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 October 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Army on a collaborative project designed to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for civilian and military use. The MOU was signed by the U.S. Department of Army’s Tank & Automotive Research Development and Engineering Command (TARDEC) and the DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO). It aims to facilitate the research and development of innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technologies portfolios. The research will include studies on hydrogen production from domestic resources, infrastructure development, and fuel cells for transportation. Additionally, the MOU will allow for further exploration of a DOE FCTO concept called H2@ Scale, which “explores the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resiliency of the power generation and transmission sectors.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In late September 2018, Northwestern University announced a new bioengineering project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under their joint program called the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). Led by Michael Jewett, professor of chemical and biological engineering, the project aims to combine innovative bioengineering and biotechnology to develop biofuels and bioproducts. It is expected that through the capture of syngas from industrial manufacture companies, before they are released into the atmosphere, biofuel feedstock will be produced. The team intends to develop a cellular factory that will have the ability to metabolize a biofuel by reversing the biochemical process that creates fatty acids from bacteria. The project’s budget (funded by DOE and USDA) is $1.6 million based on a three-year contract.

Tags: DOE, USDA, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced it would be presenting a Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium (ChemCatBio) webinar entitled “CatCost: An Estimation Tool to Aid Commercialization and R&D Decisions for Catalytic Materials” on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. (EDT).  CatCost is a catalyst cost estimation tool developed by DOE to more accurately estimate costs early in the catalyst development process prior to commercialization.  DOE states that the webinar will “detail the methods used by CatCost, discuss how the tool was validated using commercially available materials, … provide pre-commercial estimate examples[,]” and “include a tutorial on how to use CatCost.”  Registration is available online.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced its support for projects in Bioenergy Research and Development. The projects total about $80 million and address early-stage research and development in the hopes of achieving DOE’s goal of reducing biobased costs in fuels by 2022. Funding for these projects comes from four different programs:  BioEnergy Engineering for Products Synthesis, Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems, Process Development for Advanced Biofuels and Biopower, and Affordable and Sustainable Energy Crops. U.S. Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, stated that “[t]he selections announced…highlight some of the most innovative and advanced bioenergy technologies that have the potential to produce new sources of reliable and affordable energy for American families and businesses.” A full list of the projects being funded can be found here.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced a request for input from the industry, academia, National Laboratories, government agencies, and other biofuels and bioproducts stakeholders on “custom catalyst production capability for biochemical and thermochemical processes.” Particularly, BETO is seeking information on areas of research, capabilities, and challenges associated with small-scale production of custom catalysts used for conversion of lignocellulosic, waste, and algal feedstocks to produce bioproducts and biofuels. For the purposes of developing future funding opportunities, BETO is also seeking information on effective research and test methods for these reactive processes in National Laboratories. BETO is also interested in information on operational and capability needs for unit operations and equipment compromising process development units (PDU) that may assist in the transition from early-stage research to engineering-scale research. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on or before 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on September 14, 2018.

Tags: DOE, EERE, BETO

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.  83 Fed. Reg. 37490.  The Committee will meet on August 22, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EDT) and on August 23, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT).  The purpose of these meetings is to promote research and development (R&D) that leads to the production of biobased fuels and products.  Agenda items include updates on biomass R&D from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  National laboratories and federal agencies will also be presenting their work on the Bioeconomy Initiative and on prospects and hurdles in the biobased plastics R&D field.  The meeting is open to the public for observation or oral statements on any agenda items.  Written statements will be accepted by the Committee any time before or after the meeting takes place.  To attend the meetings, contact Dr. Mark Elless at 202-568-6501, or via e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at least five business days prior to the meeting.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) issued a new report, Moving Beyond Drop-In Replacements: Performance-Advantaged Biobased Chemicals Workshop Summary Report, that summarizes presentations and discussions from a workshop BETO held in June 2017 to gather stakeholder input on the research and development necessary for novel biobased compounds and functional replacements.  DOE states that performance-advantaged biobased products and functional replacements can offer many advantages to the U.S. bioeconomy.  The conclusion section of the report states that performance-advantaged biobased products present an important opportunity for the bioeconomy, and the ideal novel biobased compound would achieve the following:

  • Allow for new functionality in end products and generate new markets for manufacturers of biobased materials;
  • Increase the value of domestic biomass resources and provide a new revenue stream for biorefineries; and
  • Reduce the environmental impact of some manufacturing processes.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 20, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced that the Fuels Institute and the national laboratories that comprise the DOE Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative would be co-hosting a series of collaborative, single-day stakeholder meetings entitled the Octane Workshop Series across multiple locations from July 9-12, 2018, to “review current research on the role of octane and other fuel properties relevant to producing fuels that could enable the design of more efficient spark ignition, internal combustion engines.”  Each session will present the latest findings of research concerning fuels and engine options that might enhance vehicle efficiency and reduce emissions, and the opportunities and challenges associated with delivering such products to market.
 
The Octane Workshop Series will include the following focus areas:

  • Regulatory (July 9, 2018; Irvine, California);
  • Biofuel (July 10, 2018; Wichita, Kansas);
  • Refinery (July 11, 2018; Houston, Texas); and
  • Auto Industry (July 12, 2018; Detroit, Michigan). 
DOE states that these workshops will be “highly informative for anyone engaged in petroleum refining, biofuels production, liquid fuel distribution and retailing, automotive engineering, fuels and vehicles regulations, and/or fuels and vehicles research.”  Registration for each separate event is available online.

 

 

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.


 
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