BRAG Biobased Products Blog: August 23, 2019
DOE Announces Funding For H2@Scale Concept
On August 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $40 million in funding for 29 projects to advance the H2@Scale concept. H2@Scale is a concept that explores the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resiliency of the power generation and transmission sectors while also aligning diverse domestic industries, competitiveness, and job creation. Funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Office of Nuclear Energy, the 29 selected projects will advance hydrogen storage and infrastructure technologies.
DOE Announces Funding For Advanced Vehicle Technologies R&D
On August 16, 2019, DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes announced funding for new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research. DOE’s EERE is providing $59 million to 43 projects dedicated to advanced batteries and electric drive systems, co-optimized engine and fuel technologies, materials for more efficient power trains, and alternative fuels and new energy-efficient mobility systems.
FDA Announces Collection Of Information Submission To OMB
On August 19, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in the Federal Register that a proposed collection of information on the Review Transparency and Communication in Reviews of 351(k) Biologics License Applications in Biosimilars User Fee Act has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This information collection supports the review program under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which allows FDA to collect user fees for the review of human drug and biologics applications for fiscal years 2013 through 2021. OMB is now accepting comments on the collection of information until September 18, 2019.
EPA IG Asked To Investigate Exemptions From RFS
On August 21, 2019, Iowa Democratic Representative Cindy Axne asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Inspector General (IG) to investigate how EPA decided to grant the exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requested by oil refiners. EPA approved 31 petitions for waivers from the 2018 requirements. Lawmakers are not pleased at what appears to be EPA favoring the oil industry. Hence, Representative Axne’s call for an IG investigation into how EPA decided to expand the number of waivers it issued since President Trump came into office. Representative Axne held a press conference on August 21, 2019, at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, an ethanol producer in Iowa. This is the same plant where Trump touted his action expanding sales of 15 percent ethanol.
According to Reuters, Trump is seeking to mollify corn farmers who are incensed over the exemptions. He personally approved EPA’s decision to go ahead with the waivers, but in a cabinet meeting, Trump told his staff to figure out a way to pacify the farmers. Alarmingly, and according to a refinery industry source, the President also asked EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler if he could take the exemptions back; he was told he could not.
Citing data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), EPA stated the United States had been setting records for both ethanol production and exports. “There is zero evidence that EPA’s Congressionally mandated small refinery exemption program, which provides regulatory relief to small refineries around the country, has had any negative impact on domestic corn ethanol producers,” EPA said in a statement. Nonetheless, POET, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, has idled an Indiana plant due to the waivers. “Our industry invested billions of dollars based on the belief that oil could not restrict access to the market and EPA would stand behind the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the oil industry is manipulating the EPA and is now using the RFS to destroy demand for biofuels.”
NEB To Host Free Workshop For Fuel Retailers
On August 28, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (CDT), the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) will host a free workshop for fuel retailers across the state to demonstrate the benefits and ease of offering ethanol-15 (E15) fuel to customers. The one-day workshop will cover misconceptions about the cost of offering E15, best practices, and resources to make implementing and labeling infrastructure easy and affordable. Space is limited, and interested parties must register by August 23, 2019.