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 Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of the Co-Optima FY2017 Year in Review.  The Co-Optima initiative is accelerating the introduction of efficient, clean, affordable, and scalable high-performance fuels by bringing together DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), national laboratories, universities, and industry and government stakeholders to collaborate on improvements to biofuels and the development of new technologies.  This report covers significant accomplishments made by Co-Optima in fiscal year 2017 (FY17), including:

  • Establishing an improved merit function that quantifies how fuel properties impact boosted spark ignition (SI) engine efficiency.
  • Identifying representative blendstocks from five chemical families that provide the key fuel properties needed for high-efficiency SI engines.
  • Screening a wide range of blendstocks to assess compatibility with vehicles and infrastructure.
  • Determining relationships that describe how chemical structure impacts key fuel properties.
  • Developing new numerical algorithms and computational tools that accelerate research and development (R&D).
  • Completing integrated, systems-level analyses of blendstocks in relation to economic, technological, market, and environmental factors.

In addition to expounding upon these successes, the Co-Optima initiative report also outlines what impact they can have on U.S. industries. Utilizing these new efficient technologies could significantly reduce fuel costs for passenger and commercial vehicles by billions of dollars, maximize existing fuel infrastructure, and add hundreds of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced an upcoming webinar entitled “Bioproducts, Grown and Made in America”  that will focus on American-produced bioproducts made from renewable sources including plants, algae, and wastes.  Speakers from BETO, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories will discuss how the biobased economy is enhancing American ingenuity and productivity.  This free webinar will be held on April 19, 2018, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT).  Registration is available online


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a funding opportunity for 2018 through Binational Industrial Research & Development (BIRD) Energy, a joint U.S.-Israel industrial research and development (R&D) program for renewable and energy efficiency technologies. To qualify for BIRD energy funding, a project must include: R&D cooperation between two companies or cooperation between a company and a university/research institution (one from the United States and one from Israel); innovation in any areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, such as solar and wind power, advanced vehicle technologies and alternative fuels, smart grid, storage, water-energy nexus, advanced manufacturing, etc.; and significant commercial potential; the project outcome should lead to commercialization. To apply for funding, submit an executive summary by July 9, 2018, and a final proposal by August 21, 2018.

Tags: DOE, BIRD, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 25, 2018, the University of Illinois announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a $10.6 million grant for the Renewable Oil Generated with Ultra-productive Energycane (ROGUE) project.  The project is a collaborative effort between researchers from the University of Illinois, Brookhaven National Lab, University of Florida, and Mississippi State University.  ROGUE aims to transform sugarcane and Miscanthus into sustainable sources of biodiesel and biojet fuel by engineering the crops to produce oil rather than sugar.  Researchers anticipate that the crops will achieve 20 percent oil content and produce as much as 15 times more biodiesel per unit of land compared to soybeans.  Additionally, ROGUE aims to improve the photosynthetic efficiency of the crops to ensure that the production of energy-dense oil will not lower yields or suppress plant defenses.

Tags: DOE, ROGUE, Biofuel

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

Researchers at the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are seeking responses to a survey on biorefinery operations.  Yimin Zhang, an environmental engineer at NREL, and Marshall Goldberg, a subcontractor for NREL, developed the brief survey to improve the NREL’s understanding of the next generation biofuel industry and its contribution to the local, state, and national economy.  Industry stakeholders in the planning, construction, or operation stage of a biorefinery are asked to complete the survey by March 8, 2018.  The aggregate data will be used to report the survey results.  Individual responses will not be published.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

The DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting an Advanced Algal Systems Listening Session from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. (PDT) on June 13, 2018, in Seattle, Washington.  During the listening session, BETO will seek feedback from experts in algal biology, cultivation, and conversion on ways to address near-term research and development barriers and opportunities for cost-competitive algal biofuels and bioproducts.  The discussion will focus on opportunities and challenges in integrating algal productivity and biomass yield improvements in scalable algae cultivation systems to achieve high yields.
 
The listening session will be preceded by the 8th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts.  More information, including a detailed agenda and registration, will be available on the DOE website.

Tags: DOE, BETO, Algae

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On February 15, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of the Co-Optimization of Engines & Fuels (Co-Optima) report titled Fuel Blendstocks with the Potential to Optimize Future Gasoline Engine Performance (Fuel Blendstocks report), along with the companion report on Efficiency Merit Function for Spark Ignition Engines.  The Fuel Blendstocks report identifies eight blendstocks that have the potential to improve gasoline performance.  The assessment criteria included physical properties, high-level health-impacts, the ability to improve advanced spark-ignition engine efficiency, and the potential to be introduced commercially in the 2025-2030 timeframe.  According to the report, a targeted effort was made to identify fuel components that can be sourced from domestic biomass.  In addition to increasing U.S. energy security and creating jobs in rural America, use of renewable fuel components can provide technical, societal, and environmental benefits.  Part of the Co-Optima objective is focused on developing data on blendstock production, fuel properties, and engine performance to perform a detailed assessment of the benefits of sourcing blendstocks from biomass versus conventional resources, and to identify areas where further research and development are needed.  During the next phase, Co-Optima will validate the potential fuel efficiency improvements through engine testing and will also begin examining fuel efficiency gains in heavy-duty diesel engines.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On February 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the release of its 2017 Project Peer Review Report.  The report contains recommendations provided during the March 2017 Project Peer Review.  The biennial Peer Review process aims to gather feedback and recommendations from stakeholders on BETO’s research and development portfolio to help BETO identify the most efficient and effective ways to accelerate the development of an advanced bioenergy industry.  BETO will use the results of the 2017 Peer Review to inform programmatic decision making, modify or discontinue existing projects, guide future funding opportunities, and support other budget and strategic planning objectives.  As reported in the BRAG blog post BETO Announces Availability Of Project Peer Review 2017 Presentations, the 2017 Project Peer Review presentations are available on the BETO website.

Tags: DOE, BETO

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced the development of a method to create a supertough renewable plastic with improved manufacturability.  The method involved the addition of a small amount of silanes to polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic commonly used in packaging, textiles, biomedical implants, and 3D printing.  The new bioplastic demonstrated improved tensile strain and tensile toughness, without a loss in tensile strength and modulus.  According to ORNL’s Soydan Ozcan, the new method offers a fast, scalable route to increasing PLA toughness, which will broaden the use of PLA.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the availability of presentations from its Advanced Development and Optimization (ADO) Workshop.  As previously reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG­®) blog post DOE Advanced Development And Optimization Workshop, the workshop took place at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on December 12-13, 2017.  Discussion focused on how the new ADO program area can best serve stakeholders in developing the bioenergy industry, existing assets from past investments, and future needs and opportunities for maximizing such assets’ value.  
 
The following presentations are available on the BETO website:  

Tags: DOE, BETO, Workshop

 
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