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 October 2, 2015, at the 2015 Algae Biomass Organization Summit, the Algae Foundation announced a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded education initiative to enhance algae workforce development. The Algae Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the algae industry though research, education, and outreach, and plays an important part in advancing the bioeconomy beyond ethanol. The DOE-funded initiative will focus on developing a college degree in algal cultivation technologies that will in turn strengthen workforce capabilities for commercial-scale algae production. The multi-year plan will include the formation of the Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC) that will provide expertise needed to enhance the development of a curriculum and supplemental training materials.


 

 

 

On September 16, 2015, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Wilson Center) released a funding report on U.S. Trends in Synthetic Biology Research Funding. The Wilson Center found that the U.S. invested approximately $820 million in synthetic biology research between 2008 and 2014, with nearly 60 percent of the funding coming from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The National Science Foundation (NSF) has also been funding synthetic biology research, investing $138 million since 2008, but is winding down funding in anticipation of the conclusion of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC) in 2016. Of all U.S. funding for synthetic biology research, less than one percent is focused on risk research with a similar amount focused on ethical, legal, and social issues. This funding report was released as an update to the 2010 brief Trends in Synthetic Biology Research Funding in the United States and Europe, an assessment of the funding resources provided by U.S. and European governments for synthetic biology research.


 

 

 

On August 27, 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding for two projects focused on the development of next-generation biofuels. Texas A&M University will receive up to $2.5 million to support its efforts in developing a single-unit process to convert lignin in the production of bioplastics, and Ohio University will receive up to $1.5 million for its work in developing a continuous flow electrochemical reactor that upgrades waste lignin to biobased phenol substitutes.


 

 

On August 14, 2015, the Department of Energy's (DOE) BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) announced the creation of a microbe that increases isobutanol yields by a factor of ten. The study, published in Metabolic Engineering, expanded upon a 2011 study where researchers were able to engineer genetically a microbe to produce isobutanol directly from cellulose. The new study used a higher yielding microbe with similar engineered traits, resulting in consolidated bioprocessing efficiency. This progress towards the commercialization of biobased isobutanol is important because its energy density and octane values are close to those of gasoline, allowing it to be used as either a direct replacement for gasoline or a chemical feedstock for a wide range of products.


 

 
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