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 January 19, 2016, Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. (Elevance), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced the successful scale-up of a second-generation biorefinery technology of the Company's olefin metathesis technology, utilizing ethylene and natural oil feedstocks. Elevance collaborated with Versalis, XiMo AG, and Soneas to reach this milestone in the development of second-generation metathesis technology. "This significant accomplishment advances the interests of several of our partners and demonstrates the advantages of working together," stated Mel Luetkens, COO at Elevance. Further, "Elevance is pleased to be at the center of this collaboration and to be advancing these important developments for our partners and us. It is another validation of Elevance's technology and the value that we bring to our partner relationships."


 

On August 14, 2015, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) asked EPA to waive Reid Vapor Pressure requirements for E15 and to also allow E12 blending. Reid Vapor Pressure is a measure of gasoline's volatility and is regulated in the summer months to reduce health risks caused by evaporative emissions. The request by the RFA occurred in the wake of a 240,000 barrels per day (b/d) refinery outage in Whiting, Indiana that has resulted in 50 cents per gallon cost increases for gasoline in some regions. Ethanol in the Chicago wholesale market is currently $1 per gallon less than gasoline and, if gas stations began carrying E15, gas prices would be reduced by at least 5 cents per gallon, saving drivers in the Midwest about $6 million per day. The RFA argues that the outage illustrates the need to diversify the fuel supply to blunt the consumer impacts of supply availability.


 

On June 2, 2015, federal appellate judges decided that EPA's methodology for evaluating small refineries (those with crude oil throughput averaging 75,000 barrels or less per day) for exemptions from the RFS program was fair. Hermes Consol. LLC v. EPA, No. 14-1016 (D.C. Cir. June 2, 2015). Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA is allowed to exempt small refiners from the annual blending requirements if compliance would cause ''disproportionate economic hardship." There was a blanket exemption available for all small refineries in 2011 that expired in 2013. The case was brought by Hermes Consolidated, LLC, doing business as Wyoming Refining Company, a small refinery that applied for exemption from the 2013 renewable fuel blending requirements but was denied after EPA made mathematical errors while evaluating financial hardship. The court has ordered EPA to reconsider the petition from Hermes Consolidated, LLC, but has upheld EPA's overall methodology for conducting small refinery exception analyses.


 

On October 17, 2014, Abengoa opened -- and DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz dedicated -- the world's largest cellulosic biorefinery in Hugoton, Kansas. This second generation cellulosic ethanol plant will process 1,000 tons of biomass per day and utilize mainly corn stover, as well as wheat straw, milo stubble, and switch grass. This biorefinery will produce up to 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol every year. It benefited from a $132.4 million loan guarantee and a $97 million grant, both from DOE. More information about the plant and comments from the opening ceremony are available in a DOE press release, "Secretary Moniz Dedicates Innovative Commercial-Scale Cellulosic Biofuel Plant" and on the Biofuels Digest website.