- Biofuels International, “Biogas-to-Biofuel Technology Accepted for Testing”
- Biofuels International, “Prospects Raised for Large Scale Algae Biofuel Production”
- Reuters, “Biofuel Groups Ask Federal Judge to Freeze U.S. Refinery Waiver Program”
- Packaging Gateway, “Leaf Resources Extends Leafcoat License to Europe”
- Reuters, “Iowa Senator Says Expect Fewer Biofuel Waivers from Wheeler’s EPA”
- Fronteras, “Food Biotechnology Added on New Trilateral Deal”
- City Press, “Biofuel from Castor Oil: How Thabang Mabapa Is Helping Farmers”
- Engadget, “Researchers Want to Power Pacemakers with Cotton-Based Biofuel Cell”
- Bio-Based News, “Seaweed Coffee Cups Could Help Ditch Single-Use Plastics”
- Composites World, “NREL Makes Strides with Bio-Based Acrylonitrile”
- Biofuels International, “EPA to ‘Reset’ Biofuel Targets Due to Production Shortfalls”
- Fast Company, “You’d Never Guess These Gorgeous Lamps Are Made from Bioplastic”
- Composites World, “Technical University of Munich Researchers Explore Using Algae to Make Carbon Fiber”
- The Engineer, “Biofuel Cell Can Match the Performance of Platinum”
- Drax.com, “Europe’s First Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage Pilot Now Underway”
- The Times of India, “Odisha Government Launches New Policy to Promote Biotechnology”
By Kathleen M. Roberts
Is your company engaged in Class 2 chemistries that are similar to existing Class 2 chemicals but are derived from an innovative bio-source? We are looking for pioneering companies working on new biobased Class 2 chemicals to assist in advancing an important project with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
ISSUE: While EPA sustainability goals would seemingly include adoption of improved biobased technologies, EPA’s policies under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) mean that many novel, sustainable technologies are considered “new chemicals” requiring EPA to conduct new chemical assessments. If these new chemicals are converted to other substances by downstream customers, those substances are likely also new, requiring additional new chemical submissions and assessments. Each new chemical submission and assessment represents a cost and a commercial delay and each is a barrier to adoption of what may be a promising sustainable technology. These reviews can and do result in EPA applying risk management conditions on the production and distribution in commerce of the novel, renewable chemicals -- restrictions that may not apply to older chemistries even though they may be functionally identical in performance, hazard, and risk. Ironically, the new chemical may offer a more benign environmental footprint but nonetheless be subject to stricter controls.
POTENTIAL SOLUTION: To address these issues, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) has submitted to EPA, in partnership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a BRAG member, a White Paper proposing a TSCA Inventory representation and equivalency determinations for renewable and sustainable biobased chemicals. EPA’s initial response to the White Paper has been positive and staff has indicated a willingness to conduct equivalency determinations if submitted.
REQUEST: BRAG is now seeking companies interested in participating in a pilot project to prepare and submit such requests. Specifically, we are looking for companies that manufacture or plan to manufacture a Class 2 chemical substance that is functionally equivalent to another Class 2 chemical, but due to existing naming conventions, the two chemicals are not listed as equivalent. If your company fits this description and you wish to support an effort to alleviate commercial burden for yourself and others in the future, please consider working with BRAG on this important project so we present impactful equivalency cases to EPA.
BRAG and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) are committed to this project. As such, we will evaluate all candidate chemicals submitted, select what we believe is a good test case for the project, and prepare as a courtesy the necessary submission paperwork and equivalency arguments, in conjunction with the nominating company.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On November 6, 2018, Neste, a BRAG member, announced its partnership with Clariant to develop new sustainable material solutions. While Clariant concentrates on specialty chemicals, Neste consists of one of the leading companies providing renewable diesel and drop-in chemical solutions. In the announcement, Neste outlined the phases of the partnership, as follows:
Phase 1: The companies will start to replace fossil-fuel based ethylene and propylene with monomers from renewable feedstock.
Phase 2: The companies will develop alternative sustainable solutions from renewable raw materials for plastics and coatings.
The two phases are designed to allow the two companies to increase their biobased products, while reducing dependency on crude oil and climate emissions. Neste’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Vanacker, stated that the “[c]ollaboration marks an essential step forward in Neste’s quest to become a preferred partner as a provider of sustainable chemicals solutions for forerunner brands.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
The European Commission (EC) announced on October 16, 2018, the launch of a new web-based tool called BioWatch. Developed by BIOWAYS, a project funded by the European Union (EU), this new tool expands BIOWAYS’ efforts in raising awareness of biobased products and their social, economic, and environmental benefits. BioWatch consists of “an interactive online platform that provides projects in the bioeconomy sector with a free service to position themselves alongside one another and provide direct access to industry, political stakeholders, the media, and the general public.” Essentially, this tool serves as an “e-library” for biobased research and projects for its members. BIOWAYS is currently recruiting biobased industry research projects to begin building its “e-library.” More information is available on its website.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On October 15, 2018, the American Chemical Society (ACS) held the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. This year, five awards were given to academics, scientists, and business innovators across the biobased industry sector. Promoting environmental and economic benefits of developments in green chemistry, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute hosts this event on an annual basis. Of particular interest in this year’s ceremony was the “Greener Reaction Conditions Award” presented to Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, L.L.C. for their research: A Practical Way to Mass Production of Chitin: The Only Facility in the U.S. to Use Ionic Liquid-Based Isolation Process. Awarded for its commercialization of a safe, environmentally friendly, low energy demand, and overall cost efficient process to produce chitin from seafood waste, Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, L.L.C., holds the only facility in the U.S. that uses an ionic liquid-based isolation process. The zero-discharge process is a key development in the biobased industry due to the fact that all components of the waste crustacean biomass are monetized, recycled, and reused.
ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners also included:
- Academic Award -- Professor Frank Gupton and Professor Tyler McQuade, Virginia Commonwealth University, “Increasing Global Access to the High-volume HIV Drug Nevirapine through Process Intensification”
- Small Business Award -- Chemetry, Corp., “The eShuttleTM Technology for Propulene Oxide and Reducing CO2 Emissions in the PVC Supply Chain”
- Greener Synthetic Pathways Award -- Merck & Co. and Merck Research Laboratories, “A Sustainable Commercial Manufacturing Process for Doravirine from Commodity Chemicals”
- Designing Greener Chemicals Award -- Corteva AgriscienceTM Agriculture Division of DowDuPontTM, “RinskorTM Active -- Improving Rice Production While Reducing Environmental Impact”
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. congratulates all ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners for their invaluable contributions to a more sustainable and renewable future.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
In September 2018, researchers Harmen Willemse, from The Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN), and Dr. Maarten van der Zee, from the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research Center, published a White Paper on “Communicating the bio-based content of products in the EU and the US.” Analyzing how bio-based content information is exchanged between businesses, consumers, and government, the paper aims to address the significant challenges associated with the various methods used for the determination of bio-based carbon content in bio-based products. The paper further explores three different determination approaches and compares them to U.S. and European Union (EU) requirements. The researchers conclude that awareness of these different determination methods is key in information sharing between businesses, consumers, and government agencies.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
Scientists at Indiana University -- Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) partnered on the publication of a study with researchers at Huazong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China, and researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The study focuses on formerly undiscovered properties of a flower known as Orychophragmus violaceus. Also known as the February orchid, O. violaceus differs from other plant seeds in that it contains unusual fatty acid compounds that had not previously been identified. Bioorganic chemist Robert Minto and researcher Alisen Teitgen, at IUPUI, discovered that the biosynthesis of these fatty acid compounds’ partial cycle leads to more cycles afterward. These properties from the February orchid seed oils lead to higher reduction in friction and wear, and can withstand higher temperature stability, which could make this oil a superior and environmentally friendly lubricant.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On September 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management announced a proposal to amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement. Under this amendment, 30 sections will be added to determine categories within which biobased products “would be afforded procurement preference by Federal agencies and their contractors.” These categories include products that are made from intermediate ingredients that were formerly proposed for designation for federal procurement preference. In its proposed amendment, USDA is suggesting a minimum biobased content for each of these product categories. The aim is to amend the existing designated categories of firearm lubricants, water clarifying agents, general purpose de-icers, and laundry products to align them to the data gathered since these categories were originally designated. Comments must be submitted on or before November 13, 2018.