By Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 18, 2019, Neste, a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, and LyondellBassell announced the first commercial scale parallel production of biobased polypropylene and biobased low-density polyethylene. This project used Neste’s renewable hydrocarbons, derived from sustainable biobased raw materials, such as waste and residue oils, to produce food packaging bioplastics marked as Circulen and Circulen Plus by LyondellBasell. "We are excited to enable the plastics industry to introduce more bio-based material into its offering. It is very satisfying to see Neste's renewable hydrocarbons performing perfectly in a commercial scale production of bio-based polymers, providing a drop-in replacement option to fossil materials," stated Neste's President and CEO Peter Vanacker.
Last week, from April 3-5, 2019, Biofuels Digest hosted its annual Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference (ABLC) in Washington, D.C. Among those present were various industry stakeholders, government representatives, and federal agency staffers. Innovative technologies were presented and much networking was done. The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG®) presence was welcomed and provided an opportunity for industry stakeholders to gain insight into regulatory developments in the biobased sector, particularly during the Regulatory Workshop that took place on April 4, 2019. The workshop was moderated by Richard Engler, Ph.D., Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. While Engler covered timelines for approval of new substances, Ray Matulka, The Burdock Group, covered new food or feed additives, which is especially important if fermentation byproducts will be used as animal feed. Graham Noyes, Noyes Law Firm, covered California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program, its success, and similar other state-level efforts.
A large number of panels held during the conference circled back to concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program and measures associated with its implementation. Highlighting the importance of the intersection between policy and commerce, panelists in the Bioeconomy Policy Forum were particularly frustrated with the number of small refinery exemptions under the Trump Administration. The fact that, under President Trump’s two years, a greater number of small refinery waivers has been granted than during the Obama Administration’s eight years was highly criticized. Panelists went as far as stating that these measures under the RFS Program are leading to demand destruction for renewable fuels.
In agreement with industry, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) expressed frustration with the small refinery exemptions granted thus far. Despite these obstacles, however, Senator Grassley also stated that he is encouraged by the Trump Administration in working on short- and long-term solutions for issues that often create barriers towards alternative energy goals. Senator Grassley ensured his support for industry, emphasizing alternative energy’s key role in supporting national security, the economy, good environment, and energy independence.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On April 2, 2019, Nouryon, a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced the launch of a new biobased polymer for “weightless” hair styling. The newly developed biobased polymer, called Amaze SP, assists formulators to meet the latest trends in hair styling, which include lighter textures. Amaze SP is plant-based and part of Nouryon’s efforts in expanding its offerings to customers in the personal care market, which also includes a recently developed film-forming polymer for use in high SPF sunscreen products.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 8, 2019, Nouryon, a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced the official launching of the Imagine Chemistry challenge. A program focused on startups, scale-ups, university spin-offs, and other new comers in chemistry, the challenge aims to increase developing business’ opportunities to collaborate in the commercial adoption of green chemistry. In the 2019 edition of the challenge, Nouryon is seeking solutions to five areas:
- Sustainable bio-based surfactants for everyone;
- Label-free chemistries;
- Sensing in demanding chemical environments;
- Performance-boosting nanoparticles; and,
- Pushing frontiers of chemical innovation.
Interested parties can submit their ideas online
and receive expert feedback until March 8, 2019
. In May 2019
, 20 finalists will be selected for a three-day event at Nouryon’s research and development and innovation (RD&I) center in the Netherlands. These finalists will get an opportunity to work with experts and business leaders at the RD&I center to further develop their ideas into a joint value case.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On January 16, 2019, a group of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain announced the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which will advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean. AEPW membership, currently at 30 member companies, represents global companies located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. APEW has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years. The announcement of the launch states that APEW will “develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy.” AEPW is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect, and recycle plastics including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies. The following companies are the founding members: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).
As part of its roll-out, APEW also announced an initial set of projects and collaborations that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste:
- Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking. This work will include engaging local governments and stakeholders and generating economically sustainable and replicable models that can be applied across multiple cities and regions.
- Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models, and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.
- Developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors focus on and accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment.
- Creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders to help them identify and pursue the most effective and locally-relevant solutions in the highest priority areas.
- Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localized investment and engagement. The program is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean.
The global internet broadcast that aired on January 16, 2019, is available at www.endplasticwaste.org/live. More information is available on APEW’s website.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On November 13, 2018, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that the Finish airport operator Finavia has decided to adopt Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel in its vehicles at four airports. Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a low-carbon biofuel produced 100 percent from renewable raw materials. Finavia’s switch to this renewable biofuel is part of its goal to reach carbon neutrality within its airports by 2020. The use of Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel is not new in Finland. The biofuel has been in use at Helsinki airport for over a year now in Apron buses, reducing Finavia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 610 metric tons. Neste’s Vice President of Marketing and Services in Finland, Sam Holmberg, stated that Neste is pleased to cooperate with Finavia and has plans to extend the biofuel’s availability to Northern Finland in the near future.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On November 6, 2018, Neste, a BRAG member, announced its partnership with Clariant to develop new sustainable material solutions. While Clariant concentrates on specialty chemicals, Neste consists of one of the leading companies providing renewable diesel and drop-in chemical solutions. In the announcement, Neste outlined the phases of the partnership, as follows:
Phase 1: The companies will start to replace fossil-fuel based ethylene and propylene with monomers from renewable feedstock.
Phase 2: The companies will develop alternative sustainable solutions from renewable raw materials for plastics and coatings.
The two phases are designed to allow the two companies to increase their biobased products, while reducing dependency on crude oil and climate emissions. Neste’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Vanacker, stated that the “[c]ollaboration marks an essential step forward in Neste’s quest to become a preferred partner as a provider of sustainable chemicals solutions for forerunner brands.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
After winning AkzoNobel’s Imagine Chemistry Challenge in 2017, on July 24, 2018, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), and Renmatrix announced a decision jointly to develop biomass-based performance additives to improve architectural paints and construction materials. Valuable to green chemistry building blocks, Renmatrix uses techniques that involve converting biomass into cellulosic sugars and bio-fractions. AkzoNobel has agreed to research, develop, and commercialize new products using a form of the newest bio-fraction isolated by Renmatrix: CrytoTM Cellulose, which is a form of crystalline cellulose. The plan is for their joint work to develop a wide range of cellulose-based materials for commercial use.