By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On February 5, 2018, Neste, a member of BRAG, announced that the use of its renewable fuels in place of fossil fuels resulted in a reduction of 8.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The significant emission reduction is primarily attributed to Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel and Neste's increased production volumes at its three renewables-producing refineries. The reduction was calculated by comparing the lifecycle GHG emissions of the renewable fuels Neste produced in 2017 to that of conventional diesel. Neste states that use of its renewable diesel also improves local air quality by reducing exhaust emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulates, and carbon monoxide.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On January 25, 2018, Alberta Innovates announced the launch of the Bio-Resource Information Management System (BRIMS), which was developed in conjunction with Silvacom Ltd. BRIMS is a publicly available data and information management system that collates inventories from forestry, agriculture, and municipality sectors to create a centralized, comprehensive spatial warehouse of biomass, ecosystem services, and land-use data. Silvacom and Alberta Innovates designed the system with data partnerships from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC). BRIMS is intended to advance the bioeconomy in Alberta by informing bio-resource management and investment decisions.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On January 10, 2018, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the challenges for its latest Imagine Chemistry program. AkzoNobel initiated the Imagine Chemistry program in 2017 to startup and scale-up firms and researchers for an opportunity to solve real industry challenges and create sustainable business opportunities in chemistry. Challenge winners receive joint development agreements with AkzoNobel to help bring their ideas to market. During the 2018 program, AkzoNobel is soliciting solutions to the following challenges;
- Development of a surfactant platform that is fully sustainable, specifically biobased, biodegradable, and zero footprint, and suitable for many applications;
- Organic-free wastewater treatment solutions;
- Smart technology to make chemical plants more intelligent, autonomous, and resource efficient;
- Production of chlorate using a more sustainable, energy efficient method that does not use hexavalent chromium;
- Technologies to increase the efficiency of the production of dry powder products; and
- Small particle technology to help drive performance and sustainability improvements.
Participants can submit ideas and solutions through the online challenge platform
. Finalists will be invited to an intensive three-day event in June
at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, where they will work with experts in finance and research to further develop their ideas.
By Kathleen M. Roberts
On January 2, 2018, Clariant, a specialty chemicals company, announced the development of a new biobased polymer for cosmetic creams and lotions. The new ingredient is a rheology modifier that influences formulation viscosity and achieves specific sensorial and texturizing properties for creams and lotions, but does not change the properties of an application. The polymer contains more than 50 percent renewable carbon derived from sugar-based isobutene. Global Bioenergies, an industrial biotechnology company, produces the renewable isobutene on a small scale at a demo plant in Germany. Clariant and Global Bioenergies are working to scale up production volumes. According to Ralf Zerrer, the Head of Strategic Marketing and Innovation, Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties at Clariant, "[t]he demand for ingredients based on renewable resources is here to stay and will become the norm among brands in the very near future.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On January 10-11, 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NAS) Standing Committee on Use of Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions (ESEHD) convened a workshop entitled “The Promise of Genome Editing Tools to Advance Environmental Health Research.” The meeting is intended to bring together experts in molecular biology, toxicology, and public health to explore opportunities for using genome (and epigenome) editing technologies in environmental health research. Participants are scheduled to discuss genome editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 and their applications to help reveal the mechanisms through which environmental stressors influence human health, including developing models of health and disease, testing chemicals for toxicity, and determining mechanisms of toxicity; and speakers explored how research that leverages genome editing tools might inform different types of decisions, including for risk assessment and environmental policy. The sessions included:
- Genome and Epigenome Editing: Trends, Techniques, and Capabilities;
- Exploring Toxicology-Relevant Uses of Genome Editing Tools; and
- Incorporating Genome Editing Tools into Environmental Health Research: Pathways Forward.
More information on ESEHD regarding this workshop and other events is available on NAS’ website.