The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On April 4, 2017, the Hawaii State Senate Committee on Ways and Means passed HB 1580, which sets a goal of having all ground transportation in Hawaii run on renewable fuel by 2045.  The bill, which does not contain an enforcement mechanism, provides a benchmark framework for achieving the ambitious target and establishes an intermediate target to reduce the sale of imported fuels by five percent in 2025.  The Senate Committee introduced amendments that clarify the bill does not create a mandate to move to 100 percent clean ground transportation, but it outlines a path to achieve such a goal.  According to the bill, clean ground transportation includes all transportation that avoids the consumption of fossil fuels.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On March 29, 2017, the Urban Air Initiative (UAI) released a statement claiming that the Coordinating Research Council’s (CRC) study on fuel emissions was biased and flawed.  According to UAI, the match blending of test fuels in the study fails to recognize the performance of ethanol in real world fuels, including improving fuel quality and reducing toxic tailpipe emissions.  UAI stated that performing match blending in a lab using a custom test fuel rather than real world fuel discredits the study, and the inaccurate data would likely lead EPA to continue to limit the use of higher ethanol blends.  To encourage the development of more accurate information, UAI is working on a guidance document to assist researchers to better understand the changes in fuel properties when evaluating ethanol and emissions to ensure that lab test fuels match the fuels in use.


 

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On March 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the publication of the report on the current state of alternative aviation fuels that was developed using findings from peer-reviewed studies, scientific working groups, and BETO stakeholder input from the Alternative Aviation Fuel Workshop in September 2016.  The four key topic areas include:

 
■  Economic and technical competitiveness;
 
■   Fuel conversion and scale-up;
 
■  Environmental sustainability and life-cycle benefits; and
 
■  Feedstock and product supply chains.

Information gathered during the workshop, such as best practices to finance production facilities, effectively scale biorefining technologies, optimize production economics, and streamline certification processes, will be used to advance the understanding of technical barriers limiting the competitiveness of aviation biofuels.  Many public- and private-sector organizations have committed to adopting biobased aviation fuels because, unlike passenger vehicles, airplanes cannot be fueled with electricity yet.  More information on the Alternative Aviation Fuel Workshop is available in the Biobased and Renewable Product Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post “DOE Hosts Alternative Aviation Fuels Workshop, New LUC Emissions Research Discussed.”

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On March 23, 2017, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (ARB) announced the release of new carbon intensity pathways for fuels certified under the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) using the CA-GREET 2.0 model.  Of the 18 pathways approved in March, eight are first generation biodiesel carbon intensity pathways and four are second generation renewable diesel carbon intensity pathways.  A pathway for biodiesel produced from used cooking oil has been provisionally certified, as well.  The approved pathways can be used for credit reporting purposes beginning with reports for Q1 2017.  The LCFS regulation aims to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in California by 10 percent by 2020 in line with the California Health and Safety Code mandate to reduce greenhouse gases in California.


 
■  International Renewable Energy Agency, “Eliminating Energy-Related Carbon Emissions Possible, New IRENA Study Finds
 
■   Biofuels Association of Australia, “BAA Rejects Productivity Commission Claims
 
■  South China Morning Post, “Woks Away: China’s Plan to Make Jet Fuel from Restaurant Leftovers
 
■  Cornell Chronicle, “Microalgae Could Play Key Role in Relieving Climate Warming” 

 

On March 21, 2017, the renewable fuel volume requirements for 2017, which were issued in final by EPA on December 12, 2016, were implemented.  The effective date for the 2017 requirements was delayed following the Presidential directive to postpone the implementation of new regulations to allow for review by the new administration.  Although EPA has yet to publish an announcement on the matter, industry stakeholders have welcomed the 2017 biofuel volumes and 2018 biomass-based diesel volumes.  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post “EPA Publishes Final 2017 RFS Requirements,” the volume requirements are:
 

■  311 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel in 2017;
 
■   4.28 billion gallons of advanced biofuel in 2017;
 
■  19.28 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2017; and
 
■  2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2018.
Tags: EPA, RFS, 2017, Biofuel

 

On March 19, 2017, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the sixth edition of its specifications for marine fuels (ISO 8217:2017), which includes a redefined “class F” grade for biofuel blends in marine distillates.  Up to seven percent fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), which has similar physical properties to conventional diesel, is permitted in the new “F” grades, specifically DFA, DFZ, and DFB.  Additionally, the DMA specifications have been amended to permit 0.4 higher weight percent biodiesel, compared to the suggested level in the previous iteration of the standard.  Substantial amendments were also made to the scope and other general requirements.  The full specifications are available for purchase on the ISO website.


 

On March 24, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG®, announced its approval of draft proposals by the Swedish government regarding mandated reductions in traffic fuel emissions and the continued tax exemption for high-blended biofuels.  By 2030, the government aims to reduce carbon emissions from transportation by 70 percent.  In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the ambitious targets and long-term perspective will help support innovation and investments in biofuels.  Neste, which has a strong focus on developing cost-efficient technologies to convert forest residues into biofuels, stated that the substantial amount of forest-based raw materials in the country will likely play a key role in achieving the proposed goals.


 

 
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