During the next state legislative session, which begins in January, Iowa's Economic Development Agency will reportedly seek approximately $20 million in new incentives for companies that use chemicals derived from ethanol production to produce biobased products. The Agency reportedly believes sufficient incentives exist to promote biofuel development in Iowa. This new incentive would be needed to help further the biobased economy in the State. More information on this effort is available in The Des Moines Register news story "Biochem Tax Credit Pitched By Economic Agency."
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (DMEA) has launched the first edition of a Biobased Packaging catalogue that was compiled by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. The catalogue came about as a result of companies becoming interested in the development and application of bioplastics, especially in the wake of products like the well-known "plant bottle" from Coca Cola. The Biobased Packaging catalogue, published in Dutch, presents a review of the options for using sustainable biobased packaging on a commercial basis, and DMEA plans to pair the catalogue with a pilot program for sustainable purchasing. More information about the catalogue can be found online.
On September 25, 2014, Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member Malama Composites, Inc. (Malama) announced that its biobased rigid urethane foams won the PortTech Los Angeles Entrepreneur Pitch Competition "Most Innovative Technology" Award while competing against almost 100 other clean technology companies. The foams are part of Malama's groundbreaking, non-toxic, biobased product line which is "cost and performance competitive with petroleum-based foams, but far safer and healthier for the food chain, workplaces and homeowners and more easily recycled." Malama's rigid urethane foams are carbohydrate-based and are made of castor, soy, and recycled polyethylene terephthalates (PET) rather than petroleum. The biobased foams do not contain volatile organic compounds typically found in traditional foams. This, as well as the other environmentally friendly attributes of the foams, makes them candidates for many green building certifications such as the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, the USDA BioPreferred Purchasing Program, and the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Program.
Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) members BASF Corporation (BASF) and Nozoymes announced another milestone in their development of acrylic acid production from renewable raw materials. According to the September 15, 2014, announcement, these two BRAG members, along with Cargill, have successfully converted 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP) to glacial acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers. This work is a result of the August 2012 joint agreement between BASF, Novozymes, and Cargill to develop renewable raw materials into biobased acrylic acid. The group has now selected the process for further scale-up of this work. More information is available online.
With the draft initial Priority Product Work Plan now released, it is important for manufacturers, importers, and retailers of consumer products in the categories listed by DTSC in the Work Plan to understand and address any issues. The upcoming Safer Consumer Products Summit, of which BRAG is a proud sponsor, will bring together DTSC staff, brand owners, chemical companies, and industry associations to discuss these developments in sessions including:
* "Strategies and Tactics in Response to Initial Priority Products and Work Plan for Future Priority Products"
* "Alternatives Assessments: Where Are We?" -- an interactive roundtable on approaches
* "Managing the Chemical Data, Confidentiality and Trade Secret Challenge"
* "Supply Chain Transformation in Response to Chemical and Safer Products Regulations"
The one and one-half-day summit will feature federal and state decision makers including Meredith Williams, Deputy Director, Safer Products and Workplaces Program, California DTSC; Bob Boughton, Senior Hazardous Substances Engineer, Safer Consumer Products Program, California DTSC; John Katz, Pollution Prevention Coordinator, Region 9, EPA; Alex Stone, Senior Chemist, Washington State Department of Ecology; and Kerry Malinowski, Manager, Safer Chemicals in Children's Products Program, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, as well as major brand owners, chemical companies, and consumer industry associations. The Summit Chair is Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of B&C, and Of Counsel with BRAG.
BRAG members and friends are eligible for a 15 percent discount on registration for the Safer Consumer Products Summit by using discount code: 141611. For more information and registration details click here.
BRAG affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a sponsor of the Prop 65 Clearinghouse Green Chemistry Conference on September 16, 2014, at the Merchants Exchange Building in San Francisco, California. B&C's James V. Aidala will take part in the panel discussion "TSCA Update: Regulatory Life Beyond This Year's Stalled Legislation," and B&C's Lisa R. Burchi will participate in the "Supply Chain: New Pushes by Retailers" session. Other sessions include "California Safer Consumer Products Program: More Questions Than Answers?," "State of the States' Chemical Policies," and "Alternatives Assessment 101." More information and registration details are available online.
On August 19, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Agency is investing $25 million to support 247 businesses throughout the country under the Value-Added Producer Grant program (the program). The program was reauthorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. It is designed to "[help] agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into value-added products, expanding marketing opportunities and developing new uses for existing products." According to USDA's press release on the announcement, the program may be used for various purposes, including helping to grow the bioeconomy.
In fact, two of the grants will directly support further development of bioproducts. In South Carolina, ATP-SC, LLC will receive $200,000 to be used to "process various bio-crops, using Torre faction and related processes, turning them into a feedstock from which various bio-products can be made." And in Tennessee, Stony Creek Colors, Inc. will receive $199,987 to "be used as working capital for the recipient's bio-based textile colorants from farm-grown natural dye crops business."
A copy of USDA's press release, which includes a link to the full list of program recipients, is available online.
On August 1, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule on "Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement." A copy of the rule is available online. The rule is effective on September 2, 2014.
Under the rule, wood products will become eligible under USDA's BioPreferred Program, which was created under the 2002 Farm Bill. The rule removes language that excluded mature markets from the program. This change will open up the program to the pulp and paper industry. In a public statement, the President and CEO of the American Forest and Paper Association called the rule a "step in the right direction."
USDA is expected to issue guidance next month on how wood products may be eligible under the BioPreferred Program.
On August 5, 2014, Genomatica announced that it will be focusing on developing complete process technologies for the biobased production of major nylon intermediates -- including hexamethylenediamine, caprolactam, and adipic acid (HMD, CPL, and ADA). A copy of Genomatica's press release on this announcement is available online.
On July 30, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will provide a total of $11.3 million in funding to support DOE's Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative. The money will go to two projects designed to help facilitate and promote the production of "cost-competitive, high-performance carbon fiber material from renewable, non-food-based feedstocks, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass." Under the projects, the Southern Research Institute of Birmingham, Alabama, will receive up to $5.9 million to innovate on a multi-step catalytic process for conversion of sugars from non-food biomass to acrylonitrile, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of Golden, Colorado, will receive up to $5.3 million to investigate and optimize multiple pathways to bio-acrylonitrile. A copy of DOE's press release on the announcement is available online.