|Biobased and Renewable Products Update|
|August 4, 2022|
USDA Will Propose To Codify BioPreferred® Guidance
According to an item in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Unified Agenda, which was published on June 21, 2022, USDA intended to publish in June 2022 a proposed rule that would codify BioPreferred Program guidance. According to the item, USDA expects this action to reduce burden on both it and the applicants by reducing requirements, clarifying requirements, streamlining the application and certification process, and increasing efficiencies in program delivery. The item states that codification for all Program guidance “will ensure consistency in how programs are administered.” Improvements will also “facilitate the sales of the business using the labeling program.”
The BioPreferred Program is intended to spur economic development, create new jobs, and provide new markets for farm commodities. The two major parts of the Program are:
- Mandatory purchasing requirements for federal agencies and their contractors; and
- A voluntary labeling initiative for biobased products.
NASEM Report On The Importance Of Chemical Research To The U.S. Economy Addresses Sustainability For The Chemical Economy
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) announced on July 21, 2022, publication of a new report entitled The Importance of Chemical Research to the U.S. Economy. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the American Chemical Society (ACS) asked NASEM to convene a committee to consider strategies to sustain and enhance the economic activity driven by fundamental research investments in the chemical sciences. The chapter on “Sustainability for the Chemical Economy” includes the following general conclusions:
- Implementing a circular economy will require a paradigm shift in the way products are designed, manufactured, and used, and how the waste products are collected and reused. These new processes, and the use of clean energy and new feedstocks to enable these processes, will require novel chemistries, tools, and new fundamental research at every stage of design;
- Transitioning the chemical economy into a new paradigm around sustainable manufacturing, in which environmental sustainability is balanced with the need for products that will improve quality of life, enhance security, and increase U.S. competitiveness, will require substantial investment and innovation from industry, government, and their academic partners to create and implement new chemical processes and practices;
- As fundamental chemical research continues to evolve, the next generation of research directions will prioritize the future of environmental sustainability and new energy technologies. Keeping sustainability principles in mind during every stage of research and development will be critical to accomplishing this goal;
- Chemical research will have the greatest impact addressing energy and environmental sustainability if researchers and practitioners develop and use tools to quantify and mitigate environmental and human health impacts of new discoveries, are aware of the societal implications of their work, and if the research is driven by policies that identify specific environmental sustainability outcomes; and
- As the world moves deeper into its current energy transition, including the switch to electric vehicles, the implementation of clean energy alternatives, and the use of new feedstock sources, coupled with an increasing focus on circularity, decarbonization, computation, measurement, and automation will significantly alter the operations and processes of current industries, creating new opportunities and challenges that will benefit from fundamental chemistry and chemical engineering advances.
BETO Achieves Major Biofuel Technology And Production Milestone
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced on July 26, 2022, that it “has achieved a significant milestone in decreasing the minimum fuel selling price (MFSP) of drop-in biofuels, which are fuels made from biomass and other waste carbon sources, and that are compatible with existing petroleum fuel infrastructure and conventional vehicles.” BETO partnered with T2C-Energy, LLC (T2C) to validate pilot-scale production of drop-in biofuels with a price of $3 per gallon of gas equivalent (GGE) and at least 60 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than petroleum, using T2C’s TRIFTS® process.
According to BETO, the TRIFTS process converts anaerobic digestor produced biogas (or landfill gas) to liquid transportation fuels. TRIFTS has allowed drop-in renewable diesel fuel to reach an MFSP of $2.91/GGE without the use of credits from the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), California Low Carbon Fuels Standard, or other carbon credits while reducing GHG emissions by 130 percent when compared to traditional petroleum diesel fuel.
EPA Holds Kick-Off Meeting For TSCA New Chemical Engineering Outreach Initiative
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) New Chemicals Program held a webinar on July 27, 2022, to provide an in-depth look at its analysis of common issues that cause EPA to have to reconduct risk assessments (“rework”) of new chemicals. In June 2022, EPA announced a broad outreach effort to describe and to discuss with stakeholders how EPA evaluates engineering data (i.e., data related to environmental release and worker exposure) provided for new chemicals submissions under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and common issues that cause EPA to have to rework risk assessments for these submissions. EPA has posted the meeting slides online.
During the webinar, EPA presented an example of a rework case. According to EPA, from its analysis, it observes that:
- Information on material balance parameters, environmental releases, environmental release media, and engineering controls cause nearly 80 percent of all rework;
- In most cases, companies provide additional information that deviates from EPA model defaults and assumptions; and
- Companies often lack understanding on what information is needed for a Section 5 engineering assessment, including the level of detail needed to support their statements relating to environmental release and worker exposure.
As noted in the meeting slides, EPA plans to hold two additional webinars in fall 2022 that will cover:
- How EPA evaluates quantitative and qualitative information, with examples on the level of detail needed to support the submitted information to be accepted by EPA; and
- The types of information commonly missing in Section 5 submissions, how EPA evaluates environmental release information on sites not controlled by the submitter, and their impact on engineering assessment.
More information is available in our July 28, 2022, memorandum.
EPA Seeks Comments On Additional Candidates Added To Peer Reviewer Pool For Biofuels And The Environment Report To Congress
EPA announced on August 1, 2022, a 15-day public comment period on two additional peer review candidates for the external peer review of the Biofuels and the Environment: Third Triennial Report to Congress (RtC3). 87 Fed. Reg. 46958. EPA previously requested comment on an initial pool of 20 candidates announced in a May 9, 2022, Federal Register notice. EPA states that after considering public comments and the balance and collective expertise of the reviewers, it asked ERG, the independent contractor organizing the peer review, to identify additional candidates to strengthen expertise gaps and allow a more balanced panel. EPA seeks public comment on additional peer review candidates to strengthen underrepresented areas of expertise, specifically economics, water quality, and ecology disciplines. According to EPA, ERG will ensure the peer reviewers’ combined expertise best spans the following disciplines: economics, engineering, agronomics, land use change, remote sensing, air quality, biogeochemistry, water quality, hydrology, conservation biology, limnology, and ecology. Comments are due August 16, 2022.
The first report to Congress (RtC1), completed in 2011, provided an assessment of the environmental and resource conservation impacts associated with increased biofuel production and use. The second report to Congress (RtC2) was completed in 2018 and reaffirmed the overarching conclusions of RtC1. RtC3 builds on the previous two reports and provides an update on the impacts to date of the RFS Program on the environment. It assesses air, water, and soil quality; ecosystem health and biodiversity; and other effects. RtC3 also includes new analyses not previously included in RtC1 and RtC2.
“Why Deep Energy Efficiency Now Matters More Than Ever: Actual Case Study, Not a Theory” On August 9, 2022
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns that all sectors need to accelerate permanent GHG reductions within decades — not half a century. Many institutions and enterprises have made net-zero commitments, although “net” usually means procurement of emissions (REC) and offsets; at best an interim solution. This webinar will walk through a deep energy efficiency program that is far more impactful, permanent, and affordable than emissions offsets. “Deep” efficiency sets the bar high at 50 percent reduction in energy use-intensity for both new and retrofitted buildings. This is not a theoretical model, but a program that has proven successful at the University of California, Irvine for more than two decades.
Registration is open.
|•||Accountancy Daily, “CFOs Call for Global Sustainability Disclosure Standards”|
|•||Biomass Magazine, “Senators Ask EPA to Set Strong RVOs for Biomass-Based Diesel”|
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