By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.
On August 17, 2020, DOE’s Reducing EMbodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Manufacturing Institute announced the availability of approximately $35 million in support of research and development (R&D) that will enable U.S. manufacturers to increase the recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing of plastics, metals, electronic waste, and fibers. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies by supporting high-impact R&D for plastics.
DOE issued a request for proposal (RFP) under this FOA for projects in two areas: transformational R&D and traditional R&D. The full RFP can be accessed here. Letters of intent and project abstracts are due September 14, 2020.
The Deputy Secretary of Energy, Mark W. Menezes, commented on the FOA, stating: “The Trump Administration is committed to advancing innovative reuse and remanufacturing technologies, including advanced plastic recycling technologies, and the development of new plastics that are recyclable by design. Through the Plastics Innovation Challenge, and in partnership with REMADE, DOE is proud to take part in the development of new technologies that strengthen the U.S. manufacturing ecosystem.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On July 22, 2019, the United Kingdom (U.K.) Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced an open consultation for the development of standards for biodegradable, compostable, and biobased plastics. The consultation welcomes views from any interested parties to identify gaps and provide expert advice on:
- The overall sustainability of biobased and biodegradable plastic products in comparison with other materials;
- Existing relevant plastic degradation standards and how they are promoted without adverse environmental effects; and
- The design and implementation of standards for biodegradable plastics to ensure they are fully biodegradable in a reasonable timeframe.
With a focus on obtaining robust evidence backed by scientific theory, direct practical experience, or analysis, rather than opinion, views from environmental scientists, bioscience or biotechnology practitioners, standards authorities, manufacturers, waste processors, consumers, producers, and certification authority experts are welcome. Consultation responses must be submitted by October 14, 2019. For further details, the call for evidence can be accessed here.
- Reuters, “Update 1 – Brazil’s Bolsonaro Backs Ethanol Industry, Pledges Partnership”
- Palo Alto Daily Post, “Hydrogen Fueling Station Opens”
- Plastic News, “Bio-on Deal Bringing Bioplastics to Russia”
- Bio-Based World News, “Thyssenkrupp-commissioned Bio-Plastic Plant Starts Production in China”
- FoodBev Media, “Plant-based Collagen Company Geltor Receives $18.2m in Funding”
- Bio-Based World News, “Bio-based a Possible Solution to Mastercard’s Search for More Sustainable Bank Cards”
- Global Cosmetics News, “Croda Releases 100 Percent Bio-based, 100 Percent Renewable Surfactants”
- Nature Middle East, “Focused Filtering for Gas-based Fuels”
- Local DVM, “Frederick-based Bakery Unveils New System to Turn Wastewater into Renewable Energy”
- Nickei Asian Review, “Jet Biofuel Mass Production to Begin in Japan”
- Invest in Finland, “Finland Sets Out Support for Biofuels and a Coal Ban by 2029”
- Bio-Based World News, “Biome Bioplastics Unveils New Tool to Help Detangle the ‘Complexities of Plastics’”
- Zawya, “96.9% of Kuwait’s Biofuel Project Completed: KNPC”
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On February 23, 2018, European Union (EU) ambassadors reached provisional agreements on the waste legislative package published by the European Commission in 2015. The four legislative proposals include amendments to the:
- Waste Framework Directive;
- Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive;
- Landfill Directive; and
- End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV)/Batteries/Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directives.
The Waste Framework Directive and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive both acknowledge that biobased and compostable plastics contribute to more efficient waste management and help reduce the impacts of plastic packaging on the environment. Amendments to the Waste Framework would permit biodegradable and compostable packaging to be collected with biowaste and recycled in industrial composting and anaerobic digestion. Additionally, the legislation differentiates biodegradable compostable plastics from oxo-degradable plastics, which would not be considered biodegradable.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Grow Bioplastics, a University of Tennessee student start-up, a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. The funding will support research and development on new biodegradable plastics from lignin. The biobased plastic will be used for agricultural applications, such as plastic mulch. Grow Bioplastics’ biodegradable film can be plowed into the soil after each use, offering a solution to the additional labor costs and environmental impact of current nondegradable films. According to Tony Bova, Grow Bioplastics co-founder and CEO, the “funding will help [Grow Bioplastics] validate the fundamental science behind our lignin-based plastic technology, allow us to hire our first employees here in East Tennessee, and bring us one step closer to realizing our vision for a socially and environmentally driven business model to support a circular economy.”
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.