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Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog

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Attending and presenting at a scientific conference is an important milestone and professional development opportunity for young researchers. To enable this experience for more early-career scientists, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) administers three annual awards for students and postdoctoral scholars pursuing research incorporating green chemistry and engineering design principles. In total over the years, 95 scholars have benefited from these awards, representing a growing pool of young scientists and engineers who will be at the forefront of research as we tackle our planet’s most pressing sustainability challenges in years to come.


This year, seven awardees were selected from an impressive pool of applicants. The winners hail from seven different U.S. institutions: The University of South Carolina, Yale University, George Washington University, North Carolina State University, Gordon College, Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Louisville/duPont Manual High School.


Thank you to our dedicated judging panels for volunteering their time to review the ever-growing number of applications and Congratulations to these outstanding researchers!


Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award

The Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award provides national recognition and honor for outstanding student contributions to furthering the goals of green chemistry through research and/or studies. The ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry and the National Institute of Standards and Technology support the award. Recipients receive $1,000, and an additional $1,000 is available to support travel.


The 2019 award will be presented during the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference/9th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, June 11-13, 2019 in Reston, Virginia.


D.M.M. Mevan Dissanayake, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, is the 2019 Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award winner. Dissanayake’s research is aimed at developing greener synthetic techniques by incorporating electrochemical methods to synthesize pharmaceutical compounds. He is currently working on research to develop an atom economic route for amidation titled, “Anion Pool Synthesis for Electrochemical Derivatization of Pharmaceutical Compounds.”


Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship

Two U.S.-based scholars received the 2019 Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship, which supports the participation of a young international green chemistry scholar to attend a green chemistry technical meeting, conference or training program. The award was established in 2000 through the ACS International Endowment Fund in commemoration of the late Dr. Joe Breen, first director of the Green Chemistry Institute. Each winner receives up to $2,000 for travel and conference expenses.


From the 38 nominations received, the 2019 winners are:


Hanno Erythropel is a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Erythropel has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from McGill University. At Yale, Erythropel has worked on several projects including, a) studying the presence, fate and effects of sweeteners and flavor molecules in tobacco products, b) developing greener synthetic methodologies for the synthesis of sugar-based molecules used in skin care, and c) leading a team of students and post-docs in a meta-review of green chemistry progress over the last 20 years. Erythropel will be using the award to attend the 4th Green & Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Dresden, Germany held May 5-8, 2019.


Selene Ramer is junior at George Washington University in the District of Columbia where she studies computational modeling to predict the harmful effects of chemicals. Ramer’s current research focuses on validating design guidelines for minimal aquatic toxicity on high-volume pesticides. Ramer will be using the award to present her research at the 2019 International Symposium on Green Chemistry in La Rochelle, France held May 13-15, 2019.


Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry

Established in 2009 through the Ciba Green Chemistry Student Endowment, the purpose of this award is to expand students’ understanding of green chemistry by facilitating participation at a scientific conference. The award amount covers conference travel expenses up to $2,000.


From 47 nominations, the winners of the 2019 Ciba Award for Green Chemistry are:


William Joseph Sagues, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University, for his research on the “Catalytic Graphitization of Lignocellulosic Biomass.” Sagues seeks a more sustainable process for creating synthetic graphite, which is currently derived from petroleum and coal-based material. Synthetic graphite is a component of the Lithium-ion battery, in demand today for use in electric vehicles and for energy storage. The award will allow Sagues to present his research at the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering and 9th International Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Reston, VA from June 11-13, 2019.


Quincy Dougherty is a senior at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where she is majoring in both chemistry and business administration with a minor in biology. While at Gordon, Dougherty has been president of their ACS Student Chapter from 2017-2018, during which time the chapter received Green Chemistry Awards for their outreach activities. In the lab, she has pursued green chemistry through a research project on the Greener Extraction of Lycopene from Tomatoes using HPLC. Dougherty will use the award to attend the ACS National Meeting in Orlando, Florida March 31-April 4, 2019 and present in the symposium on “Green Chemistry Student Chapters: Stories of Success,” as well as in the Sci-Mix poster event.


Reece Johnson is a senior in the Department of Chemistry and Physics at the Florida Gulf Coast University. Johnson applied his interest in green chemistry to develop greener methods and catalysts for research related to synthesizing cancer-fighting compounds, “Green, Solid-Supported Catalyst for the Synthesis of Superior Cancer-Fighting Resveratrol Analogues.”  Reece will be using the award to attend the ACS National Meeting in Orlando, Florida March 31-April 4, 2019.


Bhavana Pavuluri is a junior at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky and a high school researcher in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Louisville. At the university’s lab under Prof. Sachin Handa, Pavuluri has contributed to various projects including research published in J. Org. Chem., “Micelle-Enabled Photoassisted Selective Oxyhalogenation of Alkynes in Water Under Mild Conditions.” Enthusiastic about pursuing green chemistry research, Pavuluri will use the award to travel to the ACS National Meeting in San Diego, California held August 25-29, 2019.


For more information about these awards or to find information about the 2019 applications deadlines, please check out our website:

The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® was thrilled to host the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony in Washington, DC this week!  ACS GCI coordinated this year’s nomination and review process in selecting the 2018 recipients:


Gupton.jpgTom Connelly, Jr. gives Prof. Frank Gupton his award.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Academic Award – Professors Frank Gupton and Tyler McQuade of Virginia Commonwealth University: Increasing Global Access to the High-volume HIV Drug Nevirapine through Process Intensification. Gupton and McQuade redesigned the process for creating this HIV drug, resulting in a 38% increase in yield and a reduction in waste generated. This novel process reduced the raw material cost by 30-40%. The new process was implemented through the Clinton Health Access Initiative in collaboration with two Chinese manufacturers resulting in a 9% reduction in the drug’s price.


chemetry.pngThe Chemetry team with Dr. Connelly.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Small Business Award – Chemetry Corporation: The eShuttle™ Technology for Propylene Oxide and Reducing CO2 Emissions in the PVC Supply Chain. This technology eliminates chlorine in the production of polyvinyl chloride (used to make PVC pipes, etc.), along with a chlorine-free method of producing propylene oxide, commonly used to make lightweight polyurethane foams and a variety of other valuable products. The eShuttle™ process reduces the power consumption of manufacturing propylene oxide by 60% compared to the conventional process, saving 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The new process also eliminates asbestos and mercury and removes the potential for the creation of chlorination byproducts associated with the current chlor-alkali process.



The Merck team accepts their award with Dr. Connelly.

Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Greener Synthetic Pathways – Merck Research Laboratories: A Sustainable Commercial Manufacturing Process for Doravirine from Commodity Chemicals. A new synthesis of this HIV drug reduces production materials by 81%, increases yield from 23% to 52% and reduces the cost of raw materials by 57%. A life cycle assessment revealed the carbon footprint and water usage were reduced by 88% and 90%, respectively.



Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic's Julia Shamshina and John Keyes (right) with
Prof. Robin Rogers receive their award from Dr. Connelly.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Greener Reaction Conditions – Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, LLC: A Practical Way to Mass Production of Chitin: The Only Facility in the U.S. to Use Ionic Liquid-Based Isolation Process. Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, LLC, is commercializing a safe, environmentally friendly, low energy-demanding and overall less costly process to produce chitin from seafood waste. Chitin is used in a variety of applications, such as food processing, biodegradable plastics and biomedical applications. This zero-discharge process produces a very high-grade and pure chitin, making use of and monetizing this seafood processing waste.



Dr. Connelly with Corteva's Jaime Zambrano, Nneka Breaux, and Dennis Wujek.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


The Design of Greener Chemicals – Corteva Agriscience™ Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™: Rinskor™ Active – Improving Rice Production While Reducing Environmental Impact. This herbicide uses a unique new chemistry that allows farmers to apply it in lower doses than prior herbicides, eliminating an expected 750,000 pounds of active herbicide ingredients in 2018. In addition, nearly the same amount of hydrocarbon solvents will be eliminated because the herbicide makes use of predominantly plant-derived and renewable solvents. In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted Rinskor™ the Reduced Risk Pesticide Designation in rice and aquatics.


Congratulations to this year’s winners!  These award-winning technologies demonstrate that great science can be accompanied by significant health and environmental benefits, reductions in the use and generation of hazardous substances, and economic advantages.


We were also pleased to have Dr. Leah Rubin Shen, Energy and Environment Policy Advisor for the Office of Senator Chris Coons give the congratulatory address, as well as Dr. Bill Carroll, ACS GCI Advisory Board Chair presiding and Dr. Tom Connelly, Jr., ACS Executive Director and CEO giving the science address. The U.S. Military District of Washington presented colors while Paula Christopher of the ACS performed the National Anthem.


8th IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry


I had the pleasure of participating in the 8th IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry in Bangkok, Thailand on September 9-14.  Professor Supawan Tantayanon organized the conference in collaboration with Professor Pietro Tundo, chair of IUPAC’s Interdivisional Committee on Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development. The conference attracted an international audience that shared research in tracks on green chemicals, polymers, and materials; green synthesis, manufacturing, and engineering processes; green fossil energy, biomass, and future fuels; and green chemistry education.  This is the first time this conference was held in Asia and it proved a wonderful venue for highlighting advances in and establishing collaborations on green chemistry research and education.




Dr. Mary M. Kirchhoff, Ph.D.

Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Director, Scientific Advancement Division

By Frank Roschangar, Director, Process Research & Global External Chemistry Management, Chemical Development US, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals


The 22nd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon in June 2018 featured a new interactive workshop concept. Herein, we summarize key outcomes of the workshop titled Metrics - Advances and Limitations in Determining the Greenness of Drug Manufacturing, which was chaired by Frank Roschangar from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, and featured five expert speakers from the ACS Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) and industry.  Each speaker presented their metrics-related topic in just 10 minutes, followed by the deployment of various idea-generating tools, namely SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), PPCO (Pluses, Potentials, Concerns, Overcome concerns; credit: Lisa Bodell, futurethink) and Assumption Reversal (credit: Lisa Bodell, futurethink), to stimulate interactive 15 minute discussions and suggestions for improvements on each topic.



Participants at the Metrics workshop at GC&E in Portland, Oregon. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography


David Constable from ACS GCI presented Green Chemistry Metrics – Yes, you need more than one!  He emphasized that researchers ought to apply a system-wide view of chemistry and adopt a multivariate metrics approach to each assessment so that the environmental impact is optimized across the lifecycle of the product. From the subsequent discussion emerged the idea of reaching broad agreement on strategies for using differentiated metrics to effectively drive desired improvements.


Austin Smith from Amgen introduced Inspiring process innovation via an improved green manufacturing metric: iGAL, a new benchmark for manufacturing process waste at each stage of the pipeline. In the interactive session, opportunities were identified such as collecting more data and applying the concept to the pharmaceutical supply chain.


Eric Simmons from Bristol-Myers Squibb offered his perspective on Non-mass based metrics: Assessing environmental, health and safety impacts of chemical processes that led to the development of a comprehensive Process Greenness Scorecard for small-molecule APIs.  One opportunity that came out of the discussion was how to build industry consensus around the weightings of the individual metrics.


Michael Kopach from Lilly discussed Metrics for medium-sized drugs: Polypeptides and Oligonucleotides and disclosed that green chemistry has found little application in the preparation of these medium-sized molecules.  The audience found this field to have significant potential for adopting or developing adequate metrics to stimulate green innovation.


Sandra Robaire from Merck elaborated on the Streamlined PMI-LCA (Process Mass Intensity – Life Cycle Assessment) Tool for Small Molecules, which was recently streamlined by the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable as a more comprehensive tool when compared to mass-based metrics.  The ensuing interactive discussion revealed that collecting full LCA data on common reagents and crafting case studies from multiple companies may enhance the value and utilization of the tool. Overall, the sessions were highly participative and well received as such.  The output of each session was summarized by the chair and sent to the speakers for their consideration.  We are hopeful that several suggestions and ideas will have been followed up and results will be presented at the metrics workshop at the June 2019 Green Chemistry & Engineering conference in Reston, Virginia.

By Mr. Philip Krook, Communications Officer, ChemSec


Last week I heard a word that I had never heard before. It was a term explaining a phenomenon that has skyrocketed in the last years. The word was uberization.


At the time, I could already guess the meaning behind the expression seeing as I knew about the company from which the term is derived, but when I got home I still wanted to look it up because it really rang true to a project that we are working on in my organization.


An explanation I found on the internet stated that the term refers to “the utilization of computing platforms in order to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions between clients and providers of a service, often bypassing the role of centrally planned corporations”.


Wait, had I accidentally clicked on something that sent me straight to the project description of Marketplace?


Let me back up a little bit.


I work for ChemSec, a non-profit organization working towards a future free from hazardous chemicals. We work closely with decision makers and companies, advocating progressive legislation and sustainable chemicals management.


Working closely with corporate chemicals management has made us aware of a problem that many companies have when it comes to phasing out hazardous chemicals in their products and supply chains. They do not know where to find safer alternatives, and oftentimes they do not even know what they are supposed to look for since information regarding these alternatives is not readily available to them.


At the same time, we saw all these small start-ups popping up with innovative technical processes and alternative materials that would be game-changers in the industry if they only had the opportunity to market them. We also knew about large chemical producers that already had safer alternatives in their portfolios but for various reasons did not actively promote them.


The solution was quite obvious to us. We needed to connect supply with demand.


“Let’s uberize it!”, someone… did not say in a meeting. But someone might as well have, because that is exactly what we are trying to do. We want to enable potential customers to be put into direct contact with potential providers of safer chemical alternatives, eliminating the role of the middle man.


So, we created Marketplace.




Marketplace is a meeting point where buyers and sellers of safer chemical alternatives can interact. The website is meant to be a hub, similar to eBay, Craigslist or… well, Uber. If you are looking for an alternative you post a request, if you have a safe alternative you advertise it. If you are unsure you can just scroll through all the ads, using filters for chemical functions, industry or a specific hazardous chemical that you are looking to substitute.


A year into its development cycle, a wide range of stakeholders already recognize the potential in Marketplace. Large retailer brands, big chemical producers and small start-ups are posting more and more advertisements and requests, and European legislators and green chemistry leaders in the U.S. use Marketplace to stay updated on the latest alternatives and industry trends.


Hopefully, this uberization of safer chemical alternatives will lead to a much swifter phaseout of toxic chemicals in products and supply chains, while at the same time promoting the production of safer chemical alternatives instead of the hazardous ones.


If it has worked for hospitality, transportation and random consumer goods, then why shouldn’t it work for chemicals as well?



Learn more about ChemSec Marketplace in this upcoming webinar with Northwest Green Chemistry:


ChemSec Marketplace and its role in advancing safer alternatives: Focus on phthalates

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

10-11 a.m. PT

Register Here

Get ready to celebrate the periodic table! The U.N. has named 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Mendeleev’s groundbreaking Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is coordinating worldwide and will be listing events on their IYPT site. The American Chemical Society also has a portal dedicated to all things #IYPT2019 from ACS including educational resources, events, contests and engagement campaigns.


The ACS Green Chemistry Institute is planning to help celebrate by continuing to raise awareness about the Endangered Elements and ways that we can improve elemental sustainability. We are also hoping to have IYPT programming at the 2019 GC&E/GSC Conference.


The ACS Committee on International Activities is sponsoring the IYPT Challenge Grant program. Grant applications are peer-reviewed, competitive and designed to assist ACS Technical Divisions, Local Sections, International Chapters and Committees with planning and efforts to develop projects, events, and resources to contribute to the scientific success of IYPT. Grants will be awarded for amounts between $1,000 and $2,000 USD. Grant applications will be accepted until September 15, 2018, at 5:00 pm EDT.


What are you going to do for #IYPT2019?

One of the new elements of the GC&E Conference this year was a morning dedicated to Interactive Discussions—a different session format aimed to engage participants in discussions and actively explore new approaches and tools. Feedback from participants was positive and these sessions offered a welcome change and a great opportunity to meet and talk to new people.


We will be recapping the session in two parts. Part II will be published in the August issue of The Nexus.


Building Green Businesses

The Building Green Businesses interactive session engaged participants in exploring strategies to translate green chemistry technologies into commercial applications. Participants developed a business model canvas addressing a green chemistry challenge in the textile sector. This approach required attendees to work in teams to consider a number of factors, including customer segments, value proposition, and key partners, in developing business models. Organizer Marty Mulvihill of Safer Made shared information on funding sources, talking with investors, and building a start-up team.


Resources for creating a green business:


Venture Well- Accelerator and curriculum

Business model canvas resources

Safer Made Textile report



Implementation Strategies for Green Chemistry in Products – What are the Barriers, Opportunities, and Key Elements for Making Sustainable Consumer Goods?


In this session led by John Frazier, Bob Buck and Scott Echols, participants were lead through a series of thought-provoking questions and engaged in conversations to identify barriers to implementing green chemistry and then brainstorm potential solutions. The top five barriers identified were 1) long development/scale time, 2) regulatory requirements, 3) cost/investment, 4) clear communication with supply chain, and 5) economy of scale vs. existing chemicals.



High-level routes to overcome these barriers included:

  • Predictive modeling to identify greener alternatives
  • Communicate clear expectations across regulators, brands, suppliers
  • Seek “Co-opitition” Opportunities (competitors collaborating)
  • Educate to create demand
  • Reduce risk through investment insurance model
  • Develop greener purchasing systems
  • Enable fail-fast R&D
  • Multi-disciplinary approach to green chemistry needs
  • Recognize green chemistry as innovation


Minimizing Ecotoxicity and Persistence in Chemicals and Materials

Is it possible to develop a “safe” diazo dye? The Minimizing Ecotoxicity interactive session allowed participants to examine the acute and chronic ecotoxicity of chemical and material safety by using predictive models.  During the session, the attendees were asked to select three candidate compounds to propose a safer aromatic amine alternative based on ecotoxicity and biodegradation data. By studying a list of Primary Aromatic Amines (PAAs), the acute and chronic ecotoxicity data associated with them, in addition to predicted data on biodegradation, the attendees were able to create a list and report out their safer selection. After participants identified their “safer” compounds, they learned about the different methods of ecotoxicity data collection and how it’s used in an integrated approach to identify chemicals safer to other species.


To review the slides from the interactive session visit

The Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship sponsors the participation of a young green chemistry scholar to attend a green chemistry technical meeting, conference, or training program. This year's winners are enrolled at Ohio State and Colorado State. Both students chose to use the award to attend the GC&E Conference in June where they presented their research.


breen-luke.pngLuke Morrical receives Breen Award from Tom Connelly.
© 2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography



This year’s undergraduate recipient of the Breen Award is Luke Morrical, who is studying chemical engineering at The Ohio State University. Morrical was introduced to green chemistry last year through an internship at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.  His project involved using botanical compounds in conjunction with biobased polymers to combat microbial contamination in foods and food products.



Bonnie Buss receives Breen Award from Tom Connelly.
© 2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography.



Bonnie Buss, who is working toward her Ph.D. in chemistry at Colorado State University, is this year’s graduate student awardee. Bonnie’s research focuses on the application of organocatalyzed atom transfer radical polymerization to scalable photo-flow reactor systems. She has designed a new class of organic photoredox catalysts that hold promise as polymerization catalysts.


The ACS established the fund in 2000 to commemorate Dr. Breen’s commitment to and accomplishments in advancing green chemistry. Dr. Breen was instrumental in creating the Design for the Environment and Green Chemistry programs in the U.S. EPA, as well as founding the Green Chemistry Institute (which later became a part of ACS).

Congratulations to this year’s Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award winner, Emily Roberts, who is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Chemistry at the University of Southern California. She received the award from the ACS Executive Director and CEO Tom Connelly at the GC&E Conference in June.


hancock.pngEmily Roberts receives Hancock Award from Tom Connelly.
©2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography


The Hancock Award provides national recognition and honor for outstanding student contributions to furthering the goals of green chemistry through research and/or studies.


Roberts' research is directed towards improving the production of biofuels by scaling catalytic nanoparticle fabrication. She is investigating earth-abundant catalysts composed of Ni and Ni2P.  Her research is also focused on transitioning and scaling the batch manufacturing of these nanoscale catalysts to a continuous flow droplet microreactor using an ionic liquid solvent in place of volatile organic solvents.


The Hancock Award is sponsored by the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry and the National Institute of Standards & Technology.

My sincere thanks to all who attended and helped organize last month’s Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon—what a fantastic meeting!  A total of 580 attendees shared research results, engaged in interactive discussions, and visited the poster session, exhibitors, and product showcase.  The keynote speakers – Joe DeSimone, Don Sadoway, and Julie Zimmerman – were exceptional, and the high-energy networking events provided attendees with opportunities to establish new collaborations across sectors.


I would like to extend a special thanks to our conference co-chairs, Julie Haack and Richard Blackburn, for organizing such a dynamic conference. Their vision in retaining the scientific core of the conference while introducing new features, such as the interactive sessions and product showcase, was key to the success of the conference. The incredible support of my ACS Green Chemistry Institute® colleagues – Christiana Briddell, Ashley Choi, David Constable, Jane Day, Matt Deinhardt, Dawn Holt, Jenny MacKellar, Isamir Martinez, and Stephanie Wahl – was essential in delivering an outstanding meeting experience. The conference also afforded us the opportunity to recognize Kent Voorhees for his dedicated service to ACS GCI during his 11 years on the Governing Board, including five years as Chair.


voorhees.pngKent Voorhees thanked by Tom Connelly on behalf of his service on, and as Chair of, the ACS GCI Governing Board.
©2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography.


Planning for the 2019 joint 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and 9th International Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference is well underway. The conference will be held in Reston, Virginia from June 11-13, 2019 under the leadership of conference co-chairs Joan Brennecke and Philip Jessop. The call for symposia is open through September 10 and I encourage you to submit your ideas. Submissions are welcome in all areas of green chemistry and engineering, particularly those that address the conference theme of “closing the loop” of the chemical life cycle.


While much of ACS GCI’s attention has been lately focused on the conference, work continues on other fronts, as evidenced by two recent publications. Jim Hutchison and Tom Holme, who are deeply involved in developing the Green Chemistry Education Roadmap, published an editorial in the April issue of the Journal of Chemical Education on “A Central Learning Outcome for the Central Science”.  The Central Learning Outcome articulated in this article is that “Chemicals have benefits and hazards, and these must be considered together.” Tony Noce, ACS GCI Advisory Board member and Chair of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement, authored a May 27 comment in Chemical & Engineering News that outlined how chemistry can help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  He highlights chemistry’s essential role in meeting these ambitious goals.


Finally, I hope to see many of you at the ACS National Meeting in Boston next month. Symposia on green chemistry are featured in many of the technical divisions, including catalysis, chemical education, environmental, and organic.  Please stop by the GCI booth (#1418) in the exhibit hall – we look forward to welcoming you!




By Louis Diorazio, Pharmaceutical Technology and Development, AstraZeneca


Solvents are commonplace chemicals across industry and academia.  In many cases, the bulk of the materials that chemists process are solvents with the ‘interesting stuff’ present only as minor components.  From this, it can be seen that the greenness of a chemical process, whether in a lab or a manufacturing plant, will be heavily influenced by the selection of the correct solvent.  Although solvents can offer green credentials in their own right, this only translates into a green process once we recognize that the purpose of a solvent is to effectively support an application such as synthesis, coating or formulation.  A green solvent may not provide for a green process if we don’t properly consider its influence on aspects of the application from the molecular to the macro scale such as:


  • Accessible temperature window
  • ‘Molecular’ properties  and interactions e.g. pKa, redox potential, metal binding, solubility
  • Side reactions and impurities
  • Available analytical technologies e.g. refractive index, spectral properties
  • Product isolation and drying


Effective solvent selection should progress beyond the current contents of the solvent cupboard or from a limited appraisal of options.  The principles of solvent selection are very simple and start with a straightforward challenge ‘Do I really need a solvent?’  In many applications (e.g. making low cost / high volume materials), solvents bring unnecessary dilution and no benefit but if the need for a solvent can be justified, there are only two additional questions to answer:


  1. What properties do I need from a solvent?
  2. What solvents fulfill those requirements?


The new Solvent Selection Tool launched publicly by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable sets out to provide answers to these questions. Users start from a pool of 272 solvents that can be filtered based on a wide range of criteria such as:


  • Chemical functionality
  • Physical properties
  • Engineering and plant accommodation
  • Safety Health and Environment
  • ICH classification


In this way, the user can address traditional processing concerns such as chemical reactivity or water miscibility alongside environmental considerations. The tool deliberately avoids explicitly identifying solvent identities until the user is happy with the size of their shortlist, all of which fulfills the set criteria. Some unconventional or unexpected options may be encountered, the key is to be open to change – after all, what does a solvent look like? Ultimately this provides for rational solvent selection where results can be explored directly in lab studies or refined using predictive methods.


The issue of solvent selection is becoming more critical as legislation places restrictions on some traditional solvents (e.g. glyme, HMPA, benzene, NMP, DME) for reasons of health or environmental impact. This challenge will only increase over time and scientists will need to be more open minded with respect to solvent choice in the future.


Our perspective should focus on green solvent selection, i.e. providing end-to-end performance against all criteria rather than force-fitting a green solvent and expecting an optimal result. Take a look at the tool and tell us what you think.




L.J.Diorazio, D.R.J.Hose, N.K.Adlington, Org. Process Res. Dev., 2016, 20, 760-773

Contributed by Derrick Ward, Program Manager, Beyond Benign, and Erika Daley, My Green Lab


Are you looking to integrate green chemistry into teaching labs, but just can’t find time to look for and analyze new experiments? Are you a TA that would like to suggest safer experiments with a lower environmental impact, but haven’t been educated in the topic yourself? Are you a student or staff researcher that would like to make simple changes to green your lab practices, but don’t know where to start? We are happy to share that two non-profit organizations have joined forces to bring you a solution!


guides.pngGlobal industries are redefining their core business strategies by adopting greener chemistry practices that are reinventing supply-chain ecosystems to design models that create value for all stakeholders – including the planet. By simply adopting greener chemistry practices, whole industries have seen positive benefits ranging from novel innovations, reduced operational waste and costs, to increased market presence by differentiating themselves amongst their competitors. As a result, the North American green chemistry market is projected to grow from $3 billion to $20 billion by 2020. To facilitate the education and adoption of green chemistry by scientists supporting this market, we are thrilled to share that Beyond Benign and My Green Lab recently launched ‘A Guide to Green Chemistry Experiments for Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Labs’, with support from our mutual sponsor Millipore Sigma.


The guide provides 10 published, peer-reviewed green chemistry experiment that have been identified as substitutions for traditional undergraduate organic chemistry teaching lab experiments, in a pre-packaged, customizable manner that you may use as-is, or adjust to fit your own needs. Each experiment includes an introduction, experimental procedure, EH&S ratings, comparative analysis against traditional experiments, a TA guide, and example quiz questions. An assessment demonstrating qualitative benefits of green chemistry implementation, including energy efficiency, use of renewable resources, and use of safer solvents is also provided. Our goal was to make it as easy as possible for you to integrate these greener alternatives in your own teaching labs.


We took this opportunity to include several resources that extend well beyond academic teaching labs and apply to all academic and industry research settings. The introduction chapter includes information on greening common laboratory techniques, solvent and reagent substitution guides, ‘green chemistry 101’, and explanation of the EH&S safety ranking system we used so that you may adopt it for your own purposes.


qrcode.pngHow to Get Your Free Copy!

This guide is a FREE resource available for the chemistry community, from undergraduate students to faculty members, and it is available to download by scanning the QR code below or at:



After downloading your FREE copy of “A Guide to Green Chemistry Experiments for Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Labs”, check out the instructional webinar highlighting in more detail the design and benefits it offers to your organic chemistry laboratory! You can access the webinar here.


We Want to Hear From You!

We would love to hear from you with regards to how you are using the Guide, and suggestions for experiments you would like to see in future editions! To provide this and any other feedback, please take a moment to complete the following survey: We know your time is valuable, and greatly appreciate your input!

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® is pleased to announce the opening of the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The U.S. EPA supports the continuation of the awards program for 2018 under the sponsorship of the ACS GCI. To ensure continuity, the awards categories and guidelines are remaining the same, only the timing of the awards cycle is changing, and the ACS GCI will be managing the awards program and making final decisions about award winners.


As in past years, an independent scientific panel convened by ACS GCI will be making recommendations for the award winners, with the final decisions for each award category chosen by members of the ACS GCI Advisory Board.


Estimated Timeline:

  • Submissions accepted from April 30, 2018 through July 2, 2018
  • Award winners notified no later than August 31, 2018
  • Awards ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C. on October 2018


The award guidelines and nomination package will be posted on the ACS GCI website by April 30, 2018, and these will follow the same guidelines as in previous years. Interested parties are encouraged to begin the process for submission as soon as possible.


If you have any questions, please email

Contributed by Paul D. Thornton, Development Scientist, GreenCentre Canada, and Laura M. Reyes, Career Development Leader, Chemical Institute of Canada


We have organized a full-day session at this year’s GC&E conference called "Accelerating Development of Sustainable Products and Processes Through Start-Ups and SMEs," which will bring together entrepreneurs from various sectors and stages of company growth to share their stories, focusing on successes and turning points, expected and unexpected challenges, and lessons learned along the way. We will also hear about existing resources that can be creatively leveraged for maximum impact toward a growing company’s commercialization goals. While there is no easy roadmap for a green chemistry start-up to follow, there are valuable lessons to be learned from these shared experiences, and it is our hope that this session will help enable entrepreneurship in green chemistry and the resulting market adoption of innovative products and processes.


This session, which will take place all day on Wednesday, June 20, will greatly benefit anyone who is involved in, or interested in, start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) based in green chemistry. All conference delegates are highly encouraged to attend and join us in learning different perspectives of what is needed to bring a green product or process to market.


We will feature presentations from nine entrepreneurs and company founders, from fields as diverse as waste recycling, to safer consumer products, to naturally sourced ingredients. The talks will include two keynote speakers. In the morning, Lauren Zarama, the CEO of InKemia Green Chemicals, will discuss her company’s approach to innovating and commercializing greener and safer chemistry solutions. In the afternoon, Richard Blackburn, the co-founder and director of Keracol and a professor at the University of Leeds, will discuss commercializing natural products for use in the cosmetics industry and how he balances academia and entrepreneurship. The other companies featured are: framergy, Grow Bioplastics, Newreka Green Synth Technologies, RAPID Manufacturing USA Institute, remooble, and Sironix Renewables.


Following the start-up presentations, we will shift focus towards available resources, including the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council’s Green & Bio-Based Chemistry Startup Network, and considerations to keep in mind when turning a technology into a business. A series of short talks will cover the importance of market focus (by Diatomix), the most critical intellectual property tips (by Finnegan LLP), and the due diligence process behind investing in new ventures (by Chemical Angel Network). An interactive discussion will close off the day, highlighting the technical and business needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses in green chemistry, and what resources are available to address those gaps. We look forward to continuing these lively conversations shortly after our session at the GC&E’s Green Chemistry on Tap social!

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® receives input from a variety of stakeholders and last week the GCI Advisory Board met in Washington, DC. Chaired by ACS Past President and former Chair of the Board Bill Carroll, the Advisory Board includes Concepción Jiménez-González, GlaxoSmithKline; Lauren Heine, Northwest Green Chemistry; Audrey Moores, McGill University; Michael Kirschner, Design Chain Associates, LLC; and Tony Noce, Tetra Tech and Chair of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement.


Advisory Board members provided guidance to GCI staff on a number of topics, including the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the International Year of the Periodic Table, and the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  The Advisory Board discussed the recent GAO report on "Chemical Innovation: Technologies to Make Processes and Products More Sustainable" and received updates on federal policy related to green chemistry, collaborations between the green chemistry and safety communities, and progress on the environmental genome project.


The Advisory Board also received an update and provided feedback on the 2018 Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, the premier venue for sharing expertise across the green chemistry and engineering community. We are thrilled to be returning to Portland, Oregon on June 18-20 for the 22nd Annual Conference with a theme of “Product Innovation Using Greener Chemistries”. In addition to 30 technical symposia, this year’s conference will feature several interactive sessions along with a product showcase demonstrating green chemistry and engineering applications in the marketplace. The early-bird deadline of April 30 is fast approaching and I encourage you to register at to take advantage of the best conference rate.


At last month’s ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, GCI recognized the ACS Student Chapters that are sharing their green chemistry expertise on their campuses and within their local communities. A total of 56 Student Chapters were honored for their green chemistry activities during the Student Chapters Awards Ceremony on Sunday, March 18. Approximately 1,000 students and their faculty advisors celebrated the accomplishments of all of the Student Chapters during this high-energy ceremony.


The ACS National Meeting also provided a venue to reflect upon advances in green chemistry since the principles of green chemistry were introduced by Paul Anastas and John Warner 20 years ago. Speakers in the “State-of-the-Art:  Two Decades Advancing the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry” session highlighted products and processes that address each of the principles, as well as opportunities to further promote the integration of green chemistry across the chemistry enterprise.


As we approach Earth Day, it is important to continue sharing our expertise with colleagues, students, family, and friends. Chemistry in service to humanity is a powerful message that reflects our commitment to protecting human health and the environment through the implementation of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering.



Organized by Jennifer Y. Tanir, M. Barclay Satterfield, Robert Giraud, George Cobb, and David Constable (members of ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement)


We cordially invite conference attendees to participate in an interactive, 1-day workshop, "Charting the Course to Sustainable Chemistry in the Supply Chain," on Wednesday, June 20. The goal of the workshop is to evaluate successes of integrating green/sustainable chemistry into the supply chain in the formulated personal care and household products sector and distill the learnings into a plan for widespread adoption.


One of the barriers to the ubiquitous implementation of sustainable chemistry is strong integration and acceptance throughout the supply chain. Despite many individual single-product or single-company successes, or a few advances in limited sectors’ supply chains, there is still a need for widespread agreement on sustainability goals and cooperation throughout the supply chain.


The interactive workshop will be divided in to three sessions: (1) Lessons Learned; (2) Gaps, Challenges, and Needs; and (3) Facilitated Discussion and Roadmapping, with the goal of developing a plan (and ultimately a publication) to improve incorporation of sustainable chemistry in the supply chain for formulated products. The first two sessions are panel discussions with subsequent breakout discussions for the audience to contribute their ideas to key questions. In the final session, the facilitated discussion and roadmapping aims to articulate the vision for success and identify the 4 or 5 major milestones or key recommendations to move the sector from the current status to goal status.


We are holding this workshop at the 2018 GC&E Conference in order to bring together diverse thinking: technical experts in the formulated personal care and household products with other sectors, learnings from other sectors that can be applied, new ways of thinking, and students who can develop future solutions. Conference attendees are encouraged to participate as an audience, in the breakout discussions, and in developing the plan forward through the roadmapping discussion.

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