|Biobased and Renewable Products Update|
| September 26, 2019|
DOE And NOAA Announce Prize Competition With NOAA
On September 18, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a $3 million prize competition to power ocean observing platforms with marine renewable energy. To generate innovation, the Powering the Blue Economy Ocean Observing Prize will offer a series of contests to demonstrate marine renewable energy use for observing platforms. DOE hopes that this prize will help spur technological innovation through a path from concept to design to construction. Part of DOE’s Powering the Blue Economy initiative, the prize consists of two competitions. The first competition, “Discovery,” calls for novel concepts that pair ocean observing technologies with marine energy systems in five broad themes:
- Charging unmanned systems;
- Communications and underwater navigation;
- Extreme environments;
- Buoys, floats, and tags; and
- Innovative ideas.
Following the first competition, will be the “Build” competition to bring innovators’ ideas to reality. The prize is led by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System Program.
DOE Announces $6.7 Billion In Energy Savings
On September 25, 2019, DOE EERE announced that its Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have saved more than 1.3 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) and $6.7 billion in energy costs. With more than 220 partners, DOE accepted 22 new companies this year, which include more than 3,200 facilities and represent approximately 12 percent of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint. Designed to work with partners who have set ambitious energy, water, and/or waste reduction goals, DOE’s program collects partners’ energy performance data and solutions to expand innovation and savings throughout the industrial sector. Thus far, partners have met and exceeded 60 energy goals. A full update on the Better Building, Better Plants partners is available in the 2019 Better Plants Annual Progress Update.
DOE Announces RFI For Geothermal Field Research Applications
Also on September 25, 2019, DOE EERE announced via the Federal Register a request for information (RFI) on the identification of wells of opportunity for critical geothermal field research applications. DOE’s RFI is directed to the geothermal community, seeking information about underutilized wells in known geothermal resource areas in the United States. Its aim is to obtain feedback on industry willingness to partner with DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) to test downhole tools, technologies, and methodologies that can improve the probability of successful geothermal commercialization. Responses to the RFI can be submitted electronically and must be received by October 25, 2019. The complete RFI document can be accessed here.
EPA Calls For Nominations For 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 18, 2019, that it is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a new process or product that helps protect public health and the environment. EPA defines green chemistry as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce both the generation and use of chemicals that are hazardous to the environment and people’s health. Nominations for innovative technologies featuring the design of greener chemicals and products, greener chemical syntheses and reactions, or greener chemical processes are due to EPA by December 31, 2019. EPA states that it anticipates giving awards to outstanding green chemistry technologies in five categories in June 2020. According to EPA, since the inception of the awards more than two decades ago, it has received more than 1,600 nominations and presented awards to 118 technologies that reduced the use or generation of hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals and saved billions of gallons of water and trillions of BTUs in energy. An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute will formally judge the 2020 nominations and make recommendations to EPA for the 2020 winners.
Winners Of The 2019 Safer Choice Partner Of The Year Award Announced
On September 25, 2019, EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) recognized fourteen Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners for their outstanding achievements in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals for use in households and facilities nationwide. Representing businesses, including woman-owned, small- and medium-sized, local government, and associations, winners from across 12 states and the District of Columbia were recognized.
DOE Announces American-Made Solar Prize Winners
On September 24, 2019, DOE EERE’s Assistant Secretary, Daniel R. Simmons, announced the winners of the first round of the American-Made Solar Prize. The prize consists of a $3 million competition to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. Each prize winner received $500,000 for use at DOE National Laboratories.
In addition to the aforementioned announcements, DOE also declared two initiatives led by EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO): the National Community Solar Partnership and the teams participating in the new Solar District Cup. The National Community Solar Partnership focuses on the expansion of affordable community solar access to every American household by 2025. It is designed to empower government entities, utilities, financiers, businesses, nonprofits, affordable-housing providers, and stakeholders. The partnership will provide technical assistance, tools, and information to low- and moderate-income communities to increase solar installations.
The Solar District Cup, funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), consists of a collegiate competition for student teams to design and model solar-plus-storage systems across multiple buildings on a local distribution network. This competition is designed to prepare students to enter the solar workforce amid the changing energy landscape.
USGBC Publishes Report On ZE Buildings In Massachusetts
The U.S. Green Building Council Massachusetts (USGBC) recently published its 2019 Report titled Zero Energy Buildings in Massachusetts: Saving Money from the Start. The report assesses zero energy (ZE) upfront building costs, model performance, and life-cycle costs in Massachusetts (MA). Local MA leaders have been working to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reduce energy use in the built environment. This work has been done by retrofitting existing buildings and constructing new buildings to achieve ZE standards. Although many stakeholders and decision-makers cite high costs as the primary barrier for ZE buildings, USGBC reports that many types of ZE buildings can be constructed without an upfront cost. Also according to the report, some commercial buildings may even see return on investment in as little as one year. Key findings and policy recommendations are outlined, accompanied by examples that can be used as a template to overcome the ZE building barriers often encountered. The full report can be accessed here.
Reuters, “Trump Backs Plan That Would Boost Biofuel Quotas 10% in
FoodBev Media, “Clariant Launches Colourful Biodegradable Plastics”|
Packaging Insights, “Bioplastic Made from Fish Waste Reels in UK Dyson Award”|
Elsevier Science Direct, “The Effect of Feedstock Composition on Fast Pyrolysis
and Upgrading to Transportation Fuels: Techno-Economic Analysis and
Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Analysis“|
IPTV, “O’Rourke: Keep RFS and End Refinery Waivers|
MediaPost, “Will Google Become an Energy Broker to Power Internet
Biobased and Renewable
Products Advocacy Group
2200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037