Biobased and Renewable Products Update – Update from Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Biobased and Renewable Products Update

February 7, 2019

Federal

EERE BETO Announces Updated 2019 Project Peer Review Agenda

On February 4, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced a revised agenda for the 2019 Project Peer Review that will take place in Denver, Colorado, on March 4-8, 2019.  An annual event hosted by BETO, this is an opportunity for BETO to present early-stage development projects across its technology areas and have the projects reviewed by experts from industry, academia, and other federal agencies.  The updated agenda includes sessions on Catalytic Upgrading, Performance-Advantaged Bioproducts and Separations, Advanced Algal Systems, Feedstock Supply and Logistics, and Lignin Utilization, among others.  The event is open to the public, and includes presentations from over 300 researchers.

International

Growth Energy Applauds Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan

On January 28, 2019, Growth Energy, an ethanol supporters group, submitted joint comments with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to the Government of Ontario, Canada, in support of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (Plan). The Plan outlines the government’s commitment to addressing climate change through the protection of land, air, water, and reduction of waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Posted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Plan would increase ethanol use in gasoline by 15 percent in 2025, increase the use of renewable gas and fuels, establish emission performance standards for large emitters, and provide financial assistance for emissions reduction initiatives.  Pleased with the Ontario Government’s proposal to increase the ethanol content of gasoline, Growth Energy and USGC highlight the “tremendous benefits to the public” it will provide through lower GHG emissions and levels of other pollutants, better fuel properties, and economic benefits to Canada’s agricultural economy. The letter also reassures Ontario that the increase in demand from a move to 15 percent ethanol (E15) will be met. The two organizations provide additional information on the approval and use of E15 in the U.S., with a note that since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of this rule in 2011, retail and wholesale of E15 continues to grow. The letter concludes by emphasizing once more the substantial advances to Ontario’s goals should the proposed Plan be implemented. According to the letter, the goals and promises of the Plan are not only achievable, but also would still support consumer choice and ensure compliance flexibility and transparency.

Industry

RFA President And CEO Appeals To EPA Administrator On RFS Reset Rule

On January 29, 2019, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Geoff Cooper, submitted a letter to EPA Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reset Rule. Addressing EPA’s final RFS rule that would be released in Spring 2019 resetting statutory RFS blending obligations for 2020, 2021, and 2022, as well as biomass-based diesel blending obligations for 2021 and 2022, the letter reflects RFA’s expectations as EPA completes the rulemaking. RFA would like EPA to use the Reset Rule “as an opportunity to adjust future implied blending obligations for conventional renewable fuels” accounting for three considerations:

1.The 500 million gallons of renewable fuel waived improperly from the 2016 standards;
2.The 232 million Renewable Identification Number (RIN) write-off from the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining and Marketing, L.L.C. bankruptcy settlement; and
3.The 2.25 billion RIN values attributable to 48 small refinery exemptions granted in 2016 and 2017.

In his letter, Mr. Cooper claims that these three considerations resulted in ethanol plant idling/shutdown, layoffs, and decreased demand and prices for farmers. Mr. Cooper, therefore, requests that the aforementioned considerations be accounted for in the implementation of the Reset Rule, stating that the rule “provides the perfect vehicle for EPA to make appropriate adjustments to ensure the statutory volumes are met” and “satisfies the Congressional intent behind the RFS program.”

Research

Furan-Based Copolyesters May Replace PET Plastics

In January 2019, scientists at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, published a study on the application of enzymatic polymerization techniques in the preparation of sustainable furan-based copolyesters. With increased content of aromatic units, two different synthetic approaches are introduced in the article. Financially supported by the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education, the study provides the necessary background to design sustainable, high-performance polymers that can provide an alternative to plastics made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET, which is a petroleum-based material used in plastics, is able to keep the fizz in drink bottles because of its barrier properties. The new furan-based copolyesters have been discovered to have the same barrier-like properties, providing an opportunity for the conversion of renewable sources into polymeric materials.

Other News

 

SuccessfulFarming, “High-oleic Soybeans Out of the Lab, into the Field
North American Wind Power, “N.Y. Laymakers Propose Legislation in Support of Existing Renewable Energy Facilities
Biofuels Digest, “Bio-based Lingerie? Of course, in Paris!
Reuters, “EPA Says to Finish E15 Gasoline Rule before Summer, Despite U.S. Shutdown
Biofuels International, “ExxonMobil and Clariant Team Up on Cellulosic Biofuels
snews, “Picture Organic Launches New Bio-based Membrane
Global Cosmetic Industry, “Firmenich Launches Sustainable, Traceable Fragrance Collection
Green Car Congress, “Pertamina and Eni to Collaborate on Low-carbon Products and Renewable Energies; Indonesian Bio-refinery
Biomass Magazine, “Arizona Bioenergy Producer Urges EPA to Process eRIN Applications
Biofuels International, “Blockchain Helps Bunker Sustainable Biofuels in Rotterdam
Euractiv, “Biofuel Sustainability Criteria ‘Blocked’ in EU Commission
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