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 December 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) published a notice of intent to issue a joint Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) with the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), titled “BOTTLE: Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment.” This FOA supports the Department’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies by supporting high-impact research and development for plastics. The primary goal of the FOA is to develop new bio-based plastics that are capable of efficient recyclability and developing improved recycling strategies that can break down existing plastics into chemical building blocks that can be used to make higher value products.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 6, 2019, DOE announced that the applications currently being accepted for free assistance preparing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 applications. There are a variety of eligibility criteria, and because space is limited, DOE Phase 0 applicants are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Each small business, however, is evaluated for selection to receive administrative and technical assistance based on the following selection criteria:

  • The small business offers technology innovations relevant to the current and open DOE SBIR/STTR research topics and subtopics (topics can be accessed at science.osti.gov/sbir);
     
  • The small business is or will be prior to award an eligible small business per 13 CFR Section 121.702;
     
  • The small business has not previously applied for an SBIR or STTR award from the DOE; and
     
  • Small business and/or owner has not received any Phase 0 technical assistance from DOE.

Qualified small businesses can submit an application at www.dawnbreaker.com/doephase0/apply.php.

Tags: DOE, SBIR, STTR

 

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

First published last week, on November 25, 2019, the article titled “Consolidated Production of Coniferol and Other High-Value Aromatic Alcohols Directly from Lignocellulosic Biomass” has gained media attention across the globe. Given the finite geological oil reserves, the competition to identify alternative biobased and biorefinery processes continues to grow. According to the article, the aim in identifying such products is not only to find alternatives, but most importantly to “overcome significant costs and productivity barriers.” In the aforementioned article, published in the Green Chemistry Journal, scientists write about a novel technique using the biocatalytic production of coniferol (a versatile chemical block) directly from lignocellulosic biomass. The process to do so involves a biocatalytic treatment of lignocellulose, which releases and converts ferulic acid with feruloyl esterase (XynZ), carboxylic acid reductase (CAR), and aldo-keto reductase (AKR). This catalytic reaction achieves the equivalent release of ferulic acid from lignocellulose compared to alkaline hydrolysis, also displaying efficient conversion of ferulic acid to coniferol. Consolidating a biodegradation-biotransformation strategy for the production of high value fine chemicals from waste plant biomass, this novel process offers a potential to minimize environmental waste and add value to agro-industrial residues. A number of grants, including from the São Paulo Research Foundation and David Phillips Fellowship, supported the study outlined in the journal article. Grants of these types continue to arise as the need to address resource efficiency and, therefore, biobased chemical production has become the focus of various government agencies in many countries. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for example, often provides scientist from all backgrounds similar opportunities.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

From December 11 through 12, 2019, DOE’s Office of Bioenergy Technologies Office will host a workshop titled “Plastics for a Circular Economy” in Denver, Colorado. The workshop will include discussions on technology solutions to address plastic waste and focus on the development of new recycling and degradation strategies. The objective of the workshop will be to identify early-stage applied research problems in the aforementioned area that need to be addressed both in the long- and near-term. Representatives from waste management facilities, circular economy experts, commercial plastic producers, and biobased plastic innovators will be some of the participants.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that $12 million will be available in funds for new projects to support research and development (R&D) and education and workforce development to increase plastics recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing. Designed for U.S. manufacturers, 12 to 18 exploratory and full R&D projects and four to eight education and workforce development projects will be funded by DOE’s Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Manufacturing Institute. REMADE was founded in 2017 in partnership with DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office. The REMADE Manufacturing Institute aims to enable early-stage applied R&D of technologies that could dramatically reduce embodied energy and carbon dioxide emissions resulting from industrial-scale materials production and processing. This particular opportunity will focus on projects that align with REMADE’s research focus areas:

  • Development of novel manufacturing and recycling technologies to increase secondary feedstock use by 20 percent without loss of properties or performance;
     
  • Design of alternatives to increase recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing of products at the end of their life cycles;
     
  • Development of technologies to separate and recover specific polymers and metal in e-waste materials;
     
  • Technological advancements to remove pigments from polymers; and
     
  • Provision of cutting-edge training in recycling for the American workforce and in support of the development of a new REMADE professional certificate program.
     

REMADE is currently accepting letters of intent, which are due today. Full proposals are due on December 18, 2019. Further submission information is available on REMADE’s website.

Tags: DOE, Plastics

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 12, 2019, DOE published a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for topics for its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Release 2 funding. Participating in this FOA are the following DOE program offices:

  • Office of Cyber Security, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER);
     
  • Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NNSA);
     
  • Office of Electricity (OE);
     
  • EERE;
     
  • Office of Environmental Management (EM);
     
  • Office of Fossil Energy (FE);
     
  • Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES);
     
  • Office of High Energy Physics (HEP); and
     
  • Office of Nuclear Energy (NE).
     

Interested applicants may register for one or more of DOE’s FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 SBIR/STTR Topics webinars. Presented by DOE Topic Managers, a series of three 90-minute webinars will be available:

For those unable to participate in the live webinars, they will be recorded and made available online.

In addition to the aforementioned webinars, a fourth one will be held to discuss the FOA and application process. This webinar will be held on December 19, 2019.

Tags: DOE, Funding, SBIR

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 30, 2019, 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. The first meeting is scheduled for November 19, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST), and the second meeting will take place on November 20, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST) in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the committee is to advise the Secretaries of Energy and Agriculture with respect to the Biomass Initiative. The committee also evaluates and makes recommendations in writing to the Biomass R&D Board. The meetings will address the advice and guidance the committee will promote for R&D leading to the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. The meetings’ tentative agenda includes updates on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biomass R&D activities, presentations from government and industry that provide insights on the intersection of forest health and bioenergy growth, and updates on DOE Biomass R&D activities. Written and oral statements will be accepted. The meeting summary will be available for public review here.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biomass

 

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

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Donald LaVoy and DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes announced on October 24, 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two departments to promote rural energy and the development of technologies to support and advance rural and agricultural communities and domestic manufacturing. Required under Section 6501 of the 2018 Farm Bill, the MOU is meant to improve collaboration and coordination between DOE and USDA. A number of areas are covered by the MOU, including:

  • Streamlining, leveraging, and optimizing program resources;
     
  • Strengthening energy-related infrastructure;
     
  • Facilitating energy-related investments in rural communities;
     
  • Ensuring affordable and reliable power;
     
  • Offering technical assistance to rural communities;
     
  • Encouraging innovation; and
     
  • Helping rural businesses export energy products and manufactured goods around the globe.
     
Tags: USDA, DOE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that 35 projects have been selected to receive funding for bioenergy research and development (R&D). Totaling $73 million in funding provided by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the selected projects aim to:

  • Reduce the price of drop-in biofuels;
  • Lower the cost of biopower; and
  • Enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources.

According to DOE, the United States has the potential to produce 1 billion dry tons of non-food biomass without the disruption of agricultural markets for food and animal feed. These domestic resources, however, are currently underutilized. Given these circumstances, the main goal of the 35 selected projects will be to produce affordable biofuels that are compatible with the existing fueling infrastructure and vehicles in a range of transportation modes.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 30, 2019, DOE announced that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will host an informational webinar about the High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) Program. In honor of National Manufacturing Day, the webinar is scheduled for October 4, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. (EDT). The HPC4EI Program pairs national laboratory scientists with partners in industry to apply high-performance computing technology and improve energy utilization in the manufacturing sector. Eighty-four projects currently exist under the HPC4EI Program, encouraging National Laboratories’ and industry collaboration to speedily bring these technologies to market. The 84 projects underway involve nine participating laboratories and are working to address problems in a variety of industries, including metal smelting, additive manufacturing, alloy design, mobility, pulp and paper production, and paint application. The LLNL webinar will include an overview of the HPC4EI Program and its impact followed by presentations by principal investigators on the progress of specific projects

Tags: DOE

 
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