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 Lynn L. Bergeson

In October 2018, DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) published a report called “Cell-Free Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis:  Prototyping and Conversion Platforms.”  The report consists of a summary from discussions held on a listening day by BETO in Denver, Colorado, in 2017.  The public meeting was intended to discuss research and development opportunities related to cell-free synthetic biology and biocatalysis, and how these techniques could be leveraged in the production of biofuels and bioproducts. Attendees of the meeting included representatives from academia, DOE national laboratories, industry, and other federal agencies.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 30, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a statement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and FDA Deputy Commissioner Anna Abram regarding FDA’s new action plan to advance plant and animal biotechnology innovation.  Aimed at ensuring the safety of plant and animal biotechnology products and avoiding unnecessary barriers to future innovation, the Action Plan focuses on three key priorities:

  1. Advancing public health by promoting innovation;
  2. Strengthening public outreach and communication; and
  3. Increasing engagement with domestic and international partners.

The statement includes an indication that FDA will be seeking public input in the coming year.  Once input is received, the first step in implementing the new action plan will be the adoption of “a comprehensive policy framework for the development and regulatory oversight of animal biotechnology products, including for intentionally genetically altered animals and the food and drug products derived from them.”  According to their statement, this policy framework will be modern and flexible, accompanied by two guidance documents in 2019.  The guidance documents are intended to provide greater clarity on how FDA will be applying regulatory oversight in evaluating risk profiles of various products.  In addition to these elements, the Action Plan also highlights FDA’s commitment to efforts with both national and international partners in fostering efficiency and cooperation.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

The European Commission (EC) announced on October 16, 2018, the launch of a new web-based tool called BioWatch. Developed by BIOWAYS, a project funded by the European Union (EU), this new tool expands BIOWAYS’ efforts in raising awareness of biobased products and their social, economic, and environmental benefits. BioWatch consists of “an interactive online platform that provides projects in the bioeconomy sector with a free service to position themselves alongside one another and provide direct access to industry, political stakeholders, the media, and the general public.” Essentially, this tool serves as an “e-library” for biobased research and projects for its members. BIOWAYS is currently recruiting biobased industry research projects to begin building its “e-library.” More information is available on its website.


 

 

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:

  1. Scale up and strengthen the biobased sectors;
  2. Rapidly deploy bioeconomies across Europe; and
  3. 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.


 
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