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 March 9, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that its My Renewable Diesel helped reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 6.7 million tons in 2016.  The reduction of carbon emissions from MY Renewable Diesel is equivalent to the removal of 2.4 million passenger cars from the road for one full year.  The low-carbon diesel, which is refined from renewable raw materials, is suitable for all diesel-powered passenger cars and heavy transport vehicles, including buses, garbage trucks, and emergency vehicles, without the need for vehicle-related investments or modifications.  Neste aims to increase the total annual GHG emission reduction volume to seven million tons in 2017


 
■  Biotechnology Innovation Organization, “BIO Submits Comments on EPA Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule
 
■  EPA, “Draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2015
 
■  International Energy Agency, “New Bioenergy Roadmap Guide Released Jointly by IEA and FAO

 

On February 9, 2017, Illinois State Senators Andy Manar and Chapin Rose introduced legislation aimed at growing Illinois’ biobased economy by providing incentives under the Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit Program Act.  The program would provide credit against taxes for eligible Illinois businesses that produce renewable chemicals within the state using biomass feedstock and other renewable sources.  The legislation defines a renewable chemical as a building block with a biobased content of at least 50 percent.  According to the legislation, eligible businesses will be required to submit to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity an application for the tax credit that includes the amount of renewable chemical produced during the calendar year and any other information needed to verify eligibility as identified by the Department.  The proposed tax credit will not exceed $1 million for businesses that have been in operation in Illinois for five years or less, and $500,000 for businesses that have been in operation longer than five years.


 

On December 6, 2016, EPA held a hearing on its proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support rule.  The proposed rule would update the regulatory structure to allow biofuel producers to process and convert biomass at different facilities, update fuel regulations to allow for more high-ethanol fuel blends in flex fuel vehicles, and permit cellulosic biofuels to be produced from new feedstock sources.  Testimony provided by Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) focused on the impact of the proposed rule on the development of the E15 market and strengthening ethanol flex-fuel provisions.  Geoff Cooper, the senior vice president of RFA, stated that RFA was opposed to EPA establishing a quality survey program to collect and analyze ethanol flex-fuel samples, and highlighted the different treatment between E10 and E15 regarding volatility. Chris Bliley, the director of regulatory affairs for Growth Energy, also pushed EPA to resolve the vapor pressure relief issue, stating that the proposal would isolate E15 as the only ethanol-blended fuel without Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) relief in conventional areas.  Bliley supported the development of cellulosic biofuels through the use of biointermediates and new pathways, as well.  More information on the proposed rule is available in the BRAG blog post EPA Announces Public Hearing For Proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.   The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2016.  Comments are due by January 17, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).


 

On November 30, 2016, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), released a statement in response to the publication of the European Commission’s (EC) proposal on the revised Renewable Energy Directive (Directive) for 2021 to 2030.  The aim of the Directive is to raise renewable energy usage in Europe to 27 percent by 2030.  In the revised Directive, the EC introduced a mandate requiring fuel suppliers to include a minimum share of advanced biofuels in their offering, which will increase steadily between 2021 and 2030.  Neste highlighted the fact that for the first time renewable solutions from the aviation and marine sectors are included in the biofuels blending mandate.  Neste stated the proposal would support biofuels use and development in Europe, and provide predictability that would allow companies to plan their long-term operations and investments.  The proposal requires approval from the European Council and the European Parliament before it becomes official.


 

On November 29, 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Transportation published proposed legislative changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), which is open for consultation until January 22, 2017.  Among the proposed changes is an increase in the blending mandates to 9.75 percent by volume for 2020.  The three main proposals outlined detail increasing the supply of waste derived fuels, encouraging the production of advanced renewable fuels, and setting a maximum cap for fuels from food crops.  The aim of the consultation is to determine whether further measures could be taken to minimize costs.
 
The RTFO was established to achieve the targets for renewable energy usage in the transportation sector set by the European Union by incentivizing fuel suppliers to provide biofuels at the lowest cost possible.  The objective is to encourage investment in renewable fuels so that the relative cost of biofuels decreases over time.


 

As previously reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group’s (BRAG®) Biobased and Renewable Products Update of November 11, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a notice in the Federal Register of a public hearing for the proposed “Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.”  The proposed rule updates the regulatory structure to allow biofuel producers to process and convert biomass at different facilities, update fuel regulations to allow for more high-ethanol fuel blends in flex fuel vehicles (FFV), and permit cellulosic biofuels to be produced from new feedstock sources.  EPA is seeking comment on the programs covered in the proposal, as well as renewable identification number (RIN) generation for renewable transport fuels and regulatory requirements for facilities that could use carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the future production of renewable fuels.  More information about the proposed rule is available in the BRAG blog post “ EPA Announces Public Hearing For Proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule. ”   The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2016.  Comments are due by January 17, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).


 

On October 3, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.  This proposed rule includes suggestions to improve the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and related pro-renewable fuel regulations.  Updated regulations included in the proposed rule include allowing biofuel producers to process feedstock and then convert the material into fuels at different facilities, and an expansion to the availability of high-ethanol fuel blends.  The proposed rule allows increases to the types of feedstocks that biofuels can be produced from, allowing cellulosic biofuels to be produced from short-rotation poplar and willow trees; renewable diesel and biodiesel to be produced from non-cellulosic portions of separated food waste; and cellulosic diesel to be produced from compressed cellulosic feedstocks and petroleum.  Comments will be due 60 days after the proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register.


 

On October 4, 2016, Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development, posted a blog item “The Bio-Based Economy and Renewable Energy: USDA’s Record of Success,” reviewing the history of USDA’s work with the biobased economy.  USDA Rural Development has spearheaded the effort to promote economic growth through expansion of the biobased industry.  Lisa Mensah outlines positive impacts of USDA’s programs, stating “domestic energy-related emissions have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years.  Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 40-year low and declining.  In the last eight years, USDA has helped lead an effort to promote the domestic production and use of advanced biofuels and biobased products, supporting millions of jobs and pumping hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars into the U.S. economy.”  The post also explores the economic benefits that the biobased industry has created for farmers and ranchers, especially though the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), and the Repowering Assistance Program.  USDA’s support of the biobased economy has been central to the steady growth of the industry over the years, and will continue to be integral in the future.


 
Danforth Center, "National Science Foundation Supports Stony Creek Colors And Danforth Center Collaboration for Bio-Based Indigo Business Project"
Business Wire, "Cardolite Corporation Earns USDA Certified Biobased Product Certification For Cardanol Product Line -- a Versatile Building Block for High Performance Biomaterials"
RSC Bio Solutions, "RSC Bio Solutions Launches First-Of-Its Kind EAL Designed to Improve Performance, Increase Uptime and Enhance System Longevity"
Corbion, "Thailand's Circular, Biobased Economy: Home Grown Bioplastics Set to Improve Efficiency of Local Rubber Agriculture"
UPM Biofuels, "GoodFuels Marine and Boskalis Have Successfully Tested UPMs Sustainable Wood-Based Biofuel for Marine Fleet"
Renmatix, "Renmatix Secures $14M Investment from Bill Gates and Total, The Global Energy Major, in Concert with Signing of 1 Million Ton Cellulosic Sugar License"
Renewable Energy Group, "REG Reaches New Sales Milestone with 50 Million Gallons of Biomass-Based Diesel Sold in a Month"
GW Today, "USDA Secretary Touts Bio-Based Goods, Conservation: Tom Vilsack Delivers Keynote Address At GW's GreenGov Symposium"
Environmental Leader, "Think Bio-Based Materials Are Costly, Perform Poorly? Think Again"
Virent, "Strategic Consortium Announced to Commercialize Virent's Bioforming Technology for Low Carbon Fuels and Bio-Paraxylene"
Amyris, "Amyris & Ginkgo Bioworks Complete Collaboration Agreement to Accelerate Commercialization of Bio-Based Products"

 
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