|Biobased and Renewable Products Update|
|October 12, 2017|
|■||University of Arizona, which received $7,026,000 for the cultivation of two desert-dwelling feedstocks, specifically guayule and guar, that can provide biomass year round for biofuel production;|
|■||University of Florida, which received $7,026,000 for the development of a resilient Brassica carinata-based biofuel and bioproduct supply chain in the Southeast;|
|■||University of Missouri, Rolla, which received $32,000 to help develop a viable market for guayule resin through laboratory and field research, and expand the research and educational capacity of the asphalt laboratory at the Missouri University of Science and Technology;|
|■||North Carolina State University, which received $2,750,000 to prepare a diverse group of college students and high school teachers with the knowledge and interdisciplinary tools necessary to advance the future of America’s bioenergy, bioproducts, and the bioeconomy;|
|■||The Ohio State University, which received $2,750,000 to create a national network of universities, industry, and government agencies that derive sufficient benefits to be sustainable long-term; and|
|■||Oklahoma State University, which received $1,500,000 to educate the next generation of engineers and scientists in renewable resource utilization.|
USDA awarded Spero Energy Inc. a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $100,000 to conduct research and development to increase the availability and competitiveness of biobased products within the agricultural market. Spero Energy is an Indiana-based company focused on the development of cost competitive processes for the conversion of biomass to renewable chemicals and fuels. The SBIR grant aims to support the development of a series of patent-pending biobased and biodegradable chelates. Chelates bind and deliver micronutrients to a variety of crops, which has been shown to increase crop production and yields. The funding will be used to finalize the chelate formulation, scale up the reactions, and further prepare for commercialization. Spero Energy, which began as a Purdue University startup, developed its technology in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette
FDA Announces Meeting, Calls For Comments On FDA/USDA Agricultural Biotechnology Education And Outreach Initiative
On October 12, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced two public meetings regarding its Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative. The meetings will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on November 7, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (EST) and in San Francisco, California, on November 14, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (PST). FDA states the purpose of the public meetings is “to provide the public with an opportunity to share information, experiences, and suggestions to help inform the development of this education and outreach initiative.” This initiative, which Congress appropriated $3 million to fund, calls upon FDA to work with USDA to provide education and outreach to the public on agricultural biotechnology and food and animal feed ingredients derived from biotechnology. More information on the initiative and information on how to register for the meetings is available on FDA’s website. Comments on questions listed in the Federal Register notice, scheduled to be published tomorrow, are also being requested and can be filed in Docket FDA-2017-N-5991 on www.regulations.gov. Comments are due by November 17, 2017.
PNNL, WSU Partnership Produce Byproducts From Biofuel
A collaboration between researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Washington State University (WSU) has led to the development of a method for converting hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater into a usable and valuable commodity. The method utilizes the byproduct wastewater stream from the continuous thermo-chemical process that PNNL researchers developed to produce biocrude from algae. The wastewater contains a variety of different chemicals in small concentrations, such as carbon and nutrients from the algae, and accounts for approximately 90 percent of the output. Researchers at WSU Tri-Cities’ Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory have developed a method to process the wastewater using anaerobic microbes. The microbes break down the components of the wastewater to produce bionatural gas and a solid byproduct that can be recycled back into the hydrothermal liquefaction process or used as a fertilizer. Following the success of the partnership, PNNL and WSU researchers are collaborating on the conversion of sewage sludge to biofuel, bionatural gas, and nutrients using a similar strategy.
Maryland Announces $3.5 Million In Funding For Animal Waste To Energy
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) issued a $3,500,000 funding opportunity for projects that use animal waste to generate electricity while reducing the environmental impacts that animal wastes can have on Maryland’s natural resources. The Animal Waste to Energy Grant Program (AWE Grant Program) will target on-farm or pilot scale projects with capacities of less than 2 MW and community or regional scale projects with capacities of greater than 2 MW. To be eligible for the grant, projects must use animal waste, through any proven process, to generate electricity, reduce the volume of animal waste, and address the fate of the byproduct. The AWE Grant Program is open to all businesses, government agencies, and non-profits in Maryland. Applications are due by February 28, 2018.
Neste Issues Report On Changes In Energy, Transport, Chemical Markets
On October 5, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the publication of its business environment outlook titled “Taking Action on Climate Change.” The report provides an overview of key changes taking place in the energy, transport, and chemicals markets and of select drivers of such change. The report highlights the role biofuels can play in reducing emissions from the road, aviation, and marine transport sectors. Demand for renewable diesel is expected to double in North America, the Nordic countries, and Europe by 2021. Additionally, renewable aviation fuels provide an important solution for an industry committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions despite an increasing demand for aviation fuel.
The report also suggests that rapidly increasing resource consumption and waste generation are the driving force behind the move towards a circular economy. Neste expects the bioplastics market to grow by more than 40 percent by 2021, with 80 percent of the growth coming from durable biobased plastics. To help decouple plastics from the consumption of fossil-based feedstocks, Neste is developing new business operations from bioplastics using its renewable products as the raw materials.
By 2020, Neste aims to have renewable jet fuel, renewable chemicals, and biobased plastics account for 20 percent of its renewable business sales volume.
|■||Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, “Grassley, Ernst to Meet with Pruitt on Ethanol”|
|■||Chemistry World, “First for Cells as They’re Made to Manufacture Fluorinated Bioplastics”|
|■||The Scientist, “Meet the Transgenic Silkworms That Are Spinning out Spider Silk”|
|■||National Biodiesel Board, “Biofuels Advocates Together Urge President to Prevent EPA’s Actions That Harm American Workers”|
|■||Aemetis, “Aemetis Commercializes Advanced Enzymatic Biodiesel Process”|