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 January 25, 2018, Alberta Innovates announced the launch of the Bio-Resource Information Management System (BRIMS), which was developed in conjunction with Silvacom Ltd.  BRIMS is a publicly available data and information management system that collates inventories from forestry, agriculture, and municipality sectors to create a centralized, comprehensive spatial warehouse of biomass, ecosystem services, and land-use data.  Silvacom and Alberta Innovates designed the system with data partnerships from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC).  BRIMS is intended to advance the bioeconomy in Alberta by informing bio-resource management and investment decisions.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of up to $6 million in funding to support research in plant feedstock genomics for bioenergy.  Support is provided in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) through the Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy program, which aims to improve the use of biomass and plant feedstocks for the production of fuels or renewable chemical feedstocks.  Research projects should focus on overcoming biological barriers to the low-cost, high-quality, scalable, and sustainable production of dedicated bioenergy biomass feedstocks using the tools of genetics and genomics.  Eligible applicants, including state agricultural experiment stations, colleges and universities, university research foundations, individuals, non-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations, are encouraged to submit proposals.  Applications are due April 20, 2018.  More information on the funding opportunity is available on the NIFA website.


 

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On September 21, 2017, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that its Specialty Chemicals business is studying plans to build a world-class plant for its Bermocoll® business, which supplies non-ionic cellulose ethers for the paint and buildings and construction industries.  AkzoNobel uses a unique solvent-free process to manufacture the water soluble and virtually odorless Bermocoll cellulose ethers.  The new facility will increase the production capacity for such cellulosic ethers to help meet growing global demand.  According to Geert Hofman, General Manager at AkzoNobel’s Bermocoll business, “[d]emand for Bermocoll is growing strongly due to the rising consumption of water-based paint and continued growth in the building and construction industry.”  AkzoNobel is considering a number of options for the location of the facility, including the expansion of operations at existing production sites in China, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) and Alberta Innovates are hosting SPARK 2017 to support game-changing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and advance the bioindustrial sector.  The conference will take place November 6-8, 2017, in Edmonton, Canada.  SPARK 2017 aims to inspire, motivate, and support researchers and innovators by connecting them with others working to advance innovative technology across four key areas, including:

  • Bioindustrial Development and Biological GHG Emissions;
  • Industrial Processes and Energy Efficiency;
  • Reducing GHG Footprint from Fossil Fuels; and
  • Low-emitting Electricity Supply. 

Abstract submissions are due by June 19, 2017.


 

On February 14, 2017, the Government of Alberta announced the recipients of C$40 million in grant funding under the Bioenergy Producer Program (BPP).  Four biofuel companies, including Permolex Ltd., Archer Daniels Midland Agri-Industries, Invigor Bioenergy, and Enerkem Alberta Biofuels, were among the successful BPP applicants to receive a grant for the first program period.  Each grant was awarded based on the amount of bioenergy the company committed to produce between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017.  The second program period will grant up to C$20 million to bioenergy producers based on production between April 1, 2017, and September 30, 2017.  The goal of BPP is to support bioenergy production capacity in Alberta to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provide value-added opportunities with economic benefits.


 

 

 

On August 26, 2015, Malama Composites, Inc. (Malama) announced that its Studio BioFoam® product had earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product Label. This news was followed by a second announcement on August 27, 2015, when another biobased foam produced by Malama, Pacific BioFoam™, also received the Biobased Product Label from the USDA. Malama is a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member that develops and manufactures foams made from sustainable resources. Studio BioFoam is the first and only biobased rigid urethane foam to receive a Certified Biobased Product Label while Pacific BioFoam has the highest biobased content of all commercially available two-part urethane foam systems. Both products are made of zero emission materials, including vegetable polyol and water as a blowing agent.


 

On July 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that several biobased DOE research projects were recognized by R&D magazine as the most outstanding technology developments with promising commercial potential. According to the DOE notice, projects included in the awards were:


* Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Tissue-Specific Cell-Wall Engineering for Biofuels and Biomaterials. This suite of precision genetic tools is expected to improve crops bred for production of food, biofuels, industrial polymers, and pharmaceuticals. The technology fine-tunes lignin by manipulating chemical signals that govern plant-cell metabolism. This synthetic biology platform can enhance drought-resistance, make cattle forage more nutritious, and even coax plants or fungi to yield high-value drugs and biomaterials.

* Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, The Berkeley Lab Multiplex Chemotyping Microarray. This technique performs rapid chemical analyses of prospective biofuel crops and microbial communities by combining high-throughput micro-contact printing technology with high-fidelity vibrational spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Its ability to identify rapidly the chemical composition and biological function in plant and animal cells is unparalleled.

* Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Super-hydro-tunable HiPAS Membranes. This new class of membrane products can selectively separate molecules in the vapor/gas phase and perform liquid-phase separations that could be especially useful in reducing the price of bio-ethanol, ethanol-gasoline blend fuels, and drop-in fuels from bio-oil processing. The membrane acts as an energy-efficient alternative to the distillation process by using a superhydrophobic or superhydrophillic surface to separate molecules.


More information is available online.
 


 
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