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.

Reuters, “Genscape Says It Will Fight EPA Move to Boot It from Biofuels Program

University of Bath, “Scientists Make Plastic from Christmas Trees

Washington Examiner, “Energy, Farm Policy Collide in the New Congress

Growth Energy, Poll: Trump Voters Overwhelmingly Support Ethanol
PETROSS, “Dual-Purpose Biofuel Crops Could Extend Production, Increase Profits


On December 28, 2016, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that six projects had been selected for a funding opportunity of up to $12.9 million titled “Project Definition for Pilot- and Demonstration-Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower.”  The projects, which revolve around technology development plans for the manufacture of advanced or cellulosic biofuels, bioproducts, refinery-compatible intermediates, and biopower in a pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery, will be evaluated in two phases.

DOE will evaluate Phase I projects at the end of two years.  Phase I project evaluations will be based on the design and plan of the facilities, as well as the recipient’s ability to fund the required 50 percent cost share for Phase II.  In 2018, DOE is expected to announce the recipients of up to $15 million and $45 million in Phase II funding for the construction and operation of a pilot- or demonstration-scale facility, respectively.
Projects focused on demonstration-scale integrated biorefineries include:

The development of an integrated process for the production of jet fuel from woody biomass by combining AVAPCO’s biomass-to-ethanol process with Byogy’s alcohol-to-jet process; and  

The design and operation of an integrated demonstration-scale biorefinery for the production of low-carbon jet and diesel fuels from industrial waste gases.

Projects focused on pilot-scale integrated biorefineries include:

The design of a pilot-scale algae biofuel facility that utilizes novel technologies to improve productivity of open pond cultivation and generate more energy-efficient algae harvest; and

The design of a smaller, more cost-effective integrated biorefinery for the production of transportation fuels from woody waste and agricultural feedstocks.
Projects focused on pilot-scale waste-to-energy include:

The design of an advanced pyrolysis integrated biorefinery capable of converting 300 tons per day of biomass from food waste and biosolids into fertilizer and carbon-negative, renewable biopower; and 

The design of a pilot-scale integrated biorefinery that converts waste treatment and biosolids into biocrude oil, biogas, and fertilizer. 



On December 15, 2016,  the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) of up to $8 million dollars, subject to appropriations, for innovative technologies that assist in the advancement of algae bioenergy and bioproducts.  The FOA consists of two topic areas, including strain improvement for the development of enhanced algal strains, and algae cultivation biology improvement for the development of increased areal productivity and biofuel yield.   The objective of the FOA titled “Productivity Enhanced Algae and Tool-Kits” is to double the current state of seasonal algal biomass productivities by overcoming species-specific, ecological, and practical challenges and to improve algal productivity and biomass composition using breakthroughs in advanced biology and biology-based tools.  Selected projects will include techno-economic and life-cycle analyses of their proposed approaches to aid commercialization, and data sharing with the research and development community to accelerate future innovations.  Concept papers are due by January 13, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST) and full applications are due by February 22, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).





On October 17, 2016, the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) announced over £3 million in investments over six synthetic biology projects.  IBioIC was founded by Ingenza Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), and INEOS to connect academic expertise in synthetic biology with industrial capabilities from businesses in the area.  IBioIC focuses on biotechnology in health, industrial, agriculture, and marine areas.  Recipients of the £3 million in funding are:

“Synpromics with University of Edinburgh to enable better gene therapy;

Lucite International with University of St Andrews to increase the sustainability of acrylic glass;

Unilever with University of Edinburgh to create “greener” skin cleansers;

Ingenza Ltd with University of Glasgow to develop advanced metrology (measurements) for biotechnology;

Twist Bioscience with University of Edinburgh to develop tools to engineer yeast strains for fuels and pharmaceuticals; and
Nissan Chemicals with University of Glasgow for new tools for bio-production of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmetics.


On September 16, 2016, the U.S. Navy announced the successful flight test of the EA-18G "Green Growler" plane on 100 percent advanced biofuel. Lt. Cmdr. Bradley Fairfax, project officer and test pilot, stated that "The information presented to us in the airplane is pretty simplified but, as far as I could tell, the aircraft flew completely the same as [petroleum-based] JP-5 for the whole flight." This program supports the Secretary of the Navy's (SECNAV) goal to increase the use of alternative fuels by 2020. The Green Growler flew on catalytic hydrothermal conversion-to-jet (CHCJ) fuel, produced by Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Chevron Lummus Global. "We are excited to work with the U.S. Navy as it takes this important step toward the use of 100-percent drop-in renewable jet and diesel fuels in its aircraft and ships," said Chuck Red, Vice President of fuels development for ARA. "Our renewable fuels continue to prove their viability as 100-percent replacements for petroleum in diesel and jet fuel applications."


On August 25, 2016, researchers at the University of Michigan, led by research professor John M. DeCicco, Ph.D., published "Carbon balance effects of U.S. biofuel production and use," a study examining the impact of biofuel production on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The study, funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute, examined USDA crop-production data and determined that the increasing use of biofuels has resulted in a net increase of CO2 emissions, with only 37 percent of CO2 emissions from biofuel combustion offset by the increased CO2 uptake from biofuel crops. Biofuels have generally been assumed to be inherently carbon neutral because the CO2 released by combustion is equal to the CO2 that was originally pulled from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. In this study, Dr. DeCicco did not assume that biofuels were carbon neutral, going through crop, biofuel, and fossil fuel production data, as well as vehicle emissions, to determine that biofuels produce more CO2 emissions than gasoline.

MichBio, Michigan's biosciences industry association, issued a strong condemnation of the study, calling it "flawed" and based on inappropriate modeling assumptions. The lifecycle analysis used by Dr. DeCicco provides a carbon storage credit to fossil fuels from existing forests and agriculture that MichBio argues is wholly inappropriate due to the lack of an economic relationship between the petroleum industry and agriculture and forestry. MichBio concedes that biofuels are not carbon neutral, but states that the issue is more complex than Dr. DeCicco implies: "No competent life cycle assessment assumes that biofuels are carbon neutral, only that the actual carbon content of the fuels came from the atmosphere in the first place and returns to the atmosphere when it is combusted. That much is simple chemistry, and without argument. For the rest of the biofuel life cycle, the question of carbon neutrality is very much a research question, not a decided issue as DeCicco would have one believe." MichBio goes on to reference an independently funded study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory that showed "conventional biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34 percent over their lifecycle, while advanced biofuels can reduce emissions by 100 percent or more over conventional gasoline."

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