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 November 16, 2018, scientists at the Israeli Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev announced the discovery of a new technique to produce biofuel from human excrement. In an attempt to reduce carbon footprint and address poor sanitation in Global South countries, scientists at BGU developed a technique called hydrothermal carbonization. By hydrothermally carbonizing raw solid human waste biomass, hydrochar, a coal-like sterilized substance, can be produced and used for household cooking and heating. Given energy scarcity and lack of basic sanitation in parts of the world, this new technique “could potentially serve as a sustainable sanitation technology with a closed-loop cycle approach while recovering energy and nutrients.” In addition to hydrochar, the newly developed technique also produces a liquid that is nutrient rich and can, consequently, be used as a fertilizer.


 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 6, 2018, Neste, a BRAG member, announced its partnership with Clariant to develop new sustainable material solutions. While Clariant concentrates on specialty chemicals, Neste consists of one of the leading companies providing renewable diesel and drop-in chemical solutions. In the announcement, Neste outlined the phases of the partnership, as follows:
 
Phase 1: The companies will start to replace fossil-fuel based ethylene and propylene with monomers from renewable feedstock.
 
Phase 2: The companies will develop alternative sustainable solutions from renewable raw materials for plastics and coatings.
 
The two phases are designed to allow the two companies to increase their biobased products, while reducing dependency on crude oil and climate emissions. Neste’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Vanacker, stated that the “[c]ollaboration marks an essential step forward in Neste’s quest to become a preferred partner as a provider of sustainable chemicals solutions for forerunner brands.”


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the topics for 2019 funding opportunities.  Amongst the program offices that are participating in this solicitation, is the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who will be hosting an informational webinar on November 6, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) as an opportunity to ask the DOE Program Managers any questions about DOE funding opportunities.  The 90-minute webinar requires registration and allows for the submission of questions prior to the event.  Important upcoming dates regarding the submission funding applications include:

  • Funding Opportunity Announcement:  November 26, 2018;
  • Letter of Intent Due Date:  December 17, 2018;
  • Non-response Letter of Intent Feedback Provision:  January 7, 2019;
  • Application Due Date:  February 4, 2019;
  • Award Notification Date:  April 29, 2019; and
  • Start of Grant Budget Period:  June 10, 2019.

Both the award notification and the start of the grant budget period dates are subject to change.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

The European Commission (EC) announced on October 16, 2018, the launch of a new web-based tool called BioWatch. Developed by BIOWAYS, a project funded by the European Union (EU), this new tool expands BIOWAYS’ efforts in raising awareness of biobased products and their social, economic, and environmental benefits. BioWatch consists of “an interactive online platform that provides projects in the bioeconomy sector with a free service to position themselves alongside one another and provide direct access to industry, political stakeholders, the media, and the general public.” Essentially, this tool serves as an “e-library” for biobased research and projects for its members. BIOWAYS is currently recruiting biobased industry research projects to begin building its “e-library.” More information is available on its website.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Army on a collaborative project designed to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for civilian and military use. The MOU was signed by the U.S. Department of Army’s Tank & Automotive Research Development and Engineering Command (TARDEC) and the DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO). It aims to facilitate the research and development of innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technologies portfolios. The research will include studies on hydrogen production from domestic resources, infrastructure development, and fuel cells for transportation. Additionally, the MOU will allow for further exploration of a DOE FCTO concept called H2@ Scale, which “explores the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resiliency of the power generation and transmission sectors.”


 
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