information is exchanged between businesses, consumers, and government, the paper aims to address the significant challenges associated with the various methods used for the determination of bio-based carbon content in bio-based products. The paper further explores three different determination approaches and compares them to U.S. and European Union (EU) requirements. The researchers conclude that awareness of these different determination methods is key in information sharing between businesses, consumers, and government agencies.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
Scientists at Indiana University -- Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) partnered on the publication of a study with researchers at Huazong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China, and researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The study focuses on formerly undiscovered properties of a flower known as Orychophragmus violaceus. Also known as the February orchid, O. violaceus differs from other plant seeds in that it contains unusual fatty acid compounds that had not previously been identified. Bioorganic chemist Robert Minto and researcher Alisen Teitgen, at IUPUI, discovered that the biosynthesis of these fatty acid compounds’ partial cycle leads to more cycles afterward. These properties from the February orchid seed oils lead to higher reduction in friction and wear, and can withstand higher temperature stability, which could make this oil a superior and environmentally friendly lubricant.
Borrowing from William Shakespeare … WHAT’S IN A NAME? That which we call a biobased chemical. By any other name would stand as sustainable. And yet, it is the mere name of the biobased chemical that hinders its ability to go to market!
Did you know that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is interpreted and applied in ways that often cause new biobased chemicals and their derivatives to be subject to stringent premarket review by EPA? This review often results in the application of restrictions that are not applicable to older chemical substances already in commerce. This lack of consistency results in regulatory and commercial challenges for new biobased chemical products that hamper commercialization pathways and invite considerable delays to market entry. This oddity of the current EPA naming system results in newer biobased technologies that offer the same, if not greater, benefits than existing chemicals now being commercialized. Any company or organization intending to market biobased products -- whether they come from plants, algae, or industrial waste -- should be aware of this situation and join the effort to create a more sensible regulatory approach.
As a company focused on creating chemistry for a sustainable future, we invite your organization to join BRAG as a member in 2019. BRAG is a group of international and well respected member organizations and companies engaged in the development of biobased or renewable chemical products. BRAG members recognize the importance of advocacy, education, and communication.
BRAG is helping its members understand and comply with the application of TSCA to their products and operations, educating regulatory officials on biobased chemical production and the application of TSCA to these products, and developing strong and compelling advocacy platforms to ensure the robust commercialization and growth of biobased and renewable chemical feedstocks. No other biobased chemical industry consortium focuses on TSCA in this way or on biobased chemical commercialization and associated regulatory inequities. Because BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM), a group that has regulatory compliance advisors, legal counsel, and science policy experts available for consultation and strategy development, we have the legal, technical, and management capacity to identify, develop, and implement successfully strategic plans to modify current EPA approaches or policies.
BRAG is expanding its membership to include more companies that have already been or may be adversely impacted by EPA’s current policies. As the leader in TSCA compliance issues, BRAG provides strength in numbers, which allows for more efficient engagement with EPA on these critical issues for less cost.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On September 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management announced a proposal to amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement. Under this amendment, 30 sections will be added to determine categories within which biobased products “would be afforded procurement preference by Federal agencies and their contractors.” These categories include products that are made from intermediate ingredients that were formerly proposed for designation for federal procurement preference. In its proposed amendment, USDA is suggesting a minimum biobased content for each of these product categories. The aim is to amend the existing designated categories of firearm lubricants, water clarifying agents, general purpose de-icers, and laundry products to align them to the data gathered since these categories were originally designated. Comments must be submitted on or before November 13, 2018.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
The 5th Biotechnology World Congress has been scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from February 13-15, 2019. The Welcome Letter states that the conference will “feature a variety of lectures in a number of key sessions in biotechnology, including a commercial exhibition and poster sessions” and the sessions given will include “strategic alliances in biotechnology, pharmaceutical biotechnology, medical biotechnology, plant and environmental biotechnology, bioprocess engineering, and industrial biotechnology.” A list of the speakers and presentations that have already been scheduled is posted. The event has put out a call for speakers and posters. The deadline of abstract submissions for lecture and poster presentation is December 31, 2018; more information on how to apply is available online.