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 March 5, 2019, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) announced that their researchers have 3D printed live cells that are able to convert glucose to ethanol and carbon dioxide gas.  The substance produced from this conversion resembles beer.  This means that this newly developed technology can lead to highly efficient biocatalysis.  According to LLNL’s announcement, the use of live microbes rather than inorganic catalysts is advantageous because of mild reaction conditions, low cost, self-regeneration, and catalytic specificity.  The particular case study used to demonstrate this experiment’s success involved printing freeze-dried live biocatalytic yeast cells into porous 3D structures.  These unique geometrical structures allow the live cells to then convert glucose to ethanol and carbon dioxide gas.  The long-term viability and tunable cell densities of this new bio-ink material allow for the live cells to be genetically modified for the production of chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels.


 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 17, 2018, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) announced that a team of biologists and chemists has received $2 million in funding from DOE. These funds are to be used in the development of platforms to produce biobased monomers, which will be used in the manufacture of renewable and biodegradable plastic polymers called polyurethanes. The funded research will also involve improved tools for accelerated algal production systems. UCSD Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Professor, Michael Burkart, states: “Our strategy is to go from renewable algae feedstocks all the way to products that people actually want to buy.”


 

 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On July 24, 2018, a research team at the North Carolina State University announced that biobased glucaric-acid or lignin additives can increase the robustness of polyvinyl alcohol fibers, which can be used in biofriendly products including polymers, detergents, paints, and diapers.  The team plans to continue its R&D as a movement towards greener alternatives to support industries using additives with known varying levels of toxicity.  This discovery could play a large role in processing plastics for safe contact with food, people, and the environment.  In 2004, DOE listed glucaric-acid as one of the top 12 sugar-derived chemicals with the potential to be economic drivers for a biorefinery.  Lignin is low in cost and also a waste by-product of the pulp and paper industries, which can also make commercial scale production feasible.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that it will fund 87 new projects across 34 states, totaling nearly $13 million in funding.  This funding is part of the 219 grants totaling $34 million awarded to 183 small businesses in 41 states through the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Nine EERE technology offices are funding ten Phase I topic areas (Advanced Manufacturing I & II, Bioenergy, Buildings, Fuel Cells, Geothermal. Solar, Vehicles, Water, and Wind) across 29 subtopics.  The announcement states that DOE technology offices “award Phase I grants to small businesses that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research,” most Phase I awards “are for $150,000 for less than one year,” and, if completed successfully, “Phase I projects are eligible for … Phase II funding awards [that] provide up to $1 million or up to $1.5 million, depending on the technology, and an award known as a sequential Phase II award can provide up to an additional $1 million.”  

The full list of EERE-funded projects, that includes 13 bioenergy projects, is available online.  The bioenergy companies receiving funding are:  Emergy LLC; Media and Process Technology Inc.; SarTec Corporation; TDA Research, Inc.; Bio-Missions LLC; Faraday Technology, Inc.;  Industrial Microbes, Inc.; Lygos; Global Algae Innovations, Inc. (three projects); MicroBio Engineering; and Molecule Works Inc.

 
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