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 Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 15, 2017, the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT (Fraunhofer UMSICHT) announced the launch of TO-SYN-FUEL, a project involving 12 industrial, scientific, and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) partners focused on building up, operating, and demonstrating the production of synthetic fuels and green hydrogen from waste biomass.  TO-SYN-FUEL is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program and will utilize the TCR® technology developed by Fraunhofer UMSICHT to convert residual biomass into hydrogen-rich synthetic gas, biochar, and liquid bio-oil, which will be converted further into a diesel or fuel equivalent via high pressure hydro-deoxygenation (HDO) and conventional refining processes.  The goal of the project is to demonstrate and validate the technical and commercial viability of the integrated technology.  According to the researchers, scale up of 100 plants using TO-SYN-FUEL technology throughout Europe would avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to five million people per year and divert millions of tons of organic wastes from landfill to sustainable biofuel production.


 

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On May 1, 2017, the University of Maine (UMaine) began a continuous 100-hour demonstration of a biomass to bioproducts pilot plant at its Technology Research Center (TRC).  The plant, which is the result of a partnership between UMaine and Biofine Technology, is capable of processing up to one ton of woody biomass per day into chemicals for the manufacturing of biofuels, biochemical, and advanced materials.  UMaine will use the plant to scale up the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute’s (FBRI) patented conversion technology to produce jet fuel from woody biomass.  Data from the 100-hour demonstration will assist in the commercialization of the operation.  FBRI researchers aim to add another pilot plant that would manufacture larger quantities of biofuel from the platform chemicals as a prototype for commercialization.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

Researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and Sapphire Energy completed the first EPA-sanctioned outdoor field trial for GE algae, which was focused on understanding how GE algae perform in outdoor cultivation.  The 50-day experiment studied algae (Acutodesmus dimorphus) that was GE with genes for enhanced fatty acid biosynthesis and recombinant green fluorescence protein (GFP) expression under real world conditions in parallel with non-GE algae strains.  The results demonstrate that GE algae can be cultivated outdoors while maintaining the GE traits, and that the specific GE algae investigated does not adversely impact native algae populations.  According to the researchers, the study provides a framework to evaluate GE algae risks associated with outdoor GE algae production, which offers the promise of producing sustainable food, fuel, and other valuable products.

Tags: UCSD, GE, Algae

 

 

 

The 2017 Biobased and Renewable Chemicals Conference, organized by the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA) and supported by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, is a two-day event that will focus on the emerging landscape of technologies that are replacing fossil fuel-based raw materials and the major challenges and opportunities facing the industry.  The event features interactive panel discussions, keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities with industry experts and thought leaders, including:​

  • Mike Gudgeon, Technical Manager, PBF Energy;
  • Dr. Seetha Kammula-Coleman, President, STRIDE;
  • Dr. Stanley Merritt, Sustainability Leader, The Chemours Company;
  • Dr. Tim Mueller, North American Research Director, DuPont Science & Engineering Operations;
  • Dr. Erica Nemser, CEO, Compact Membrane Systems;
  • Lori Palmer, Chief Business Ventures Officer, Trellist Marketing & Technologies; and
  • Dr. Bryan Tracy, CEO & Co-Founder, White Dog Labs.

Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D., Manager of BRAG, will be attending the conference and will be pleased to discuss questions that attendees may have about the regulatory issues facing biobased and renewable chemicals.  Registration is available online.  We look forward to seeing you there.


 

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On April 21, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the 38 small businesses that will collaborate with researchers from eight national laboratories under the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot, which aims to foster a strong partnership between the labs and clean tech small businesses.  The 38 businesses represent the third round of SBV, which brings the total number of partnerships under the program to 114.  SBV provides small businesses with access to unique national lab facilities and experts to test, develop, and validate their innovative products.  The following national labs have received $200,000 in funding to collaborate with small businesses focused on bioenergy projects:

  • The Argonne National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will work with Gevo to create a blending model that works over a variety of representative gasoline base fuel compositions by developing a synergistic and antagonistic relationship between gasoline and isobutanol; 
  • The Idaho National Laboratory will work with Cogent to improve its small-scale gasifier for distributed waste-to-energy applications and markets by properly homogenizing and sizing the feedstock material so that it can be continuously fed into the gasifier and meet real-world feedstock processing requirements;     
  • The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will work with Kalion to reach full manufacturing scale production of glucaric acid and glucuronic acid by creating a manufacturing-ready production strain and scaling up that strain;                  
  • The Oak Ridge National Laboratory will work with Synvitrobio to develop cell-free based analytical tools that significantly accelerate the design-build-test cycles for converting renewable biomass to higher-order chemicals, such as mevalonate and vanillin; and
  • The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will work with ThermChem to identify the potentially valuable and intermediate chemicals in the aqueous phases of hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process liquids and convert them into value-added biochemical/bioproducts.
SBV is part of the Tech-to-Market Program within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which aims to eliminate common barriers that prevent market exploration of new energy technologies.
Tags: DOE, SBV

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On April 21, 2017, AkzoNobel announced the 20 finalists for its Imagine Chemistry initiative.  The initiative, which was launched earlier this year as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG®) blog post “AkzoNobel Launches Global Chemicals Start-Up Challenge,” aims to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and uncover sustainable opportunities for the Company's Specialty Chemicals business.  Of the 20 projects selected, four focus on cellulose-based alternatives to synthetics, three focus on biobased and biodegradable surfactants and thickeners, and two focus on biobased sources of ethylene and ethylene oxides.  All finalists will participate in a three-day event at AkzoNobel’s research facility to further develop their business ideas and concepts.  A brief description of each project is available on AkzoNobel’s website.


 
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