Kingdom (UK) Department for Transport (DfT) announced the launch of a £25
million competition for funding to build advanced biofuel plants.
The funding will eventually lead to the construction of up to three
demonstration level advanced biofuel plants in the UK. In order to qualify for
funding, the biofuels being produced need to have at least 60 percent
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels and be made
from waste materials. Potential bidders have until February 13, 2015, to
provide a detailed expression of interest, with full proposals due in June 2015. The
demonstration plants that are constructed as a result of this competition are
expected to produce one million liters or more of biofuel per year and be
operational by December
information for the Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition is available
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
(NSERC) supports researchers and companies working on large-scale
multidisciplinary research projects in areas of importance to Canadians. As
part of this program, NSERC
is providing the University of Toronto with $5 million to help launch the
Industrial Biocatalysis Network, which will research novel uses of
enzymes to produce chemicals, plastics, and other products. This program will
be run in collaboration with Concordia University and the University of British
Columbia and will support the growth of the biobased chemical and materials
sector in Canada.
The attorneys, scientists, and regulatory professionals of B&C
and The Acta Group (Acta®) are proud to have authored Global
Chemical Control Handbook: A Guide to Chemical Management Programs,
recently released by the American Bar Association. Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing
Partner of B&C and President of Acta, provided the guiding vision for this
comprehensive desk reference book as editor and co-author.
Reflecting on the work of her colleagues, and others, on this
book, Ms. Bergeson stated: "The Global Chemical Control Handbook
reflects the expert counsel and advice of seasoned professionals that have been
honed by years of 'in the trenches' experience with the global chemical
programs outlined in the book. Readers can expect from the Handbook the
hands-on information they need quickly to point them in the right direction
when addressing an increasingly complex set of legal, regulatory, and
commercial challenges occasioned by these global chemical management
Globalization and the emergence worldwide of sophisticated
chemical management programs invite complex legal, commercial, and scientific
challenges. These challenges extend far beyond compliance questions that, by
comparison, seem now nostalgically straightforward. The Handbook is organized
by country and/or regulatory program and includes stand-alone sections
discussing forecasts and trends.
Each of the focused chapters in the Handbook, and the helpful commentary
and resources, help to ground environmental professionals and readers-at-large
in the diverse regulatory structures that they may encounter in hands-on
interactions with chemical management regulations in the United States or
abroad. Knowing what to expect, and how to prepare for it, are essential steps
in successfully navigating these systems.
Global Chemical Control Handbook: A Guide to
Chemical Management Programs is available for purchase via
During a summit in Brussels on October 23-24, 2014, European Union (EU) leaders agreed to a blueprint to guide climate and energy policy through 2030. The overall goals of the blueprint are to achieve a 40 percent emissions reduction by 2030, relative to 1990 emissions levels, as well as a target of 27 percent for total energy consumption in the EU being provided by renewable sources by 2030. The EU already has a 20 percent emissions reduction target for 2020. The target is expected to help build and maintain momentum for the larger 2030 emissions goal. Individual countries will not be responsible for the 27 percent renewable energy goal, rather, the EU as a whole wants to reach that level of renewable energy. In order to assist countries in achieving this goal, the EU is increasing the current 300 million Emissions Trading System (ETS) allowances to 400 million to help fund low-carbon innovation. More information about the 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework can be found in the EU's post-summit communique.
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (DMEA) has launched the first edition of a Biobased Packaging catalogue that was compiled by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. The catalogue came about as a result of companies becoming interested in the development and application of bioplastics, especially in the wake of products like the well-known "plant bottle" from Coca Cola. The Biobased Packaging catalogue, published in Dutch, presents a review of the options for using sustainable biobased packaging on a commercial basis, and DMEA plans to pair the catalogue with a pilot program for sustainable purchasing. More information about the catalogue can be found online.
Winery waste is composed of the skins, pulp, stalks, and seeds that are left over after grapes have been pressed. This waste cannot be used for animal feed or composted, so it typically ends up as toxic landfill. Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have been investigating how to break down the grape waste and Ph.D. student Avinash Karpe has discovered four fungi, that when combined with a heat activated pre-treatment, successfully broke down grape waste biomass. This process resulted in the production of alcohols, acids, and simple sugars which could have industrial and medicinal uses. "We have demonstrated this technique in the laboratory, but this process can be scaled up to an industrial scale," stated Chair of Swinburne's Department of Chemistry and Biotechology, Professor Enzo Palombo. More information is available online.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) released the third annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report. The report provides forecasts for global biofuel and renewable energy growth. Within the report, the authors predict that the expansion of renewable energy will slow over the next five years unless policy certainty is diminished. For more information, see online.
In a July 9, 2014, press release, the European Union (EU) announced the launch of seven public-private partnerships, established under the EU's new research funding program Horizon 2020. They represent a total investment of € 19.5 billion into research and innovation over the next seven years, where the EU contribution of € 7.3 billion will unlock a € 12.2 billion investment from the private sector and the Member States. The press release is available online.
These partnerships work in a number of fields crucial for Europe's economic growth, creation of jobs, industrial competitiveness, and well-being of citizens, one of which is a partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). The priorities of this new € 3.7 billion public-private partnership, the Bio-based Industries (BBI) program, include doubling of the share of biobased chemicals produced in Europe (from 10 percent to 20 percent); an increase of biomass mobilization by 10 percent as well as a reduction of imports of protein for feed by 15 percent and fertilizer components used for feedstock production by 10 percent; and meeting of the 15 percent target increase in waste and byproduct utilization by 2020.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, stated: "The bioeconomy has huge potential that is attracting investments all around the world. With this new partnership, we want to harness innovative technologies to convert Europe's untapped renewable resources and waste into greener everyday products such as food, feed, chemicals, materials and fuels, all sourced and made in Europe."
Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes, stated: "The BBI 2014 Call for Proposals is a first step in a long-term strategy that will deliver tangible social, economic and environmental results. It is the outcome of a year-long effort involving the European Commission and the industry following an extensive consultation of experts and stakeholders. It is a visionary call that lays the foundation for an increasingly ambitious and successful initiative." More details on BIC are available online.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released its document "OECD Guidance for Characterising Oleochemical Substances for Assessment Purposes," which is available online. The document seeks to present a "harmonised approach" for characterizing UVCB (substances of unknown or variable composition, complex reaction products or biological materials) oleochemical substances that are derivatives from animal and vegetable oils and fats.
In June 2012, the OECD Task Force on Hazard Assessment endorsed a pilot project to develop guidance on identifying UVCB using oleochemicals/oleoproducts as the pilot chemicals. The development of this guidance was, in part, in response to questions and concerns related to UVCB nomenclature that had been raised by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in response to some UVCB chemical registrations under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.
Industry stakeholders, including U.S. chemical manufacturers, have expressed concern that if adopted under current regulatory regimes, the newly released OECD nomenclature guidance will require companies to obtain new chemical names for materials that they have used for many years. This, in turn, could trigger the need for new chemical review under EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
All stakeholders within the biobased chemical space -- even those not directly engaged in oleo-based products -- should carefully review the existing guidance and monitor future OECD work in this arena as it will have widespread ramifications. OECD has already indicated that it will focus on biofuels in upcoming UVCB nomenclature guidance, a development that will have significant implications for the biochemical industry.
On March 3, 2014, BASF announced the successful start-up of the first commercial production facility resulting from the joint venture between Corbion Purac and BASF (Succinity®) for the production and commercialization of biobased succinic acid. The plant, located at the Corbion Purac site in Montmeló, Spain, has an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons and is producing commercial quantities of biobased succinic acid for the global market. In addition to this first facility, Succinity plans a second large-scale facility. The final investment decision for this facility will be made following a successful market introduction. A copy of BASF's press release is available online.