By Lynn L. Bergeson
On October 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS) announced via the Federal Register the solicitation of applications for funds under the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (the Program). Under the Program, USDA provides guaranteed loans to fund the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial scale biorefineries using eligible technology. The loans are also used to fund the development of biobased product manufacturing facilities that use technologically new commercial-scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products on a commercial scale. There will be two separate application cycles. The first cycle closed on October 1, 2019, and the second cycle will close on April 1, 2020. Applications filed after the aforementioned dates will be considered for the next application cycle, should funding be available.
- World Economic Forum, “Cheese Energy Could Power Hundreds of UK Homes”
- Iran Front Page, “Iran Ready to Tackle Biotechnology Sanctions: VP”
- Digital Journal, “Switching to Biobased Plastics: IDTechEx Research Asks Why So Slow?”
- The Yucatan Times, “Yucatan Cenotes to Be Sanitized with Biotechnology”
- World Economic Forum, “Your Next Pair of Sneakers Could Be Made from Coffee”
- CleanTechnica, “NextEra Energy Predicts 50% Renewable Energy in US by 2030”
- inhabitat, “Sustainable Toiletries Packaged in Soap Aim to Eliminate Single-use Plastics”
- Futurism, “A Finnish Startup Is Making Food Out of Carbon Dioxide”
- Progressive Farmer, “Agencies Continue to Modernize Biotech”
- laboratory news, “Algal Biofuels Face Diverse Pathogens”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On July 5, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management published a final rule that will amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement (Guidelines) to add 30 sections designating the product categories within which biobased products would be afforded procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors. These 30 product categories contain finished products that are made, in large part, from intermediate ingredients that have been designated for federal procurement preference. Additionally, USDA is amending the existing designated product categories of general purpose de-icers, firearm lubricants, laundry products, and water clarifying agents. The rule will be effective on August 5, 2019.
According to the final rule, when USDA designates by rulemaking a product category for preferred procurement under the BioPreferred Program, manufacturers of all products under the umbrella of that product category that meet the requirements to qualify for preferred procurement can claim that status for their products. To qualify for preferred procurement, a product must be within a designated product category and contain at least the minimum biobased content established for the designated product category. With the designation of these specific product categories, USDA invites manufacturers and vendors of qualifying products to provide information on the product, contacts, and performance testing for posting on its BioPreferred website. USDA states that procuring agencies will be able to use this website “as one tool to determine the availability of qualifying biobased products under a designated product category.”
For further information, see Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s memorandum on the final rule. In the memorandum, we link to the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and its interest in biobased products.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 27, 2019, the Government of Canada’s Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) opened the application process for a grant to develop next generation biobased foam insulation products. Called the Plastics Challenge, this funding opportunity seeks solutions that result in foam insulation products (either spray foam or rigid foam board) that:
- Are predominantly derived from Canadian forest residue;
- Have similar insulation values (within 20 percent) as currently available petroleum-based versions;
- Would have similar cost (within 20 percent) as currently available versions;
- Are less flammable;
- Are fully recyclable at end of life; and
- Would generate less GHG emissions during manufacturing.
Applications must be submitted prior to 2:00 p.m. (EDT), August 27, 2019.
- Phys.org, “Bio-based Fertilizers as a Solution for Phosphorus Sufficiency and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions”
- EURACTIV, “With New Regulation Complete, What’s Next for EU Biofuels?”
- Ethanol Producer Magazine, “Nebraska Passes Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Bill”
- Colorado Public Radio, “Colorado’s ‘Bold’ Plan for Climate Action Moves Ahead with New State Laws”
- Sustainability Times, “Land, Air and Sea: Canada Funds Clean-Energy Transport R&D”
- GreenBiz, “With Infrastructure Reform, U.S. Could Build World’s Biggest, Greenest Carbon Sink”
- Renewable Energy Magazine, “Finland to Join Other Nordic Countries in Reducing Emissions in Aviation”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, “New Biotech Mural Highlights Life Sciences Big Role in Philadelphia’s Economy”
- Interesting Engineering, “Reversible Plastic Developed That Can Be Repeatedly Recycled”
- Politico, “De Blasio Praises Biofuels, Promises More Recycling at First Iowa Stop”
- RFA, “New Study: Renewable Fuel Standard Saves Consumers 22 Cents on Every Gallon of Gas”
- Saigon Online, “Ministry Proposes Environmental Protection Tax Cut for Biofuel”
- UPI, “Japan’s Renewables-powered Olympics Could Spur Global Race for Clean Energy”
- Reuters, “Britain’s Genus Signs Deal to Bring Gene-edited Pigs to China”
- Ethanol Producer Magazine, “EU Repeals Anti-dumping Duties on US Ethanol”
- The Daily Caller, “Liz Warren Pushes Bill Imposing Green New Deal Climate Goals on the US Military”
- Reuters, “Brazil Seeks China’s OK for Genetically Modified Sugarcane”
- Fast Company, “These ‘Biosolar Panels’ Suck CO2 from the Air to Grow Edible Algae”
- Standard Digital, “Defining Moment as Kenyans Await Cabinet’s GMO Verdict”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On May 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced that scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a new, plant-derived, stretchy material that outperforms the adhesiveness of the natural chemical that gives mussels the ability to stick to rocks and ships. Composed of lignin and epoxy, the biobased material has the ability to self-heal and elongate up to 2,000 percent. Researchers at ORNL developed a method to extract a specific form of lignin, which results in a molecular structure that is very sticky and elastic. The new biobased lignin shows promise of industrial use, including hydrogels, glues, and coatings.