By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 10, 2019, more than 600 environmental groups signed a letter submitted to U.S. Representatives urging them to consider certain principles on climate change as a Green New Deal is developed. As the 116th Congress begins to take into account climate change legislation, environmental groups would like to see affirmative actions focused on six key areas:
- Fossil fuel phase-out;
- Transition into renewable energy;
- The role of public transportation;
- The power of the Clean Air Act (CAA);
- Community-led transitions; and,
- The importance of indigenous rights.
Tying together these six concepts, the environmental groups’ letter highlights the role played by legislators and day-to-day community leaders/workers in integrating a 100 percent renewable energy system in the U.S. The suggested principles call for the expansion of public transportation as a means to phase out fossil fuel vehicles, as well as the prioritization of support for communities that have been historically most harmed by the dirty energy economy. In addition, a reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is made to emphasize Indigenous Peoples’ rights to receive remedies of losses or damages of their property. The signatory environmental groups also explicitly oppose rollbacks of existing environmental and human health protection policies, legislation that protects the fossil fuels industry, and policies that promote corporate profits over community burdens.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
In early January 2019, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a report called A New World: The Geopolitics of Energy Transformation. Analyzing the geopolitical implications of the global energy sector that is being driven by renewables, the report was created by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation in early 2018. A ten-month project, the deliberations by the Commission consider the move of renewables to the center of the global energy landscape. The report claims that global energy transformation driven by renewables “will reshape relations between states and lead to fundamental structural changes in economies and society. […] Global power structures and arrangements will change in many ways and the dynamics of relationships within states will also be transformed.” Arguing that power will become more decentralized and diffused, states that are heavily invested in renewable technologies (such as China) will have greater influence. In contrast, states that rely on fossil fuel to a greater extent will lose influence. Furthermore, the abilities for countries to achieve energy independence will enhance their development, security, sustainability, and equity. As an important step in the direction of addressing climate change, combatting pollution, and promoting prosperity and sustainable development, states must be prepared to create a foundation for dialogue, debate, and policy actions focused on energy transformation.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 8, 2019, Nouryon, a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced the official launching of the Imagine Chemistry challenge. A program focused on startups, scale-ups, university spin-offs, and other new comers in chemistry, the challenge aims to increase developing business’ opportunities to collaborate in the commercial adoption of green chemistry. In the 2019 edition of the challenge, Nouryon is seeking solutions to five areas:
- Sustainable bio-based surfactants for everyone;
- Label-free chemistries;
- Sensing in demanding chemical environments;
- Performance-boosting nanoparticles; and,
- Pushing frontiers of chemical innovation.
Interested parties can submit their ideas online
and receive expert feedback until March 8, 2019
. In May 2019
, 20 finalists will be selected for a three-day event at Nouryon’s research and development and innovation (RD&I) center in the Netherlands. These finalists will get an opportunity to work with experts and business leaders at the RD&I center to further develop their ideas into a joint value case.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced that 32 of the 100 research and development (R&D) awards given out by R&D Magazine have been won by DOE researchers. One of the winning R&D projects was BETO-funded and focused on a green nitration process to produce acrylonitrile. These awards are annually distributed to developers of exceptional new products/processes introduced into the marketplace. Since R&D Magazine’s first annual competition in 1962, DOE’s national laboratories have received over 800 R&D awards.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 15, 2019, DOE BETO announced that a current study being funded by DOE BETO’s Advanced Algal Systems has been published by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The study researches strains found in a single culture of green algae that might be a candidate for biofuel production. Scientists are working to develop genetic engineering tools that would allow algae to grow faster, accumulating more biomass for biofuel. Further details on the research being conducted can be accesses here.
- The Fence Post, “Grassley Talks Shutdown, RFS, Trade, Trump Speech”
- Reuters, “Biogas Guzzlers: Karachi’s Public Buses to Run on Cow Poo”
- Biodiesel Magazine, “Biodiesel an Underutilized Solution as US Carbon Emissions Climb”
- Reuters, “EPA Says it is Committed to Rule for Higher Ethanol Blend by Summer Driving Season”
- Canadian Biomass Magazine, “Developing High Performance Bioplastics from Wood”
- Channel NewsAsia, “NYP Team Turns Coffee Waste Into Fire Retardant”
- Bio-Based WorldNews, “Circa Group’s Bio-based Solvent Aids UK Researchers to Produce ‘High Quality’ Graphene Ink”
- Renewables Now, “France Raises Biofuel Blending Mandate for 2019”
- Europe’s Plastic Processors Magazine, “Lund University Develops Promising Bioplastic Derived from ‘Poo Molecule’”
- EurekAlert!, “VTT Develops a New Sustainable Way to Turn Forestry Waste Into Transport Fuels and Chemicals”
- The National, “Saudi Energy Minister: Renewables Unlikely to Displace Global Demand for Oil”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On January 16, 2019, a group of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain announced the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which will advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean. AEPW membership, currently at 30 member companies, represents global companies located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. APEW has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years. The announcement of the launch states that APEW will “develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy.” AEPW is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect, and recycle plastics including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies. The following companies are the founding members: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).
As part of its roll-out, APEW also announced an initial set of projects and collaborations that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste:
- Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking. This work will include engaging local governments and stakeholders and generating economically sustainable and replicable models that can be applied across multiple cities and regions.
- Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models, and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.
- Developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors focus on and accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment.
- Creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders to help them identify and pursue the most effective and locally-relevant solutions in the highest priority areas.
- Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localized investment and engagement. The program is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean.
The global internet broadcast that aired on January 16, 2019, is available at www.endplasticwaste.org/live. More information is available on APEW’s website.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the extension of the deadline for algae, biomass, and waste feedstock research request for information (RFI). EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is requesting information on research opportunities associated with alternative feedstocks that can be used in the production of biopower, bioproducts, and biofuel. Particularly of interest to DOE are the following topic areas: Outdoor Algae Research; Biomass Characteristics and Feedstock Performance; and Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Waste. Seeking input from academics, industry experts, national laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders, the RFI is designed to support early-stage research and development on technologies that can contribute to the maximization of U.S. biomass resources. Responses to the RFI must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 18, 2019.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 8, 2019, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization supporting free-market, published the Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 116th Congress report for the Congress’ consideration. The report identifies strategies for Congress to take in eliminating federal regulations that interfere in the lives of consumers, making it more difficult to access the best services and products available to Americans. The proposed congressional agenda put forth by CEI includes nine policy areas that they believe should be the focus of reform. Some of these areas include regulatory reform and agency oversight, trade, banking and finance, private and public lands, and energy and environment, among others.
In the report’s “Energy and Environment” chapter, CEI recommends that Congress freeze the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to blend biofuel into petroleum-based fuel. CEI claims that the RFS has unintended consequences such as bidding up the price of corn, soy, and other crops, as well as driving motorists to spend more on fuel, rather than benefiting the environment. The recommendation is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sunset the RFS Program for 2022 to assure that competition and consumer preference are the ultimate drivers leading a certain type of fuel to succeed or fail in the marketplace. To access the full report, click here.
BCCM is pleased to announce that B&C’s podcast “All Things Chemical™” will release an episode on January 24, 2019, on biobased equivalency determination. The “Biobased Products: Regulatory Challenges and Proposed Solutions” podcast will provide an overview of the term “biobased” and what it means, the current nomenclature issue surrounding the biobased industry, and how BCCM’s BRAG is addressing the issue through equivalency determination. Stay tuned for the podcast and subscribe now on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher! In the meantime, check out BRAG’s website for news on nomenclature issues.