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 Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 18, 2019, the D.C. Women’s Business Center (WBC) and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) will host the 2019 Just Ambitious Small Business Awards. The awards honor woman entrepreneurs who have demonstrated achievements, innovation, and vision in support of the District of Columbia’s small business community and economic vitality. WBC and NCRC are now accepting applications for the 2019 awards in the following categories:

  • NCRC Community Engagement of the Year
     
  • NCRC Youth Entrepreneur of the Year
     
  • Environmental Entrepreneur of the Year
     
  • Start-Up of the Year
     
  • Veteran Woman-Owned Business of the Year
     
  • Woman Empowerment Entrepreneur of the Year
     
  • Womanpreneur Under 40 of the Year

Businesses can be nominated for multiple awards. WBC and NCRC encourage self-nominations. To qualify for the award, applicants must either be or nominate a registered business entity that has been in business for at least one full year. The business must be at least 51 percent woman-owned. Non-profits that devote a significant portion of time to assisting entrepreneurs may also apply. The deadline for application submissions is September 4, 2019, by close of business.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 21, 2019, Bio-Based World News announced the opportunity to apply for the platform’s 2019 Bio-Based World News Innovation Awards.  Awards will be distributed to leading innovators from across the biobased industry during a ceremony at the World Bio Markets flagship event in Amsterdam in April 2019.  Five rewards, listed below, will be separately awarded in recognition of the commitment to sustainability:

  • Bio-based Product of the Year;
  • Bio-based Chemical Innovation of the Year;
  • Best Use of Alternative Feedstocks;
  • Sustainability Commitment; and
  • Bio-based Industry Story of the Year 2019.

Eligible applicants must submit their entries for the first four awards by February 15, 2019.  The stories published that are candidates for the award for Bio-based Industry Story of the Year 2019 are listed online where votes from the general public are being accepted.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 13, 2018, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that nominations for the fifth annual Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology are being accepted.  Each year, the award recognizes an outstanding woman in the industrial biotechnology sector who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the biobased economy and biotechnology innovation.  The recipient will be presented with the award at the 2018 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Past recipients of the award include Dr. Debbie Yaver, Director of Expression Technology, Genomics and Bioinformatics at Novozymes; Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech; Anna Rath, President and CEO of NexSteppe; and Vonnie Estes, Independent Consultant.  Nominations will be accepted until March 28, 2018.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On June 14, 2017, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) announced that biotech industry veteran Vonnie Estes would receive the 4th annual Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology. Estes, an independent business consultant, will be presented the Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology during a lunch plenary session at the BIO World Congress on July 25, 2017.  Each year, the award celebrates a pioneering woman in the industrial biotechnology sector who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the biobased economy and biotech innovation in honor of Rosalind Franklin.  Estes was selected as a result of her numerous contributions to the commercial development of new biotechnologies, creating revolutionary products that are good for people and the planet.  Throughout her career, Estes has held leadership positions at DuPont, GranBio, Caribou Biosciences, Monsanto, and Syngenta.  Estes’ role as an accomplished industry leader with decades of experience commercializing industrial biotechnology innovations and developing emerging companies was determined to honor Rosalind Franklin’s legacy.


 

On June 9, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Award (GCCA).  We applaud this year’s winners.   This is EPA’s 22nd year of using the GCCA to honor green chemistry technologies that spur economic growth, reduce costs, and decrease waste.  We are saddened that this very successful voluntary program is slated to be defunded in the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget, which, of course, must be approved by Congress and is unlikely to be in its current form.  Those who value the green chemistry program may wish to consider contacting their Senators and Representatives to encourage continued support of this highly successful and important program.  It has had outsized benefits for such a modestly funded program. 
 
This year's winners and technologies are:

  • Merck & Co., Inc. in Greener Synthetic Pathways - Letermovir: A Case Study in State-of-the-Art Approaches to Sustainable Commercial Manufacturing Processes in the Pharmaceutical Industry

    Merck’s approach was to design an efficient synthesis as early as possible in the drug Letermovir’s process development. Using “high-throughput” techniques, Merck was able to find a low-cost, stable, and easily recyclable catalyst along with other process improvements that increase the yield, and reduce the raw material costs by 93 percent, the water usage by 90 percent, and the carbon footprint by 89 percent.

     

  • Amgen Inc. and Bachem in Greener Reaction Conditions - Green Process for Commercial Manufacture of Etelcalcetide Enabled by Improved Technology for Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis

    Amgen Inc. worked with Bachem to improve the manufacturing process for the active ingredient in ParsabivTM, a drug that treats secondary hyperparathyroidism in adult patients with chronic kidney disease. By redesigning the peptide manufacturing process to use four optimized stages rather than the original five stages, Amgen and Bachem were able to achieve a 500 percent increase in manufacturing capacity while reducing chemical solvent use by 71 percent, manufacturing operating time by 56 percent, and manufacturing cost by 76 percent.

     

  • The Dow Chemical Company and Papierfabrik August Koehler SE in Designing Greener Chemicals - Breakthrough Sustainable Imaging Technology for Thermal Paper

    While there is still not a definitive answer as to whether the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper may present risk, Dow and Koehler sought an innovative alternative that not only avoids the need for BPA (or analogs that have similar toxicological properties), but also eliminates some of the drawbacks of thermal paper, notably that exposure to sunlight or other heat sources often destroys the image. Together they developed a three-layer paper. The top layer is an opaque, light-color.When heat is applied in the printing head, the hollow particles that make up that opaque layer collapse and become transparent, showing an underlying dark layer only at those points. The paper is designed to work in existing equipment, so there is no need for retailers to replace equipment.

     

  • UniEnergy Technologies LLC in Small Business - The UniSystemTM: An Advanced Vanadium Redox Flow Battery for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

    UniEnergy Technologies, LLC (UET) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) developed and commercialized an advanced vanadium redox flow battery that allows cities and businesses more access to stored energy. The vanadium electrolyte has double the energy density of prior chemistries, and a much broader operating temperature, allowing for a longer lasting battery that can be deployed in nearly any ambient environment on earth. Additionally, the electrolyte, with a chloride-based chemistry complex, is more stable than traditional sulfate-based chemistries, and because it is water-based and does not degrade, the batteries are non-flammable and recyclable.

     

  • Professor Eric J. Schelter of the University of Pennsylvania in Academic - Simple and Efficient Recycling of Rare Earth Elements from Consumer Materials Using Tailored Metal Complexes 

    Professor Eric Schelter developed a simple, fast, and low-cost technology to help recycle mixtures of rare earth elements (La-Lu, Sc, and Y). These elements are integral to modern technologies, but have a highly energy intensive and waste generating mining, refining, and purification process. Currently, only one percent of these materials are recycled, but Professor Schelter’s group has developed tailored organic compounds that can simply and effectively separate mixtures of these metals. A recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant will support further development of this technology to turn these into industrial viable recycling processes.

The GCCA winners were honored on June 12, 2017, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the 21st Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference


 

On March 8, 2017, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that nominations for the fourth annual Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology were being accepted.  The award, which recognizes an outstanding woman in the industrial biotechnology sector who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the biobased economy and biotechnology innovation, will be presented during the plenary session at the 2017 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Montréal, Québec, Canada.  Past recipients of the award include Dr. Debbie Yaver, Director of Expression Technology, Genomics and Bioinformatics at Novozymes, Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, and Anna Rath, President and CEO of NexSteppe.  Nominations will be accepted until March 24, 2017


 

On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has opened nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA).  Since 1996, these awards have honored companies and institutions that develop processes and products to help protect public health and the environment.  EPA’s strong support for the adoption of green chemistry has helped strengthen the development and commercialization of green chemistry products, leading to significant environmental benefits alongside economic benefits.  Previous PGCCA winners annually eliminate 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents and 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases, and save over 21 billion gallons of water.  There are six award categories for 2017:
 


 
Focus Area 1:  Greener Synthetic Pathways; 
 

 
Focus Area 2:  Greener Reaction Conditions;
 

 
Focus Area 3:  The Design of Greener Chemicals;
 

 
Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business);
 

 
Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher); and
 
Specific Environmental Benefit:  Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions).


Nominations for these awards are due to EPA by December 31, 2016, with more information about the selection criteria and how to enter on the EPA PGCCA website.


 

On October 11, 2016, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register seeking applications for the 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.  The Partner of the Year Awards were developed in 2015 to recognize Safer Choice stakeholders advancing the goals of the Pollution Prevention Act, as well as the Safer Choice program through safer chemistry.  There are five broad categories of the awards:


 
Formulators/Product Manufacturers of both Consumer and Institutional/ Industrial (I/I) products; 
 

 
Purchasers and Distributors;
 

 
Retailers;
 

 
Supporters (e.g., non-governmental organizations); and
 

 
Innovators (e.g., chemical manufacturers).
 
 
Applications are due by December 16, 2016, with award winners being announced at a ceremony in late spring of 2017.

 

On June 21, 2016, DOE announced the 23 projects that were selected for Phase II funding through the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program. Each SBIR award is for $1 million over the next two years, and helps small businesses advance concepts that improve manufacturing processes, boost efficiency of buildings, increase transportation sustainability, and generate renewable electricity. Phase II winners include:

  • Forest Concepts, LLC, for a low energy rotary shear for sub-millimeter particle production that will improve energy balance for advanced biofuels.
     
  • Manta Biofuel, LLC, for development of a high throughput algal dewatering system using magnetic particles.
     
  • MicroBio Engineering, for algal bioflocculation for solid-liquid separation to improve algae harvesting.

 

On February 1, 2016, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) announced that nominations for the ninth annual George Washington Carver Award were being accepted. The award recognizes an individual who has contributed to building the biobased economy by creating sustainable, environmentally friendly products through industrial biotechnology. Previous recipients of the award include Ellen Kullman, CEO and Chair of the Board at DuPont and Dr. Jay Keasling, Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Nominations for the George Washington Carver Award are due by midnight (EST) on February 19, 2016.

Nominations are also open for the Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biology, honoring a woman who has made significant contributions to the biobased economy and biotech innovation through industrial biotechnology. The BIO Rosalind Franklin Award was created in 2014 with Dr. Debbie Yaver winning the award, and Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech receiving the award in 2015. Nominations for the Rosalind Franklin Award are due by midnight (EST) on February 19, 2016. Both awards will be presented at the 2016 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in San Diego, California, occurring April 17-20, 2016.


 
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