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 March 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a meeting of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). The meeting will be held digitally via webcast on April 16, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT). Information on how to access the meeting will be posted here. Tentative agenda topics include:

  • BERAC business and discussion;
  • News from the Biological Systems Science and Climate and Environmental Sciences Divisions;
  • News from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER);
  • Report brief(s); and
  • Public comment.

The virtual meeting is open to the public. Both written and oral statements regarding agenda items will be accepted.

Tags: DOE, BERAC

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 16, 2020, DOE EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and Bioenergy Technologies Office used a joint funding opportunity announcement (FOA) of up to $25 million for plastics recycling R&D. As part of the Department’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, this FOA has been titled “BOTTLE: Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics Out of Landfills and the Environment.” The BOTTLE FOA will support the development of new plastics capable of efficient recyclability and improvement of recycling strategies that can break existing plastics into chemical building blocks that can be used in other products.

Also as part of the Plastics Innovation Challenge, DOE has launched a new BOTTLE Consortium, which will be led by three of DOE’s national laboratories. The Consortium will work with stakeholders in industry and academia to focus on BOTTLE’s core mission. The three national laboratories in the Consortium currently are the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

This BOTTLE FOA includes three topic areas:

  • Highly recyclable or biodegradable plastics;
     
  • Novel methods for deconstructing and upcycling existing plastics; and
     
  • BOTTLE Consortium collaborations to tackle challenges in plastic waste.

Concept papers for the BOTTLE FOA are due on April 22, 2020, and full applications are due on June 18, 2020. Information on how to submit concept papers and applications can be found here.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that up to $20 million in funding is available for workforce development at universities in emerging energy fields. Aiming to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers, DOE’s investment will fund a land grant university to pursue interdisciplinary research through the support of expansions of existing joint graduate education programs with DOE National Laboratories. This effort will be led by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) as part of the implementation of the “Charting a Course for Success: American’s Strategy for STEM Education” roadmap. The selected project will:

  • Establish a five-year EERE Research, Training and Workforce Development Program that expands existing joint graduate programs, with associated investment in learning and research tools to promote research, entrepreneurship, and technology transfer;
  • Use existing National Laboratory capabilities in key EERE-related areas for training and research that support EERE-funded projects; and
  • Coordinate with other relevant programs, including regional and national fellowship and workforce development efforts, build sustainable alliances, and apply lessons learned and best practices.

Applications for this funding opportunities are due on or prior to April 13, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT).

Tags: DOE, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced open meetings of the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee. Occurring on March 24, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) and March 25, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EDT), both meetings will take place in Arlington, VA. The purpose of the meetings is to develop advice and guidance that promotes R&D leading to the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. Parties interested in participating in the meeting and/or making oral statements must contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) five days prior to the meetings.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 21, 2020, U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), announced that it will hold a series of workshops to receive input on the approaches and activities for its new initiative, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC). Launched in January 2020 by DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette, ESGC was created to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies. With the aim to sustain American global leadership in energy storage, ESGC builds on the $158 million Advanced Energy Storage Initiative. Recognizing the challenges associated with the advancement of energy storage technologies, DOE EERE will host four workshops to receive input on ESGC initiative approaches and activities. The workshops’ dates, locations, and registration deadlines are:

  • March 6, 2020, in Seattle, Washington – registration deadline: February 27, 2020;
  • March 10, 2020, in Austin, Texas – registration deadline was February 24, 2020;
  • March 17, 2020, in Chicago, Ilinois (additional manufacturing session will be held on March 16, 2020) – registration deadline: March 2, 2020; and
  • March 26, 2020, in Washington, D.C. – registration deadline: March 11, 2020.

Parties interested in registering for one of the workshops may do so here. Seating is limited, and registrations will be accepted in the order they are received.

Tags: DOE, EERE, ESGC

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On February 25, 2020, DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced that its scientists have developed a novel technique to closely observe the nanostructure of biomaterials without damaging the sample. Using a nonintrusive soft mechanical nanoablation (sMNA) technique can confirm structural features in starch, which is an important carbohydrate in the production of biofuels. ORNL’s chief scientist for systems biology and biotechnology, Brian Davison, highlighted the importance of plant cell wall structures in the next generation of biofuels, stating that the “study used starch as an example of how this technique can start to access some of these nanomechanical structure materials” that currently cannot be observed. ORNL’s study was published on February 6, 2020. ORNL scientists believe the novel technique can also be applied to nonliving materials and used on synthetic polymers or even three-dimensional-printed materials.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that it is searching for professionals to fill vacant general engineer and physical scientist positions. Resumes can be submitted directly to EERE’s hiring staff with information on the position of interest and EERE office (Solar, Geothermal, Vehicles, and Buildings, among others). Should EERE be interested in a particular resume, DOE’s Human Capital Office will reach out to the applicant requesting a transcript demonstrating educational background. Further information on vacant positions at EERE can be accessed here.

Tags: DOE, EERE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the availability of more than $96 million in funding for bioenergy research and development (R&D) in support of the U.S. bioeconomy. DOE’s funding efforts also align with its own goal to provide secure, affordable, and reliable domestic energy options for consumers and business. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) aims to advance DOE’s Bioenergy and Technology Office’s (BETO) objectives of: (1) reducing the price of drop-in biofuels; (2) enabling high-value products from biomass or waste resources; and (3) lowering the cost of biopower. Topic areas within this FOA include:

  • Up to $8 million for scalable carbon dioxide (CO2) electrocatalysis technologies for generating chemical building blocks;
  • Up to $14 million for algae bioproducts and CO2 direct-air-capture and efficiency;
  • Up to $28 million for scale-up of bench applications of biofuel and bioproduct processes;
  • Up to $5 million for low-emission, high-efficiency residential wood heaters;
  • Up to $18 million for waste to energy strategies for a bioeconomy, including strategies for municipal solid waste, wet wastes, and municipal wastewater treatment;
  • Up to $15 million for biopower and products from urban and suburban wastes (North American Multi-University Partnership for Research and Education), with a focus on using plastic waste to make recycled products and to produce low-cost biopower; and
  • Up to $8 million for bio-restore -- biomass to restore natural resources -- to quantify the economic and environmental benefits associated with growing energy crops, with a focus on restoring water quality and soil health.

According to DOE’s FOA, the application process will consist of two phases: a concept paper and a full application. Phase one of the process (the concept papers) are due on March 5, 2020, and phase two (full applications) are due on April 30, 2020. Further details are available here.

Tags: DOE, FOA, BETO, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

Also on January 23, 2020, DOE announced that up to $64 million will be available in funding to advance innovations that will build new markets for the H2@Scale initiative. H2@Scale is an initiative focused on exploring the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resilience and sustainability of the power generation and transmission sectors. The initiative’s goal is to align diverse multibillion-dollar domestic industries with domestic competitiveness and job creation. The funding will support transformational R&D and innovative hydrogen concepts that will encourage market expansion and increase the scale of hydrogen production, storage, transport, and use. According to DOE, the hydrogen and fuel cells industry represents the potential to enable resiliency, energy security, emission reductions, and economic growth across sectors in the United States. Topic areas for this FOA include:

  • Up to $15 million for advanced carbon fiber for compressed gas storage tanks to reduce cost by developing high-strength carbon fiber and scaling up to industry-relevant scales;
  • Up to $2 million for training and workforce development creating coordinated regional efforts to support the growing hydrogen and fuel cell industry;
  • Up to $10 million for fuel cell R&D and domestic manufacturing for medium- and heavy-duty transportation;
  • Up to $15 million for electrolyzer manufacturing R&D;
  • Up to $8 million for H2@Scale new markets R&D; and
  • Up to $14 million for H2@Scale new markets demonstrations in maritime and data centers.

Concept papers must be submitted on or prior to February 25, 2020, and full applications are due on April 20, 2020. Further information is available here.

Tags: DOE, H2@Scale

 
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