ITA Reports On Opportunities For U.S. Companies In Italy Bioplastics Market: According to a January 24, 2023, item published by the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA), the demand for new bioplastic materials and innovative processing technologies is high, contributing to the European and Italian plastics circular economy policy. According to ITA, large investments and U.S. export opportunities for companies are expected in Europe, “as the trend in consumption indicates a demand that is far greater than the production capacity installed in Europe.” The demand for new materials and innovative processing technologies is high, contributing to the European and Italian plastics circular economy policy. ITA states that U.S. companies interested in connecting with Italian distributors, seeking representation and information on how the U.S. Commercial Service can assist U.S. companies, should reach out to Commercial Specialist email@example.com. More information is available in our February 28, 2023, blog item.
DOE Announces $25.5 Million To Improve Biofuels And Bioproducts; Concept Papers Due March 20, 2023: On February 8, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $25.5 million in funding to enable the sustainable use of domestic biomass and waste resources, such as agricultural residues and algae, to produce low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts. DOE notes that this funding will advance the Biden Administration’s goals of delivering an equitable, clean energy future, and will put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by 2050. According to DOE, the “Reducing Agricultural Carbon Intensity and Protecting Algal Crops” funding opportunity will improve the production of environmentally sustainable feedstocks for bioenergy through two topic areas:
- Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices for Low-Carbon Intensity Feedstocks; and
- Algae Crop Protection.
Concept papers are due by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) March 20, 2023, and full applications are due by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on May 16, 2023. More information is available in our February 9, 2023, blog item.
Senate Committee Holds Hearing On Future Of Low Carbon Transportation Fuels And Considerations For A National Clean Fuels Program: The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on February 15, 2023, on “The Future of Low Carbon Transportation Fuels and Considerations for a National Clean Fuels Program.” The Committee heard from the following witnesses:
- Michael J. Graff, Chair and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), American Air Liquide Holdings Incorporated;
- Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association; and
- Chris Spear, President and CEO, American Trucking Association.
In his opening statement, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) noted that when exploring ways to improve federal policies, he often looks to see what works well at the state level. According to Carper, “states have learned from the federal government’s mistakes when it comes to programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard” (RFS). States such as California and Oregon have implemented, or are considering implementing, technology-neutral low carbon fuel standards. Carper stated that unlike the RFS, “existing state programs often focus more on emissions reduction potential when determining what qualifies as a clean fuel. In addition to reducing the number of questions the states have to ask when determining which fuels qualify for a clean fuels program, this structure allows multiple options for obligated parties to comply.” Carper concluded his opening statement by expressing his hope “that today’s hearing is the first of many conversations on how we can bring together industry, environmental groups, agriculture and other stakeholders to further decarbonize our nation’s transportation fuels, while also supporting job creation across our nation.”
Legislative Package Includes Bills To Advance Biofuels Research: On February 16, 2023, Representative Randy Feenstra (R-IA) introduced a legislative package that includes bills regarding researching the potential of biofuels to power jet engines and developing a commercially viable fuel cell system for cars and trucks powered exclusively by biofuels. The package includes:
- The Comparison of Sustainable Transportation (COST) Act would direct the Comptroller General of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Secretary of Energy to compare the financial and environmental costs between replacing the entire federal gasoline-powered fleet with either electric vehicles or E-85 capable flex-fuel cars and trucks;
- The Biojet Fuel Research Act would direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish a working group focused on identifying research and development (R&D) needs to produce biojet fuel. The working group would consist of DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), biorefinery stakeholders, agriculture research universities, and others; and
- The Biofuel Cell Research Act would direct the DOE Secretary to establish a research, development, and demonstration program for a commercially viable fuel cell system that uses biofuels as the main fuel source.
Feenstra introduced similar legislation in the 117th Congress.
BETO Announces R&D Collaborations To Address Challenges In Biomanufacturing: DOE’s BETO recently announced the selection of five external collaborations totaling over $3.7 million to conduct R&D needed to accelerate the U.S. biomanufacturing sector. Working with scientists at the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium, these industry and academic groups will leverage national laboratory capabilities to address challenges in biomanufacturing. The selected projects all directly contribute to producing renewable biofuels and biobased chemicals and materials. They also help ABF build foundational technologies critical for the decarbonization of the industrial and transportation sectors. Funded by BETO, ABF aims to advance biomanufacturing by uniting and expanding the capabilities of the national laboratories.
BETO Holds Webinar On DOE’s Progress Toward Meeting The Goals Of The SAF Grand Challenge: DOE’s BETO held a webinar on February 22, 2023, entitled “DOE’s Progress Toward Meeting the Goals of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge.” The Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) Grand Challenge is a government-wide commitment to scale up production of SAF to 35 billion gallons per year by 2050 and reduce lifecycle aviation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 percent compared to conventional fuel. According to BETO, the upcoming webinar is an effort to increase SAF awareness and communicate the progress and impact of the SAF Grand Challenge. Attendees learned about DOE’s focus on:
- SAF priorities and program alignment with the SAF Grand Challenge Roadmap;
- Implementation planning; and
- Stakeholder engagement and outreach.
EPA Holds Peer Review Meeting For “Biofuels And The Environment: Third Triennial Report To Congress (External Review Draft)”: As reported in our January 4, 2023, blog item, on January 3, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of a draft document entitled “Biofuels and the Environment: Third Triennial Report to Congress (External Review Draft)” for public comment. 88 Fed. Reg. 72. The purpose of the report is to examine the effects of the RFS Program on the environment, including the impacts to date and likely future impacts to the nation’s air, land, and water resources. The draft report focuses on the dominant biofuel sources in the United States: (1) domestic corn ethanol from corn starch; (2) domestic biodiesel from soybean oil; (3) domestic biodiesel from fats, oils, and greases (FOG); and (4) imported ethanol from Brazilian sugarcane. ERG, an EPA contractor, organized an independent external peer review of the draft report, held February 24, February 27, and February 28, 2023. Comments on the draft report are due March 6, 2023.
EPA Holds Third And Final TSCA Engineering Initiative Webinar: On February 28, 2023, EPA’s New Chemicals Program held the third and final webinar in its series on EPA’s process for assessing the potential risks of new chemicals under Section 5 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the types of data EPA considers in this assessment. The webinar covered commonly missed information in Section 5 submissions and how EPA evaluates environmental release information for operations that occur at non-submitter sites. The webinar slides are available on EPA’s website. EPA did not record the webinar. A summary of the webinar and commentary will be available in our forthcoming memorandum.
“BETO Listening Session On Next Billion-Ton Report” On March 23, 2023
DOE’s BETO will host a listening session at the 2023 Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference (ABLC) to obtain stakeholder feedback on the next Billion-Ton Report. BETO seeks suggestions for making this product even more useful, as well as feedback on the 2016 Billion-Ton Report and related products. The anticipated 2023 Billion-Ton Report will build on previous national assessments that have calculated the potential supply of biomass in the United States. Speakers for the session will include:
- Matt Langholtz, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Bioenergy Resource and Engineering Systems Team Lead;
- Nichole Fitzgerald, BETO Program Manager;
- Mark Elless, BETO Technology Manager; and
- Melissa Ladd, BETO Senior Facilitator.
The session will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 3:45 p.m. (EDT), at the Mayflower Hotel located in Washington, D.C. Registration for ABLC 2023 is open.
“BETO 2023 Project Peer Review” On April 3-7, 2023
DOE’s BETO will host its 2023 Project Peer Review April 3-7, 2023. Projects in BETO’s R&D portfolio will be presented to the public and systematically reviewed by external subject-matter experts from industry, academia, and federal agencies. Simultaneous review sessions of projects across the BETO technology areas will occur. The event will take place in person at the Grand Hyatt Denver in Denver, Colorado. The agenda is available online.
“Talking Trash At The FTC: Recyclable Claims And The Green Guides” On May 23, 2023
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a workshop on May 23, 2023, to examine “recyclable” advertising claims as part of its review of the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides). The workshop, “Talking Trash at the FTC: Recyclable Claims and the Green Guides,” is free and open to the public, and pre-registration is not required.
According to the pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice announcing the meeting, the workshop will cover topics including the current state of recycling practices and recycling-related advertising in the United States, consumer perception of current and emerging recycling-related claims, and the need for any updates or other changes to the Green Guides related to recycling claims. FTC states that the workshop likely will include panels on these subjects, and it will publish a more detailed agenda in the coming months.
The workshop will be held at the Constitution Center in Washington, D.C., from 8:30 a.m. (EDT) to 12:30 p.m. (EDT), May 23, 2023. It also will be available for viewing live on the Internet. Written comments related to the issues to be discussed at the workshop must be received by June 13, 2023. More information on FTC’s review of the Green Guides is available in our December 16, 2022, memorandum.
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