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 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
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.
- The Fence Post, “Grassley Talks Shutdown, RFS, Trade, Trump Speech”
- Reuters, “Biogas Guzzlers: Karachi’s Public Buses to Run on Cow Poo”
- Biodiesel Magazine, “Biodiesel an Underutilized Solution as US Carbon Emissions Climb”
- Reuters, “EPA Says it is Committed to Rule for Higher Ethanol Blend by Summer Driving Season”
- Canadian Biomass Magazine, “Developing High Performance Bioplastics from Wood”
- Channel NewsAsia, “NYP Team Turns Coffee Waste Into Fire Retardant”
- Bio-Based WorldNews, “Circa Group’s Bio-based Solvent Aids UK Researchers to Produce ‘High Quality’ Graphene Ink”
- Renewables Now, “France Raises Biofuel Blending Mandate for 2019”
- Europe’s Plastic Processors Magazine, “Lund University Develops Promising Bioplastic Derived from ‘Poo Molecule’”
- EurekAlert!, “VTT Develops a New Sustainable Way to Turn Forestry Waste Into Transport Fuels and Chemicals”
- The National, “Saudi Energy Minister: Renewables Unlikely to Displace Global Demand for Oil”
- Chemical & Engineering News, “To Fulfill Biofuels’ Promise, Scientists Boost Plant Oils with Gene Editing”
- Ethanol Producer Magazine, “New Tax, Oversight Bill Aims to Extend Biofuel Tax Credits”
- MuscaDaily.com, “Omani Woman Scientist Wins UNESCO Fellowship for Research in Biofuels”
- The Times of India, “CSIR Working on Developing Biofuels on a Commercial Scale”
- Biofuels International, “Biodiesel By-product Has Potential as Clean Burning Fuel Additive”
- FDA News, “Aziyo’s Bioscaffold Cleared by FDA for Expanded Use”
- Reuters, “UPDATE 1-EPA Will Not Reallocate Waived Biofuel Volumes to 2019 Mandate -- Official”
- Time, “The 10 Smartest Sustainable Products of 2018”
- Reuters, “Malaysia’s Petronas Sets Up Team for Renewable Energy Push”
- Biofuels International, “BASF Announce Renewable Methanol Production”
- Bloomberg, “You May Be Vegetarian, but What About Your Favorite Airline?”
- R&D Magazine, “GE Healthcare to Open Biotechnology Manufacturing Center in U.K.”
- Digital Journal, “Ecovia’s AzuraGel™ Superabsorbent Awarded 100% USDA Certified Biobased Product Label”
- Reuters, “Exclusive: EPA Refinery Biofuel Waiver Program on Hold Pending Review -- Sources”
- Radio 570 WNAX, “Biofuels Industry Opposes Legislation to Replace the RFS with an Octane Standard”
- The Fence Post, “Grassley Talks Farm Bill, RFS Volumes, Tax Extenders”
- Talk Business & Politics, “Abandoned Bales Reflect Failed Plans for Miscanthus to be Part of a Biofuels Boom”
- European Coatings, “Water-borne PUD Adhesives with Bio-based Polyol Component”
- BBC, “Danish Firm Claims First Biofuel Commercial Sea Voyage”
- Packaging Europe, “Corona Launches Bio-based Six-pack Rings”
- Reuters, “Betting on Ethanol, Brazilian Mills Turn Sour on Sugar”
- 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.