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 January 10, 2019, more than 600 environmental groups signed a letter submitted to U.S. Representatives urging them to consider certain principles on climate change as a Green New Deal is developed.  As the 116th Congress begins to take into account climate change legislation, environmental groups would like to see affirmative actions focused on six key areas:

  • Fossil fuel phase-out;
  • Transition into renewable energy;
  • The role of public transportation;
  • The power of the Clean Air Act (CAA);
  • Community-led transitions; and,
  • The importance of indigenous rights.

Tying together these six concepts, the environmental groups’ letter highlights the role played by legislators and day-to-day community leaders/workers in integrating a 100 percent renewable energy system in the U.S. The suggested principles call for the expansion of public transportation as a means to phase out fossil fuel vehicles, as well as the prioritization of support for communities that have been historically most harmed by the dirty energy economy. In addition, a reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is made to emphasize Indigenous Peoples’ rights to receive remedies of losses or damages of their property. The signatory environmental groups also explicitly oppose rollbacks of existing environmental and human health protection policies, legislation that protects the fossil fuels industry, and policies that promote corporate profits over community burdens.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In early January 2019, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a report called A New World: The Geopolitics of Energy Transformation. Analyzing the geopolitical implications of the global energy sector that is being driven by renewables, the report was created by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation in early 2018. A ten-month project, the deliberations by the Commission consider the move of renewables to the center of the global energy landscape. The report claims that global energy transformation driven by renewables “will reshape relations between states and lead to fundamental structural changes in economies and society. […] Global power structures and arrangements will change in many ways and the dynamics of relationships within states will also be transformed.” Arguing that power will become more decentralized and diffused, states that are heavily invested in renewable technologies (such as China) will have greater influence. In contrast, states that rely on fossil fuel to a greater extent will lose influence. Furthermore, the abilities for countries to achieve energy independence will enhance their development, security, sustainability, and equity. As an important step in the direction of addressing climate change, combatting pollution, and promoting prosperity and sustainable development, states must be prepared to create a foundation for dialogue, debate, and policy actions focused on energy transformation.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 8, 2019, Nouryon, a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced the official launching of the Imagine Chemistry challenge. A program focused on startups, scale-ups, university spin-offs, and other new comers in chemistry, the challenge aims to increase developing business’ opportunities to collaborate in the commercial adoption of green chemistry. In the 2019 edition of the challenge, Nouryon is seeking solutions to five areas:

  • Sustainable bio-based surfactants for everyone;
  • Label-free chemistries;
  • Sensing in demanding chemical environments;
  • Performance-boosting nanoparticles; and,
  • Pushing frontiers of chemical innovation.
Interested parties can submit their ideas online and receive expert feedback until March 8, 2019. In May 2019, 20 finalists will be selected for a three-day event at Nouryon’s research and development and innovation (RD&I) center in the Netherlands. These finalists will get an opportunity to work with experts and business leaders at the RD&I center to further develop their ideas into a joint value case.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 15, 2019, DOE BETO announced that a current study being funded by DOE BETO’s Advanced Algal Systems has been published by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The study researches strains found in a single culture of green algae that might be a candidate for biofuel production. Scientists are working to develop genetic engineering tools that would allow algae to grow faster, accumulating more biomass for biofuel. Further details on the research being conducted can be accesses here.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the extension of the deadline for algae, biomass, and waste feedstock research request for information (RFI).  EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is requesting information on research opportunities associated with alternative feedstocks that can be used in the production of biopower, bioproducts, and biofuel.  Particularly of interest to DOE are the following topic areas:  Outdoor Algae Research; Biomass Characteristics and Feedstock Performance; and Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Waste.  Seeking input from academics, industry experts, national laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders, the RFI is designed to support early-stage research and development on technologies that can contribute to the maximization of U.S. biomass resources.  Responses to the RFI must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 18, 2019.

Tags: DOE, EERE, RFI, BETO, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 8, 2019, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization supporting free-market, published the Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 116th Congress report for the Congress’ consideration.  The report identifies strategies for Congress to take in eliminating federal regulations that interfere in the lives of consumers, making it more difficult to access the best services and products available to Americans.  The proposed congressional agenda put forth by CEI includes nine policy areas that they believe should be the focus of reform.  Some of these areas include regulatory reform and agency oversight, trade, banking and finance, private and public lands, and energy and environment, among others.
 
In the report’s “Energy and Environment” chapter, CEI recommends that Congress freeze the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to blend biofuel into petroleum-based fuel.  CEI claims that the RFS has unintended consequences such as bidding up the price of corn, soy, and other crops, as well as driving motorists to spend more on fuel, rather than benefiting the environment.  The recommendation is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sunset the RFS Program for 2022 to assure that competition and consumer preference are the ultimate drivers leading a certain type of fuel to succeed or fail in the marketplace.  To access the full report, click here.

Tags: RFS, Biofuel, CEI

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that new funding is available for Small Business Innovation (SBI) research and technology transfer. The announcement states that EERE expects to fund more than 100 new projects, which will total approximately $20 million. Nine EERE technology offices will fund the proposals submitted, including three joint office topics: Advanced Manufacturing with Fuel Cells, Advanced Manufacturing with Geothermal, and Advanced Manufacturing with Solar. There are 41 subtopics that range from Algae Engineering to Wind Turbine Blade Recycling. Letters of intent are to be submitted to EERE on or prior to January 7, 2019, 5:00 p.m. Eastern, followed by the submission of applications, which are due on February 25, 2019, 11:59 p.m. Eastern. To view the full funding opportunity announcement (FOA), please click here.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 17, 2018, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) announced that a team of biologists and chemists has received $2 million in funding from DOE. These funds are to be used in the development of platforms to produce biobased monomers, which will be used in the manufacture of renewable and biodegradable plastic polymers called polyurethanes. The funded research will also involve improved tools for accelerated algal production systems. UCSD Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Professor, Michael Burkart, states: “Our strategy is to go from renewable algae feedstocks all the way to products that people actually want to buy.”


 
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