On February 17, 2014, GOJO Industries announced the launch of its new GOJO® ECOPREFERRED™ Pumice Hand Cleaner. The Hand Cleaner is a USDA Certified Biobased product under the Department's BioPreferred Program. To qualify for the BioPreferred Program, hand cleaners must have a minimum of 64 percent biobased content. A copy of GOJO's press release on the announcement is available online.
The 5th Annual Bio-Based and Sustainable Chemicals Summit, held last week in San Diego, California, brought together nearly 200 industry leaders to discuss and debate the critical developments the industry is currently facing, including innovative feedstocks, end-user applications, and progress of established and new chemical production platforms and applications. Session topics included "Feedstocks for the Future -- Availability and Selection," "Direct Conversion of Biomass to Sugars or Other Products," "C3 – C6: Biobased Building Block Chemicals," "Emerging Biobased Polymers and Monomers," and "Spurring Market Adoption -- Brand Owner and Chemical Major Perspectives." In addition, there were case studies presented on biobased acrylic acid, biobased succinic acid, and licensing efforts in cellulosic biofuels.
Kathleen M. Roberts, Executive Director of BRAG and Chair of the Summit, commented that "It was exciting to hear of the remarkable progress this innovative industry has made over the last few years. As a young industry, there is tremendous value in the larger community coming together to collaborate and compare notes on the science, business, and regulatory successes, as well as setbacks. I was very impressed with the in-depth case study presentations, the frank panel discussions, and the thought-provoking question and answer sessions. It was an honor to be among this gathering of the best and brightest in the sector."
Lawrence D. Sloan, President of SOCMA, added that "This conference brought together true start-ups, advanced start-ups ready to license their technologies to big chemical companies, industry consultants, non-profits, government agencies, and financing professionals, offering attendees four days of excellent networking opportunities. The case studies helped highlight the fact that industrial biotechnology has the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while utilizing waste agricultural products that would otherwise be discarded. For the most part, the so called 'green premium' does not exist, and the early innovators must compete ever harder against the incumbent players."
Those who did not attend are encouraged to watch for news of the 6th Summit, tentatively scheduled for February 2015. There are a number of excellent upcoming conferences at which BRAG will present and/or lead panels, including the BIO World Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in May 2014, and the 18th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Bethesda, Maryland, in June 2014. See the "Seminars and Conferences" page of BRAG's website for details.
The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) sponsored the 5th Annual Next Generation Bio-Based and Sustainable Chemicals Summit, which took place February 4-7, 2014, in San Diego, California. The Summit is considered one of the premier biobased and sustainable chemicals information and networking events for biobased start-ups, global chemical majors, brand owners, feedstock providers, venture capitalists, and academics. This year's Summit provided a detailed overview of the critical developments the industry is currently facing, including innovative feedstocks, end-user applications, and progress of established and new chemical production platforms and applications.
Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. and Of Counsel to BRAG, chaired the pre-Summit Business Strategy Conference. During the Summit's Strategic Business Forum to explore policy, economics, investment, and global partnering to support the growth of the biobased industry, Ms. Bergeson gave a presentation that focused on key regulatory issues pertinent to renewable, biobased chemical feedstocks that manufacturers must anticipate and address to ensure scaling-up manufacturing operations proceed as planned. In addition, Kathleen M. Roberts, Executive Director of BRAG, gave opening remarks on the first day of the Summit and moderated a panel discussion on "Spurring Market Adoption: Brand Owner and Chemical Major Perspectives." More information is available online.
On February 6, 2014, it was announced that Versalis, the chemical subsidiary of Eni, and Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc., a producer of specialty chemicals from natural oils, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a strategic partnership to jointly develop and scale a new metathesis technology to produce bio-chemicals from vegetable oils.
According to a press release by Elevance, "Versalis and Elevance intend to focus on jointly developing and scaling new catalysts, leveraging the significant progress of this technology that has been already accomplished by Elevance. In addition, the partners will assess the design and construction of the first world-scale ethylene metathesis-based production that will utilize renewable oils at the Versalis Porto Marghera site. This will also take advantage of existing infrastructures and production streams. The market applications of the future bio-chemicals production will be personal care, detergents and cleaners, bio-lubricants and oilfield chemicals."
A copy of the press release is available online.
On Monday, the 41 member bicameral Farm Bill Conference Committee announced that it had reached agreement on a compromise Farm Bill, the Agriculture Act of 2014. A copy of the legislation is available online. The Conference Committee was led by House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS). A copy of the Senate Agriculture Committee press release on the compromise legislation is available online.
The bill includes $881 million in mandatory funding for renewable energy programs over the next ten years, and extends eligibility to renewable chemicals for the first time. It continues the majority of the energy programs covered under the 2008 Farm Bill, including the Biobased Markets and Biorefinery Assistance Programs, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program to help encourage and facilitate the growth of purpose grown energy crops to be used for energy production. The legislation will modify the existing Biorefinery Assistance Program to create the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program that would expand funding eligibility to producers of renewable chemicals and biobased products. This mandatory funding and expanded eligibility marks a big victory for the biofuels and renewable chemicals and products industries.
The House of Representatives passed this compromise Farm Bill on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. The Senate is expected to take it up for consideration and potentially vote on it as early as the end of this week. The President is expected to sign it.
In an article appearing in the January/February 2014 issue of The Environmental Forum, a publication of the Environmental Law Institute, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group's (BRAG™) Lynn L. Bergeson and Kathleen M. Roberts discuss the latest developments in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approach under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to biobased chemicals, and offer strategies on how biobased chemical manufacturers can best navigate current TSCA requirements.
"Sustainability is a watchword for many brand owners, especially those that market to consumers, and renewable chemicals can facilitate the marking off of many boxes on the 'environmentally preferred' checklist. One big box that remains unchecked and curiously sometimes unnoticed altogether is an understanding of the application of TSCA to renewable chemicals. We discuss here TSCA's requirements and restrictions, offer a few thoughts for stakeholders to assure the successful marketing of these chemical products, and explain why there is an urgent need for an even playing field within TSCA and its implementing regulations that will promote and not discourage the development of new, greener chemical substances."
The full article can be found here.
A research team from the University of Wisconsin at Madison reportedly has developed a promising process using a renewable chemical for biofuels production. Under the process, the researchers used biobased gamma valerolactone (GVL) to break down plants and produce sugars for the production of biofuels. The use of the biobased material could make the process more sustainable and affordable. The findings are published in the January 17, 2014, issue of the journal Science.
The 5th Annual Next Generation Bio-Based and Sustainable Chemicals Summit takes place Tuesday through Friday, February 4-7, 2014, in sunny San Diego, California. The premier biobased and sustainable chemicals information and networking event for biobased start-ups, global chemical majors, brand owners, feedstock providers, venture capitalists, and academics will feature a Keynote address by Kaj Johnson, Green Chef and Senior Director of Product Development from Method, who will speak about Sustainability by Design, and nine Real-World Case Studies from Novomer, Genomatica, POET, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Succinity GmbH, RSC Bio Solutions and Waste Pro USA, Novasep, and ENVIRON and Sigma-Aldrich will be provided.
Tuesday's pre-conference program is a strategic business forum dedicated to "Policy, Economics, Investment and Global Partnering to Support the Growth of Bio-Based Industry." Sessions will cover critical business issues for biobased products, including obtaining capital, developing global partnerships, and a presentation on the "Regulatory Opportunities and Challenges on the Road to Commercialization" by Lynn L. Bergeson.
Wednesday's pre-conference forum is titled "Moving Bio-Based Chemicals Beyond Technology: Fitting Bio-Based Materials into the Larger Picture of Global Sustainability" and will feature case studies and panel discussions, including "The Commercialization and Adoption of Readily Biodegradable, Biobased Functional Fluids and Cleaners" and "NGO Perspective for Evaluating Bio-Based Materials & Importance of their Role in the Industry."
The main summit gets underway Thursday with a keynote panel discussion, "Spurring Market Adoption -- Brand Owner and Chemical Major Perspectives," moderated by summit chair and Executive Director of Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) Kathleen M. Roberts. Over the two-day program, attendees will learn from a myriad of the leading business innovators in biobased and renewable chemicals, including Sherwin-Williams, International Paper, IBM, Myriant, Beta Renewables, Virdia, ARPA-E, Avantium, Elevance, Bioamber, Metabolix, DSM, Seventh Generation, and more.
Intuitively, entities in the "biobased" space may think the "naturally occurring" substance exemption under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the law that governs chemical products in the U.S., applies to their "biobased" materials. The scope of the exemption is limited, however, and complications arise when companies mistakenly assume a material is naturally occurring and therefore exempt from TSCA.
Learn more about this important issue online.
Renewable fuel and chemical company Virent and cellulosic sugar producer Renmatix have announced plans to collaborate to convert cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and biobased packaging materials. According to Virent's press release on the effort, "Renmatix's Plantrose™ platform will be evaluated and potentially optimized to provide an affordable sugar stream for Virent's Bioforming® process for the large-scale production of bio-based paraxylene. Paraxylene is a basic raw material used in the manufacture of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), an important chemical in the production of plastic bottles and fibers made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Integrating local feedstock processing with on-site commercial production will lower costs and increase the viability of using renewable chemicals in bio-based packaging and plastics for industrial and consumer goods." Virent's press release is available online.