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.

It is not too late to register for Bioenergy 2015, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and the Clean Energy Research and Education Foundation (CEREF), and taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on June 23–24, 2015.

Speakers include Jonathan Male, Director, BETO; Franklin (Lynn) Orr, Under Secretary for Science and Energy, DOE; Robert M. Simon, Principal Advisor to the Director for Energy, Transportation, and Resources, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President; and Gregory L. Rorrer, Program Director for the Energy for Sustainability Program in the National Science Foundation's Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems. Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) Science Advisor and Senior Chemist for BRAG affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., will be at Bioenergy 2015.

Bioenergy 2015 program highlights include:

Plenary Sessions

  • Policy and Market Overview
     
  • Biofuels in a Global Marketplace
     
  • Early Market Adopters
     
  • Fuels of the Future: Accelerating the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines
     
  • Biofuels and Sustainability: Acknowledging Challenges and Confronting Misconceptions

Breakout Sessions

  • Biomass Feedstocks for the Bioeconomy
     
  • Innovations in Basic Science across Agencies and Offices to Enable Bioenergy
     
  • Bringing Biorefineries into the Mainstream
     
  • The Pitch
     
  • The Future of Algae-Based Biofuels
     
  • New/Emerging Pathways
     
  • Biogas and Beyond: Challenges and Opportunities for Advanced Biofuels from Wet-Waste Feedstocks
     
  • Reaching Your Stakeholders: Effectively Engaging and Educating Key Audiences
     
  • Growing a Water-Smart Bioeconomy
     
  • The Changing Landscapes for Biobased Chemicals: A Decade After the Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass
     
  • Renewable Gaseous Fuels
     
  • How States are Promoting Advanced Biofuels
Tags: DOE, events

 

On May 20, 2015, the House voted to pass the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806) (COMPETES), a research funding bill that was originally enacted in 2007 to further U.S. scientific and technological advantages. The new version of COMPETES increases funding for nuclear energy and fossil fuel research programs, while cutting clean and renewable energy programs. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will have funding reduced by 30 percent, or nearly $500 million, while the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy will see funding cut by 50 percent. The Obama Administration has threatened to veto the bill, stating that "the Administration believes that H.R. 1806 would be damaging to the Administration's actions to move American competitiveness, innovation and job growth forward through a world-leading science, technology and innovation enterprise."


 

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee published a notice in the April 30, 2015, Federal Register announcing an open meeting that will provide advice and guidance on promoting research and development leading to the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. The meeting will include updates on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE biomass activities, updates on the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, an overview of the Biomass Interagency Working Groups, and a panel on international bioenergy activities. The meeting is scheduled to be held on May 20, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; May 21, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; and May 22, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. To attend the meeting or to make oral statements regarding any of the items on the agenda, you must contact Elliott Levine at (202) 586-1476/e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Roy Tiley at (410) 997-7778 ext. 220/e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by May 13, 2015.


 

On April 21, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the initial installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). This first installment focuses on ways to modernize the U.S. energy infrastructure to increase the country's energy competitiveness and security. In its QER, DOE points out that while U.S. biofuel production has increased significantly over the past decade -- due largely to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) --"[c]ontinued growth in ethanol use will depend in part on investment in additional distribution capacity; growth in the use of other biofuels, such as 'drop-in' fuels, will depend on continued investment in research, development, demonstration, and deployment." In its fact sheet accompanying the QER, the DOE states that it, along with the U.S. Department of Defense, should continue efforts to help facilitate the production and use of advanced, drop-in biofuels for use in aviation and large vehicles. Moreover, DOE should provide technical support to help investment in infrastructure to dispense higher-level ethanol blends.

The QER, and its recommendations with respect to infrastructure to support the distribution of ethanol, comes at a time when RFS stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) release of its final 2014 RFS renewable volume obligations (RVO), or volume requirements. Several biofuels groups expressed opposition to EPA's proposed 2014 RVOs because the proposed reduced RVOs for corn ethanol were based partly on EPA's determination of currently insufficient distribution infrastructure. The biofuels groups opposed to this analysis argued that infrastructure considerations should not go into EPA's calculation of its annual RFS requirements.


 

On March 13, 2015, the National Academies issued Industrialization Of Biology: A Roadmap To Accelerate The Advanced Manufacturing Of Chemicals, a 143-page report prepared in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to "develop a roadmap of necessary advances in basic science and engineering capabilities, including knowledge, tools and skills" to accelerate the advanced manufacturing of chemicals using biological systems. Thirteen committee members with expertise in synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, molecular biology, microbiology, systems biology, synthetic chemistry, chemical engineering, bioinformatics, systems integration, metrology, chemical manufacturing, and law and bioethics worked together with researchers to create a technical roadmap for the future of the biochemicals industry. The report, with chapters including "Industrial Biotechnology: Past and Present," "Vision of the Future: What New Chemicals Could Be Made?," and "How Do We Get There?," examines the regulatory and societal factors limiting the adoption of bioprocessing in the chemical industry today and makes recommendations for EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other agencies responsible for governance of existing and emerging biobased chemicals. A prepublication version of the report is available now, with a final publication date to be announced.

 

 

DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and the Clean Energy Research and Educational Foundation (CEREF) are co-hosting Bioenergy 2015: Opportunities in a Changing Energy Landscape, scheduled for June 23-24, 2015, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This year's conference will focus on opportunities and challenges in our current highly dynamic energy ecosystem.

 

 

On February 17, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Open Meeting for the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee (the Committee). The Committee plans to meet on March 5, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and March 6, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. The agenda includes updates on the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE Biomass R&D Activities, the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office Funding Opportunity Announcements, and the Committee's plan for 2015. To attend the meeting, contact Elliott Levine and Roy Tiley by February 26, 2015. Minutes of the meeting will be available within 60 days of the meeting at the Biomass Research & Development Meetings Page.

 

 

On February 2, 2015, the White House released the 2016 fiscal year budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Under this proposed plan, DOE would receive $29.9 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion from the 2015 fiscal year. The increase in funding for DOE would focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean power technology with some of the additional money coming from DOE's fossil fuel programs. A total of $7.4 billion of the funding would go specifically towards clean energy technology, including renewable and biobased developments. The budget request would also make the renewable energy production and investment tax credits permanent. In addition to making the existing tax credits permanent, new credits were proposed that will focus on carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies. In contrast to the proposed additional tax credits for renewables, existing tax incentives for the oil, gas, and coal industries would be repealed. The current budget request is unlikely to pass in the House of Representatives, but shows the focus on renewable energy that the current Administration holds 


 

On October 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released two plans related to climate change. The Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan and the Climate Change Adaptation Plan are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for flooding, rising sea levels, and extreme temperatures/weather patterns. These plans come five years after the 2009 Executive Order on Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance that set energy, climate, and environmental goals for government agencies. The release of the plans gave Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz an opportunity to outline how the use of clean energy resources, as part of the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, has been implemented within the Department. DOE has increased the number of buildings that achieved federal guiding principles for high performance and sustainable buildings. It has completed a biomass cogeneration facility in South Carolina and an 11.5 megawatt wind farm, both of which serve to reduce the use of non-renewable energy. DOE was also recognized as a 2014 GreenGov Presidential Award Winner for its work with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to produce a five percent reduction in DOT's total fuel consumption, and a 20 percent increase in DOT's use of alternative fuels.


 

DOE has developed a small business "All-in-one Application Tool" for small businesses looking for funds to advance clean energy technologies. The online tool provides a guide for potential applicants for the topics under the DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Among the nine topics identified by SBIR is bioenergy, with particular focus on biomass conversion systems, coatings for metal combustors, and solid-liquid separations for algal systems.


 
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