Biobased and Renewable Products Update
September 28, 2017
DOE Announces $22 Million In Funding For Marine Biomass Production
On September 19, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 18 projects from the Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program will receive $22 million in funding through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The MARINER projects aim to develop tools to address the technological challenges to growing and harvesting macroalgae efficiently and cost-effectively for use as a feedstock for biofuels and other bioproducts. Such tools would support the goal of the United States becoming a leader in the production of macroalgae to improve U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness. According to Eric Rohlfing, the ARPA-E Acting Director, “the United States has offshore resources capable of producing enough seaweed to handle as much as 10 percent of our demand for transportation fuel.”
The cross-disciplinary MARINER projects focus on transformative, systems-level improvements and engineering, including advanced research in farm design and autonomous operation, which draw on fields such as cultivation and harvesting systems, advanced components, computer modeling, aquatic monitoring, and advanced breeding and genetics tools.
The full list of the MARINER projects is available on the ARPA-E website.
DOE Announces $15 Million In Funding For Integrated Biorefinery Optimization
On September 20, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that DOE selected eight projects related to the optimization of integrated biorefineries (IBR) to negotiate for up to $15 million in DOE funding. The projects aim to solve critical research and developmental challenges encountered for the successful scale-up and reliable operations of IBRs, to decrease capital and operating expenses, and to focus on the manufacture of advanced or cellulosic biofuels and higher-value bioproducts.
The eight projects focus on one or more of the following topic areas:
■ Robust, continuous handling of solid materials (dry and wet feedstocks, biosolids, and/or residual solids remaining in the process) and feeding systems to reactors under various operating conditions;
■ High-value products from waste and/or other undervalued streams in an integrated biorefinery;
■ Industrial separations within an integrated biorefinery (no projects have been selected from this topic area); and
■ Analytical modeling of solid materials (dry and wet feedstocks and/or residual solids remaining in the process) and reactor feeding systems.
The project winners include:
■ Thermochemical Recovery International Inc., which will study and improve feedstock and residual solids handling systems targeted to commercial pyrolysis and gasification reactors;
■ Texas A&M Agrilife Research, which will work on achieving a multi-stream integrated biorefinery (MIBR), where lignin-containing IBR waste will be fractionated to produce lipid for biodiesel, asphalt binder modifier, and quality carbon fiber;
■ White Dog Labs, which will use the residual cellulosic sugars in cellulosic stillage syrup to produce single-cell protein (SCP) for aquaculture feed;
■ South Dakota School of Mines, which will demonstrate the cost-effective production of biocarbon, carbon nanofibers, polylactic acid, and phenol from the waste streams generated from the biochemical platform technology;
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which will leverage and extend state-of-the-art modeling and simulation tools to develop integrated simulations for feed handling and reactor feeding systems;
■ Clemson University, which will develop analytical tools to identify an optimal IBR process design for the reliable, cost-effective, sustainable, and continuous feeding of biomass feedstocks into a reactor;
■ Purdue University, which aims to develop strong, innovative computational and empirical models that rigorously detail the multiphase flow of biomass materials; and
■ Forest Concepts, which proposes to develop robust feedstock handling modeling and simulation tools based on systematic analysis.
According to Secretary Perry, “[t]hese projects have the potential to increase the efficiency of producing biofuels and bioproducts, enabling the United States to better utilize its abundant biomass resources, boost economic development, and advance U.S. competitiveness in the global energy market.” The funding opportunity is supported jointly by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
ITC Issues Notice On Final Phase Of Biodiesel Antidumping, Countervailing Investigation
On September 20, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) published in the Federal Register a notice of the scheduling of the final phase of antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. ITC will hold a hearing in connection with the final phase of the investigations at 9:30 a.m. (EST) on November 9, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Requests to appear at the hearing are due by November 2, 2017. Stakeholders interested in participating as parties in the final phase of the investigations must file an entry of appearance with the Secretary to the Commission no later than 21 days prior to the hearing date. The pre-hearing staff report will be filed in the nonpublic record on October 27, 2017, and a public record will be issued thereafter.
AkzoNobel Studies Plans To Build Bermocoll Plant
On September 21, 2017, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that its Specialty Chemicals business is studying plans to build a world-class plant for its Bermocoll® business, which supplies non-ionic cellulose ethers for the paint and buildings and construction industries. AkzoNobel uses a unique solvent-free process to manufacture the water soluble and virtually odorless Bermocoll cellulose ethers. The new facility will increase the production capacity for such cellulosic ethers to help meet growing global demand. According to Geert Hofman, General Manager at AkzoNobel’s Bermocoll business, “[d]emand for Bermocoll is growing strongly due to the rising consumption of water-based paint and continued growth in the building and construction industry.” AkzoNobel is considering a number of options for the location of the facility, including the expansion of operations at existing production sites in China, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
■ Senator Grassley, “Grassley, Senators to Lighthizer: Engage Brazil on Unfair Ethanol Tariff”
■ National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “Enzyme’s Worth to Biofuels Shown in Latest NREL Research”
■ Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, “Solar-to-Fuel System Recycles CO2 to Make Ethanol and Ethylene”
■ Advanced Biofuels USA, “Energy Beet Feasibility Study Finds Navy Best Potential Near-Term Customer for Alcohol-to-Jetfuel Product”
■Michigan State University, “$10M DOE Grant to Help Boost Camelina Oilseed Yield”
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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