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 March 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) reminded funding opportunity applicants of the upcoming March 29, 2019, deadline for concept paper submissions on commercial truck, off-road vehicle, and gaseous fuels research.  On March 1, 2019, EERE BETO announced a funding opportunity of up to $51.5 million for new and innovative research technologies for trucks, off-road vehicles, and the fuels that power them.  This opportunity addresses research priorities in gaseous fuels research, including biopower, natural gas, and hydrogen.  It also focuses on heavy-duty freight electrification, hydrogen infrastructure, and fuel cell technologies for heavy-duty applications, and energy efficient off-road vehicles.  Full applications are due on May 15, 2019.  For additional information and other application requirements, see the EERE Exchange website.

Tags: DOE, EERE, BETO

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 18, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee.   84 Fed. Reg. 9769.  The meeting will take place in Arlington, Virginia, on March 27 - 28, 2019, and will include discussions on developing advice and guidance promoting R&D leading to the production of biobased fuels and products.  The tentative agenda includes updates not only on DOE Biomass R&D activities, but also on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biomass R&D activities.  Presentations from government and industry can also be expected to provide insight on the intersection of forest health and bioenergy growth.  DOE will allow oral statements to be made during the meeting and will also be accepting written comments either before or after the meeting.  Meeting minutes will be available for public review and copying on the Biomass Board’s website.

Tags: DOE, USDA, Biomass

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced $51.5 million for innovative research of technologies for trucks, off-road vehicles, and fuels.  Of particular interest to DOE EERE are:

  • Gaseous fuels research, including natural gas, biopower, and hydrogen;
  • Heavy duty freight electrification;
  • Hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell technologies for heavy duty applications; and
  • Energy efficient off-road vehicles.

There are five topic areas for this funding opportunity, and concept papers are due March 29, 2019.  Full applications are due by May 15, 2019.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 4, 2019, DOE announced an opportunity for funding up to $31 million in support of advancing the H2@Scale concept.  The H2@Scale concept focuses on enabling affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation across multiple sectors in the U.S.  Large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilization can “unite our Nation’s abundant energy resources,” according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  By producing hydrogen when power generation exceeds load, “electrolyzers can reduce curtailment of renewables and contributes to grid stability.”  Hydrogen can also be stored and distributed for multiple applications.  Currently some key challenges of the H2@Scale concept are reliability, affordability, and performance of fuel cell technologies.  DOE is interested in overcoming these challenges, thus providing this funding opportunity for three topics.  Topics include advanced hydrogen storage and infrastructure research and development (R&D); innovative production and utilization concepts; and a H2@Scale pilot.  Concept papers are due on April 8, 2019, and full applications are due on May 29, 2019.

Tags: H2@Scale, DOE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In honor of Women’s History Month (March), DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) will be celebrating women working on bioenergy R&D projects at DOE’s national laboratories. Each week of March, BETO will highlight the contributions that these women make to strengthen the U.S. bioeconomy.  Activities include the promotion of female scientists and administrators that power BETO-funded bioenergy research on social media and a webinar titled “Women’s History Month/Women-in-Algae.”  The webinar is scheduled for March 14, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) and will focus on DOE algae research and career opportunities.

Tags: DOE, BETO, Algae

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 28, 2019, DOE announced that scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been working on molecular tools that reside naturally within microbial cells.  Microbes typically use these tools to carry out their metabolism and other life-sustaining processes; LANL researchers, however, have been using the tools to produce fuel precursors and bioproduct building blocks.  With the addition of a biosensor in the microbes, light allows the scientists to learn how efficiently the product is being made and thus enabling more efficient quality control to increase overall yield.  This technology is called LANL’s Smart Microbial Cell Technology and consists of a high throughput screening for enzyme discovery, design, and evolution.  It allows LANL to engineer custom biosensors that detect intracellular concentrations of a specific precursor.  This biosensor technology can, thus, be adapted to a single enzyme, pathway, or even global optimization of an industrial strain.  The work is being led by Taraka Dale, Remash Jha, and, Niju Narayanan at LANL, under the Agile BioFoundry multinational laboratory effort to expedite biomanufacturing processes.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 26, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the sponsorship of a new project to harness algae strains for bioenergy.  Called Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization and Verification Research (DISCOVR), the project is a multi-laboratory consortium including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratories.  DISCOVR aims to identify and test high productivity microalgae strains for outdoor cultivation year-round through a standardized process for evaluating these strains for the production of cost-effective bioenergy.  The consortium has partnered with the University of Arizona’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (ACATI), and is inviting the algae industry and academia to contribute to the project.  Collaboration would provide an opportunity for interested parties to test their algae strains in DISCOVR’s standardized system and directly compare industry’s top-performing algae strains.

Tags: DOE, EERE, BETO, Algae

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the development of spatial models, from a BETO-funded project, to determine how forest management can produce biofuels, restore at-risk salmonids, and reduce the risk of wildfires. Conducted by scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the study assessed the impacts of thinning forests on habitats, which include benefits to the environment and the economy. While PNNL researchers are focused on using a model to relate forest treatments to streamflow and temperature and ORNL researchers are focused on models linking streamflow and temperature, USFS is using a model to evaluate synergies among thinning effects, which includes biofuel feedstock production. For further details on how the study supports the biomass industry, click here.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 29, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) announced funding for up to $42 million in project selections to support early-stage research and development (R&D) on residential and commercial building technologies for energy efficiency. According to DOE EERE BTO, buildings currently use 75 percent of U.S. electricity, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. overall energy usage.  Aiming to assist customers and businesses to save energy costs and drive domestic economic competitiveness, a total of 46 research projects were selected as a result of three fiscal year (FY) 2018 funding opportunity announcements (FOA). The FOAs focused in three major areas: (1) Building Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies; (2) Solid State Lighting; and (3) Building America. Each focus area includes subcategories establishing the scope of the R&D projects. Under the first focus area, $19.5 million was granted to 19 different research projects. The other two focus areas received $11 million and $11.5 million, respectively.

Tags: DOE, EERE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) released the agenda for the 2019 Project Peer Review that will take place in Denver, Colorado, from March 4-8, 2019.  An annual event hosted by BETO, this is an opportunity for BETO to present early-stage development projects across its technology areas and have the projects reviewed by experts from industry, academia, and other federal agencies.  The technology areas include Advanced Algal Systems, Conversion Technologies, Feedstock Supply and Logistics, Advanced Development and Optimization, and Analysis and Sustainability.  The event is open to the public, and includes presentations from over 300 researchers.


 
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