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 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.

 

 

The United 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 2018. Application information for the Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition is available online.

 

 

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 regulations."

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 the ABA online bookstore.

 
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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.
 


 
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