All Biobased and Renewable Products News

August 10, 2018
Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Holds Hearing On EPA Environmental Protection and Economic Growth Agenda
On August 1, 2018, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW Committee) held a hearing entitled “Examining EPA’s Agenda:  Protecting the Environment and Allowing America’s Economy to Grow.”  Testifying at the hearing was Andrew Wheeler, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Acting Administrator.  Witness testimony and an archive of the hearing are available online.  The hearing was intended to provide Wheeler with the opportunity to present himself for the first time in front of the EPW Committee as the Acting ... read more >
August 10, 2018
Bipartisan Carbon Utilization Act Promotes Biogas, CCUS Technology
On July 19, 2018, the bipartisan Carbon Utilization Act was introduced by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and David Young (R-IA) to promote biogas and carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technologies. Biogas is produced by converting organic waste material into CO2, methane, and other carbon products that then are captured by CCUS technologies to use as energy or fuel. The newly introduced bill incentivizes the use of innovative technologies for farmers, biotech businesses, research programs, and rural development ... read more >
August 10, 2018
DOE Requests Input Regarding Catalyst Production And Development Needs At National Laboratories
On August 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced a request for input from the industry, academia, National Laboratories, government agencies, and other biofuels and bioproducts stakeholders on “custom catalyst production capability for biochemical and thermochemical processes.” Particularly, BETO is seeking information on areas of research, capabilities, and challenges associated with small-scale production of custom catalysts used for conversion of lignocellulosic, waste, ... read more >
August 10, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Ghana Business News, “OFAB Ghana Engages Journalists on Genetically Modified Crops” Food Ingredients 1st, “Bright Futures: the Evolution of Natural Colors and a ‘Less is More’ Approach” The Virginian Post, “New Record Number of Companies, Trade Groups Urge Congressional Leaders to Reauthorize and Fund Energy Title Programs as Farm Bill Heads to Conference” Braskem, “Braskem Launches New Renewable Bio-based EVA Resin in Allbirds shoes” AP News, “Genetics Technology Could Lead to More Crops, Fresher ... read more >
August 3, 2018
DOE Publishes Notice Of Biomass Research And Development Technical Advisory Committee Meeting
On August 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.  83 Fed. Reg. 37490.  The Committee will meet on August 22, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EDT) and on August 23, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT).  The purpose of these meetings is to promote research and development (R&D) that leads to the production of biobased fuels and products.  Agenda items include updates on biomass R&D from the U.S. Department ... read more >
August 3, 2018
Senators Collins, Coons Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Promote Innovation In Sustainable Chemistry
On July 30, 2018, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chris Coons (D-DE) reintroduced their sustainable chemistry bill, the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2018 (S. 3296).  This bill encourages the development of new and innovative chemicals, products and processes with an improved “environmental footprint” through efficient use of resources, reducing or eliminating exposure to hazardous substances, or otherwise minimizing harm to human health and the environment.  The legislation is intended to support new innovations in chemistry that benefit the ... read more >
August 3, 2018
EU Classifies Plants Created Through Mutagenesis As Genetically Modified Organisms
On July 25, 2018, the European Union (EU) Supreme Court of Justice ruled that plants with genes that have been altered, even without the insertion of foreign DNA, are classified as genetically modified organisms (GMO) and therefore must undergo the same safety checks for their impacts on the environment and human health as organisms with foreign DNA.  According to Bio-Based World News, the ruling “is seen as a victory for environmentalists but a blow for the bio-economy” due to the much stricter rules that apply to GMOs.  Bio-based chemicals often require genome editing ... read more >
August 3, 2018
AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals And Renmatix To Develop Biomass-Derived Additives For Paint And Construction
After winning AkzoNobel’s Imagine Chemistry Challenge in 2017, on July 24, 2018, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), and Renmatrix announced a decision jointly to develop biomass-based performance additives to improve architectural paints and construction materials.  Valuable to green chemistry building blocks, Renmatrix uses techniques that involve converting biomass into cellulosic sugars and bio-fractions.  AkzoNobel has agreed to research, develop, and commercialize new products using a form of the newest bio-fraction ... read more >
August 3, 2018
Researchers At North Carolina State University Investigate Biobased Additives That Can Strengthen Polyvinyl Alcohol Fibers
On July 24, 2018, a research team at the North Carolina State University announced that biobased glucaric-acid or lignin additives can increase the robustness of polyvinyl alcohol fibers, which can be used in biofriendly products including polymers, detergents, paints, and diapers.  The team plans to continue its R&D as a movement towards greener alternatives to support industries using additives with known varying levels of toxicity.  This discovery could play a large role in processing plastics for safe contact with food, people, and the environment.  In 2004, DOE listed ... read more >
August 3, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Santa Fe New Mexican, “LANL Researching Algae to Convert to Affordable Fuel” Renewables Now, “Argentina Looking at 27% Bioethanol Blend -- Report” Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, “Shimkus Promises ‘We’ll Legislate’ on Reforming RIN Credits” Born2Invest, “EPA’s New Acting Administrator Plans on Following Predecessor’s Policies” EIN NewsDesk, “Advanced Biofuels Canada’s National Voice Continues to Grow with New Global Leaders” Biofuels International, “NBB Challenges 2018 ... read more >
July 27, 2018
Wheeler Briefs Press On Future Of Biofuels Programs, Approves Sorghum Based Biofuel Pathways Under RFS
On July 24, 2018, Andrew Wheeler, newly appointed Acting Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), held a briefing that outlined his plans for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  He plans on following Scott Pruitt’s work overhauling the policy, including counting ethanol exports toward annual biofuels quotas and bringing corn and oil groups together to overhaul the RFS system.  Wheeler also signed a final notice approving a variety of pathways for renewable fuel derived from sorghum, including biofuel and biodiesel.  The newly approved pathways meet ... read more >
July 27, 2018
EPA Must Reconsider Small Refinery Waiver For Ergon
On July 20, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Fourth Circuit) ruled that EPA must reconsider its denial of Ergon-West Virginia, Inc.’s (Ergon) application for a small refinery waiver under the RFS.  The Fourth Circuit stated that EPA relied on an “error-riddled” analysis when it denied the exemption.  Ergon is a small refinery based in West Virginia (with a daily production of 23,500 barrels) that produces primarily diesel which is not easily blended and sold in the local market.  The number of small refinery hardship waivers has jumped ... read more >
July 27, 2018
UK Considers Introducing E10 Fuel To Help Reach Emissions Goals
On July 20, 2018, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department of Transportation launched a consultation to explore the impact of introducing E10 fuel to the UK market.  Earlier this year, changes were made to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) that requires transport fuel supplies to increase the amount of renewable fuel supplied in the UK beyond the current five percent ethanol blend, up to a limit of ten percent by 2032.  This plan is a component of the Road to Zero Strategy, announced on July 9, 2018, a commitment by the UK government to dramatically reduce transport ... read more >
July 27, 2018
Neste Explores Use Of Waste Plastic In Fossil Refining
On July 18, 2018, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) announced that it is exploring the use of waste plastic as a raw material in fossil refining, with a plan to start an industrial scale trial during 2019.  If successful, Neste could process one million tons of plastic waste annually by 2030.  The chemical recycling process uses “waste plastics as raw material for the refining and petrochemical industries to convert into end products such as fuels, chemicals, and new plastics.”  This method compliments traditional ... read more >
July 27, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Ethanol Producer, “Ernst Questions CEQ Nominee on RFS, Year-Round E15 Sales” BusinessGreen, “Circular Car? Dutch Team Unveil Recyclable, Bio-Based Electric Vehicle” Attis Industries, “Attis Industries to Purchase Site for First Commercial Biorefinery” Tempo, “Govt to Expand the Use of Biodiesel 20” Georgia Tech News Center, “Material Formed from Crab Shells and Trees Could Replace Flexible Plastic ... read more >
July 25, 2018
BRAG Requests that EPA Adopt TSCA Inventory Representation and Equivalency For Renewable and Sustainable Biobased Chemicals
Washington D.C.:  Representatives of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and representatives of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff to discuss the two groups’ recently-issued white paper, “Proposal for a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Representation and Equivalency Determinations for Renewable and Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals.”  BRAG and BIO members provided a presentation for EPA staff that outlined the regulatory challenges and market impedance ... read more >
July 20, 2018
Biofuel Groups Testify At RFS Public Hearing
On July 18, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a Public Hearing for Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020.  The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) testified at this meeting that EPA should set the 2020 Biomass-based Diesel volume at 2.8 billion gallons, stating that it aligns with the goals that Congress set for the RFS program, the volume is achievable in 2020, and that it will better fulfill the promise of the RFS program.  These statements come on the heels of a July 12, 2018, request by the Trump ... read more >
July 20, 2018
Anellotech And Suntory Reach New Milestone In Development Of Biobased Plastic Bottle
On July 16, 2018, Anellotech and Suntory announced that a new milestone had been reached in developing a 100 percent biobased plastic bottle. Anellotech is using a thermal catalytic process called Bio-TCatTM to confirm non-food based feedstocks into BTX aromatics, renewable chemicals that are structurally identical to traditional plastic components.  The BTX is now undergoing purification studies to make bio-paraxylene, a key chemical for the renewable bottles. David Sudolsky, President & CEO of Anellotech, stated “[f]ollowing our announcements earlier this year on process ... read more >
July 20, 2018
NSF Announces Investment In Biobased Semiconductor Research
On July 16, 2018, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $12 million investment in the Semiconductor Synthetic Biology for Information Processing and Storage Technologies (SemiSynBio) program, a partnership between NSF and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC).  Researches expect that integrating biological structures with semiconductor technology could increase current data storage capabilities by 1,000 times, while using less energy than current technology.  "While today's data storage devices are smaller and more powerful than ever before, we have the ... read more >
July 20, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
The Guardian, “Researchers Race to Make Bioplastics from Straw and Food Waste” Imperial College London, “New Enzyme Boost Could Hasten Biofuel Production” GreenBiz, “Ambitious Alliance Mobilizes Value Chain for Bio-Based ... read more >
July 13, 2018
EPA Announces Public Hearing And Publishes Proposed Rule On Renewable Fuel Standard Program
On July 3, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was holding a public hearing for the proposed rule “Renewable Fuel Standard Program:  Standards for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020” on July 18, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  83 Fed. Reg. 31098.  The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 10, 2018.  83 Fed. Reg. 32024.   The notice states that the public hearing will provide interested parties the “opportunity to present data, views, or arguments concerning the [proposed ... read more >
July 13, 2018
USDA Amends Guidelines For Designating Biobased Products
On July 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management announced it was amending the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement to add 12 sections that designate product categories within which biobased products will be afforded federal procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors via a final rule.  83 Fed. Reg. 31841.  The Federal Register publication states that this final rule “designates the proposed product categories within which biobased products will be afforded ... read more >
July 13, 2018
North Dakota Industrial Commission Provides Grant To Midwest AgEnergy For Barley-Based Ethanol Research
On July 2, 2018, Midwest AgEnergy announced that the North Dakota Industrial Commission, a division of North Dakota’s State Department of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, had awarded it a $83,810 grant to research using North Dakota barley to produce ethanol with a protein concentrate byproduct for use in aquaculture.  This would be the first ethanol produced North Dakota from a feedstock other than corn, and would include an expansion of the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy (DSA) ethanol plant.  "We're looking to move ahead with a more formal study on a barley protein ... read more >
July 13, 2018
VTT Technical Research Centre Announces Biobased Formable Plastic Substitute
On July 5, 2018, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd announced that it had developed a 100 percent biobased, thermally formable, biodegradable material, that is suitable for furniture applications.  This product is an attractive alternative to wood and other biocomposite materials that are already available in the market, with the added benefit of formality and coloring properties.  "All the goals we set were achieved: the material is 100% bio-based, cellulose fibres account for a significant proportion, it looks good and it has excellent performance ... read more >
July 13, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Plastics Insight, “EU-Funded Researchers to Develop Eco-Friendly Bio-Based Materials for Aircraft” Biomass Magazine, “ISO Committee Advances Development of Standards for Solid Biofuel” University of Portsmouth, “John McGeehan Key Player in Discovery of ‘Promiscuous’ Enzyme That Converts Plant Waste into Sustainable Products”                                    EPA, ... read more >
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