Biobased and Renewable Products Update

Biobased and Renewable Products Update

December 6, 2018


DOE ARPA-E OPEN 2018 Program Announces Funding For New Projects

On November 15, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced the latest open funding opportunity for 40 new projects (OPEN 2018).  The funds add up to $98 million and are designed to support research and development (R&D) innovators’ projects to transform the U.S. energy system.  Solicitations for ARPA-E OPEN funding are available for scientists and engineers focused on transformational technologies across ARPA-E’s mission.  The projects fall into nine categories:

Centralized Generation;
Distributed Generation;
Electrical Efficiency;
Grid Storage;
Manufacturing Efficiency;
Transportation Energy Conversion;
Transportation Fuels; and
Transportation Vehicles.

Of those selected, approximately 43 percent of OPEN 2018 projects will be led by universities, 35 percent by small businesses, and the remainder by large businesses, non-profit organizations, or federally funded R&D centers.  The 40 projects announced will take place in 21 different states and ARPA-E will announce other new program areas.  A list of winners can be found here.

DOE Announces Novel Process For The Conversion Of Biomass Into Gas

On November 27, 2018, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the discovery of a new process that uses biomass gasification.  Developed by the Bioenergy Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the process converts solid biomass into gas under high temperatures, creating a new blendstock that is low on aromatic compounds.  The blendstock consists of high-octane gasoline that can be produced in a few efficient and accelerated steps.  “This success provides a path for industry to scale up this novel breakthrough technology in the near term,” writes Zia Abdullah, NREL Program Manager.  Additionally, NREL’s research has contributed to DOE’s Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative.  NREL’s new technology aims at increasing the market penetration for biofuels and advancing U.S. energy security.

EPA Announces Final RFS Volumes For 2019 And Biomass Volumes for 2020

On November 30, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final renewable fuels volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2019 and the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020.  The final rule establishes that the 15-billion gallon targets originally set by Congress for 2019 will be maintained and primarily met by corn ethanol.  Additionally, in 2019, advanced biofuel volumes will increase by 630 million gallons and cellulosic biofuel volumes by 130 million gallons over the 2018 standard.  The biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 will increase by 330 million gallons over the 2019 standard of 2.1 billion gallons.

DOE Announces Two New Manufacturing Innovator Challenge Prizes

On December 4, 2018, as part of its efforts to crowdsource solutions to increase energy productivity, DOE announced it will issue two new prizes as part of its Manufacturing Innovator Challenge.  The first new prize focuses on Biobased Additive Manufacturing (BAM) and will be distributed to three winners.  BAM involves the production of rapid prototyping of complex structures through biobased three-dimensional printing.  To qualify for the BAM prize, candidates are required to identify new materials that are made from at least 90 percent plant matter or algae, and that can meet or improve the performance of current three-dimensional printing materials.  Applications for this award are now open and must be submitted by January 10, 2019.

The second prize announced focuses on Novel Concepts for Large-Scale Three-Dimensional Printing, which will be awarded to three applicants as well.  This prize aims to award applicants that identify spaces where three-dimensional printing can play a role in breakthrough technologies.  Applications for this award are now open as well and must be submitted by February 1, 2019.  The Challenge also includes other award opportunities that can be found here.

Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Call For Nominations

On December 4, 2018, EPA announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  Sponsored by EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACSGCI), these awards promote the development and use of novel green chemistry for environmental and economic benefits.  There are five award categories for which eligible candidates can be nominated:

Greener Synthetic Pathways (Focus Area 1);
Greener Reaction Condition (Focus Area 2);
The Design of Greener Chemicals (Focus Area 3);
Small Business; and

Eligibility for nominations requires that candidates’ technology meets the following criteria:  (1) it must be a green chemistry technology with a significant chemistry component; (2) it must include source reduction; (3) it must be submitted by an eligible organization or its representatives; (4) it must have a significant milestone in its development within the past five years; (5) it must have a significant U.S. component; and (6) it must fit within at least one of the three focus areas of the program.  The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2019, to be presented in the summer of 2019.  Self-nominations are allowed, there is no entry fee or standard form, and one can nominate more than one technology.


EC Announces Strategic Plan On Achieving A Climate Neutral Economy

On November 28, 2018, the European Commission (EC) published a document called “A Clean Planet for all: A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy.”  Due to EC’s expressed concerns about climate change, part of this new long-term vision includes new rulings that facilitate the production of bio-fertilizers, encourage the production of biogas from manure treatment, and increase biomass imports.  Emphasizing the crucial role of biomass in a world with a 30 percent higher population in 2050, the report states that “[b]iomass can directly supply heat.  It can be transformed into biofuels and biogas and when cleaned can be transported through the gas grid substituting natural gas … And it can substitute for carbon intensive materials, particularly in the building sector but also through new and sustainable bio-based products such as biochemicals.”  The report also analyzes the economic and social impacts of these new rulings, and highlights the critical role of the European Union (EU) in leading a low-carbon transition at the global level.

Ontario Government Submits Proposed Environment Plan

On November 29, 2018, the Government of Ontario, Canada, submitted for public comment 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 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.  As part of the work on the plan, the next steps to make the actions outlined final include continued engagement with Indigenous communities, the establishment of a climate change advisory panel, the implementation of priority initiatives, and monitoring progress.  The Plan is open for comment until January 28, 2019.
B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM)

BCCM Biobased Podcast:  Coming Soon

BCCM is pleased to announce that Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) podcast “All Things Chemical™” will release an episode on biobased equivalency determination.  The podcast will be presented by B&C’s Director of Chemistry, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., who is a 17-year veteran of EPA and is one of the most widely recognized experts in the field of green chemistry.  It will provide an overview of the term “biobased” and what it means, the current nomenclature issue surrounding the biobased industry, and how BCCM’s Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) is addressing the issue through equivalency determination.  Stay tuned for the podcast in the next month and subscribe now on on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher!  In the meantime, check out BRAG’s website for news on nomenclature issues.

Other News


Chemical & Engineering News, “To Fulfill Biofuels’ Promise, Scientists Boost Plant Oils with Gene Editing
Ethanol Producer Magazine, “New Tax, Oversight Bill Aims to Extend Biofuel Tax Credits, “Omani Woman Scientist Wins UNESCO Fellowship for Research in Biofuels
The Times of India, “CSIR Working on Developing Biofuels on a Commercial Scale
Biofuels International, “Biodiesel By-product Has Potential as Clean Burning Fuel Additive
FDA News, “Aziyo’s Bioscaffold Cleared by FDA for Expanded Use
Reuters, “UPDATE 1-EPA Will Not Reallocate Waived Biofuel Volumes to 2019 Mandate — Official
Time, “The 10 Smartest Sustainable Products of 2018
Reuters, “Malaysia’s Petronas Sets Up Team for Renewable Energy Push
Biofuels International, “BASF Announce Renewable Methanol Production
Bloomberg, “You May Be Vegetarian, but What About Your Favorite Airline?
R&D Magazine, “GE Healthcare to Open Biotechnology Manufacturing Center in U.K.
Digital Journal, “Ecovia’s AzuraGel™ Superabsorbent Awarded 100% USDA Certified Biobased Product Label
Reuters, “Exclusive: EPA Refinery Biofuel Waiver Program on Hold Pending Review — Sources
Radio 570 WNAX, “Biofuels Industry Opposes Legislation to Replace the RFS with an Octane Standard
The Fence Post, “Grassley Talks Farm Bill, RFS Volumes, Tax Extenders
Talk Business & Politics, “Abandoned Bales Reflect Failed Plans for Miscanthus to be Part of a Biofuels Boom
European Coatings, “Water-borne PUD Adhesives with Bio-based Polyol Component
BBC, “Danish Firm Claims First Biofuel Commercial Sea Voyage
Packaging Europe, “Corona Launches Bio-based Six-pack Rings
Reuters, “Betting on Ethanol, Brazilian Mills Turn Sour on Sugar
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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