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 Monday, October 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) presented “Bioproducts in the Federal Bioeconomy Portfolio Webinar,” a webinar on how the federal government is promoting sustainability through three different avenues: bioproducts research; commercialization; and market development.  The presenters on these topics were DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Technology Manager Nichole Fitzgerald; U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred Deputy Program Manager Kate Lewis; and the Ohio State University Bioproducts Innovation Center’s Director Dennis Hall.  The webinar summary stated that “the creation of a robust, next-generation domestic bioenergy industry is one of the most important pathways for providing Americans with sustainable, renewable energy alternatives,” and “through research, development, and commercialization to produce renewable fuels and products sustainable and affordable, we can provide home-grown alternatives for the transportation, energy, and bioproducts sectors.”

We summarize below some webinar highlights:

  • There are substantial emissions reductions that bioproducts can provide compared to their fossil-derived counterparts (varying from 45 percent up to 86 percent).
  • Renewable chemicals have many positive bioeconomy contributions and few negative aspects.  Renewable chemicals help the bioeconomy in the following important ways:
    • Bolsters the economy (e.g., knowledge from bioproduct production can be transferred to biofuels production);
    • Market entry (e.g., corporations will support the bioeconomy through the purchase and use of sustainable products); and
    • Renewable chemicals are critical for economic success of advanced biofuel production (e.g., reduces risk by allowing biorefineries to pursue a higher value product).
  • National unaided awareness of biobased products has increased -- from 30 percent in 2013 up to 48 percent in 2014.
  • The U.S. biobased products industry had significant contributions to the economy in 2013, including:
    • Adding four million American jobs, as well as adding 1.64 more jobs per every biobased products job; and
    • Adding $369 billion to the economy.

More information on biobased issues is available on Bergeson and Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) website under subject “Biobased Products, Biotechnology.”


 

On July 15, 2015, DOE posted a solicitation notice for candidates for the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. According to the notice, DOE is specifically looking for candidates with experience in biobased industrial/commercial products, non-federal government engineers or scientists, academia with expertise in biofuel and biobased products, and experts in crop or soil science. Candidates with other experience can also be nominated. Nominations should be submitted by August 14, 2015.


 

On May 11, 2015, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced S. 1282 -- a bill to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to require the Secretary of Energy to consider the objective of improving the conversion, use, and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced from fossil fuels in carrying out research and development (R&D) programs under that Act. The bill represents a broad recognition of the importance of algae and other biobased carbon utilization platforms that can convert CO2 into fuels, chemicals, and other valuable biobased products. If passed, S. 1282 will add "improving the conversion, use, and storage of carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels" to the list of Department of Energy (DOE) fossil energy R&D objectives under Section 961(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. § 16291(a)).


 

Part 3 of Biofuels Digest's "Thought Leadership" series highlighting some of the ways the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) applies to biobased products was published May 18, 2015. Summaries of the first two "TSCA and the Bioeconomy" articles, written by Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) Senior Policy Advisor and former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Green Chemistry program, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., were summarized in the May 7, 2015, BRAG report.

"The Toxic Substances Control Act and the Bioeconomy: Part 3, Call to Action," presents options for reforming TSCA and the related implementing regulations to put novel, biobased chemistry on an even footing with incumbent products and processes that were grandfathered under the original TSCA Inventory. Among the suggestions and options offered is the expansion of the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) nomenclature system to cover more sources related to biobased products:

Opening the 40-year-old list of organisms eligible to use SDA nomenclature would go a long way towards enabling novel triglyceride sources to enter commerce without triggering new chemical substance notifications throughout the supply chain. Right now, EPA has no mechanism for adding sources without conducting a full rulemaking. A mechanism that enables EPA to add sources to the SDA list as part of the premanufacture notice (PMN) review of a new source would maintain EPA's ability to ensure new sources do not present unreasonable risk to human health and the environment, as well as lower the barrier to market adoption of these new sources.

The article closes with a call for the regulated community, both producers and their customers to:

[E]ngage with EPA to seek broad solutions, as a group, rather than individual companies seeking individual solutions. These solutions may require rulemaking and a collective approach could bring the issue to a high enough priority to justify the effort and expense for EPA to undertake rulemaking.

Dr. Engler will be speaking about opportunities and challenges presented by TSCA for the biobased products community at the 19th Annual American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, July 14 - 16, Bethesda, Maryland, and at BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, July 19 - 22, Montreal, Canada. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you plan on attending either of these events and would like to speak further about these issues while at the conferences.


 

 

In the October 30, 2014, Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued a notice of request for public comments regarding an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement regarding Biobased Procurements. The original notice was published in the Federal Register on August 20, 2014, and no comments were received. Comments are now due on December 1, 2014.


As summarized by the notice, the "Federal Acquisition Regulation clause 52.223-2, Affirmative Procurement of Biobased Products Under Service and Construction Contracts, requires prime contractors to report annually the product types and dollar values of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-designated biobased products purchased to the System for Award Management (SAM) Web site. The information reported by prime contractors enables Federal agencies to report annually to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) concerning actions taken to implement and measure progress in carrying out the preference for biobased products required under section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, codified at 7 U.S.C. 8102."
 


 

On August 5, 2014, Genomatica announced that it will be focusing on developing complete process technologies for the biobased production of major nylon intermediates -- including hexamethylenediamine, caprolactam, and adipic acid (HMD, CPL, and ADA). A copy of Genomatica's press release on this announcement is available online.


 

On July 14, 2014, EPA announced recipients of funding to develop and commercialize innovative, sustainable technologies to address current environmental issues. Among the recipients were the following companies pursuing biobased products:


* Sustainable Bioproducts, LLC, Bozeman, Montana, for Direct Conversion of Municipal and Agricultural Wastes to Biodiesel and Ethanol Utilizing a Unique Extremophilic Fungus.

* Environmental Fuel Research, LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Biofuel Production from Grease Trap Waste.


More information is available online.
 


 

On July 2, 2014, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (Marrone), a leading global provider of biobased pest management and plant health products, celebrated the official opening of its Marrone Michigan Manufacturing (M3) facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony and plant tours. A copy of Marrone's press release on this announcement is available online.


 

On May 6, 2014, INVISTA, a large U.S. headquartered integrated producer of chemical intermediaries, polymers, and fibers, and owner of the LYCRA Brand, announced the introduction of the "only commercial offering of a bio-derived spandex available globally and for use in a wide variety of apparel fabrics and garments." The company explains that "[a]pproximately 70 percent by weight of the new LYCRA® bio-derived spandex fiber comes from a renewable source made from dextrose derived from corn." A copy of the Company's press release is available online.


 
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