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.

On October 27, 2014, President Obama announced new plans to strengthen the manufacturing sector. One of the listed plans involved the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) coming together to invest in advanced materials, advanced sensors, and digital manufacturing. These three areas were determined to be critical to U.S. competitiveness and include biobased materials in the advanced materials category. Over $300 million is going to be invested across the three categories and the research investments by the federal government are expected to be matched by efforts in the private sector. More information about the announcement can be found in the statement released by the Office of the Press Secretary.


On September 25, 2014, Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member Malama Composites, Inc. (Malama) announced that its biobased rigid urethane foams won the PortTech Los Angeles Entrepreneur Pitch Competition "Most Innovative Technology" Award while competing against almost 100 other clean technology companies. The foams are part of Malama's groundbreaking, non-toxic, biobased product line which is "cost and performance competitive with petroleum-based foams, but far safer and healthier for the food chain, workplaces and homeowners and more easily recycled." Malama's rigid urethane foams are carbohydrate-based and are made of castor, soy, and recycled polyethylene terephthalates (PET) rather than petroleum. The biobased foams do not contain volatile organic compounds typically found in traditional foams. This, as well as the other environmentally friendly attributes of the foams, makes them candidates for many green building certifications such as the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, the USDA BioPreferred Purchasing Program, and the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Program.


BRAG member Micromidas, along with the Michigan Molecular Institute and Michigan Sugar Company, is working on a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from DOE with the goal of developing a process to convert sugar beet waste into useful chemicals. After sugar has been extracted from sugar beets, the remaining residue still contains a significant amount of sugars that can be converted into biobased PET. The development of biobased packaging materials, such as those championed by Coca-Cola, Heinz, and Proctor & Gamble, has resulted in an increased demand for biobased PET that can match the cost of petroleum-based PET. While research is still in the early phases, it is possible that additional work could continue "through an SBIR Phase II grant, which is $1,000,000." More information is available online.


On June 30, 2014, Rayonier announced that it has completed separation from Rayonier Advanced Materials. Rayonier Advanced Materials is now an independent specialty chemicals company. A copy of Rayonier's press release on the announcement is available online.


Barnhardt Manufacturing Company has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product Label for its High Q® Cotton. The USDA Certified Biobased Product Label verifies that the product's amount of renewable biobased ingredients meets or exceeds levels set by USDA.


Intuitively, entities in the "biobased" space may think the "naturally occurring" substance exemption under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the law that governs chemical products in the U.S., applies to their "biobased" materials. The scope of the exemption is limited, however, and complications arise when companies mistakenly assume a material is naturally occurring and therefore exempt from TSCA.

Learn more about this important issue online.


On October 28, 2013, DuPont announced the start of the second phase of its China Research and Development Center. The Center will focus on the development of biobased materials, among other things. A copy of DuPont's press release on the announcement is available online.