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 10, 2016, DOE's BETO announced that $1.9 million has been allocated for biofuel, bioproduct, and biopower projects under its Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot initiative. The grant money is the first of up to $20 million that DOE has agreed to commit to help small businesses receive specialized assistance with their technologies. Under the SBV Pilot, eligible U.S.-owned small businesses with less than 500 employees can request a voucher for use at one of DOE's national laboratories, valued between $50,000 and $300,000. This allows small businesses to take advantage of the technological capability and know-how of DOE labs to help bring clean technologies to market.

The first round of vouchers included two companies working with microbes to convert sugars to valuable biochemicals. Visolis, Inc will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to demonstrate the scale-up potential of their integrated bio-thermochemical conversion technology to produce bio-isoprene from lignocellulosic materials. Lygos will work with NREL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to test their fermentation pathway using engineered microbes to produce biobased malonic acid, an important chemical intermediary, at a larger scale. There are three rounds of the SBV Pilot program, with vouchers available for Algal Feedstocks R&D, Analysis and Sustainability, Conversion R&D, and Terrestrial Feedstock Logistics R&D. Applications for the second round of vouchers are being accepted from March 10 through April 10, 2016.


On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced eight small business contracts through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. The eight Phase II contracts provide the companies with $300,000 each to develop and commercialize innovative products that address environmental and public health issues. Phase II funding is typically made available to companies that have already been granted Phase I funding through the SBIR Program. This round of funding included two biobased businesses, Environmental Fuel Research, LLC, a company that is developing a system to produce biofuel from grease trap waste, and Sustainable Bioproducts, LLC, a company that is developing a low-cost, simple, and scalable microbial process for the conversion of organic municipal solid waste to fuels using fungus. The SBIR Program is open to for-profit U.S. businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Open solicitations for applicants are listed on the SBIR website, but applications for this specific program are currently closed.


DOE has developed a small business "All-in-one Application Tool" for small businesses looking for funds to advance clean energy technologies. The online tool provides a guide for potential applicants for the topics under the DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Among the nine topics identified by SBIR is bioenergy, with particular focus on biomass conversion systems, coatings for metal combustors, and solid-liquid separations for algal systems.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued an announcement for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, including the technology transfer opportunity, which focuses on small businesses' commercialization of intellectual property from DOE-funded laboratories and universities. Small businesses selected for the programs are allowed to maintain the rights to new technologies they develop, and are encouraged to transfer these technologies to the marketplace.