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 June 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it would be releasing $40 million in funding for “31 projects to advance research in the development of microbes as practical platforms for the production of biofuels and other bioproducts from renewable resources.”  Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under two separate DOE Funding Opportunity Announcements, one for Systems Biology of Bioenergy-Relevant Microbes and another for Bioimaging Research for Bioenergy, both sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the Department’s Office of Science.  DOE states the projects will “further the ongoing revolution in biology and biotechnology, and will increase our understanding of how nature’s sophisticated production capabilities at the cellular level can be harnessed to produce sustainable, clean, and efficient fuel as well as drive other industrial production processes.”  The total funding is $40 million for projects lasting three years in duration.  The list of projects and more information is available on two different web pages here and here.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 18, 2018, DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO)-funded Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC) announced its first graduates from the algal certificate program at Santa Fe Community College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  DOE states that these first ATEC graduates “received their Associate Applied Science Degree in Controlled Environment Agriculture with a certificate in Algae Cultivation” on May 12, 2018. The program was conceptualized and designed by ATEC members, including professors, algal commercial leaders, community college instructors, and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).  The announcement states that the ATEC curriculum was designed “with inputs from America’s leading algal companies to include education and training in specific job skills, thus allowing students’ skills to transfer immediately into professional careers.”

Tags: DOE, BETO, ATEC, Algae

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 14, 2018, the European Union (EU) reached a deal on the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII),which sets new targets for renewables. REDII represents stricter targets than those discussed in Brussels in 2014, upping the percentage of the EU’s energy that must come from renewable sources to 32 percent of total energy consumption by 2030. The agreement also states that at least 14 percent of transportation fuel must come from renewable sources by 2030, and includes a plan to phase out crop-based biofuels by capping the percentage of such biofuel counted towards EU Renewable Energy requirements at 7 percent of all road and rail transport. In addition to capping the counted percentage of crop-based biofuels, REDII requires the share of advanced biofuels used in transportation to reach 1 percent by 2025, and 3.5 percent by 2030. This agreement is still draft legislation with certain details left to be determined by the European Commission, including a plan to create a certification process of low indirect land use change (ILUC) biofuels that will phase out high-ILUC biofuels, including those made from palm oil. The European Parliament and the European Council still need to approve formally REDII before it goes into effect.

Tags: EU, REDII, ILUC

 

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts 

On June 13, 2018, representatives of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and representatives of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff to discuss the two groups’ white paper, “Proposal for a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Representation and Equivalency Determinations for Renewable and Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals.”  BRAG and BIO members provided a presentation for EPA staff that outlined the regulatory challenges and market impendence facing the biobased industry related to current naming conventions.  BRAG and BIO look forward to further dialogue with EPA on this crucial issue.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 8, 2018, petitioners in the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) case Coffeyville Resources Refining, et al. v. EPA filed their final briefs in the case challenging EPA’s final rule that established:  (1) the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel (BBD), advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that apply to all motor vehicle gasoline and diesel produced or imported in the year 2017; and (2) the applicable volume of BBD for 2018.  81 Fed. Reg. 89746 (Dec. 12, 2016).  Final briefs were filed by petitioners Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing, LLC, et al. and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).  The lengthy briefs reiterate the petitioners’ arguments that EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in relying on incomplete and flawed information and methodology when setting the cellulosic biofuel requirements and other 2017 obligations, and that EPA violated 42 U.S.C. § 7545(o)(2)(B)(ii) when it set the 2018 BBD volume based on factors that are not among those Congress instructed the Agency to consider, including the 2018 advanced-biofuel volume.  Respondent EPA and intervenors for EPA also filed final briefs.  EPA argued that its use of the cellulosic waiver was reasonable and reasonably used and applied; the D.C. Circuit has previously upheld its cellulosic biofuel projection methodology; and it properly assessed and set the BBD volumes for 2018.  Oral argument in this case has not yet been scheduled.  All of the briefs are available on Inside EPA’s website (subscription required).

Tags: Biofuel, RFS

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced that it would be hosting the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy (ChemCatBio) Consortium’s Webinar titled “Accelerating the Catalyst Development Cycle” on June 27, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT).  ChemCatBio Consortium is a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming catalysis challenges for biomass conversion processes.  BETO states that the webinar will “highlight transition metal carbides as a class of materials” and “demonstrate how the integration of predictive computational modeling, tailored materials synthesis, and in-situ characterization capabilities within the ChemCatBio Consortium is accelerating the development of [the] complex but promising catalysts.”  BETO states that the objectives of the webinar will address the challenges of the realization of sustainable routes to fuels and chemicals from renewable feedstocks, such as biomass, and that addressing these challenges “requires advanced catalysts with controlled active sites that promote desired transformations, while resisting deactivation, and that can be produced cost-effectively at relevant scales.”  Registration is available online.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 5, 2018, Brazil’s National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) set a target to reduce fuel emissions ten percent by 2028. These targets are part of the RenovaBio law, passed in December 2017, that aims to meet Brazil’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement by increasing the share of ethanol and biodiesel in Brazil’s fuel mix and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Andre Rocha, president of the National Sugarcane/Ethanol Forum, a group of 16 state sugar/ethanol producers associations, told Bloomberg Environment (subscription required) that the ten percent target “is not very ambitious, but is sufficient to encourage biofuel producers’ to expand output.”
 
The passage of RenovaBio will set up a carbon credit market for biofuel producers to trade carbon dioxide emissions credits with fuel distributors. Fuel distributors must either purchase credits or additional biofuels to meet annual emissions reductions targets. This carbon credit market will go into effect in 2020, with the carbon credits expected to result in $341 billion in biofuel investments and 8.3 billion additional gallons of ethanol and biodiesel consumption by 2028. On June 11, 2018, The Wilson Center hosted a meeting with a delegation from Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy to discuss the implementation of RenovaBio. The slides from the presentation are available online.


 

 

 
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