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 April 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of the Co-Optima FY2017 Year in Review.  The Co-Optima initiative is accelerating the introduction of efficient, clean, affordable, and scalable high-performance fuels by bringing together DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), national laboratories, universities, and industry and government stakeholders to collaborate on improvements to biofuels and the development of new technologies.  This report covers significant accomplishments made by Co-Optima in fiscal year 2017 (FY17), including:

  • Establishing an improved merit function that quantifies how fuel properties impact boosted spark ignition (SI) engine efficiency.
  • Identifying representative blendstocks from five chemical families that provide the key fuel properties needed for high-efficiency SI engines.
  • Screening a wide range of blendstocks to assess compatibility with vehicles and infrastructure.
  • Determining relationships that describe how chemical structure impacts key fuel properties.
  • Developing new numerical algorithms and computational tools that accelerate research and development (R&D).
  • Completing integrated, systems-level analyses of blendstocks in relation to economic, technological, market, and environmental factors.

In addition to expounding upon these successes, the Co-Optima initiative report also outlines what impact they can have on U.S. industries. Utilizing these new efficient technologies could significantly reduce fuel costs for passenger and commercial vehicles by billions of dollars, maximize existing fuel infrastructure, and add hundreds of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 10, 2018, Vivergo Fuels announced that it was re-opening its bioethanol plant following the passing of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The Vivergo plant, the largest plant in the United Kingdom (UK) and the second largest producer of bioethanol in Europe, was originally shut down due to unfavorable trading conditions and uncertainty about the future of renewable fuel policies. RTFO will increase the use of renewable fuels in transport from current levels of 4.75 percent to 9.75 percent by 2020, but Vivergo is now calling for the introduction of E10 fuel by the end of 2018. E10 is widely used in the United States, as well as France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Canada, and Australia. Vivergo argues that introducing E10 in the UK would provide an immediate impact on transport emissions, provide high quality employment in the region, and spur further investment in renewables.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 17, 2018, the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) announced that ten startup companies had won the opportunity to pitch their technologies to major companies at the GC3’s 3rd Annual Green & Bio-Based Chemistry Technology Showcase & Networking Event. The Technology Showcase will be held on May 8, 2018, during the GC3 Annual Innovators Roundtable, with participation from 16 large companies, including Apple, BASF, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., L’Oréal, and Procter & Gamble. The chosen startups are:

Monica Becker, Co-Director of the GC3 and Collaborative Innovation Platform Lead, said of the Showcase “these startups will begin discussions leading to joint development agreements, licensing, and investments with companies that are seeking new chemical technologies. . . . Our goal is to get these technologies to market and scale to contribute to safer and more sustainable products and operations.” A wide variety of processes are covered by these startups, including technology that produces surfactants without using petroleum, palm oil, or traditional chemical processes, such as ethoxylation or chlorination, and a technology that provides a new, green platform chemistry for cleaning solvents, adhesives, plasticizers, and paint coalescers.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 13, 2018, Neste, a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced that Red and White Fleet cruise company is committing to switch its entire fleet of vessels from conventional diesel to 100 percent Neste MY Renewable Diesel. This drop-in low-carbon biofuel cuts greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 80 percent and allows for reductions in engine-out emissions while enhancing fleet performance. Switching to renewable diesel has not impacted the Fleet’s fueling procedures or maintenance intervals while resulting in longer fuel filter life and a reduction of soot. "We are excited to partner with Red and White Fleet by providing them with a fuel that is clean, safe, renewable and odor free,” stated Jeremy Baines, Vice President of Sales, Neste US, Inc. “Their decision places them amongst a growing list of progressive and forward-thinking San Francisco companies that want to ensure a better world through sustainable solutions.”

Tags: Neste, GHG, Biofuel

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 3, 2018, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) announced that companies from Argentina and Indonesia will face new anti-dumping duties after findings by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) that imports of biodiesel at less than fair value materially injured the U.S. biodiesel industry. Commerce determined that the Argentinian and Indonesian imports were sold in the U.S. at dumping margins of up to 86.41 percent and 276.65 percent, respectively. A full report containing the views of USITC and information developed during the investigations will be available by May 7, 2018, and will be accessible via the USITC website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 6, 2018, a coalition of biofuel producers wrote to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) urging them to reach out to President Trump to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. EPA, under the direction of Administrator Scott Pruitt, recently provided a large oil refining company, Andeavor, with a hardship waiver. These waivers are typically given to small refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels per day that would suffer a “disproportionate economic hardship” from the costs of RFS compliance. Since Andeavor’s exemption was reported, Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices have fallen significantly, questions have arisen regarding the legality of such an exemption for a large company, and doubt has been cast onto the future stability of the RFS program.

The producers’ letter states:

Based on the data that has been made public about 2016 exemptions, IRFA estimates that the 25 exemptions for 2017 likely equate to over one billion gallons of demand destruction taken directly from the 15-billion-gallon RFS level for last year.
 
This represents an unprecedented attack on the RFS and the President’s commitment to defending the 15-billion-gallon level. The small refinery exemption provision of the RFS was clearly intended for small refiners who could prove disproportionate economic harm. Such waivers were, as one would expect, few and far between during the Bush and Obama Administrations. We are now seeing that Pruitt has weaponized the small refinery exemption provision in an effort to effectively render the RFS useless.
 

In addition to concern over Andeavor’s hardship waiver, the biofuel producers also request that the senators push the President to refuse any waiver or price cap on RINs and order Administrator Pruitt to approve year-round E15 sales, increasing the amount of RFS credits generated and driving price of RINs down.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 29, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a Federal Register notice it is seeking public comment on the use of isobutanol in gasoline.  EPA specifically seeks comment on issues to consider regarding an application submitted by Butamax Advanced Biofuels, LLC (Butamax), a manufacturer of isobutanol, pursuant to the regulations titled “Registration of Fuels and Fuel Additives” for the registration of isobutanol as a gasoline additive at up to 16 volume percent, and any supplemental actions EPA should consider under the Clean Air Act (CAA). EPA states that Butamax’s information would likely satisfy the applicable registration requirements, and, due to the likelihood of this registration, there is potential for the widespread introduction of isobutanol into commerce.  Further information on biobutanol, the common name for isobutanol made from renewable sources, is available in the Federal Register notice.  Comments are due by April 30, 2018.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

ASTM International’s energizing fuels division recently passed an Alcohol To Jet (ATJ) ethanol based specification ballot measure that will allow jet fuel, produced from ethanol under the ATJ process, to be sold commercially on a global basis.  ASTM D7566 had previously permitted ethanol as a feedstock for Aviation Turbine Fuel with a maximum final fuel blend of 50 percent, but now permits a full replacement of the hydrocarbon fuel. This change opens the door to the use of more drop-in fuels used as alternatives to fossil fuels.  Kevin Weiss, CEO of Byogy Renewables, stated of the change, "it's one thing to have a great commodity product, but without an operative supply chain it's difficult to sell. […] We now have the ability to supplement and leverage the existing downstream petroleum industry with a well distributed ATJ Sustainable Aviation Fuel that can be produced anywhere by building on the existing global ethanol supply chain.”


 
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