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 November 15, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced the latest open funding opportunity for 40 new projects (OPEN 2018).  The funds add up to $98 million and are designed to support research and development (R&D) innovators’ projects to transform the U.S. energy system.  Solicitations for ARPA-E OPEN funding are available for scientists and engineers focused on transformational technologies across ARPA-E’s mission.  The projects fall into nine categories:

  • Centralized Generation;
  • Distributed Generation;
  • Electrical Efficiency;
  • Grid;
  • Grid Storage;
  • Manufacturing Efficiency;
  • Transportation Energy Conversion;
  • Transportation Fuels; and
  • Transportation Vehicles.

Of those selected, approximately 43 percent of OPEN 2018 projects will be led by universities, 35 percent by small businesses, and the remainder by large businesses, non-profit organizations, or federally funded R&D centers.  The 40 projects announced will take place in 21 different states and ARPA-E will announce other new program areas.  A list of winners can be found here.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 27, 2018, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the discovery of a new process that uses biomass gasification.  Developed by the Bioenergy Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the process converts solid biomass into gas under high temperatures, creating a new blendstock that is low on aromatic compounds.  The blendstock consists of high-octane gasoline that can be produced in a few efficient and accelerated steps.  “This success provides a path for industry to scale up this novel breakthrough technology in the near term,” writes Zia Abdullah, NREL Program Manager.  Additionally, NREL’s research has contributed to DOE’s Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative.  NREL’s new technology aims at increasing the market penetration for biofuels and advancing U.S. energy security.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 4, 2018, as part of its efforts to crowdsource solutions to increase energy productivity, DOE announced it will issue two new prizes as part of its Manufacturing Innovator Challenge.  The first new prize focuses on Biobased Additive Manufacturing (BAM) and will be distributed to three winners.  BAM involves the production of rapid prototyping of complex structures through biobased three-dimensional printing.  To qualify for the BAM prize, candidates are required to identify new materials that are made from at least 90 percent plant matter or algae, and that can meet or improve the performance of current three-dimensional printing materials.  Applications for this award are now open and must be submitted by January 10, 2019.
 
The second prize announced focuses on Novel Concepts for Large-Scale Three-Dimensional Printing, which will be awarded to three applicants as well.  This prize aims to award applicants that identify spaces where three-dimensional printing can play a role in breakthrough technologies.  Applications for this award are now open as well and must be submitted by February 1, 2019.  The Challenge also includes other award opportunities that can be found here.

Tags: DOE, Research

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), in New Mexico, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), in California, received the Excellence in BioPreferred Procurement Awards for Fiscal Year 2018. Both LANL and LLNL are U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories and have been awarded for the testing and adoption of biobased products within their operations. The awards reflect the laboratories’ achievements in advancing the objectives of USDA’s BioPreferred Federal Purchasing Preference Program. In their welding shop, LANL adopted a biobased lubricant used on metal-cutting machinery to replace the traditional oil-based lubricants formerly used. The biobased lubricant is not only more efficient, but also ensures safer work areas by reducing the potential for slips and falls. In addition, the biobased lubricant reduces the number of labor hours it takes to complete the welding operations and the costs for waste disposal. LLNL, on the other hand, converted all food service ware to biobased and compostable products, collecting 68 metric tons of compostable waste for reuse and recycling.

Tags: USDA, DOE, Research

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 6, 2018, DOE EERE will host a webinar on “Biomass Production and Water Quality in the Mississippi River Basin” at 8:00 a.m. (EST). The webinar will be presented by Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who will delve into the “modeling and analyses of potential implications of biomass production on nutrients and sediments in each of the six tributaries of the Mississippi River Basin.” Discussions will be held on methodology, data sources, water quality estimates, and system boundary. Register here.

Tags: DOE, Webinar

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the topic areas for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) for research and development (R&D) proposals for funding by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) in fiscal year (FY) 2019.  The topics include:  advanced manufacturing; bioenergy; buildings; fuel cells; geothermal; solar; vehicles; water; and wind.  They also include the following joint topics:  advanced manufacturing and solar energy technologies offices; advanced manufacturing and geothermal technologies offices; and advanced manufacturing and fuel cell technologies offices.  DOE EERE, emphasizing its support of early-stage research and the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, plans to fund $20 million for over 100 new projects.  Letters of intent for applying for funding in any of the aforementioned topics are due by December 17, 2018.  Applications will be due on February 4, 2018.

Tags: DOE, SBIR, EERE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 9, 2018, DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Steven Winberg, announced the new director of the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL): Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D.  Dr. Anderson will serve, as of November 11, 2018, as the new director of NETL.  Dr. Anderson founded and headed the West Virginia University Energy Institute prior to taking the role of NETL director.  Winberg highlighted that Dr. Anderson’s background in fossil fuel energy and chemical engineering will be assets to his role at NETL, which focuses on coal, natural gas, and oil R&D.  Dr. Anderson demonstrated appreciation for the role stating that “[t]he work that is being conducted at NETL is critical to advancing technologies that will transform the use of our nation’s vast coal, natural gas, and oil resources to protect our environment and enhance our nation’s energy security.” The position became available after NETL’s former acting director, Sean Plasynski, Ph.D., was appointed as the laboratory’s deputy director and chief operating officer (COO).

Tags: NETL, DOE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the topics for 2019 funding opportunities.  Amongst the program offices that are participating in this solicitation, is the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who will be hosting an informational webinar on November 6, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) as an opportunity to ask the DOE Program Managers any questions about DOE funding opportunities.  The 90-minute webinar requires registration and allows for the submission of questions prior to the event.  Important upcoming dates regarding the submission funding applications include:

  • Funding Opportunity Announcement:  November 26, 2018;
  • Letter of Intent Due Date:  December 17, 2018;
  • Non-response Letter of Intent Feedback Provision:  January 7, 2019;
  • Application Due Date:  February 4, 2019;
  • Award Notification Date:  April 29, 2019; and
  • Start of Grant Budget Period:  June 10, 2019.

‚ÄčBoth the award notification and the start of the grant budget period dates are subject to change.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In October 2018, DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) published a report called “Cell-Free Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis:  Prototyping and Conversion Platforms.”  The report consists of a summary from discussions held on a listening day by BETO in Denver, Colorado, in 2017.  The public meeting was intended to discuss research and development opportunities related to cell-free synthetic biology and biocatalysis, and how these techniques could be leveraged in the production of biofuels and bioproducts. Attendees of the meeting included representatives from academia, DOE national laboratories, industry, and other federal agencies.


 

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.”


 
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