On July 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Develop Administration (EDA) announced $4.4 million in grants to diversify and grow Maine's economy. This funding is intended to provide immediate assistance to rural communities that have been impacted by recent mill closures, focusing specifically on the forest sector of the economy. Bio-Based Maine, in partnership with the University of Maine, will receive $519,930 of the funding for a $856,549 project to develop a road map to advance biobased manufacturing in Maine. This project, including the cost analysis, technology assessment, and market research, is anticipated to result in one or more mills producing cellulosic sugars, creating at least 195 jobs. EDA announced several other grants from other federal partners to support Maine's economy as well, including a $3.3 million U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) biobased jet fuel grant, and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
On July 25, 2016, the the Honorable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario announced a $12 million investment in Bioindustrial Innovation Canada. The Centre for the Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovations will be supported through the funding, and will help businesses quickly bring biobased products from final testing stages to the commercial market. This funding will specifically benefit the Sarnia-Lambton region, and create 478 full-time equivalent jobs as well as 250 new industrial collaborations in an effort to transition the region from a petrobased economy to a biobased economy.
Don't miss the upcoming European Commission (EC) Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP) workshop "From bio-waste to bio-based products: the potential for regional innovation development." This Brussels-based session of the KEP Bioeconomy Showcasing Event will present the EC's biotechnology initiative and policy framework, as well as case studies on regional growth of biobased products. This workshop is scheduled for October 11, 2016, as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities conference. Registration is free and open through September 26, 2016.
Last week, DOE released the 2016 Billion-Ton Report: Advancing Domestic Resources for a Thriving Bioeconomy, Volume 1: Economic Availability of Feedstocks (BT16). Jonathan Male, Director of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), introduced the report, stating:
While bioenergy currently is the greatest single source of renewable energy in the United States, there are still economic and technological barriers that limit efforts to mobilize biomass resources for more biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts. Energy crops in particular are wholly dependent on future market demand.
BT16 is not a final answer, but rather a step to help the nation develop strategies for realizing a broader bioeconomy potential. At bioenergykdf.net, the reader can find online companion data sets and interactive visualization for all biomass resources in this report. While we are confident in the rigor and depth of our analysis, the potential implications of our results have only begun to be assessed. We invite the user community to take a step forward and use this report and associated data to perform further analyses, ask more questions, and inform strategies to mobilize national biomass resources toward realization of a bioeconomy.
In addition to identifying potential biomass resources, BT16 addresses key aspects of the bioeconomy, including: economic availability of biomass resources; supply impact of algae, waste, and other energy crops; and economic impacts of transportation costs of feedstocks for biorefineries.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Board Operations Committee is hosting a bioeconomy listening session entitled "Building a Billion Ton Bioeconomy in the United States." The event will encourage attendees to share their thoughts on the future of the national bioeconomy, and will specifically solicit input on opportunities and challenges that can be addressed to achieve a focused and successful bioeconomy vision for the U.S. The recently released Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy is recommended reading for the session, as it emphasizes the potential of the U.S. bioeconomy and goes into current federally funded activities benefiting the bioeconomy. The listening session is occurring on May 5, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (EDT) and is accessible online with the session passkey 123.
On February 18, 2016, at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference 2016 (ABLC2016), Dr. Catherine Woteki, Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced the release of the Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy. The report was created to share current federal agency activities that help to develop and support the bioeconomy. The report first introduces the importance of fostering the bioeconomy and the purpose of the Biomass Research & Development Board. From there the report covers all research, loan, and other projects that federal agencies are currently engaged in. The agencies covered in this report are:
- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE);
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
- The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI);
- The National Science Foundation (NSF);
- The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD);
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); and
- The Executive Office of the President of the United States.
The 2016 World Bio Markets Bio Business Awards are now accepting nominations for categories covering people, companies, and projects that have advanced the bioeconomy. The eight categories for the 2016 awards are:
- Biofuels Partnership of the Year;
- Bio-Based Brand of the Year;
- Breakthrough Bio-Based Technology Platform;
- WBM Bio-Based Business Person of the Year;
- Bio-Based Chemical Partnership of the Year;
- WBM Industry Champion 2016;
- Bio-Based Product Innovation of the Year; and
- Biomass Power Project of the Year.
Nominations are due February 19, 2016, and the awards will be presented at the second day of World Bio Markets in Amsterdam on March 15, 2016.
FOR ABLC 2015
Bioeconomy Leadership Conference 2015 (ABLC 2015), to be held March 11-13, 2015, at
the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., is the gathering point for top leaders
in the Advanced Bioeconomy -- bringing together the entire spectrum of advanced
fuels, chemicals, and materials CEOs and senior executives, business
development, R&D leaders, strategic partners, financiers, equity analysts,
policymakers, and industry suppliers.
M. Roberts, Executive Director of BRAG, will share her insights
regarding the current regulatory landscape for biobased products during the
opening panel of the conference, "ABLC Policy Outlook," alongside
directors of the Advanced Biofuels Association, BIO, Algal Biomass
Organization, the Advanced Ethanol Council, the National Biodiesel Board, and
the American Council on Renewable Energy.
E. Engler, Ph.D., Senior Policy Advisor for Bergeson &
Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), will speak during the "Government
Agency Outlook and Updates" session. Dr. Engler recently joined B&C
after 17 years as senior staff scientist and leader of the Green Chemistry
Program in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Pollution
Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). Dr. Engler's co-panelists include speakers from
DOE, USDA, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
On October 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released "Why Biobased?," a report that comprehensively synthesizes findings from the existing government, academia, and non-governmental organizations on bioeconomy opportunities. The report is a precursor for another study to be issued in the near future by the USDA BioPreferred program on the economic impacts of the biobased products industry.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated "[t]his new report presents the opportunities U.S. agriculture and forests have in the emerging bioeconomy. The recent inclusion of mature market products into the BioPreferred program strengthens our commitment to the U.S. biobased economy and brings together two of the most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing."
More information can be found in the USDA press release. The "Why Biobased?" report can be downloaded online.