All Biobased and Renewable Products News

December 6, 2019
Scientists Uncover Production Of Aromatic Alcohols From Lignocellulosic Biomass
First published last week, on November 25, 2019, the article titled “Consolidated Production of Coniferol and Other High-Value Aromatic Alcohols Directly from Lignocellulosic Biomass” has gained media attention across the globe. Given the finite geological oil reserves, the competition to identify alternative biobased and biorefinery processes continues to grow. According to the article, the aim in identifying such products is not only to find alternatives, but most importantly to “overcome significant costs and productivity barriers.” In the aforementioned article, ... read more >
December 6, 2019
Iowa Governor Demonstrates Further Support For The Biofuels Industry
On December 3, 2019, Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, signed an Executive Order that requires all new contracts for the purchase of state vehicles with diesel engines to have written support from the manufacturer to use B20 biodiesel (a mix of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum-based diesel) or more. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) started using biodiesel blends in 1994. B20 is used for most of the year already, in most equipment with a diesel engine, including motor graders and snowplows, among others. Largely contributing to Iowa’s job market and accounting for ... read more >
December 6, 2019
DOE To Host Workshop On Plastics For A Circular Economy
From December 11 through 12, 2019, DOE’s Office of Bioenergy Technologies Office will host a workshop titled “Plastics for a Circular Economy” in Denver, Colorado. The workshop will include discussions on technology solutions to address plastic waste and focus on the development of new recycling and degradation strategies. The objective of the workshop will be to identify early-stage applied research problems in the aforementioned area that need to be addressed both in the long- and near-term. Representatives from waste management facilities, circular economy experts, ... read more >
November 22, 2019
Bicameral Bills Seek To Reform RFS
On November 14, 2019, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced legislation seeking to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Growing Renewable Energy through Existing and New Environmentally Responsible (GREENER) Fuels Act is intended to mitigate the “harmful environmental impacts of the corn ethanol mandate,” according to a press release issued by the lawmakers. The bill would phase out the corn ethanol mandate and immediately reduce the amount of ethanol in fuel by as much as 1 billion gallons by capping the ... read more >
November 22, 2019
EPA Announces OCSPP Meeting To Discuss TSCA New Chemicals Program
On November 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) announced a public meeting to engage with stakeholders interested on the implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) New Chemicals Program. The meeting will be held on December 10, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST), and will include: An overview of EPA’s updated “Working Approach” document that builds on EPA’s “New Chemicals Decision Making Framework: Working Approach to Making Determinations under Section ... read more >
November 22, 2019
FDA Acting Director Of Therapeutic Biologics And Biosimilars Provides Statement On Continued Efforts To Facilitate Competition In The Biologic Marketplace
On November 15, 2019, Sarah Yim, M.D., acting director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, released a statement on FDA’s continued progress facilitating competition in the biologic marketplace with approval of its 25th biosimilar project. In her statement, Dr. Yim highlights FDA’s approval of one of nine new biosimilar products approved in 2019. Bringing the overall total of biosimilar approvals to 25, Dr. Yim states: “I’m pleased to see this progress and am ... read more >
November 15, 2019
DOE Announces Funding Opportunity To Address Plastics Recycling
On November 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that $12 million will be available in funds for new projects to support research and development (R&D) and education and workforce development to increase plastics recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing. Designed for U.S. manufacturers, 12 to 18 exploratory and full R&D projects and four to eight education and workforce development projects will be funded by DOE’s Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Manufacturing Institute. REMADE was founded in 2017 in partnership with DOE’s ... read more >
November 15, 2019
DOE Announces SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity
On November 12, 2019, DOE published a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for topics for its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Release 2 funding. Participating in this FOA are the following DOE program offices: Office of Cyber Security, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER);   Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NNSA);   Office of Electricity (OE);   EERE;   Office of Environmental Management (EM);   Office of Fossil Energy (FE);   Office of Fusion ... read more >
November 15, 2019
EPA Holds Webinar on Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program
On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. (EST), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a webinar on the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program.  Participants learned about applying for the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  The webinar presentation covered award eligibility, the application process, and evaluation criteria.  There were also questions from the webinar participants. As reported in Bergeson & Campbell’s (B&C®) September 20, 2019, blog item, EPA is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Green Chemistry ... read more >
November 15, 2019
EPA Announces New Web Pages Providing New Chemical Notices Receipt Information
EPA announced on November 13, 2019, that it published “new, easily-searchable” web pages displaying information on: Premanufacture Notices (PMN), Significant New Use Notices (SNUN), Microbial Commercial Activity Notices (MCAN), and Test Market Exemption Applications (TMEA);   Notices of Commencement of Manufacture or Import (NOC); and   Test information submitted under Section 5 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).   EPA notes that it is required to publish information pertaining to new chemical submissions under TSCA Section 5. EPA states that ... read more >
November 8, 2019
House Committee Will Hold Hearing On Future Science In EPA Rulemaking
On November 13, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. (EST), the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing on “Strengthening Transparency or Silencing Science? The Future of Science in EPA Rulemaking.” The Committee will hear from the following witnesses: Panel 1 Dr. Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD); EPA Science Advisor.   Panel 2 Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum, Scientist Emeritus, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ... read more >
November 8, 2019
EPA Announces New Opportunity For Public Comment Period On CBI Procedures
On October 30, 2019, EPA announced that in response to an April 2019 court decision on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements Final Rule, EPA will publish a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that includes two additional questions about “reverse engineering” that manufacturers and processors would be required to answer when making confidential business information (CBI) claims. According to EPA, these questions would help provide additional information on CBI claims for specific chemical identities and would ensure ... read more >
November 8, 2019
Biofuels Industry Supporters Come Together In Letter To Trump
On November 4, 2019, 60 organizations unified in an effort to urge U.S. President Donald Trump to reconsider EPA’s proposed amendments to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Signed by organizations such as the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, the letter to the President indicates flaws within the aforementioned proposal released on October 15, 2019. Arguing that the proposed amendments would not accurately account for small refiner exemptions (SRE), the letter authors state that “[t]he flawed ... read more >
November 1, 2019
DOE Announces Open Meeting Of The Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee
On October 30, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced open meetings of the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee. The first meeting is scheduled for November 19, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST), and the second meeting will take place on November 20, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST) in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the committee is to advise the Secretaries of Energy and Agriculture with respect to the Biomass Initiative. The committee also evaluates and makes recommendations ... read more >
November 1, 2019
USDA And DOE Under Secretaries Sign MOU To Promote Energy Technology Development
USDA Deputy Under Secretary Donald LaVoy and DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes announced on October 24, 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two departments to promote rural energy and the development of technologies to support and advance rural and agricultural communities and domestic manufacturing. Required under Section 6501 of the 2018 Farm Bill, the MOU is meant to improve collaboration and coordination between DOE and USDA. A number of areas are covered by the MOU, including: Streamlining, leveraging, and optimizing program ... read more >
November 1, 2019
Industry Criticizes EPA Publication Of Supplemental Proposal On RFS
On October 28, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a supplemental proposal on adjustments to the percentage standards for 2020 that result from the amended definitions of two terms used to calculate the percentage standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Signed and pre-published on October 15, 2019, by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the notice of the proposed rule is no surprise. The proposed supplemental proposal, if approved, will establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and ... read more >
November 1, 2019
ISU Hires CTO To Serve As A Bridge Between Research And Industry
On October 25, 2019, Iowa State University’s (ISU) Vice President for Research, Dan Kirkpatrick, announced that Sundeep Vani, Ph.D., has joined the team as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Biobased Products, a newly created role. Announced in an ISU press release, Dr. Vani’s role will be to serve as a conduit between research and industry. Dr. Vani will work closely with the Biobased Product platform leader, Brent Shanks, his team, and the Iowa Innovation Corporation (IIC) CEO. Identifying promising emerging technologies and facilitating their development into market scale ... read more >
November 1, 2019
Non-Profit Announces Opportunity For Start-Ups With Innovations To Address Plastic Waste In The Environment
On October 23, 2019, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) announced a partnership with innovation platform Plug and Play to develop an accelerator program focused on the plastics value chain to identify start-ups with innovative ideas addressing plastic waste. Named the End Plastic Waste Innovation Platform (EPWIP), this initiative will focus on solutions to lower the impact of plastic waste in the environment. Focus areas include but are not limited to collecting, managing, and sorting plastic waste; recycling and processing technologies; and creating value from post-recycled plastics. ... read more >
October 25, 2019
House Committee Approves Sustainable Chemistry Research And Development Act
On October 17, 2019, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology unanimously approved the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act (H.R. 2051), a companion bill to legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced the House bill on April 3, 2019. It is co-sponsored by Representative John Moolenaar (R-MI). The bill is intended to improve coordination of federal activities, including research and development of more sustainable ... read more >
October 25, 2019
House Committee Announces Legislative Hearing On EPA’s Mismanagement Of RFS Program
On October 22, 2019, Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee Chair, and Paul Tonko (D-NY), Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee (ECCS), announced that a legislative hearing will be held on October 29, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. (EDT) on Capitol Hill. Titled “Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration’s Abuse of Secret Waivers,” the hearing will focus on the EPA’s mismanagement of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program under the Trump Administration. The Subcommittee has not yet released the witness list for the legislative hearing; it ... read more >
October 25, 2019
University Of Surrey Announces New Study On Microbial Organisms To Digest Plastic Waste
On October 16, 2019, the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, announced that its researchers have partnered with colleagues from France, Germany, and Spain to start working on a new technique to tackle plastic waste. According to the university’s article, this novel technique may revolutionize the recycling industry. The plan is to create engineered microbial communities that will digest two types of plastic polymers -- polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyurethane (PU) -- and transform them into molecules that can be used to develop a more environmentally friendly material called ... read more >
October 18, 2019
EPA OIG Will Audit EPA’s Safer Choice Program
On September 23, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that it plans to begin fieldwork on EPA’s Safer Choice program. According to OIG, its objectives are to identify and assess the controls that EPA has in place to verify that the Safer Choice program meets its goals and achieves quality standards through its product qualification, renewal, and required audit process. OIG states that Safer Choice “is a voluntary labeling program that helps consumers and commercial buyers find chemical-based products that are safer for ... read more >
October 18, 2019
USDA Solicits Applications For Funds Under The Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, And Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program
On October 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS) announced via the Federal Register the solicitation of applications for funds under the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (the Program). Under the Program, USDA provides guaranteed loans to fund the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial scale biorefineries using eligible technology. The loans are also used to fund the development of biobased product manufacturing facilities that use technologically new ... read more >
October 18, 2019
EPA Releases Its Supplemental Proposal On RFS
On October 15, 2019, EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, signed a supplemental notice of the proposed rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that proposes to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021. Although the rule does not change the volumes for 2020 and 2021 proposed in July 2019, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each ... read more >
October 18, 2019
Senator Lankford Releases Statement On EPA’s Supplemental RFS Proposal
In response to EPA supplemental proposal outlined above, on October 15, 2019, U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued a statement expressing his disappointment with EPA’s RFS mandates. Senator Lankford’s statement reads in part: The RFS has been a problem since day one, and the proposed increase to the mandate only further complicates a broken federal requirement to blend biofuels into gasoline. This proposal continues allowing exemptions for small refineries but spreads their biofuels-blending obligation out to other refiners in the market. Despite the possibility that small ... read more >
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