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 January 28, 2019, Growth Energy, an ethanol supporters group, submitted joint comments with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to the Government of Ontario, Canada, in support of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (Plan). The Plan outlines the government’s commitment to addressing climate change through the protection of land, air, water, and reduction of waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Posted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Plan would increase ethanol use in gasoline by 15 percent in 2025, increase the use of renewable gas and fuels, establish emission performance standards for large emitters, and provide financial assistance for emissions reduction initiatives.  Pleased with the Ontario Government’s proposal to increase the ethanol content of gasoline, Growth Energy and USGC highlight the “tremendous benefits to the public” it will provide through lower GHG emissions and levels of other pollutants, better fuel properties, and economic benefits to Canada’s agricultural economy. The letter also reassures Ontario that the increase in demand from a move to 15 percent ethanol (E15) will be met. The two organizations provide additional information on the approval and use of E15 in the U.S., with a note that since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of this rule in 2011, retail and wholesale of E15 continues to grow. The letter concludes by emphasizing once more the substantial advances to Ontario’s goals should the proposed Plan be implemented. According to the letter, the goals and promises of the Plan are not only achievable, but also would still support consumer choice and ensure compliance flexibility and transparency.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 16, 2019, the Dutch Department of Defense announced that the Dutch Air Force is taking the next steps in reducing its carbon footprint given better affordability of biobased fuels. Provided with biokerosene, the Air Force intends to increase gradually the mixing percentage of biofuels and eventually have all of its equipment fly on biofuel mixtures. The Dutch goal is to achieve 20 percent less dependency on fossil fuels by 2030, and 70 percent by 2050.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 16, 2019, the Dutch Department of Defense announced that the Dutch Air Force is taking the next steps in reducing its carbon footprint given better affordability of biobased fuels. Provided with biokerosene, the Air Force intends to increase gradually the mixing percentage of biofuels and eventually have all of its equipment fly on biofuel mixtures. The Dutch goal is to achieve 20 percent less dependency on fossil fuels by 2030, and 70 percent by 2050.


 

On January 11, 2017, the Government of Ontario released a discussion paper titled “Developing a Modern Renewable Fuel Standard For Gasoline in Ontario,” which provides context for the new RFS requirements.  The discussion paper explains that Ontario aims to keep the following considerations in mind when designing the RFS policy:


 
Ensure a level playing field for fuels, regardless of technology or origin;
 

 
Set ambitious but achievable goals;  
 

 
Support near and long-term GHG emissions;
 

 
Improve diversity among low-carbon fuel options for consumers;  
 

 
Provide a clear performance standard and necessary certainty to support investments;
 

 
Consider the overall impact on fuel suppliers and consumers;  
 

 
Offer flexible methods for compliance supported by transparent platforms;
 

 
Complement other related policies; and  
 
Collaborate with the federal government to coordinate renewable fuels programs.


Ontario is seeking comments on the design options outlined in the discussion paper, including targets and blending requirements, flexibility mechanisms, assessing lifecycle emissions, and transparency.  Comments are due by March 12, 2017.


 

On September 5, 2016, a group of non-profits, including Oxfam International, Fern, and Greenpeace, published a report outlining policy measures that should be taken by the European Commission (EC) to ensure that bioenergy is as low-carbon and resource efficient as possible. The report, "A New EU Sustainable Bioenergy Policy Report," was published after EC stated a willingness to listen to new proposals to improve sustainable bioenergy policies. EC is planning on proposing an updated bioenergy sustainability policy for the use of biomass in heating, electricity, and transport by the end of 2016, as part of the Climate and Energy Package for 2030. To ensure the sustainability of new bioenergy policies, the report discusses the need and practicality of implementing the following safeguards:

  • A limit to the use of biomass for energy production to levels that can be sustainably supplied;
     
  • An efficient and optimal use of biomass resources, in line with the principle of cascading use;
     
  • Robust and verifiable emission savings on the basis of correct carbon accounting for bioenergy emissions; and
     
  • A comprehensive, binding set of environmental and social sustainability criteria.

This report proposed sustainability criteria across all energy uses of biomass that has been grown on land, as well as residues, waste, and side-products, but not for biomass from aquaculture and marine areas.


 

The 2016 World Bio Markets Bio Business Awards are now accepting nominations for categories covering people, companies, and projects that have advanced the bioeconomy. The eight categories for the 2016 awards are:

  • Biofuels Partnership of the Year;
     
  • Bio-Based Brand of the Year;
     
  • Breakthrough Bio-Based Technology Platform;
     
  • WBM Bio-Based Business Person of the Year;
     
  • Bio-Based Chemical Partnership of the Year;
     
  • WBM Industry Champion 2016;
     
  • Bio-Based Product Innovation of the Year; and
     
  • Biomass Power Project of the Year.

Nominations are due February 19, 2016, and the awards will be presented at the second day of World Bio Markets in Amsterdam on March 15, 2016.


 

On September 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service released the information bulletin "Biofuel Use in International Markets: The Importance of Trade." The report reviews global biofuel production from 2001 to the present, including economic impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard, biofuel exports in the U.S., and the future prospects of the U.S. biofuel trade. Biofuel production has increased dramatically from 2001 to 2013, with the fastest growth occurring before 2011. The report stresses that as biofuel production is growing at a slower pace, it is imperative to focus on energy policies to sustain production while moderating prices and saturation in order to maintain favorable market conditions.


 

On April 28, 2015, the European Parliament approved a draft law restricting crop-based biofuels in order to encourage production of advanced biofuels with low-risk ILUC and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The law, that was discussed in the April 23, 2015, Biobased and Renewable Products Update, applies to legislation requiring EU Member States ensure that at least 10 percent of energy used in transport by 2020 is renewable. Under the new law, no more than 7 percent of energy consumption by 2020 can be first-generation biofuels, resulting in at least 3 percent of energy consumption coming from advanced biofuel. The law also requires the reporting of GHG emissions caused by ILUC and the publication of data on ILUC-related emissions. Member States have until 2017 to enact the legislation.


 

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (DMEA) has launched the first edition of a Biobased Packaging catalogue that was compiled by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. The catalogue came about as a result of companies becoming interested in the development and application of bioplastics, especially in the wake of products like the well-known "plant bottle" from Coca Cola. The Biobased Packaging catalogue, published in Dutch, presents a review of the options for using sustainable biobased packaging on a commercial basis, and DMEA plans to pair the catalogue with a pilot program for sustainable purchasing. More information about the catalogue can be found online.


 

The EU has launched a new four-year research project called Bio-Qed, which will focus on developing biobased chemicals from renewable sources. The project has ten partners from Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Croatia, and Spain.