Biobased and Renewable Products Update – Update From Bergeson & Campbell, PC

March 7, 2019


DOE Announces Funding For Trucks And Off-Road Vehicles And The Fuels That Power Them

On March 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced $51.5 million for innovative research of technologies for trucks, off-road vehicles, and fuels.  Of particular interest to DOE EERE are:


Gaseous fuels research, including natural gas, biopower, and hydrogen;
Heavy duty freight electrification;
Hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell technologies for heavy duty applications; and
Energy efficient off-road vehicles.

There are five topic areas for this funding opportunity, and concept papers are due March 29, 2019.  Full applications are due by May 15, 2019.

$31 Million Available In Funding From DOE For H2@Scale Advancement

On March 4, 2019, DOE announced an opportunity for funding up to $31 million in support of advancing the H2@Scale concept.  The H2@Scale concept focuses on enabling affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation across multiple sectors in the U.S.  Large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilization can “unite our Nation’s abundant energy resources,” according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  By producing hydrogen when power generation exceeds load, “electrolyzers can reduce curtailment of renewables and contributes to grid stability.”  Hydrogen can also be stored and distributed for multiple applications.  Currently some key challenges of the H2@Scale concept are reliability, affordability, and performance of fuel cell technologies.  DOE is interested in overcoming these challenges, thus providing this funding opportunity for three topics.  Topics include advanced hydrogen storage and infrastructure research and development (R&D); innovative production and utilization concepts; and a H2@Scale pilot.  Concept papers are due on April 8, 2019, and full applications are due on May 29, 2019.

DOE BETO Celebrates Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month (March), DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) will be celebrating women working on bioenergy R&D projects at DOE’s national laboratories. Each week of March, BETO will highlight the contributions that these women make to strengthen the U.S. bioeconomy.  Activities include the promotion of female scientists and administrators that power BETO-funded bioenergy research on social media and a webinar titled “Women’s History Month/Women-in-Algae.”  The webinar is scheduled for March 14, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) and will focus on DOE algae research and career opportunities.


DOE Announces LANL Use Of Microbial Biosensors For Conversion Pathway Design

On February 28, 2019, DOE announced that scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been working on molecular tools that reside naturally within microbial cells.  Microbes typically use these tools to carry out their metabolism and other life-sustaining processes; LANL researchers, however, have been using the tools to produce fuel precursors and bioproduct building blocks.  With the addition of a biosensor in the microbes, light allows the scientists to learn how efficiently the product is being made and thus enabling more efficient quality control to increase overall yield.  This technology is called LANL’s Smart Microbial Cell Technology and consists of a high throughput screening for enzyme discovery, design, and evolution.  It allows LANL to engineer custom biosensors that detect intracellular concentrations of a specific precursor.  This biosensor technology can, thus, be adapted to a single enzyme, pathway, or even global optimization of an industrial strain.  The work is being led by Taraka Dale, Remash Jha, and, Niju Narayanan at LANL, under the Agile BioFoundry multinational laboratory effort to expedite biomanufacturing processes.

New Scientific Discovery:  Squid Teeth For The Production Of Textiles

On February 21, 2019, scientists Abdon Pena-Francesh and Melik C. Demirel, at Pennsylvania State University, published an article on the use of squid teeth tandem repeat proteins that can be functionally used for biodegradable fibers and films.  The flexible and tough material results from a protein present in the squid teeth, which can be grown biosynthetically by E. coli bacteria.  This biosynthetic expression of squid teeth proteins presents a number of advantages over direct extraction from the natural source.  It is a sustainable, controllable, and industrially scalable manner of producing these biobased fibers and films.  Currently labeled as “smart textiles,” these fibers and films are capable of autonomous self-healing.  Because of their biocompatibility and self-healing properties, the squid teeth films are applicable not only to clothing textiles, but also in biomedical implants.


Check Out BRAG At The Ethanol 2019:  Emerging Issues Forum

Hosted by the Nebraska Ethanol Board, the Ethanol 2019:  Emerging Issues Forum will take place this week from March 7-8, 2019, at La Vista Conference Center in La Vista, NE.  The Biobased Renewable Products and Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) are proud sponsors of this event and encourage interested parties to register. B&C’s Director of Chemistry, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., will be speaking at the conference on March 8, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. (CST), on legal and regulatory considerations for renewable chemical production.

Other News

Biofuels International, “Coconut Biodiesel Increase Suggested by Lawmaker in Philippines
Chemical Engineering, “BP, Virent and Johnson Matthey Partner on Production of Bio-based Paraxylene
The Express Tribune, “Biotechnology Can Transform Pakistan’s Economy
Energy AgWired, “GROWMARK Offers Pre-blended E15 at More Terminals
Reuters, “U.S. EPA Gets 37 Bids for Small Refinery Waivers through Mid-February
PhysicsWorld, “Bio-based Monomers Help Upcycle Plastic Bottles
Cosmetics Business, “INOLEX Establishes Largest Ingredient Portfolio of USDA Certified Biobased Products Available in Personal Care
Houston Chronicle, “Windex to Use Bottles Made from Recycled Ocean Plastic
ASTM Standardization News, “Standards for Biodegradable Plastics
ASTM Standardization News, “Driving the Biobased Economy
Inhabitat, “8 Sustainable Innovations in Construction Materials
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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