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 31, 2018, the Canadian National Energy Board released its 2018 report on energy supply and demand projections to 2040: “Canada’s Energy Future 2018: An Energy Market Assessment.” Based on a set of assumptions about technology, energy, climate, human behaviors, and the structure of the economy, the assessment identifies five key findings as follows:

  1. Canada’s energy demand growth is slowing, while the sources to meet these demands are becoming less carbon intensive;
  2. With greater adoption of new energy technologies, Canadians use over 15 percent less total energy and 30 percent less fossil fuels by 2040;
  3. Energy use and economic growth continue to decouple;
  4. Canada’s energy mix continues to become more diverse, adding more renewables; and
  5. Canadian oil and natural gas production increases, with price and technology changes influencing production in the future.

The report predicts that energy generation from renewable sources will increase in 2040 to represent 12 percent of all electricity generation. It concludes, that given the higher demand in reducing carbon emissions and the increase in biofuel blending rates, the costs of renewables will likely drop.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

The European Commission (EC) announced on October 16, 2018, the launch of a new web-based tool called BioWatch. Developed by BIOWAYS, a project funded by the European Union (EU), this new tool expands BIOWAYS’ efforts in raising awareness of biobased products and their social, economic, and environmental benefits. BioWatch consists of “an interactive online platform that provides projects in the bioeconomy sector with a free service to position themselves alongside one another and provide direct access to industry, political stakeholders, the media, and the general public.” Essentially, this tool serves as an “e-library” for biobased research and projects for its members. BIOWAYS is currently recruiting biobased industry research projects to begin building its “e-library.” More information is available on its website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 11, 2018, the European Commission (EC) released a statement announcing its new action plan for a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe. The new action plan, originally announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent, aims to “improve and scale up the sustainable use of renewable sources to address global and local challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.” In his remarks, EC Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, emphasized the need for systemic changes as key drivers of change for the bioeconomy sector. Renewable and sustainable solutions depend on collaborative efforts by governments and industry stakeholders. Based on this premise, EC’s new strategy focuses on three key objectives that include 14 measures to be taken as early as 2019.  The three objectives are to:

  1. Scale up and strengthen the biobased sectors;
  2. Rapidly deploy bioeconomies across Europe; and
  3. Protect the ecosystem and understand the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy.

​These long- and short-term objectives focus on modernizing the European biobased economy and call for systemic changes that will reduce the large underused biomass and waste potential. The action plan will be further discussed and outlined during a conference with stakeholders, hosted by the EC on October 22, 2018, in Brussels.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 12, 2018, the EC announced new requirements for labeling fuel. As of the aforementioned date, European Union (EU) Member States must use set fuel labels on newly produced vehicles, at vehicle dealerships, and at gas stations that dispense hydrogen, diesel, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, petrol, and liquefied natural gas. Given the growing variety of fuels on the market, the EC’s new requirements address the greater need for transparency of information to consumers. The labels are to be put on the nozzles of gas filling pumps, on the pumps themselves, and in the vicinity of fuel filler caps on new cars, motorcycles, buses, and coaches, among other places.

Tags: EU, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In September 2018, researchers Harmen Willemse, from The Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN), and Dr. Maarten van der Zee, from the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research Center, published a White Paper on “Communicating the bio-based content of products in the EU and the US. Analyzing how bio-based content information is exchanged between businesses, consumers, and government, the paper aims to address the significant challenges associated with the various methods used for the determination of bio-based carbon content in bio-based products. The paper further explores three different determination approaches and compares them to U.S. and European Union (EU) requirements. The researchers conclude that awareness of these different determination methods is key in information sharing between businesses, consumers, and government agencies.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 13, 2018, France’s Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Brune Poirson, announced during an interview a new plan to charge ten percent more for packaged products that do not use recycled plastic in 2019. France aims to transition 100 percent of its packaging use into recyclable plastic by 2025. With this goal in mind, the French government will be introducing a number of measures to promote recyclable packaging. Some of which include an increase on taxes for burying trash in landfills and banning substitutable plastic products, among others.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On July 25, 2018, the European Union (EU) Supreme Court of Justice ruled that plants with genes that have been altered, even without the insertion of foreign DNA, are classified as genetically modified organisms (GMO) and therefore must undergo the same safety checks for their impacts on the environment and human health as organisms with foreign DNA.  According to Bio-Based World News, the ruling “is seen as a victory for environmentalists but a blow for the bio-economy” due to the much stricter rules that apply to GMOs.  Bio-based chemicals often require genome editing to provide renewable substitutes for petrochemical building blocks.  EuropaBio’s Secretary General, John Brennan, commented on this new ruling stating that it lacks regulatory clarity that is needed by EU researchers, academics, and innovators in the industry to deliver solutions.  EuropaBio plans to engage EU Member States and citizens in providing a fact-based dialogue on what genome editing is, and what it will or will not be used for.  The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology’s Director, Detlef Weigel, also criticized the ruling, stating that it was “a sad day for European science.”

Tags: EU, GE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On July 20, 2018, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department of Transportation launched a consultation to explore the impact of introducing E10 fuel to the UK market.  Earlier this year, changes were made to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) that requires transport fuel supplies to increase the amount of renewable fuel supplied in the UK beyond the current five percent ethanol blend, up to a limit of ten percent by 2032.  This plan is a component of the Road to Zero Strategy, announced on July 9, 2018, a commitment by the UK government to dramatically reduce transport emissions and move towards a zero emissions future.  The consultation is seeking views on: 

  • Whether and how to introduce E10 petrol in the UK;
  • The reintroduction of an E5 protection grade to ensure standard petrol remains available at an affordable price; and
  • The introduction of new fuel labeling at petrol pumps and on new cars.

Responses are being accepted through September 16, 2018.

Tags: UK, Biofuel, E10

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 27, 2018, representatives from 11 European companies and universities gathered in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, to kick-off the EU-funded Rewofuel project.  This three-year, €19.7 million (about $23 million) project will demonstrate and evaluate how to best use wood residues from the forest industry to produce biofuels, with a long-term goal of starting new biorefineries across Europe. Rewofuel is a collaborative project that is expected to run for three years, and is being worked on by SEKAB E-Technology, Peab Asphalt, Sky NRG, Global Bioenergies, Neste Engineering Solutions, Repsol, Ajinomoto, Eurolysine, IPSB, TechnipFMC, and Linz University.  Jean-Baptiste Barbaroux, Chief Corporate Officer at Global Bioenergies, said of the project, “By combining technologies and know-how from the leading biofuels actors across Europe, the project Rewofuel will be able to demonstrate the increasingly important role of using forest materials in the European renewable energy transition. We look forward to contributing directly to the European climate and energy targets.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 14, 2018, the European Union (EU) reached a deal on the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII),which sets new targets for renewables. REDII represents stricter targets than those discussed in Brussels in 2014, upping the percentage of the EU’s energy that must come from renewable sources to 32 percent of total energy consumption by 2030. The agreement also states that at least 14 percent of transportation fuel must come from renewable sources by 2030, and includes a plan to phase out crop-based biofuels by capping the percentage of such biofuel counted towards EU Renewable Energy requirements at 7 percent of all road and rail transport. In addition to capping the counted percentage of crop-based biofuels, REDII requires the share of advanced biofuels used in transportation to reach 1 percent by 2025, and 3.5 percent by 2030. This agreement is still draft legislation with certain details left to be determined by the European Commission, including a plan to create a certification process of low indirect land use change (ILUC) biofuels that will phase out high-ILUC biofuels, including those made from palm oil. The European Parliament and the European Council still need to approve formally REDII before it goes into effect.

Tags: EU, REDII, ILUC

 
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