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 April 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the winners of DOE’s Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge, which was held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, from April 12-14, 2019. The Challenge consisted of ten contests in which student teams designed highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.  The winners are teams that best blended architectural engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, smart energy production, and building efficiency.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Solar

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) announced a new prize competition to support and accelerate the development of pumped storage hydropower (PSH). The prize, titled Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped Storage Hydropower (PSH), seeks innovative solutions and technologies that can assist PSH developers facing non-regulatory challenges. It would also support DOE’s goal to reduce PSH time commission from ten years to five. FAST PSH will provide winners with cash and in-kind laboratory support prizes. Prize competition concepts could include standardization of equipment, application of advanced manufacturing, new layouts, creative construction management, or improved construction equipment. In the first stage of the competition, ten finalists will be selected for 50 hours of support over three months from the FAST national laboratory partners. This initial stage will be in preparation for a pitch contest with up to $950,000 of combined cash prizes and vouchers support, and up to three winners. FAST PSH is part of a larger effort conducted by DOE in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest Laboratory. Part of this effort also involves the development of a baseline framework to assist industry and understand costs, time, and risk burdens associated with PSH. The first stage of the prize competition closes on May 24, 2019.

Tags: DOE, EERE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 4, 2019, DOE EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the appearance of 23 journal articles from some of the nation’s leading biomass experts in the journal Frontiers in Energy Research. The collection of articles, titled Advancements in Biomass Feedstock Preprocessing: Conversion Ready Feedstocks, focuses on the many years of research and development into biomass preprocessing that has been largely supported by DOE EERE’s BETO. According to the announcement, researchers from Idaho National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were part of more than 100 authors representing more than 30 research institutions, universities, and private companies who contributed to the special issue containing these 23 articles.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) reminded funding opportunity applicants of the upcoming March 29, 2019, deadline for concept paper submissions on commercial truck, off-road vehicle, and gaseous fuels research.  On March 1, 2019, EERE BETO announced a funding opportunity of up to $51.5 million for new and innovative research technologies for trucks, off-road vehicles, and the fuels that power them.  This opportunity addresses research priorities in gaseous fuels research, including biopower, natural gas, and hydrogen.  It also focuses on heavy-duty freight electrification, hydrogen infrastructure, and fuel cell technologies for heavy-duty applications, and energy efficient off-road vehicles.  Full applications are due on May 15, 2019.  For additional information and other application requirements, see the EERE Exchange website.

Tags: DOE, EERE, BETO

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 18, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee.   84 Fed. Reg. 9769.  The meeting will take place in Arlington, Virginia, on March 27 - 28, 2019, and will include discussions on developing advice and guidance promoting R&D leading to the production of biobased fuels and products.  The tentative agenda includes updates not only on DOE Biomass R&D activities, but also on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biomass R&D activities.  Presentations from government and industry can also be expected to provide insight on the intersection of forest health and bioenergy growth.  DOE will allow oral statements to be made during the meeting and will also be accepting written comments either before or after the meeting.  Meeting minutes will be available for public review and copying on the Biomass Board’s website.

Tags: DOE, USDA, Biomass

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced $51.5 million for innovative research of technologies for trucks, off-road vehicles, and fuels.  Of particular interest to DOE EERE are:

  • Gaseous fuels research, including natural gas, biopower, and hydrogen;
  • Heavy duty freight electrification;
  • Hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell technologies for heavy duty applications; and
  • Energy efficient off-road vehicles.

There are five topic areas for this funding opportunity, and concept papers are due March 29, 2019.  Full applications are due by May 15, 2019.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 4, 2019, DOE announced an opportunity for funding up to $31 million in support of advancing the H2@Scale concept.  The H2@Scale concept focuses on enabling affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation across multiple sectors in the U.S.  Large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilization can “unite our Nation’s abundant energy resources,” according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  By producing hydrogen when power generation exceeds load, “electrolyzers can reduce curtailment of renewables and contributes to grid stability.”  Hydrogen can also be stored and distributed for multiple applications.  Currently some key challenges of the H2@Scale concept are reliability, affordability, and performance of fuel cell technologies.  DOE is interested in overcoming these challenges, thus providing this funding opportunity for three topics.  Topics include advanced hydrogen storage and infrastructure research and development (R&D); innovative production and utilization concepts; and a H2@Scale pilot.  Concept papers are due on April 8, 2019, and full applications are due on May 29, 2019.

Tags: H2@Scale, DOE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In honor of Women’s History Month (March), DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) will be celebrating women working on bioenergy R&D projects at DOE’s national laboratories. Each week of March, BETO will highlight the contributions that these women make to strengthen the U.S. bioeconomy.  Activities include the promotion of female scientists and administrators that power BETO-funded bioenergy research on social media and a webinar titled “Women’s History Month/Women-in-Algae.”  The webinar is scheduled for March 14, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) and will focus on DOE algae research and career opportunities.

Tags: DOE, BETO, Algae

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 28, 2019, DOE announced that scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been working on molecular tools that reside naturally within microbial cells.  Microbes typically use these tools to carry out their metabolism and other life-sustaining processes; LANL researchers, however, have been using the tools to produce fuel precursors and bioproduct building blocks.  With the addition of a biosensor in the microbes, light allows the scientists to learn how efficiently the product is being made and thus enabling more efficient quality control to increase overall yield.  This technology is called LANL’s Smart Microbial Cell Technology and consists of a high throughput screening for enzyme discovery, design, and evolution.  It allows LANL to engineer custom biosensors that detect intracellular concentrations of a specific precursor.  This biosensor technology can, thus, be adapted to a single enzyme, pathway, or even global optimization of an industrial strain.  The work is being led by Taraka Dale, Remash Jha, and, Niju Narayanan at LANL, under the Agile BioFoundry multinational laboratory effort to expedite biomanufacturing processes.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 26, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the sponsorship of a new project to harness algae strains for bioenergy.  Called Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization and Verification Research (DISCOVR), the project is a multi-laboratory consortium including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratories.  DISCOVR aims to identify and test high productivity microalgae strains for outdoor cultivation year-round through a standardized process for evaluating these strains for the production of cost-effective bioenergy.  The consortium has partnered with the University of Arizona’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (ACATI), and is inviting the algae industry and academia to contribute to the project.  Collaboration would provide an opportunity for interested parties to test their algae strains in DISCOVR’s standardized system and directly compare industry’s top-performing algae strains.

Tags: DOE, EERE, BETO, Algae

 
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