On June 6-7, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri, the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting a workshop titled Deploying Purpose-Grown Energy Crops for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. The workshop will discuss successes, challenges, information gaps, and opportunities for deploying these energy crops and novel ideas will be encouraged.
The SAF Grand Challenge will guide recent federal actions to support industry in reducing the cost, enhancing the sustainability, and expanding the production and use of SAF to:
Produce 3 billion gallons per year of domestic SAF production that achieve a minimum of a 50% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel by 2030, and
Meet a goal of supplying 100% of projected domestic aviation jet fuel use, or 35 billion gallons of annual production, by 2050.
To meet these objectives, there will be a need for development and widespread adoption of purpose-grown energy crops, including algae, on a large scale. These energy crops may include, but are not limited to, algae (e.g. microalgae, cyanobacteria), herbaceous crops (e.g. switchgrass, miscanthus, energy cane, high-biomass sorghum), short-rotation woody crops (e.g. hybrid poplar, shrub willow), and overwintering secondary crops (e.g. carinata, pennycress, and other oilseed crops).
Desired Workshop Outcomes
Determine challenges and barriers to deploying purpose-grown energy crops and implementing climate-smart agricultural practices
Develop potential strategies to overcome the above challenges
Identify innovative solutions in the collection of reliable, long-term growth data and specific sustainability metrics of success
Establish and understand how to expand stakeholder networks in energy crops deployment
Vital results from this workshop will help guide future research and development directions in feedstock innovation to reduce the cost, improve the quality, increase the quantity, and maximize the environmental benefits of purpose-grown energy crops and renewable carbon resources. This work is critical to help achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s SAF goals and to advance a vibrant U.S. bioeconomy.
Discussion and stakeholder feedback will be facilitated through interactive breakout sessions, and BETO will develop a summary of findings from the workshop with a public report.
This training informs attendees about an innovative way to integrate energy conservation measures (ECM) with “indeterminate” savings into energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (i.e., ones whose savings aren’t clear from a typical performance contract’s investment-grade audit, or whose savings are likely to vary from year to year). Examples of these ECMs are whole-building re-/retro-commissioning, participation in demand response programs, and behavioral initiatives like ISO 50001.
Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:
Recognize examples of indeterminate savings ECMs and understand why they rarely appear in PCs despite typically having short simple payback periods.
Identify the advocated contractual techniques to incorporate these ECMs in PCs and the key issues to raise with agency legal and contracting colleagues.
Identify the generally accepted rules around the use of reserve accounts.
Join the National Community Solar Partnership as they launch the webinar series, ‘Building with Benefits: Meaningful Benefits as a Foundation for Equitable Community Solar’ to highlight best practices in developing community solar projects and programs that deliver meaningful benefits to subscribers and their communities. The webinars showcase the winners of the 2022 Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar and are moderated by a leading industry expert about the unique challenges related to delivering specific meaningful benefits, the best practices their project or program developed to address these challenges, and how their solution can be replicated or scaled.
Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed amendments to the regulations that govern the Agency’s review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to improve efficiency and align with the 2016 bipartisan TSCA amendments under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Under TSCA, EPA plays an important gatekeeper role by reviewing the potential risks of new chemicals before they can enter U.S. commerce and, when necessary, putting safeguards in place to protect human health and the environment. The proposal also eliminates eligibility for exemptions from the full safety review process for new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals.
These reforms advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to protect Americans from harmful PFAS exposure. As part of this government-wide effort, Administrator Michael Regan launched EPA’s PFAS Roadmap, a comprehensive strategy that outlines concrete actions over the next three years, including steps to control PFAS at its sources, hold polluters accountable, ensure science-based decision making, and address the impacts on disadvantaged and disproportionately impacted communities.
The proposed amendments released today includes the following provisions:
Align federal regulations with existing law
Under TSCA, manufacturers (including importers) and processors must submit premanufacture notices (PMNs) for new chemical substances, significant new use notices (SNUNs) for significant new uses, and microbial commercial activity notices (MCANs) for microorganisms with commercial applications. Prior to the 2016 amendments, EPA only made formal safety determinations on approximately 20% of new chemical submissions. Now, the new law requires EPA to make one of five possible safety determinations on 100% of new chemical submissions before they can enter the market.
Today’s proposal would amend the regulations by specifying that EPA must make one of the five specified statutory determinations on each PMN, SNUN, and MCAN received before the submitter may commence manufacturing or processing the new chemical substance. It would also update the regulations to list the actions required in association with each of those determinations. These amendments would align the regulations with TSCA section 5 requirements to reflect the full extent of new chemical reviews, providing consistency and transparency in new chemical review processes.
Eliminate certain exemptions for PFAS and PBTs
Existing regulations allow EPA to grant exemptions from a complete PMN safety review for the manufacturing of chemicals with low production quantities, environmental releases or human exposures. Under this process, persons who wish to manufacture new chemicals can submit a low volume exemption (LVE) or low release and exposure exemption (LoREX) prior to the commencement of manufacture, allowing the chemicals to undergo a less robust 30-day review instead of the typical 90-day reviews for PMNs.
In April 2021, EPA announced new PFAS would be unlikely to qualify for these exemptions given the complexity of PFAS chemistry, potential health effects and their longevity and persistence in the environment. As the Agency explained, it is challenging to complete a review of PFAS exemption submissions in the 30 days the regulations allow. Today’s proposed rule would make new PFAS categorically ineligible for LVE or LoREX exemptions, ensuring new PFAS would go through the full robust safety review process before they can enter commerce, consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing the impacts of PFAS, as expressed in EPA’s 2021-2024 PFAS Strategic Roadmap.
The amendments would also ensure that all PBT chemicals are also ineligible for these exemptions, codifying EPA’s decades-long policy for these substances.
Improve the efficiency of EPA’s review of new chemical submissions to foster innovation
The proposed rule also would make several other changes to add efficiencies to the new chemicals review process, including clarifying the level of detail needed in new chemical notices and amending the procedures for EPA’s review of notices that have errors or are incomplete. Under the proposed rule, EPA would change its longstanding practice of accepting amended notices that contain information that was known or reasonably ascertainable at the time of the original submission. Instead, EPA would exercise its authority under TSCA to declare submissions incomplete and restart the review period, saving time and resources that could instead be spent reviewing complete submissions more quickly.
It would also assist industry’s efforts to provide complete submissions for review through a new set of information “pick-lists” incorporated into the application form located in EPA’s Central Data Exchange. When submitters provide all the necessary information, EPA can assess risk more quickly and accurately. The proposals supplement EPA’s TSCA New Chemical Engineering Initiative, an outreach effort launched in 2022 that helps stakeholders understand how to avoid providing incomplete data in their new chemicals submissions. The amendments also include a streamlined process for submitters to request suspension of the review process for 30 days via oral or written request if more time is needed by the submitter.
Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, EPA will accept public comments on the proposal for 60 days via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0902 at www.regulations.gov.
The Agriculture Department is kicking off the awards process for nearly $11 billion in funding to electrify and decarbonize rural parts of the United States.
Drawing from two pots of money enacted in the Inflation Reduction Act, the funding is available for a sweeping set of potential projects, from new or retrofitted transmission lines to hydrogen projects to carbon capture. It is the largest single investment in rural electrification since the New Deal, according to the Biden administration.
“This is about renewable energy systems. It’s about zero-emissions systems. It’s about carbon capture systems,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters on a call Monday.
The funding is part of the administration’s strategy to use hundreds of billions of dollars in the IRA and the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure package to achieve its energy and climate objectives. More than $435 billion in private-sector investments has been announced following passage of those laws and the CHIPS and Science Act, the White House says.
An auto trade group warned on Tuesday that aggressive U.S. targets for reductions in vehicle emissions may rely on a too rapid transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and pose significant challenges with manufacturing and supply chains.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed sharp emissions cuts that it estimates would result in 60% of new vehicles by 2030 being electric and 67% by 2032.
Welcome to the intersecting worlds of business and biodiversity, where nature truly meets the bottom line. Although it’s still early days, there’s a fast-mounting wave of interest and activity in addressing how companies contribute to species loss and habitat degradation and destruction, as well as the growing efforts to turn that around.
Toyota plans to run more than 70% of its Alabama manufacturing operations on solar power through a $49 million project with a local utility.
Toyota Alabama, Toyota Tsusho America, and Huntsville Utilities last week announced a power purchase agreement to support a 168-acre facility that will generate 62,000 megawatt hours a year, reducing about 22,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
The solar facility is expected to begin generating power in the summer of 2024. Toyota has a goal of achieving carbon neutrality within its operations by 2035.
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