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

Biobased and Renewable Products Update

Federal

DOE SBIR/STTR Issues Phase I Release 2 FOA Topics

On November 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs office issued topics for its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Participating in the FOA are the following program offices:

  • Office of Cyber Security, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER);
  • Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NNSA);
  • Office of Electricity (OE);
  • Office of Environmental Management (EM);
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE);
  • Office of Fossil Energy (FE);
  • Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES);
  • Office of High Energy Physics (HEP); and
  • Office of Nuclear Energy (NE).

DOE will host a webinar on December 18, 2020, to discuss the FOA and application process and changes to the DOE SBIR and STTR programs.

Additional important dates include:

  • FOA Issued: December 14, 2020;
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) Due Date: January 4 , 2021;
  • Non-responsive LOI Feedback Provided: January 25, 2021;
  • Application Due Date: February 22, 2021;
  • Award Notification Date: May 17, 2021 (subject to change); and
  • Start of Grant Budget Period: June 28, 2021 (subject to change).

DOE Announces New Hydrogen Program Plan

On November 12, 2020, DOE issued its multi-year Hydrogen Program Plan aimed at providing a strategic framework for its hydrogen research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) efforts. A coordinated departmental effort, the Hydrogen Program focuses on the advancement of affordable production, transport, storage, and use of hydrogen across different economy sectors. Offices involved in this plan include DOE’s EERE, FE, NE, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

DOE Calls For White Papers On Its Co-Optima Initiative

On November 13, 2020, DOE’s EERE announced that the Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative issued a call for white papers. The Co-Optima initiative focuses on the development of new high-performance fuels that, when combined with advanced combustion approaches, can increase energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint. The initiative is seeking white papers to leverage National Laboratory resources and overcome technical challenges to advancing new liquid fuels and blendstocks. Proposals must address specific technical challenges and barriers that Co-Optima researchers can work on to move new fuels closer to market in conjunction with advanced, high-efficiency engines. The call for white papers is a Directed Funding Opportunity (DFO) available for U.S. domestic for-profit or non-profit businesses interested in Co-Optima’s goals and objectives. Foreign entities, including U.S. subsidiaries with a foreign-owned parent company, are also eligible to apply with a waiver request. Approval of the waiver, however, is subject to DOE discretion. All project work must be performed in the U.S.

Application templates are available here and must be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. (EST) January 14, 2021. Anticipated final selection decisions and notifications will be released on March 1, 2021, and the project will begin on May 1, 2021.

Four anticipated project awards are expected with $250,000 of Co-Optima National Laboratory assistance over a project duration of 12 to 18 months. Industry partners will fund their own labor, materials, and other expenses, which contribute toward a 20 percent minimum cost-share requirement.

Newly Introduced Bill Encourages Low-Carbon Fuel Production

On November 18, 2020, U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) introduced a bipartisan, bicameral legislation that aims to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and encourage low-carbon fuel production. Titled “The Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act,” this bill would eliminate existing barriers for biofuels plants to increase production of cellulosic biomass into renewable fuels. Representative Bustos criticized the lack of timely response from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), adding that through this bill, “we can encourage the use of cellulosic biomass in low-carbon, renewable fuel production and continue to create cleaner, more environmentally-friendly fuels.” The legislation would ensure that EPA acts on outstanding applications under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and compel EPA to accept applications if the fuel could participate in at least one state’s clean transportation program. Biofuels industry stakeholders have demonstrated support for the bill.

EPA Extends CDR Submission Deadline

On November 25, 2020, EPA announced the amendment of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) regulations by extending the submission deadline for 2020 reports. CDR submissions are now due on January 29, 2021. According to EPA, this is the final extension, and it only applies to 2020 submissions. CDR regulations require manufacturers of certain chemical substances included on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory to report data on the manufacturing, processing, and use of chemical substances.

To assist chemical manufacturers and processors with submitting CDR data, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) affiliate The Acta Group (Acta®) developed CDR Cross-Check, an ingenious and cost-efficient tool to identify whether a company’s chemicals are subject to CDR and at what reporting threshold. CDR Cross-Check will identify:

  • Whether the chemical is listed as active or inactive;
  • Whether the chemical was subject to specific TSCA regulatory actions in 2016;
  • Whether the chemical is exempt; and
  • What the reporting thresholds are based on the updated data released by EPA on May 29, 2020.

Visit the CDR Cross-Check page on the Acta website for a sample report and information on how to use CDR Cross-Check.

B&C

Lynn L. Bergeson Co-Authors Article On Essentials Of TSCA Practice

We are pleased to announce that the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources published an article written by Lynn L. Bergeson and Eve C. Gartner entitled “The essentials of TSCA practice” in the November/December 2020 issue of Trends. According to the authors, legal practitioners should be aware of the commercial, legal, and reputational implications of TSCA as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act in 2016. The authors state that TSCA’s expanded commercial reach “is an important, consequential, and growing practice area.” The authors note that “[c]ommunity organizations representing populations at greater risk of harm from chemicals should also be aware that TSCA may offer much-needed protections.”

Other News
 

Reuters, “Exclusive: Plotting Future, U.S. Biofuel Industry Seeks Federal Clean Fuel Program from Biden
 
3D Printing Media Network, “Russian Researchers Use Oil Waste to Improve Aluminum Powders
 
Devdiscourse, “New Zealand Ranks Fourth for Innovation Potential in Biotechnology
 
OilPrice.com, “Refineries Are Fighting Over Used Cooking Oil and Animal Fat
 
dezeen, “Rolf Designs 3D-Printed Glasses Made from Castor Beans
 
India Today, “This Is How IIT Kharagpur Researchers Are Using Cucumber Peels to Package Food
 
Aju Business Daily, “Researchers Develop Effective Solid Carbonation Module to Recycle Industrial Exhaust Gas and Byproducts
 
The Hill, “EPA Misses Deadline, Leaving Ethanol Policy in Limbo