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 June 3, 2019, 19 members of Congress submitted a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means, Richard Neal (D-MA), addressing the expired Second-Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second-Generation Biofuel Plant Property, and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credits. Urging Congress to take action on the extension of these tax credits, the letter emphasizes the importance of these credits in stabilizing capital intensive, higher-risk technology projects and in allowing more time to plan for longer-term policy around alternative fuels and infrastructure. The extension request proposes that the House Ways & Means Committee consider a multi-year extension of these credits to reassure the second-generation biofuels, the rural economy, and the refueling infrastructure industry.

Tags: Biofuel, Tax

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 31, 2019, the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) launched Clean Growth Future Vision, a document outlining FPS’ vision for cutting carbon through the development of biofuels. FPS is a trade association for the liquid fuels distribution industry and ancillary interests in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Republic of Ireland. FPS urges the government to be technology neutral and to consider options other than electrification. Guy Pulham, FPS’ Chief Executive, commented that in the short-term, consumer encouragement to make energy efficiency changes are necessary to reduce carbon emissions. In the long-term, Pulham stated that FPS intends to work with relevant bodies and consumer groups to ensure various solutions can be found for different homes and budgets. FPS will also work on testing low-carbon fuels and working with the supply chain to reduce fossil fuel content in liquid fuels. The goal is to reach zero fossil fuel content by the Paris Agreement deadline.

Tags: Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 30, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released in final the regulatory changes allowing gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) to take advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that applies to E10 during the summer months. This means that E15 can now be sold year-round in the U.S. without additional RVP control rather than just eight months of the year. EPA also released in final the rulemaking regulatory changes to modify certain elements of the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Aiming to increase transparency to the market and deter price manipulation, the reforms to RIN markets include a requirement for public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds, and the collection of additional data to improve EPA oversight.

Tags: EPA, E15, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 2, 2019, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the approval, by the IATA 75th Annual General Meeting (AGM), of the United Nations’ (UN) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) resolution, which calls governments to continue work on the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The first global carbon pricing instrument for an industry sector, CORSIA will cap carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels (carbon-neutral growth (CNG)). Between 2020 and 2035, CORSIA aims to mitigate over 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide generating at least $40 billion in finance for carbon reduction initiatives. AGM urged ICAO member states to take a number of measures:

  • Consider participation in CORSIA in the pilot phase;
     
  • Align domestic regulations on the monitoring, verification, and reporting of emissions with CORSIA’s standards, preventing market distortions through its requirements;
     
  • Implement CORSIA as the single global market-based mechanism for climate change mitigation; and
     
  • Avoid the implementation of overlapping/duplicate measures such as unilateral carbon taxes.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) stated: “CORSIA is a landmark accomplishment. It is a concrete, well-defined way forward to cap global emissions from international aviation. States must not compromise it with inconsistent implementation or by adding a patchwork of taxes on top of it. Its vital mission is to stop growth in net emissions from aviation.” AGM also discussed steps beyond CORSIA, setting the goal to cut net emissions by half of 2005 levels by 2050. Focused on a long-term strategy, IATA calls for investments in better efficiency measures such as sustainable aviation fuels, new aircrafts, and better procedures.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On May 31, 2019, the Brazilian government’s Ministry of Energy’s Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE -- Energy Research Company) held an auction for the supply of sustainable energy and biofuel sources for the State of Roraima’s capital, Boa Vista, and its neighboring areas. A federal energy company, EPE provides the Ministry of Energy with R&D services designed for subsidies of the energy sector, covering electricity, petroleum, natural gas and its derivatives, and biofuels. Out of 156 competitions, the nine auction winners presented projects on natural gas, biodiesel, biomass, hybrid solutions, biofuels, solar, and photovoltaic batteries. Winners totaled a capacity of 294 megawatts (MW) to be installed, including seven renewable sources, which will have 15-year contracts and a diesel power plant for seven years starting in June 2021.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 22, 2019, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill (S. 1614) to amend the Clean Air Act (CAA) to modify the definition of “renewable biomass” under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The CAA currently prohibits the use of biomass from federal lands in the making of renewable fuels as defined by the RFS.  The bill would allow the use of biomass from certain federal lands needing ecological restoration in the making of renewable fuels.  The bill also is intended to make it financially feasible for private landowners to remove low-value brush that impacts wildlife habitats and poses fire risks.  Under the bill, all mill residuals -- like sawdust and shavings -- can be used for biofuels and it requires biomass harvested from federal lands to be done in accordance with all federal laws, regulations, and land-use plans and designations.

Tags: CAA, Biofuel, RFS

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 15, 2019, the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved approximately $11 million for clean energy demonstration projects that include biofuels, renewable gas, and microgrids. Funded by CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program, in support of clean transportation innovation, $2 million from the total funds have been approved for technology and investment solutions in hopes of demonstrating cost-effective and more sustainable processes for creating biomethane for waste hauling trucks. Funding was also awarded in support of renewable gas production using wood waste from trees killed by beetle infestation and drought, as well as in support of the natural gas sector. Microgrids at schools and residential areas in the City of Lancaster are also being supported by a $5 million grant.  The project’s distributed energy resources will be integrated and managed by a virtual power plant that optimizes cost savings, grid resilience, and revenue generation. Further details can be found in CEC’s business meeting agenda.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 15, 2019, DOE EERE’s BETO announced the deadline for concept paper submissions for a $79 million funding opportunity for bioenergy research and development (R&D): June 3, 2019. This funding opportunity includes biopower, biofuels, and bioproducts, aiming to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value products from waste or biomass resources. The opportunity includes ten topic areas:

  • Cultivation Intensification Processes for Algae
     
  • Biomass Component Variability and Feedstock Conversion Interface
     
  • Efficient Wood Heaters
     
  • Systems Research of Hydrocarbon Biofuel Technologies
     
  • Optimization of Biomass-Derived Jet Fuel Blends
     
  • Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Wastes
     
  • Advanced Bioprocessing and Agile BioFoundry
     
  • Plastics in the Circular Carbon Economy
     
  • Rethinking Anaerobic Digestion
     
  • Reducing Water, Energy, and Emissions in Bioenergy

For further details, see the EERE Exchange website.

Tags: DOE, Biofuel, EERE

 
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