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.

On May 20, 2015, the European Parliament voted to reject a plan that would eliminate the requirement for import licenses of ethanol of agricultural origin. The plan was rejected with a vote of 486 to 164 amid concerns that the loss of ethanol import data that came from the licenses would negatively impact anti-dumping duty cases. The anti-dumping duties were implemented in February 2013, and are valid through February 2018. The duties require $83.03 per metric ton of U.S. ethanol that is exported to European Union (EU) countries. The continuation of ethanol import licenses also ensures transparency, and that current information about the evolution of the ethanol market is available to regulators and other interested organizations.


 

On April 29, 2015, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) released a draft standard titled "Low iLUC Risk Biomass Criteria and Compliance Indicators" that will allow producers to show that they generate biofuels crops with a low-risk of indirect land use change (ILUC). The standards take into account yield increase, unused or degraded land, use of waste or residues, and integrated sugarcane and cattle production. The RSB standard is intended to be used in conjunction with the new European Union (EU) ILUC amendment that has provisions for low-ILUC biofuels. The standard will be released in final at the RSB general assembly meeting June 1, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland, and is currently open to public comments.

Tags: biomass, EU

 

On April 28, 2015, the European Parliament approved a draft law restricting crop-based biofuels in order to encourage production of advanced biofuels with low-risk ILUC and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The law, that was discussed in the April 23, 2015, Biobased and Renewable Products Update, applies to legislation requiring EU Member States ensure that at least 10 percent of energy used in transport by 2020 is renewable. Under the new law, no more than 7 percent of energy consumption by 2020 can be first-generation biofuels, resulting in at least 3 percent of energy consumption coming from advanced biofuel. The law also requires the reporting of GHG emissions caused by ILUC and the publication of data on ILUC-related emissions. Member States have until 2017 to enact the legislation.


 

On April 14, 2015, Members of the European Parliament and certain ministers agreed to limit how biofuels derived from agricultural crops would be accounted for in the European Union's (EU) goal to increase the use of renewable energy. The new law caps the use of first generation biofuels to seven percent of the total energy use being counted towards the EU's renewable energy goal of ten percent. Member States will have the opportunity to reduce the cap of crop-based biofuels at their discretion. The law came about in part from fears about food security and negative indirect land use change (ILUC) occurring due to widespread crop-based biofuels. The EU has used ILUC to calculate the net greenhouse gas (GHG) production of biofuels, despite concerns that it is scientifically flawed. The agreement reached will eliminate the ILUC factor as a way to judge the benefits of fuels in the EU, but will still need to be reported by fuel suppliers. The agreement will be voted on during the April 27-30, 2015, plenary session. Member States will have until 2017 to enact the legislation.


 

On March 30, 2015, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) submitted a petition to EPA seeking reconsideration and a request for stay of EPA's approval of the Argentinian Camara Argentina de Biocombustibles (CARBIO) Alternative Biomass Tracking Program. According to the NBB press release, EPA failed to provide an opportunity for public comment on the EPA decision and a lack of transparency as to how the Argentinian biodiesel producers will demonstrate compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). NBB notes that EPA's delay in establishing RFS volumes has destabilized the U.S. biodiesel industry and the anticipated influx of biodiesel, as a result of the CARBIO program approval, will only make the U.S. situation worse. NBB separately filed a lawsuit challenging EPA's alternate renewable biomass tracking requirements. Nat'l Biodiesel Bd. v. EPA, D.C. Cir. No. 15-1073 (Mar. 30, 2015). NBB asserts that EPA's approval of the CARBIO plan provides a new opportunity to review the tracking provisions that were included in a 2010 rulemaking.

 

 

On March 2, 2015, the winners of the 2015 Bio Business Awards were announced at the World Bio Markets (WBM) event in Amsterdam. The awards are designed to reward innovation and leadership in the development of sustainable and renewable fuel and chemical solutions. Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation was named the WBM Industry Champion 2015, DuPont's Sorona Fiber won an award for Breakthrough Biobased Technology Platform, and Elevance Renewable Sciences won the Biobased Product Innovation of the Year for its Elevance Clean 1200 product. Other awards went to Lanzatech for Feedstock of the Year, Jennifer Holmgren from Lanzatech for Biobased Businessperson of the Year, United LAX Biotech Initiative for Excellence in Advanced Biofuels, and UPM Biofuels for Commercial Scale Plant of the Year. Nominations for the 2016 WBM Bio Business Awards will open in November 2015.

 
Tags: awards

 

On February 24, 2015, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced $5.2 million in funding that would go to the design and construction of a pilot scale biofuel production facility in Perth. The company in charge of creating the facility is Renergi, a startup established in 2012 with the goal of commercializing a suite of energy technologies that were developed in Curtin University's Fuels and Energy Technology Institute. The production facility will contain a 100 kg per hour biomass conversion unit and a 20 liter per hour biorefinery unit. As described in the ARENA announcement, the plant will convert agriculture waste, as well as other biomass, into transport fuels through a process that "incorporates steel grinding balls into a rotating biomass conversion unit, allowing simultaneous break-down and gasification." The project is expected to cost a total of $12.9 million and be completed in October 2017.

 
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On January 27, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the importation of biodiesel made from soybeans from Argentinian biofuel producers as qualifying for U.S. biofuel credits under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Argentina's Biofuels Chamber's (CARBIO) request for an "Alternative Renewable Biomass Tracking Requirement" was approved, which allows foreign manufacturers to be part of the RFS if they follow certain environmental standards. The U.S. biodiesel industry has criticized this pathway approval for Argentinian biodiesel because it is believed to be less rigorous than other certification standards used previously. Before this pathway was approved, individual Argentinian biofuel producers could still qualify for the RFS program on their own, but the new method through CARBIO will allow all interested companies to be tracked as a consortium. EPA does not expect the approval to result in competition with domestic biofuel producers. This claim is strongly disputed by U.S. agricultural and biofuel groups. The Argentinian biodiesel industry has a production capacity of well over 1 billion gallons, which could displace a large percentage of the RFS volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons, which to date has been made up primarily of U.S. product.

The National Biodiesel Board and others have sought the views of the EPA Administrator and have asked EPA to revisit this pathway decision. If EPA does not change its position, the organizations may consider legal options. In addition, there is currently a group of about 30 U.S. Senators who have called for EPA to reverse the rule.

 

 

On January 23, 2015, China's National Energy Administration issued a biodiesel industry development plan (available in Chinese) to improve the biodiesel sector. The plan encouraged the production of cleaner fuels as well as the use of renewable fuels by promoting foreign companies' participation in the industry; mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring of domestic biodiesel companies; and fuel blending of biodiesel. The plan will initially focus on the areas with the most air pollution controls, including Beijing-Tianjin Province and Hebei Province and the area around the Yangtze River Delta. New standards on the production of biodiesel should improve the environmental impact of biodiesel production as restrictions on the energy, freshwater, and waste disposal of the production go into effect within two years.

 

 

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) is inviting applications for its third Exemplar Program project competition for industry-led collaborative research projects using innovative applications in biotechnology. IBioIC is requesting applications from projects with a total value of up to £250,000 that demonstrate a defined market need and commercial opportunity. Deadline for applications is March 26, 2015.

 

 
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