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 Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On October 5, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the publication of its business environment outlook titled “Taking Action on Climate Change.”  The report provides an overview of key changes taking place in the energy, transport, and chemicals markets and of select drivers of such change.  The report highlights the role biofuels can play in reducing emissions from the road, aviation, and marine transport sectors.  Demand for renewable diesel is expected to double in North America, the Nordic countries, and Europe by 2021.  Additionally, renewable aviation fuels provide an important solution for an industry committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions despite an increasing demand for aviation fuel.
 
The report also suggests that rapidly increasing resource consumption and waste generation are the driving force behind the move towards a circular economy.  Neste expects the bioplastics market to grow by more than 40 percent by 2021, with 80 percent of the growth coming from durable biobased plastics.  To help decouple plastics from the consumption of fossil-based feedstocks, Neste is developing new business operations from bioplastics using its renewable products as the raw materials. 
 
By 2020, Neste aims to have renewable jet fuel, renewable chemicals, and biobased plastics account for 20 percent of its renewable business sales volume.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On August 25, 2017, the Bioplastics Division of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) awarded DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) the 2017 Innovation in Bioplastics Award.  DuPont and ADM were recognized for their development of a method to produce furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) from fructose derived from corn starch.  Compared to traditional conversion methods used to produce the biobased monomer, the new method is more sustainable and results in higher yields, lower energy, and capital expenditures.  Patrick Krieger, PLASTICS Assistant Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, stated that “the breakthrough process […] will make bioplastics a competitive option in more applications across various industries.”  The new FDME process is currently being used to develop polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a 100 percent renewable and recyclable polymer with improved gas barrier properties, which can extend shelf life and lighten the weight of products in the beverage packaging industry.
 
On August 31, 2017, DuPont successfully merged with the Dow Chemical Company and began operating as a holding company under the name “DowDuPont™” with three divisions, specifically Agriculture, Materials Science, and Specialty Products.  DuPont’s Industrial Biosciences business is organized under the Specialty Products division.


 

On February 22, 2017, the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy announced seven recipients of $5.9 million in funding to develop novel ways to use carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from coal-fired power plants.  The projects will focus on converting captured CO2 to useable products.  Recipients of the funding include:
 

■  The University of Kentucky Research Foundation will receive nearly $1 million to convert CO2 to bioplastics using microalgae.  In addition to developing a strategy to maximize value from the algae biomass, researchers will aim to decrease the cost of algae cultivation;
 
■  Researchers at the University of Delaware will receive $800,000 to develop a two-stage electrolyzer process for the conversion of CO2 to alcohols, such as ethanol and propanol;
 
■  The Gas Technology Institute will receive nearly $799,997 to develop a Direct E-Beam Synthesis process to produce chemicals, such as acetic acid, methanol, and CO, from CO2, and an additional $799,807 to develop a novel catalytic reactor process to convert CO2 into methane for syngas production;
 
■  TDA Research, Inc. will receive nearly $799,985 to develop a sorbent-based, thermo-catalytic process to convert CO2 into syngas; and
 
■  Southern Research will receive $799,442 to develop a process to produce light olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, from coal-fired flue gas using novel nano-engineered catalysts.

 

On April 1, 2016, The Plastics Industry Trade Association's SPI Bioplastics Division released a new report explaining and defining bioplastics. The report, Bioplastics Simplified: Attributes of Biobased and Biodegradable Products, educates consumers on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides), and what this means in terms of claims that companies make about the origin and degradability of their products. The report discusses the difference between partially and fully biobased or biodegradable plastics, and discusses the environmental benefits of each type. Current industry progress and goals are also covered, from the current 30 percent bioplastic based PlantBottle™ developed by the Coca-Cola Company, to the eventual goal of a 100 percent biobased bottle.


 

On November 19, 2013, Nestlé announced that it is joining the Bioplastics Feedstocks Alliance (BFA), along with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and seven consumer firms, to promote the sustainable development of biomass used to make bioplastics. Other members of the BFA include: The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Ford, H.J. Heinz Company, Nike, P&G, and Unilever. A copy of Nestlé's press release is available online.