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 Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.

On April 5, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Industrial Microbes, Inc. (Industrial Microbes) has been awarded $300,000 in funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program to develop a green fermentation platform to replace carbon-emitting petrochemical production with newer methods that use methane and carbon dioxide to produce chemicals.  The project aims to improve the efficiency of chemical manufacturing while limiting pollution using a fermentation process based on engineered enzyme pathways within living cells, similar to the chemical conversion process used to brew beer.  Well-to-gate life cycle analysis of the process demonstrated that carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by six-fold compared to the current production process, due to carbon dioxide fixation and more efficient unit operations.  Industrial Microbes is one of nine small businesses that received a total of nearly $2.7 million in funding through the SBIR Program to develop and commercialize new environmental technologies.


 

The 21st Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E), hosted by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, will be held in Reston, Virginia on June 13-15, 2017.  GC&E is a gathering opportunity for over 500 academic, industrial, and government stakeholders to network and learn about the developments in sustainable approaches to chemistry, chemicals, processes, and products.  The event features over 40 technical sessions, a robust poster session, keynote lectures, workshops, social events, and a Green Expo.  BRAG affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor.  Register online.


 
The 2017 Biobased and Renewable Chemicals Conference, which has been organized by the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA) and supported by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, is a two-day event that will focus on the emerging landscape of technologies that are replacing fossil fuel-based raw materials and the major challenges and opportunities facing the industry.  The event features interactive panel discussions, keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities with industry experts and thought leaders, including:
 
Mike Gudgeon, Technical Manager, PBF Energy;
 
Dr. Seetha Kammula-Coleman, President, STRIDE;
 
Dr. Stanley Merritt, Sustainability Leader, The Chemours Company;
 
■  Dr. Tim Mueller, North American Research Director, DuPont Science & Engineering Operations;
 
■   Dr. Erica Nemser, CEO, Compact Membrane Systems;
 
■  Lori Palmer, Chief Business Ventures Officer at Trellist Marketing & Technologies; and
 
■  Dr. Bryan Tracy, CEO & Co-Founder, White Dog Labs.

Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D., Manager of BRAG®, will be attending the conference and will be pleased to discuss questions attendees may have about the regulatory issues facing biobased and renewable chemicals.  Registration is available online.  We look forward to seeing you there.

 

As previously reported in the BRAG Biobased and Renewable Products Update of October 21, 2016, EPA announced that it has opened nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA).  EPA’s strong support for the adoption of green chemistry has helped strengthen the development and commercialization of green chemistry products, leading to significant environmental benefits alongside economic benefits.  Previous PGCCA winners annually eliminate 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents and 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases, and save over 21 billion gallons of water.  There are six award categories for  2017:  


 
Focus Area 1:  Greener Synthetic Pathways;  
 

 
Focus Area 2:  Greener Reaction Conditions; 
 

 
Focus Area 3:  The Design of Greener Chemicals;  
 

 
Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business);  
 

 
Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher); and 
 

 
Specific Environmental Benefit:  Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions).
 
More information about the PGCCA is available in the BRAG blog post EPA Opens Nominations For The 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards . Nominations for these awards are due to EPA by December 31, 2016.

 

During the Safer Choice Partner and Stakeholder Summit on November 15- 16, 2016, EPA announced that new product categories were under consideration for the Safer Choice chemical program, including arts and crafts, home improvements, food grade and marine lubricants, and paints and coatings. EPA invited suggestions from participants regarding additional product categories to consider; Summit participants were supportive of an increase to the number of chemicals, products, and product categories in the program.  A stakeholder noted that many paint manufacturers already sell paints with low volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions but the Safer Choice label could help retailers recognize the safer chemistries.
 
Other Summit participants urged chemical manufacturers to create new molecules that adhere to the Safer Choice Standard to replace chemicals in their current products, specifically preservatives. More information on the discussion regarding product category additions can be found in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Environmental Report (subscription required).


 

On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has opened nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA).  Since 1996, these awards have honored companies and institutions that develop processes and products to help protect public health and the environment.  EPA’s strong support for the adoption of green chemistry has helped strengthen the development and commercialization of green chemistry products, leading to significant environmental benefits alongside economic benefits.  Previous PGCCA winners annually eliminate 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents and 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases, and save over 21 billion gallons of water.  There are six award categories for 2017:
 


 
Focus Area 1:  Greener Synthetic Pathways; 
 

 
Focus Area 2:  Greener Reaction Conditions;
 

 
Focus Area 3:  The Design of Greener Chemicals;
 

 
Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business);
 

 
Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher); and
 
Specific Environmental Benefit:  Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions).


Nominations for these awards are due to EPA by December 31, 2016, with more information about the selection criteria and how to enter on the EPA PGCCA website.


 

On July 15, 2016, Environmental Leader published "What Does the Loss of 'Green Chemistry' Provision from Amended TSCA Mean for Biochemicals?," featuring comments by Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®). Ms. Bergeson expanded on a previous blog post titled "Inside EPA Reports On Loss Of Green Chemistry Provision From TSCA Reform," stating:

"While regrettable, the absence of the green chemistry provisions in the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is a setback, not a deal breaker," Bergeson told Environmental Leader. "The green chemistry provisions in Section 24 of H.R. 2576 were taken from Senator Chris Coons' (D-DE) Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act. Section 24 was eliminated reportedly because its inclusion would have been subject to review by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, a different House Committee from the House Energy and Commerce Committee that had primary jurisdiction over TSCA reform, potentially complicating and delaying an already complicated and time-sensitive Congressional review process. The decision to forego this review and eliminate the green chemistry provisions is disappointing, but a failed TSCA reform effort would have been more so."

Bergeson notes that the provision's absence in the updated chemical safety law eliminates -- for now -- the development of and funding for a green chemistry strategy at the federal level. Senator Coons is expected to introduce a similar bill next year.

Senators Coons, Susan Collins (R-ME), and Ed Markey (D-MA) have asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for a technology review of sustainable chemistry. "The report, expected to be complete in the spring of 2017, can help illuminate the options available to the federal government to promote green chemistry whether by instigating new legislation or by serving as a resource which existing legal authorities can use to support this field that is so vital to economic competitiveness and/or use to diminish the less positive impacts of chemistry throughout our economy," Bergeson stated.


 

On July 1, 2016, Inside EPA published "Committee Jurisdiction Issues Blocked Green Chemistry From TSCA Reform," an article discussing the passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law and the lack of language from previous versions boosting federal support of green chemistry. The majority of the bill was reviewed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but the green chemistry provision would have needed to be reviewed by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, further complicating the fragile House and Senate negotiations. Inside EPA's source stated: "Nobody wanted to step on anybody's toes. [...] Pretty much everything else [was] in [Energy and Commerce's] jurisdiction or was sufficiently small enough [to not raise concerns.] There were a lot of concessions on all sides." The green chemistry provision was originally added to the Senate version of the TSCA Reform, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), and was primarily focused on funding the research and development of green chemistry.

The green chemistry provision of S. 697 called for a study of how to best incentivize sustainable chemistry research and development, as well as support "economic, legal and other appropriate social science research to identify barriers to commercialization and methods to advance commercialization of sustainable chemistry." The bill also created a working group to coordinate federal sustainable chemistry activities that would be lead by EPA's research chief and the National Science Foundation (NSF) director, as well as an advisory council to coordinate with the working group. Although green chemistry language in S. 697 did not remain in the final version of the bill, there are still supporters in Congress who are prepared to work to get the programs outlined in S. 697 into law.


 

On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA). The PGCCA honors green chemistry technologies that solve climate and environmental problems through creating business opportunities. Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) stated, "these innovations reduce the use of energy, hazardous chemicals and water, while cutting manufacturing costs and sparking investments. They even turn pollution into useful products. Ultimately, these manufacturing processes and products are safer for people's health and the environment. We will continue to work with the 2016 winners as their technologies are adopted in the marketplace."

This year's winners and technologies are:

These awards were presented during the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon. Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor of the conference.


 

Northwest Green Chemistry and the Washington State Department of Ecology are presenting a four-part webinar series introducing and providing training on the Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT). QCAT allows users to evaluate chemical ingredients and provides alternative chemical recommendations. During the webinar, users will be given instructions on how to use QCAT as well as time to practice using the tool. The webinar will occur over four consecutive Thursdays on June 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (PT). Registration is online, and those who register early may suggest a chemical of interest to incorporate into the training program!


 
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