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

On May 17, 2018, a proposed amendment to repeal the Farm Bill’s energy title programs was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 75-340. These title programs provide grants and loan guarantees to rural lenders and businesses, as well as research and development support for renewable energy products. While these programs account for less than one percent of the total amount that the federal government spends on agriculture and nutrition programs, they provide a strong return on investment and provide vital access to capital for rural businesses. Lloyd Ritter, Director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition, stated, “The House of Representatives’ overwhelming vote shows that there is strong, bipartisan support for the energy title programs. These programs support more than 1.5 million U.S. workers who manufacture biobased products and help rural America adopt new technologies for renewable energy economic opportunities. The final farm bill must include an Energy Title, with strong mandatory funding and necessary updates for the vital programs.”

Tags: Farm Bill

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 24, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that, as part of the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) support to small businesses, BETO has awarded approximately $2 million, out of $13 million awarded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), to 13 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants.  DOE states that these small businesses are “improving the state of technology for algae crop development and harvesting, driving down the cost of converting wet organic waste streams to biofuels and bioproducts, and increasing the carbon efficiency of biomass conversion.”  Awardees come from across the United States, including Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, California, Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 25, 2018, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) dropped its nearly decade long pursuit to convert a $1-per-gallon tax credit for biofuel blenders to an equivalent credit for producers. NBB originally sought to change the credit to support the domestic biofuel industry, as some blenders who benefited from the credit were also importing foreign biodiesel. Recent import duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department have done a great deal to curb inexpensive biodiesel imports from Indonesia and Argentina (as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post “USTIC Determines Argentinian And Indonesian Biodiesel Dumping Injured U.S. Industry”), thus removing much of the impetus to convert the tax credit program. The $1-per-gallon credit has been retroactively approved for 2017 and NBB continues to push for the credit’s extension in 2018.

Tags: NBB, Tax, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 18, 2018, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), will present “New TSCA and Green Chemistry Innovation” at the 22nd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E), hosted by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute®. GC&E will highlight product innovation using greener chemistries and provide an opportunity for a diverse group of academic, industrial, and government stakeholders to network and learn about the newest ideas in sustainable approaches to chemistry, chemicals, processes, and products. The conference will be held in Portland, Oregon, from June 18 - 20, 2018, and online registration is now open. B&C is a proud sponsor.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that it will fund 87 new projects across 34 states, totaling nearly $13 million in funding.  This funding is part of the 219 grants totaling $34 million awarded to 183 small businesses in 41 states through the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Nine EERE technology offices are funding ten Phase I topic areas (Advanced Manufacturing I & II, Bioenergy, Buildings, Fuel Cells, Geothermal. Solar, Vehicles, Water, and Wind) across 29 subtopics.  The announcement states that DOE technology offices “award Phase I grants to small businesses that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research,” most Phase I awards “are for $150,000 for less than one year,” and, if completed successfully, “Phase I projects are eligible for … Phase II funding awards [that] provide up to $1 million or up to $1.5 million, depending on the technology, and an award known as a sequential Phase II award can provide up to an additional $1 million.”  

The full list of EERE-funded projects, that includes 13 bioenergy projects, is available online.  The bioenergy companies receiving funding are:  Emergy LLC; Media and Process Technology Inc.; SarTec Corporation; TDA Research, Inc.; Bio-Missions LLC; Faraday Technology, Inc.;  Industrial Microbes, Inc.; Lygos; Global Algae Innovations, Inc. (three projects); MicroBio Engineering; and Molecule Works Inc.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 16, 2018, Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. announced the start of site construction for Phase 2 of the Sierra BioFuels Plant in Reno, Nevada.  This commercial-scale plant will be the nation’s first to convert municipal solid waste feedstock into low-carbon, renewable jet fuel. “Launching the final construction phase of Sierra is another milestone for Fulcrum, our partners, Northern Nevada and the low-carbon fuels industry,” Jim Macias, Fulcrum’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated during the groundbreaking event. “We’ve spent ten years developing, designing, testing, improving and demonstrating this new process so that it is now ready for commercial deployment. By converting waste into low-carbon transportation fuel, Fulcrum provides a real solution to the aviation industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions.”
 
Fulcrum’s thermochemical conversion process for jet fuel is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80 percent when compared to traditional petroleum fuel. The Reno plant is scheduled to start commercial production in 2020, producing 10.5 million gallons of fuel annually. Similar plants are currently in development by Fulcrum, with eventual plans to collectively produce more than 300 million gallons of jet fuel annually. These plans have already drawn airline investors to Fulcrum, with Cathay Pacific Airways investing in 2014, and United Airlines investing in 2015.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2018, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), in partnership with industry sponsors, announced a series of five seminars for fuel wholesalers, distributors, retailers, marketers, fleets, municipalities, and other end users focusing on benefits and opportunities surrounding biodiesel. The complimentary series, Exploring Biodiesel (XBX), will be held in the following regions:

  • Boston, MA (June 12, 2018);
  • Philadelphia, PA (July 18, 2018);
  • Los Angeles, CA (August 7, 2018);
  • Portland, OR (August 9, 2018); and
  • Cleveland, OH (September 18, 2018).
More information and registration is available on the XBX website.
Tags: NBB, Biodiesel

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a proposed renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel volumes rule for 2019 to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review.  The proposed rule addresses 2019 renewable blending obligations for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total biofuel, with a proposed 2020 percentage standard for biomass-based diesel. The 2019 blending requirement for biomass-based diesel is 2.1 billion gallons and was included in a final rule from 2017.

Tags: EPA, RFS, OMB

 
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