Biobased and Renewable Products News: USDA

January 19, 2018
Rural Prosperity Task Force Presents Findings To President Trump
On January 8, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue presented to President Donald Trump the findings of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.  The Task Force was established in 2017 following an Executive Order by President Trump to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.  According to the report, over 100 actions organized around five key topic areas, specifically e-connectivity, quality of life, rural workforce, innovation and technology, and economic development, were ... read more >
January 12, 2018
USDA Awards Nearly Three Million In Funding For Integrated Biorefinery Optimization
On January 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the University of Tennessee a $2,994,429 grant to improve biorefinery technologies through the Integrated Biorefinery Optimization (IBO) program.  The project aims to develop and commercialize solvent fractionated lignins to polymeric products for their potential market in building and construction sectors.  The overarching goal of the research is to develop integrated pathways for the extraction of value-added polymeric products from lignin waste/under-valued ... read more >
January 5, 2018
USDA Announces Support For SBIR Phase II Projects
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the release of a request for applications (RFA) for Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects.  The SBIR program is comprised of three phases. During Phase I, applicants determine the scientific or technical feasibility of their proposed ideas. Phase II requires a more comprehensive application, outlining the proposed effort in further detail. The purpose of Phase III is to stimulate technological innovation and return on investment from ... read more >
November 17, 2017
Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program Accepting Applications
On November 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) issued a statement soliciting applications for its Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program.  The program aims to support the generation of new information that will assist federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing genetically engineered (GE) organisms, including microorganisms, into the environment.  Exploratory research that relates specifically to federal regulatory needs is preferred. USDA ... read more >
November 10, 2017
USDA Withdraws Proposed Rule On The Importation, Interstate Movement, And Environmental Release Of Certain GE Organisms
On November 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it was withdrawing its proposed rule that would have revised the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain genetically engineered (GE) organisms.  The proposed rule, which was issued on January 19, 2017, aimed to “update the regulations in response to advances in genetic engineering and understanding of the plant pest and noxious weed risk posed by [GE] organisms, thereby ... read more >
October 27, 2017
Congressmen Send Bipartisan Letter On Regulating Agricultural Biotechnology To USDA, FDA, EPA
On October 17, 2017, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), and 77 additional House members sent a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to urge the agencies to work together to promote innovative new technologies aimed at increasing crop yields and reducing the cost of production.  According to Congressman Panetta, the letter was prepared in response to duplicative or inconsistent regulatory proposals regarding biotechnology.  In the ... read more >
October 27, 2017
USDA Awards $7.3 Million In Funding For Agricultural Technologies
On October 17, 2017, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the recipients of 17 grants totaling $7.3 million for projects focused on the development of next generation agricultural technologies and systems to meet the growing demand for food, fuel, and fiber.  Funding is provided by NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  Recipients include: Auburn University, which received $481,539 to develop and optimize the hydrothermal liquefaction of lignin (HTL) chemical stream and to ... read more >
October 13, 2017
USDA Announces $21 Million In Funding For Biobased Products
On September 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded six grants totaling nearly $21.1 million to support the development of new jet fuel, biobased products, and biomaterials from renewable sources.  The funding is provided through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area.  Grant recipients include: University of Arizona, which received $7,026,000 for the cultivation of two desert-dwelling feedstocks, specifically guayule ... read more >
October 13, 2017
Spero Energy Receives SBIR Grant For Biobased Chelates
USDA awarded Spero Energy Inc. a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $100,000 to conduct research and development to increase the availability and competitiveness of biobased products within the agricultural market.  Spero Energy is an Indiana-based company focused on the development of cost competitive processes for the conversion of biomass to renewable chemicals and fuels.  The SBIR grant aims to support the development of a series of patent-pending biobased and biodegradable chelates.  Chelates bind and deliver micronutrients to a variety of crops, which has ... read more >
October 13, 2017
FDA Announces Meeting, Calls For Comments On FDA/USDA Agricultural Biotechnology Education And Outreach Initiative
On October 12, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced two public meetings regarding its Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative.  The meetings will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on November 7, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (EST) and in San Francisco, California, on November 14, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (PST).  FDA states the purpose of the public meetings is “to provide the public with an opportunity to share information, experiences, and suggestions to help inform the development of this education and outreach ... read more >
August 4, 2017
USDA Announces $15.1 Million In Grants For Bioenergy and Bioproducts
On July 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded 34 grants totaling $15.1 million for research on renewable energy, biobased products, and agroecosystems.  The grants, which are funded through the agency’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), are expected to help develop the next generation of renewable energy, bioproducts, and biomaterials; protect the ecosystems that support agriculture; and improve the agricultural systems and processes that help feed the nation.    The following ... read more >
August 4, 2017
USDA Releases Annual Technology Transfer Report
On July 20, 2017, USDA released its technology transfer report for fiscal year 2016.  The report outlines the public release of information, tools, and solutions and the adoption and enhancement of research outcomes by collaborative partners and formal Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) that occurred in 2016.   The report highlights several research initiatives by ARS scientists focused on supporting the bioeconomy, including: Development of a new yeast strain with a unique cellulolytic enzyme that efficiently breaks down biofeedstock, shows resistance ... read more >
July 3, 2017
NAS Releases Final Report on Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham On June 30, 3017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released its final version of its report Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology, which it states “analyzes the future landscape of biotechnology products and seeks to inform forthcoming policy making [and] … identifies potential new risks and frameworks for risk assessment and areas in which the risks or lack of risks relating to the products of biotechnology are well understood.”  This report is a collaboration among a committee of ... read more >
June 16, 2017
DOE Announces $9 Million In Funding For Biomass Research And Development
On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), announced that up to $9 million in funding will be available through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) in fiscal year (FY) 2017.  Projects funded by BRDI will focus on developing economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass, increasing the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products, and diversifying the nation’s energy portfolio.  DOE and NIFA ... read more >
June 2, 2017
Trump Releases Proposed Budget For FY 2018
On May 23, 2017, President Trump released the Administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which includes significant cuts to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) budgets.  According to the proposed budget, funding for DOE would be cut by 5.6 percent to $28 billion, with $636 million allotted for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and $56.6 million for the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).  The proposed DOE budget aims to eliminate the Advanced ... read more >
May 5, 2017
USDA Seeks Comment On Revision To Information Collection For The Advanced Biofuel Payment Program
On April 25, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service published in the Federal Register a notice that it is requesting approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of a revision to a currently approved information collection for the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which provides funding to eligible advanced biofuel producers to support the production of biofuel products.  The Rural Business-Cooperative Service is specifically seeking comments on the following topics: Whether the proposed collection of information is ... read more >
March 17, 2017
DOE Announced Biomass Technical Advisory Meeting
On March 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) published a notice in the Federal Register regarding an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development (R&D) Technical Advisory Committee.  The meeting will take place March 30-31, 2017, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, and will focus on developing advice and guidance that promotes R&D for the production of biobased fuels and products.  The tentative agenda includes updates on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE ... read more >
February 24, 2017
Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program
On February 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is accepting applications for the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program.  The Program provides guaranteed loans for projects developing, constructing, or retrofitting commercial scale biorefineries and biobased product manufacturing facilities.  The developments must use eligible technology, including new commercial scale processing and manufacturing equipment.  Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent by March 6, 2017, that identifies the Borrower, ... read more >
February 24, 2017
USDA Extends Comment Period On Biobased Product Categories For Federal Procurement
On February 21, 2017, USDA announced in the Federal Register that the comment period for the Designation of Product Categories for Federal Procurement proposed rule had been extended.  The proposed rule aims to amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement to add 12 product categories composed of intermediate ingredient and feedstock materials and to propose a minimum biobased content for each category.  In addition to the product categories and biobased content, USDA is seeking comments on appropriate performance standards for each product category, ... read more >
January 20, 2017
DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office To Request Applications For Biomass Research And Development Initiative
On January 13, 2017, the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), announced the intent to issue a request for applications (RFA) titled “Fiscal Year 17 Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI).”  Projects funded through BRDI must address one of the foll owing topic areas:   ■   Feedstocks development :  Research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) focused on feedstocks and feedstock logistics as it relates to the ... read more >
January 20, 2017
USDA Releases Report On Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Balance Of Ethanol
On January 12, 2017, USDA released a report on the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of corn ethanol, titled “A Life-Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Based Ethanol.”  The study reviewed industry and farm sector performance over the past decade and found that in the United States corn-based ethanol generates 43 percent less GHG emissions than gasoline.  Compared to previous studies, the lifecycle GHG benefits were greater due to improvements in corn production efficiency, conservation practices, and ethanol production technologies.  The ... read more >
January 13, 2017
White House Releases Updated Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology
On January 4, 2017, the White House announced the release of the 2017 Update to the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology. The 2017 Update provides a comprehensive summary of the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with respect to regulating biotechnology products. Together with the National Strategy for Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products, published in September 2016, the 2017 Update offers a “complete picture ... read more >
January 13, 2017
DOE Announces $22.7 Million Funding Opportunity For Integrated Biorefinery Optimization
On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and USDA announced a $22.7 million funding opportunity to support integrated biorefinery (IBR) optimization, with DOE providing up to $19.8 million and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) providing up to $2.9 million .  To date, there are only a limited number of pioneer-scale commercial IBRs in the early stages of start-up and production, due to the technical and non-technical challenges associated with the reliable and continuous operation of IBRs.  The funding opportunity will be jointly managed by ... read more >
January 6, 2017
USDA Issues A Notice of Available Funds For The Farm-To-Fleet Biofuel Production Incentive
On December 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) published in the Federal Register a notice of available funds regarding the Biofuel Production Incentive (BPI) for companies refining biofuel from certain domestically grown feedstocks. The notice aims to improve transparency and simplify the process of administering CCC funds to support the Farm-to-Fleet program by identifying a specific BPI payment rate. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers CCC funds, will determine the per gallon incentive amount by multiplying the number of ... read more >
December 9, 2016
Green Biologics Receives USDA BioPreferred Certification
On November 29, 2016, Green Biologics, Inc. (Green Biologics) announced that its high purity biobased n-butanol and acetone received certification under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred® program.  Both products, which are produced through the fermentation of sugars from renewable feedstocks, were certified as 100 percent biobased.  In the early stages of its first commercial production facility, Green Biologics aims to produce commercial n-butanol and acetone by late 2016.  Additionally, Green Biologics states that the production of its ... read more >
December 2, 2016
USDA Funding Leads To First Wood-To-Jet Fuel Commercial Flight
On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its partners celebrated the successful journey of the first commercial flight powered in part by a new renewable fuel made from wood waste. The demonstration flight, operated by Alaska Airlines, was made possible due to a five-year $39.6 million research project to develop a viable renewable fuel source from cellulose-rich wood harvest leftovers funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and led by Washington State University and the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). The renewable fuel was ... read more >
November 4, 2016
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
■   BioPilotsUK, “Landmark Alliance Launched to Support the Growth of the UK Bioeconomy”   ■   The Prowers Journal, “National USDA Official Highlights Biofuels Investments in Colorado”   ■   UDaily, “Biofuel Breakthrough:  PNAS Paper Reports New Approach to Methanol Utilization”   ■   MSU News Service, “MSU Awarded Grant to Research Biofuel, Carbon Capture Technologies For Upper Missouri River ... read more >
October 7, 2016
EPA Releases Proposed Rule On Renewables Enhancement And Growth Support
On October 3, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule.  This proposed rule includes suggestions to improve the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and related pro-renewable fuel regulations.  Updated regulations included in the proposed rule include allowing biofuel producers to process feedstock and then convert the material into fuels at different facilities, and an expansion to the availability of high-ethanol fuel blends.  The proposed rule allows increases to the types of feedstocks that ... read more >
October 7, 2016
USDA Looks Back On Growth Of Bio-Based Economy And Renewable Energy
On October 4, 2016, Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development, posted a blog item “The Bio-Based Economy and Renewable Energy: USDA’s Record of Success,” reviewing the history of USDA’s work with the biobased economy.  USDA Rural Development has spearheaded the effort to promote economic growth through expansion of the biobased industry.  Lisa Mensah outlines positive impacts of USDA’s programs, stating “domestic energy-related emissions have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years.  Our ... read more >
September 23, 2016
Biotechnology: White House Releases Proposed Update To The Coordinated Framework And National Strategy For Modernizing The Regulatory System For Biotechnology Products
On September 16, 2016, the White House posted a blog item, "Building on 30 Years of Experience to Prepare for the Future of Biotechnology" and released two documents intended to modernize federal regulation of biotechnology products. In July 2015, the White House directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a long-term strategy to ensure that the system is prepared for the future products of biotechnology, and commission an expert analysis of the future landscape of ... read more >
September 16, 2016
USDA Provides Grant For Study Of Bio-Jetfuel Production From Energy Beets
On September 7, 2016, Advanced Biofuels USA announced that it had received a $16,893 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to run a study on the feasibility of producing bio-jetfuel from energy beets. The project is being developed by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), Purdue University, and Maryland small businesses, and will focus on the technical and economic aspects of producing energy beets on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, beet-to-bio-jetfuel production, and co-products from bio-jetfuel production. UMES will also explore the environmental impact of energy ... read more >
September 9, 2016
USDA Renews Safety Equipment Institute Contract To Manage Biobased Certification Program
On September 1, 2016, the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) announced that it was selected to manage the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Biobased Certification Program for the next five years. SEI is a subsidiary of ASTM International (ASTM), and has previously held the five-year contract with USDA to administer the USDA certification program that labels products as "biobased." This announcement comes on the heels of an update of ASTM's test method (D6866), that determines "biobased content of solid, liquid, and gaseous samples using radiocarbon analysis," ... read more >
September 2, 2016
USDA Reports On Increasing Ethanol Production Capacity In The Philippines
On August, 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service released an annual report on the Philippines' biofuel industry and ethanol imports. In January 2007, The Biofuels Act or Republic Act (RA 9367) was signed, creating biofuels legislation in the Philippines that now mandate a ten percent ethanol blend and a two percent biodiesel blend. While the Biofuels Act gives priority to local ethanol, supply issues with local ethanol production have resulted in the ethanol blend mandate historically being met with imports. The USDA report expects local ethanol ... read more >
August 26, 2016
ASTM International Updates Standard To Determine Biobased Content Of Bioproducts
ASTM International's Committee on Plastics recently approved revisions to standard D6866, Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis. This standard was originally approved in 2004, and is used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) BioPreferred® Program, by EPA when it is determining the sustainability of plastics, and by other corporations using biobased plastics. D6866 is used to determine the percent of carbons present in the final product that come from plant-biomass carbon feedstock versus ... read more >
June 3, 2016
USDA Announces Availability Of BCAP Funding For Farmers,  Foresters, And Ranchers
On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) had resumed incentives for farmers and foresters producing biomass for renewable energy and biobased products. BCAP has $3 million in available funding for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The program was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, and supports growers who produce energy biomass crops, or deliver forest and agriculture residues to a USDA-approved bioenergy or bioproducts facility. Facilities seeking enrollment in this program can apply through June 6, ... read more >
June 3, 2016
Recipients Of $8.8 Million In Advanced Biofuel Payment Program Funding Announced
On May 27, 2016, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an investment of $8.8 million to increase production of advanced biofuels in 39 states. The USDA Advanced Biofuel Payment Program is providing the funding with payments being allocated based on the amount of advanced biofuels produced from non-corn kernel starch renewable biomass. Eligible feedstocks include crop residue, food waste, yard waste, vegetable oil, and animal fat. A full list of the 108 programs receiving payments is available online, with an average payment of $81,789. Applications are accepted annually for the Advanced ... read more >
May 27, 2016
Sustainable Bioenergy And Bioproducts Challenge Area Announces $21 Million In Funding
On May 18, 2016, USDA announced $21 million in funding to support the development of regional systems for bioenergy and biobased products. The funding is provided through AFRI's Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area, an initiative of the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and is available to applicants in the following priority areas. Regional Bioenergy Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs) that focus on the production and delivery of regionally-appropriate sustainable biomass feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproducts. While the focus ... read more >
May 27, 2016
USDA Exploring Ways To Increase U.S. And Mexican Renewable Energy Sectors
On May 23, 2016, USDA announced that a team of U.S. ethanol industry leaders would travel to Mexico with Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse to explore opportunities to expand the United States' and Mexico's renewable energy industries. The trip occurred on May 24-25, 2016, with mission participants sharing their experiences with ethanol production and developing renewable fuel policies. The goal of the trip was to demonstrate how Mexico can implement its own renewable fuels program by taking advantage of Mexican grown sugarcane. Supporting the development of a ... read more >
May 20, 2016
UCR Provides More Detail On Biomass Based Fuel And Chemical Project That Received 1.3 Million
On May 11, 2016, the University of California, Riverside (UCR) provided more information about the project that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is funding with $1.3 million as part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). UCR received $1.3 million in funding to create biofuels and chemicals from waste plant materials. Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) and Chemical and Environmental Engineering Professor Charles Wyman, and CE-CERT Research Engineer and Adjunct Assistant Professor ... read more >
May 13, 2016
Biomass Research And Development Initiative Provides Seven Projects With Up To $10 Million In Funding
On May 9, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the recipients of up to $10 million in funding through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). BRDI is a joint program through DOE and USDA that helps develop sustainable sources of biomass and increase the availability of biobased fuels and products. DOE selected two of the grant winners to receive between $1 million and $2 million: the Ohio State University (OSU) project is "Biomass Gasification for Chemicals ... read more >
May 13, 2016
USDA Convenes Public Meeting Of The Advisory Committee On Biotechnology And 21st Century Agriculture
On May 9, 2016, USDA announced a public meeting of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21). AC21 was created to provide the USDA Secretary with information on agriculture biotechnology issues, including the long-term impacts of biotechnology on the U.S. food and agriculture system, and to provide guidance on immediate issues. The AC21 meeting will consider the analysis of the new AC21 charge created by the three ad hoc subgroups; discuss a draft outline for the next committee report, including draft guidance documents for producers and for facilitating ... read more >
May 13, 2016
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
■ Energy.gov, "Co-Optimized Fuel-Engine Systems to Transform Our Nation's Vehicles" ■ USDA Blog, "Bringing Up Better Biofuel" ■ Biofuels Digest, "What is the Worst Waste?" ■ Labiotech, "How the UK Is Engineering Bacteria to Produce Propane for Greener Fuels" ■ Plastics Today, "Mars Goes for Bioplastic Candy Bar Wrappers" ■ AkzoNobel, "AkzoNobel and Royal Cosun to Develop Sustainable Cellulose Products from Sugar Beet ... read more >
March 25, 2016
Sign Up For The Third And Final Public Meeting On Modernizing The Regulatory System For Biotechnology Products
On July 2, 2015, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Council on Environmental Quality jointly issued Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products, a memorandum directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (Coordinated Framework), develop a long-term strategy to ensure that the federal biotechnology ... read more >
March 11, 2016
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
■ USDA, "USDA To Help Finance New Farm Waste Biorefinery In Oregon" ■ The Chemical Engineer, "Metal-Free, Bio-Based Polyester Developed: First Step to Truly Sustainable Plastics" ■ Innventia, "[Swedish Firm] Innventia Is Gathering its Forces For a Future Bioeconomy" ■ LaboratoryTalk, "Enzyme Study Tackles Biofuel Efficiency" ■ TriplePundit, "A Quest for Biofuels May also Yield Food Security" ■ AZOCleantech, "Chemists One Step Closer to Achieving ... read more >
February 26, 2016
USDA Releases BioPreferred Program Fact Sheet And Announces Tide PurClean Certification
Last week, USDA issued a fact sheet containing an Overview of USDA's BioPreferred Program (BioPreferred). BioPreferred was created in 2002 with the passing of the 2002 Farm Bill, and was recently expanded as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. This has resulted in the growth of BioPreferred to include more than 2,500 products in 100 different categories. BioPreferred has two main initiatives to support the biobased product marketplace. The first initiative is to provide a voluntary product certification and label to provide consumers with useful information about a product, and the second is ... read more >
February 26, 2016
Tom Vilsack Responds To Studies On Evolution Of Ethanol Production
On February 16, 2016, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responded to two recent reports on ethanol and renewable fuels. The first report was published by USDA and is on "2015 Energy Balance for the Corn-Ethanol Industry," and the second report comes from the University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and is a "Literature Review of Estimated Market Effects of U.S. Corn Starch Ethanol." Both studies demonstrate the growth of the United States' renewable energy industry with improved ethanol and biodiesel production resulting in doubled ... read more >
January 8, 2016
DOE, EPA, And USDA Release Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Progress Report
On December 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Progress Report. The report shows the timeline of achievements that have been made since 2014 when the Roadmap was originally created, including the new Renewable Fuel Standard rule, streamlined REAP applications and scoring criteria, expanded biomass definitions, and increased funding for a larger range of biofuel projects. The Roadmap was originally created to take advantage of biogas systems to reduce ... read more >
December 4, 2015
Advisory Committee On Biotechnology And 21st Century Agriculture To Meet
On November 19, 2015, USDA published a Notice of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) Meeting in the Federal Register. The meeting will review the purpose, history, operational process, and member responsibilities of AC21; update committee members on relevant regulatory developments, initiatives, and USDA activities; and outline new tasks for the committee to address. There will also be an opportunity for members of the public to make oral statements, as long as they contact Dr. Michael Schechtman about presenting a statement at least three business days ... read more >
November 20, 2015
Phase I Of The Nutrient Recycling Challenge Competition Announced
On November 12, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other environmental and scientific experts to create the Nutrient Recycling Challenge (NRC). The competition was created to develop technology to recycle nitrogen and phosphorus from the more than one billion tons of livestock waste that is produced annually. The NRC is made up of four phases, allowing innovators to turn concepts into designs, and designs into working pilot projects used by participating farms. Phase I includes a $20,000 cash prize ... read more >
October 9, 2015
NST Council Requests Clarification Of Coordinated Framework Responsibilities
On October 6, 2015, the National Science and Technology Council, Science and Technology Policy Office published a notice of request for information (RFI) on "Clarifying Current Roles and Responsibilities Described in the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (CF) and Developing a Long-Term Strategy for the Regulation of the Products of Biotechnology" in the Federal Register. The purpose of the RFI is to obtain relevant data that will be used to update the CF to reflect the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food ... read more >
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