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 Kathleen M. Roberts

On February 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the release of its 2017 Project Peer Review Report.  The report contains recommendations provided during the March 2017 Project Peer Review.  The biennial Peer Review process aims to gather feedback and recommendations from stakeholders on BETO’s research and development portfolio to help BETO identify the most efficient and effective ways to accelerate the development of an advanced bioenergy industry.  BETO will use the results of the 2017 Peer Review to inform programmatic decision making, modify or discontinue existing projects, guide future funding opportunities, and support other budget and strategic planning objectives.  As reported in the BRAG blog post BETO Announces Availability Of Project Peer Review 2017 Presentations, the 2017 Project Peer Review presentations are available on the BETO website.

Tags: DOE, BETO

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced the development of a method to create a supertough renewable plastic with improved manufacturability.  The method involved the addition of a small amount of silanes to polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic commonly used in packaging, textiles, biomedical implants, and 3D printing.  The new bioplastic demonstrated improved tensile strain and tensile toughness, without a loss in tensile strength and modulus.  According to ORNL’s Soydan Ozcan, the new method offers a fast, scalable route to increasing PLA toughness, which will broaden the use of PLA.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the availability of presentations from its Advanced Development and Optimization (ADO) Workshop.  As previously reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG­®) blog post DOE Advanced Development And Optimization Workshop, the workshop took place at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on December 12-13, 2017.  Discussion focused on how the new ADO program area can best serve stakeholders in developing the bioenergy industry, existing assets from past investments, and future needs and opportunities for maximizing such assets’ value.  
 
The following presentations are available on the BETO website:  

Tags: DOE, BETO, Workshop

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 23, 2018, DOE announced that researchers at PNNL have developed a catalyst capable of converting ethanol directly into butadiene.  Butadiene is the building block for nearly every major synthetic plastic or rubber in the U.S, including tires, fuel hoses, and children’s toys.  The project, which is sponsored by BETO, aimed to generate butadiene from renewable sources by developing a new catalyst that can convert ethanol into butadiene.  The current ethanol-to-butadiene catalysts required pure ethanol, free of water, to be passed through multiple times to achieve a 70 percent yield.  The team of PNNL researchers has developed a silver nitrate powder and zirconyl nitrate-based catalyst capable of converting 70 percent of aqueous ethanol to butadiene in a single pass under industrially-relevant conditions.  According to Vanessa Dagle, it is the most active ethanol-to-butadiene catalyst reported to date and introduces the possibility of renewable ethanol as a source of butadiene in addition to petroleum.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of up to $6 million in funding to support research in plant feedstock genomics for bioenergy.  Support is provided in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) through the Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy program, which aims to improve the use of biomass and plant feedstocks for the production of fuels or renewable chemical feedstocks.  Research projects should focus on overcoming biological barriers to the low-cost, high-quality, scalable, and sustainable production of dedicated bioenergy biomass feedstocks using the tools of genetics and genomics.  Eligible applicants, including state agricultural experiment stations, colleges and universities, university research foundations, individuals, non-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations, are encouraged to submit proposals.  Applications are due April 20, 2018.  More information on the funding opportunity is available on the NIFA website.


 

 

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) much anticipated and highly acclaimed annual Forecast, “Predictions and Outlook for U.S. Federal and International Chemical Regulatory Policy 2018,” is now available.  In the Forecast, the lawyers, scientists, and chemical regulatory specialists at B&C and its affiliated consulting firm, The Acta Group (Acta®), offer comprehensive and highly useful observations on the fast-changing and nuanced area of domestic and global chemical legal, scientific, and regulatory issues expected to be hot topics in 2018.  This 38-page document is chock-full of insights, predictions, and useful information.

Happy New Year and enjoying reading our predictions!

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By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 14, 2017, General Automation Lab Technologies (GALT) announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) a three year $3.5 million grant to improve the growth and efficiency of biofuel-producing algae.  LLNL and GALT will collaborate on the project, which also aims to reduce wasted byproducts of photosynthesis by targeting microbiomes that can more efficiently recycle it back to carbon dioxide for the algae to grow better.  GALT’s novel high-throughput microbiome research technology will be used to screen tens of thousands of microbiome combinations.  Researchers aim to target bacteria that are able to increase biomass yield under the high light and temperature stress conditions that are found in desert environments such as Arizona, where plenty of sunlight and useable land exist and could potentially support future algal biofuel production facilities.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the availability of up to $100 million in funding to support innovators through early-stage research and development (R&D) projects focused on technologies to transform the nation’s energy system.  The funding will be provided through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) OPEN funding opportunity.  OPEN funding opportunity announcements (FOA), which are typically issued on a triennial basis, allow ARPA-E to support projects outside the scope of existing ARPA-E focused programs.  The FOA is open to a broad variety of projects, including renewable electricity generation and the production and distribution of renewable fuels.
 
Concept papers in response to the FOA are due by 5:00 p.m. (EST) February 12, 2018.  More information on the FOA is available on the ARPA-E website.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 11, 2017, the Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) announced its intent to issue a Directed Funding Opportunity (DFO) aimed at accelerating innovation and adoption of new practices and technologies to determine the root cause of biomass handling failures and designing solutions.  FCIC is a collaborative network of eight DOE national laboratories dedicated to understanding and addressing technical risks in developing and scaling up biomass harvest, storage, preprocessing, and conversion technologies.
 
The DFO is open to industrial and academic partners interested in collaborating with research experts and leveraging unique technology capabilities at the DOE national laboratories to address the most pressing industrial feedstock handling, preprocessing, and conversion challenges related to feedstock chemical, physical, and mechanical variability.  FCIC anticipates awarding between $500,000 and $2,000,000 for a project duration of 12 to 18 months.
 
FCIC plans to issue the DFO through its website.

Tags: FCIC, DFO, DOE, Research

 
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