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 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.

 
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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.

 

 

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.


 
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