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 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

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 30, 2019, DOE’s Smart Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs Office announced the opening of applications for Cohort of Innovators through October 31, 2019. Three DOE National Laboratories are accepting such applications: (1) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) Chain Reaction Innovation; (2) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Innovation Crossroads; and (3) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) Cyclotron Road program. Each of the programs recruits a cohort of entrepreneurial scientists and engineers from around the world for two years. The goal of the programs is to allow innovators to mature their ideas until they can align with the most suitable commercial partners to take their technology to scale. Selected participants will receive a two-year fellowship, which includes a stipend depending on education and experience, along with health insurance and a travel allowance. Research funding and access to research facilities, equipment, and expertise are also provided, accompanied by a startup curriculum and a community of peers. The startup curriculum includes intensive entrepreneurial training, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Again, applications are due by October 31, 2019, and can be found in the National Laboratories’ respective websites: ANL, ORNL, and LBL.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 18, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a $3 million prize competition to power ocean observing platforms with marine renewable energy. To generate innovation, the Powering the Blue Economy Ocean Observing Prize will offer a series of contests to demonstrate marine renewable energy use for observing platforms. DOE hopes that this prize will help spur technological innovation through a path from concept to design to construction. Part of DOE’s Powering the Blue Economy initiative, the prize consists of two competitions. The first competition, “Discovery,” calls for novel concepts that pair ocean observing technologies with marine energy systems in five broad themes:

  • Charging unmanned systems;
  • Communications and underwater navigation;
  • Extreme environments;
  • Buoys, floats, and tags; and
  • Innovative ideas.

Following the first competition, will be the “Build” competition to bring innovators’ ideas to reality. The prize is led by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System Program.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 25, 2019, DOE EERE announced that its Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have saved more than 1.3 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) and $6.7 billion in energy costs. With more than 220 partners, DOE accepted 22 new companies this year, which include more than 3,200 facilities and represent approximately 12 percent of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint. Designed to work with partners who have set ambitious energy, water, and/or waste reduction goals, DOE’s program collects partners’ energy performance data and solutions to expand innovation and savings throughout the industrial sector. Thus far, partners have met and exceeded 60 energy goals. A full update on the Better Building, Better Plants partners is available in the 2019 Better Plants Annual Progress Update.

Tags: DOE, EERE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

September 25, 2019, DOE EERE announced via the Federal Register a request for information (RFI) on the identification of wells of opportunity for critical geothermal field research applications. DOE’s RFI is directed to the geothermal community, seeking information about underutilized wells in known geothermal resource areas in the United States. Its aim is to obtain feedback on industry willingness to partner with DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) to test downhole tools, technologies, and methodologies that can improve the probability of successful geothermal commercialization. Responses to the RFI can be submitted electronically and must be received by October 25, 2019. The complete RFI document can be accessed here.

Tags: DOE, RFI

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 24, 2019, DOE EERE’s Assistant Secretary, Daniel R. Simmons, announced the winners of the first round of the American-Made Solar Prize. The prize consists of a $3 million competition to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. Each prize winner received $500,000 for use at DOE National Laboratories.

In addition to the aforementioned announcements, DOE also declared two initiatives led by EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO): the National Community Solar Partnership and the teams participating in the new Solar District Cup. The National Community Solar Partnership focuses on the expansion of affordable community solar access to every American household by 2025. It is designed to empower government entities, utilities, financiers, businesses, nonprofits, affordable-housing providers, and stakeholders. The partnership will provide technical assistance, tools, and information to low- and moderate-income communities to increase solar installations.

The Solar District Cup, funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), consists of a collegiate competition for student teams to design and model solar-plus-storage systems across multiple buildings on a local distribution network. This competition is designed to prepare students to enter the solar workforce amid the changing energy landscape.

Tags: DOE, Solar

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the selection of the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET) as Network Director for the U.S. Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research Team (TEAMER) Program. TEAMER is a three-year program that supports testing and research for marine energy technologies. It provides access to test facilities and technical expertise to assist technology developers with designing devices that save energy. In a collaborative effort, universities, established DOE National Laboratories, and National Marine Renewable Energy Centers will engage in the TEAMER Program’s efforts. The TEAMER Program is an EERE Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) project to strengthen U.S. water power research and development (R&D) and testing. WPTO aims to increase competitiveness while promoting economic prosperity and energy security.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 5, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science announced an open meeting of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). The purpose of the meeting will be to provide advice to the Office of Science Director on various technical issues that occur in the development and implementation of the Biological and Environmental Research Program. Tentative agenda topics listed by DOE include news from the Office of Science and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER); workshop briefing and research topic discussions; a report from the Biological Systems Science and Climate and Environmental Science Divisions; science talks; and an opportunity for public comment, among other topics. The meeting will take place in North Bethesda, MD, on October 24, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EDT) and on October 25, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EDT).

Tags: DOE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released annual market reports on data and trends in wind technologies, costs, installations, prices, and performance through 2018. The reports cover three sectors: offshore, distributed wind, and utility-scale land-based. According to Under Secretary of Energy, Mark W. Menezes, onshore wind installations continue to proliferate across the United States. Demonstrating support for the Trump Administration, Menezes stated that it has been “proven that we can pursue renewable energy advancements and deployment, particularly wind energy resources, which are predicted to surpass other sources of renewable power generation this year [2019].” During 2018, the utility-scale land-based wind sector had 7,588 megawatts (MW) installed with record low costs and prices. Prepared by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the 2018 Wind Technologies Market Report found that wind industry employment is at an all-time high and provides 6.5% of the nation’s electricity.

Tags: DOE, Wind

 
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