Biobased and Renewable Products Update

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Biobased and Renewable Products Update

March 8, 2018

DOE

DOE Awards $10.6 Million In Funding For Bioenergy Crop Research

On February 25, 2018, the University of Illinois announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a $10.6 million grant for the Renewable Oil Generated with Ultra-productive Energycane (ROGUE) project.  The project is a collaborative effort between researchers from the University of Illinois, Brookhaven National Lab, University of Florida, and Mississippi State University.  ROGUE aims to transform sugarcane and Miscanthus into sustainable sources of biodiesel and biojet fuel by engineering the crops to produce oil rather than sugar.  Researchers anticipate that the crops will achieve 20 percent oil content and produce as much as 15 times more biodiesel per unit of land compared to soybeans.  Additionally, ROGUE aims to improve the photosynthetic efficiency of the crops to ensure that the production of energy-dense oil will not lower yields or suppress plant defenses.

International

European Commission Approves €4.7 Billion Support Scheme For Advanced Biofuels

On March 1, 2018, the European Commission announced the approval of a €4.7 billion Italian support scheme for the production and distribution of advanced biofuels, including advanced biomethane, for use in the transport sector.  Under the scheme, producers of advanced biomethane and biofuels will receive a premium to compensate for higher production costs compared to fossil fuels.  The scheme will run from 2018 until 2022 and will be financed by transport fuel retailers who are required to blend a certain percentage of advanced biofuels and biomethane.  According to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, “[t]he scheme will encourage the production and consumption of advanced biofuels in Italy, while limiting distortions of competition.”  Additionally, the measure will help Italy reach its 2020 target for the use of renewable energy in transport under the European Union Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Industry

Grow Bioplastics Receives SBIR Grant For Lignin-Based Plastic

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Grow Bioplastics, a University of Tennessee student start-up, a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.  The funding will support research and development on new biodegradable plastics from lignin.  The biobased plastic will be used for agricultural applications, such as plastic mulch.  Grow Bioplastics’ biodegradable film can be plowed into the soil after each use, offering a solution to the additional labor costs and environmental impact of current nondegradable films.  According to Tony Bova, Grow Bioplastics co-founder and CEO, the “funding will help [Grow Bioplastics] validate the fundamental science behind our lignin-based plastic technology, allow us to hire our first employees here in East Tennessee, and bring us one step closer to realizing our vision for a socially and environmentally driven business model to support a circular economy.”

Conferences

Lauren M. Graham And Richard E. Engler Present At ABLC2018

On March 2, 2018, Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D., Manager of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), presented “Advocating for Commercialization of Biobased Products” at the 2018 Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference (ABLC2018).  Dr. Graham presented as part of the “Federal Perspective & Programs Forum” alongside four other panelists.  Dr. Graham provided an overview of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulation impacting biobased chemicals and the regulatory barriers to the commercialization of such chemicals.  The presentation highlighted issues with the TSCA nomenclature system, as well as the work being done by BRAG to address the obstacles to commercialization and to engage in the implementation of new TSCA. If companies wish to ensure equitable regulations for biobased chemicals and products, they should consider joining BRAG to assist with future engagement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  For a copy of this presentation or for more information on BRAG, please contact Dr. Graham at lgraham@lawbc.com.

On March 1, 2018, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Senior Chemist for Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), presented “New TSCA and Biobased Innovation” at ABLC2018.  Dr. Engler presented as part of the Renewable Chemicals Summit and provided an overview of the impact new TSCA has had on EPA’s review of new chemicals under TSCA Section 5.  Pursuant to new TSCA Section 5, EPA must make an affirmative determination on every new chemical review, which has resulted in significant delays in the review process and increased regulation of new chemicals.  For a copy of this presentation, please contact Dr. Engler at rengler@lawbc.com.

Other News

Reuters, “White House Pushes For More Talks After ‘No Deal’ On Biofuels
International Air Transport Association, “Aim For 1 Billion Passengers To Fly On Sustainable Fuel Flights By 2025
Colorado State University, “How Biofuels From Plant Fibers Could Combat Global Warming
Lego, “First Sustainable Lego® Bricks Will Be Launched In 2018
■ Coursera, “Introduction to Algae
ABOUT THE FIRM
The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased 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.
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