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.

ASTM International's Committee on Plastics recently approved revisions to standard D6866, Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis. This standard was originally approved in 2004, and is used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) BioPreferred® Program, by EPA when it is determining the sustainability of plastics, and by other corporations using biobased plastics. D6866 is used to determine the percent of carbons present in the final product that come from plant-biomass carbon feedstock versus petroleum-based carbon feedstocks.


 

 

 

On August 2, 2016, DOE announced up to $11.3 million in funding to support the development of biomass-to-hydrocarbon biofuels conversion pathways. Three projects will receive the funding under MEGA-BIO: Bioproducts to Enable Biofuels to produce high-value bioproducts as well as economically competitive biofuels. The projects selected to receive this funding are:

  • The Dow Chemical Company, working with LanzaTech and Northwestern University, to develop a process to convert biomass-derived synthetic gas to fatty alcohols as a pathway to biofuels.
     
  • Amyris, Inc., along with Renmatix and Total New Energies, to develop a process to produce farnesene from cellulosic sugar.
     
  • Research Triangle Institute, as well as Arkema and AECOM, to determine the technical, environmental, and economic feasibility of recovering mixed methoxyphenols from biocrude alongside biofuel production.

 

On August 1, 2016, DOE released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for $7 million to research fuel and engine co-optimization technologies. Funding will be provided through the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative, a collaboration between DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), bringing together national laboratories and industry to conduct tandem fuel and engine research, development, and deployment assessments. This initiative works to improve near-term conventional spark-ignition engine efficiency and enable full operability of advanced compression ignition engines. Research cycles include identifying fuel candidates, understanding their characteristics, and determining market transformation requirements. This FOA is restricted to U.S. Institutions of Higher Education and nonprofit research institutions operating under U.S. Institutions of Higher Education. Proposals should address one or more of the following sub-topics:

  • Fuel characterization and fuel property prediction;
     
  • Kinetic measurement and mechanism development;
     
  • Emissions and environmental impact analysis;
     
  • Impact of fuel chemistry and fuel properties on particulate emissions;
     
  • Small-volume, high-throughput fuel testing; and
     
  • Additional barriers.

Concept papers are due by August 15, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT), with full applications due on September 18, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT).

Tags: DOE, BETO, FOA, Biofuel

 

 

On July 27, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator signed the final rule Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products, setting formaldehyde emission standards for hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard, as well as for finished products containing these products. This final rule discusses alternatives to regulated composite wood products, specifically mentioning Ecovative Design, LLC's packaging, building materials, and automotive products that are grown from agricultural byproducts and mycelium. The mycelium binds the wood together, completely eliminating the need for resins containing formaldehyde. The products created through this biofabrication process are not considered to be hardwood plywood, particleboard, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and, thus, are not subject to these new regulations. Ecovative Design, LLC was the recipient of a 2014 EPA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to help develop new alternatives to regulated composite wood products. EPA states that it encourages other companies to explore all aspects of their production process to lower formaldehyde emissions from their products.


 

 

 

On July 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced $15 million in funding for three projects that will work to improve algal biomass yields to reduce production costs of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts. The projects include Global Algae Innovations (San Diego, California), Algenol Biotech LLC (Ft. Myers, Florida), and MicroBio Engineering, Inc. (San Luis Obispo, California). These projects will coordinate algae strain improvements through harvesting, dewatering, and downstream processing, resulting in lower cost algae-based biofuels.


 
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