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Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog

515 posts

European PET Recycling Streams to Begin Incorporating PEF News Roundup May13-25.png

May 24, 2017 | Green Chemicals Blog

The European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) – a voluntary initiative of industry organizations representing waste collectors, plastic recyclers, PET material producers and brand owners, gave an interim approval for the recyclability of polyethylene furanoate (PEF). Following EPBP’s assessment, PEF bottles are expected to be disposable and recyclable through existing recovery systems the same way as polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

 

Biopolymer to be Used in Household Recycling Containers

May 22, 2017 | Sys-Con Media

In a joint venture between two thermoplastic resin and biopolymer producers, Solegear Bioplastic Technologies Inc and Braskem will produce and distribute a series of household recycling containers using Braskem's I'm green (TM) Polyethylene under Solegear's Good Natured(TM) brand.

 

New Carbon-Fiber Technique uses Lignin Waste as a Feedstock

May 19, 2017 | Seeker

The new technique works by separating high-density lignin from the jumble of waste material put out by paper mills and biorefineries. This gives manufacturers a viable way to make high-quality carbon fiber cheaply, said researcher Shuhua Yuan, associate professor of plant pathology and microbiology at Texas A&M.

 

New Eco-friendly Insecticide Made from Brazilian Plants

May 17, 2017 | Middle East North Africa Financial Network

Dr. Pires de Lima and his team are using natural waste from locally sourced cashew nuts and castor oil from Brazil to produce environmentally friendly insecticides against mosquitoes carrying Zika and Dengue fever. This new biobased product is a sustainable alternative to conventional, substantially toxic insecticides.

 

Current Green Chemistry Regulations on the U.S. State Level

May 16, 2017 | National Law Review

This article discusses current and potential state green chemistry regimes that have developed recently, as well as some chemical-specific laws, and assesses what might be on the horizon now that TSCA reform has been enacted.

Contributed by Oleg Figovsky, Director of Research and Development, Hybrid Coating Technologies; and Alexander Leykin, Olga Birukova, Raisa Potashnikova, and Leonid Shapovalov, Polymate Ltd. International Nanotechnology Research Center

 

Non-isocyanate Hybrid Green Polyurethane™ coatings and foam can be used for many industrial and commercial applications.

 

Polyurethanes (PUs) are polymers that are widely used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications, including foam and coatings. PUs are now made by reacting two components, one of which has toxic isocyanate groups. Isocyanates are especially hazardous to workers who spray-apply PU paints and foam and also to the environment.

 

In recent years, intensive research and development has been carried out to prepare isocyanate-free urethanes and polyurethanes [1-3]. Fig. 1 shows the basic reaction “five-membered cyclic carbonate – amine” for producing non-isocyanate polyurethanes (NIPU) with β-hydroxy urethane (HU) functionalities to form the secondary and primary hydroxyl groups:

 

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Hybrid Coating Technologies (HCT) and its strategic partner Polymate INRC are making significant efforts to produce NIPU materials suitable for practical use (coatings, foam, adhesives, sealants, etc.).

 

The main areas of research and development of HCT – Polymate are the following:

  • polymers with HU groups in the main chain
  • graft copolymers with HU groups in the side chains
  • oligomer compositions modified by HU-containing additives.

 

From raw material point of view, great attention has been paid to renewable resources as well as the use of silicon-organic compounds.

 

Most of the development has focused on oligomer compositions (epoxy, acrylic, etc.) modified by HUs. HU-modifier (HUM) is a product of a reaction between a primary amine (one equivalent of the primary amine groups) and a monocyclic carbonate (one equivalent of the cyclic carbonate groups). HUM is not bound chemically to the main polymer network and is represented by the following formula:

 

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A series of products based on both fossil and renewable raw materials has been developed. Among them, there are HUMs on the base of vegetable oils and products of their processing, organosilanes-based HUMs and so on. With the use of HUMs, a number of isocyanate-free products and perspective formulations have been created: indoor and outdoor paints and flooring; spray and pouring (rigid, semi rigid and flexible) foam for insulation, packing, etc.; and radiation-curable coatings.

 

A method of synthesis of novel, non-isocyanate polymers with lengthy epoxy-amine chains, pendulous hydroxyurethane units and a controlled number of cross-links was also proposed [1]. A cured hybrid epoxy-amine hydroxyurethane-grafted polymer with a presumably linear structure was prepared, and the testing of these polymers demonstrated increased flexibility. They may be used for various applications, for example, in the manufacturing of synthetic/artificial leather, soft monolithic floorings and flexible foam.

 

While non-isocyanate foam is still in the research stage, hybrid coatings, comprised epoxy and acrylic matrix modified by NIPU are commercially available. Under the name Green Polyurethane™, an isocyanate-free and phosgene-free alternative to conventional materials has been provided that represents the successful application of HNIPUs in the industry.

 

References

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!

 

group.pngSaskia van Bergen, Green Chemistry Scientist, Washington State Department of Ecology

Jeffrey Whitford, Head of Corporate Responsibility, MilliporeSigma

Amy Cannon, Ph.D., Executive Director, Beyond Benign

Session: Breaking the Silos: Public-Private Sector Collaborations to Advance Green Chemistry

 

Q: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?

A: Saskia van Bergen: I think the easier question would be “what doesn’t motivate you to work in this space?” To spare you from having to edit down a novel, here are three of the motivators:

  • The principles – When I was in school, I was interested in the environment, chemistry and ceramics. I majored in chemistry and then received a Master’s from a graduate group rather than a department  (agricultural and environmental chemistry, where the commonality was applied chemistry). The majority of the jobs I have held were tied to analytical chemistry. When I first learned about the principles of green chemistry, they resonated with me and enabled me to see that chemists can be proactive rather than just reactive, which was something I felt was missing: not being limited to jobs of developing methods to monitor chemicals with negative impacts on human health and the environment or analyzing actives in natural products, but innovating and designing safer chemicals and products with less material.
  • The people – There are many rock stars (both individuals and teams) working in this space. It is inspirational to talk with, work with and listen to individuals in this field. If you have not attended a GC&E Conference yet, register and you will see.
  • Opportunities for collaboration to advance green chemistry – They are endless.

Jeffrey Whitford: The potential for impact: I look at what we do as the ultimate potential multiplier. If we are able to get the right tools into researchers’ hands to reduce environmental impact, the scale can be amazing!

 

Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.

A: The session “Breaking the Silos: Public-Private Sector Collaborations to Advance Green Chemistry” will highlight collaborative efforts from academia, industry, government and non-profits, including the added value and challenges the collaborations provided.

 

Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?

A: After hearing examples of a number of types of collaborative partnerships, attendees will learn from the presenters’ experiences how to approach various collaborations with an increased chance of success. This session is not unique, but attendees will hopefully leave with additional ideas of groups they can collaborate with to leverage efforts. This session aims to showcase these collaborations and hopefully spark the desire for more collaboration, on a bigger scale, to move the needle.

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?

A: Saskia van Bergen: The energy of the conference and hearing applied examples of green chemistry.

Jeffrey Whitford: Bringing people together who have a common goal and hearing the amazing progress people are making.

 

Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?

A: Saskia van Bergen: Like most organizations, there are multiple efforts in green chemistry, but a fairly common theme is partnerships. One of the current efforts we are working on is the development of training materials in green chemistry and safer alternatives for various audiences.

Jeffrey Whitford: Expanding the availability of greener alternatives and the ability to apply quantitative analysis

 

Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?

A: Saskia van Bergen: If skills and salary were not needed, I would have multiple projects that involve problem-solving and connecting efforts…. some of which are location independent that would allow me more time with my kid.

Jeffrey Whitford: Well, I am not! So exactly what I am doing today at the Head of Corporate Responsibility for MilliporeSigma

 

Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?

A: Saskia van Bergen: When I am not at work, I like to hang out with my four-year-old. While I like to go kayaking, hike and garden, I am also happy to use my imagination, play hide-and-seek and sing with heart, but not talent.

Jeffrey Whitford: I just moved to Germany, so it is a lot of exploring and trying to learn German.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Contributed by Siddharth V. Patwardhan, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Joseph R. H. Manning, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical Engineering; and Phillip Strafford, Public Relations Officer, University of Sheffield

 

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Summary

Nanosilicas have the potential to solve a number of pressing industrial issues, but are locked away because of wasteful and prohibitively expensive synthesis conditions. By contrast, nature produces far more complex silica under ambient conditions. By combining natural silica with computer simulations, we have discovered a method to produce green nanosilica, unlocking their industrial potential once and for all.

fig1.png

 

As an industrial material, silica is widely used as an inert filler and texturing agent in everyday products ranging from car tires to toothpaste, drug tablets, and powdered cosmetics and foods. Since the 1990s, scientists have been working on new, more complex nanosilica materials to improve upon these applications and to enable more high-value applications, such as soaking up pollutants from the air and water, capturing carbon from industrial exhausts, catalytically cracking crude oil into petroleum products, and storing medicines for slow release in the body. The key difference between currently-used industrial silicas and the new nanosilicas is a tiny pattern of holes on the material’s surface (Figure 1). These holes are a perfect size for the material to act like a sponge and soak up or release molecules exactly when and where they are needed.

 

But these advantages come with a cost, specifically making the synthesis much more complex and expensive. To build up this spongy structure, a molecular template called a surfactant is used during synthesis (Figure 2). The surfactant helps to direct the shape of the material around it on the nanoscale as it assembles, but using it both slows down the synthesis and increases the energy required for the material assembly. Furthermore, these surfactants need to be removed before the sponge-like structure can be accessed, adding a new step to the process.

 

fig2.png

 

Due to how tightly-bound the template molecules are to the structure, the commonest and most effective way to remove them is to destroy them with heat. This has two big environmental and cost drawbacks: First, this requires heating the material to over 500oC for an extended time, which is very energy-intensive; second, once it has been destroyed, the template chemicals cannot be reused to make more nanosilica, increasing the cost significantly as the surfactants are the most expensive reagent in the process. All of this adds up to a more complex and environmentally damaging two-step synthesis, locking away the nanosilicas from seeing widespread use.

 

This creates a stark contrast with natural silica materials – there are several microorganisms that create highly detailed and complex silica cell walls around themselves (Figure 3). Additionally, this occurs in the ocean, which has much milder conditions compared to those used in the lab.

 

fig3.png

 

The way these microorganisms can manage this amazing feat is through specialised proteins that, in addition to acting like a far more complex template than the surfactants used in artificial nanosilicas, also give the chemical reaction a huge speed boost to boot.

 

So if nature can do that, why can’t we? The simple answer is that we can. Using template molecules whose structure is inspired by the natural proteins, we can produce silica faster, greener and cheaper than current industry methods (Figure 4) while retaining the quality of nanosilicas.

 

fig4.png

While using such “bio-inspired” templates is an excellent solution to the drawbacks of nanosilica synthesis, there remains the need to remove the templates from the material. Simply aping the methods of purifying other nanosilicas like heat treatment methods negate much of the benefits of adopting this bio-inspired approach, as well as blocking their use for more specialised applications, such as the storage of delicate biomolecules.

 

Instead, in our most recent study, we took a step back and studied what makes the bio-inspired template so good at its job in the first place. Using computer simulations of the template and silica, we found that the two species are attracted to each other by their opposite charges, which is the source of both the structure direction and speed boost. What we also found is that this attraction is highly dependent on the solution chemistry – simply washing the materials in acidic environment (contrasting with the neutral or slightly alkaline reaction conditions) acted like a switch to unstick the bio-inspired templates from the nanosilica, leaving behind a pure, ready-to-use material, and similarly, a ready-to-reuse template molecule. This is specific to the type of interaction between the template and silica, meaning that this discovery was only possible because we used the bio-inspired templates rather than the surfactant templates whose interactions are much more difficult to switch off.

 

The new washing technique is a clear improvement over purification by heat treatment, as washing both eliminates the energy costs and allows for the templates to be used as a catalyst rather than a reagent, both of which are important principles of green chemistry. Environmental improvements notwithstanding, the washing method has some significant technical advantages over the previous methods, too. By fine-tuning the strength of the washing acid, we could choose to only remove a certain amount of our template, leading to new composite materials in a much simpler, less laborious way than before (where the surfactant had to be fully removed prior to a separate reintroduction of active chemicals into the structure) (Figure 5).

 

fig5.png

 

Overall, this new technique has unlocked the possibility for nanosilicas to be upscaled to industrial levels. By harnessing the power of computer simulations, and applying green principles to the technique design, this study has cut down energy costs of material purification significantly and avoided damage to the template, allowing for it to be reused. Not only that, but the elimination of harsh conditions during all parts of the process enables new applications of nanosilica in carrying fragile enzymes or other biomolecules.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

By Mary M. Kirchhoff, Ph.D., Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®; Executive Vice President of Scientific Advancement, ACS

 

My colleagues and I at the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (GCI) are very excited that the 2017 Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference is less than three weeks away! The conference will be held in Reston, Virginia from June 13-15, 2017. The theme of “Making Our Way to a Sustainable Tomorrow” has attracted 345 oral and poster presentations. The onsite registration fee is higher than the standard registration fee (available through June 10), and I encourage you to register today at http://www.gcande.org.

 

The ACS GCI works with the GCI Roundtables to advance the implementation of green chemistry across a number of industrial sectors. The newest of the GCI Roundtables is the Biochemical Technology Leadership Roundtable (BTLR), which recently helped organize a Bio-based and Renewable Chemicals Conference in conjunction with the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA). Dr. Bryan Tracy, Chair of DESCA, and Dr. David Constable, Science Director of the ACS GCI, served as conference co-chairs.

 

The conference, which was held May 10-11 in Wilmington, Delaware, attracted an audience with broad interests in renewable chemistry research and manufacturing. Many of the participants were current or former employees of DuPont, which has a strong emphasis on developing sustainable products. Speakers reviewed the landscape today with respect to biomass utilization and explored the future of sustainable alternatives. Panel discussions addressed the business and technical aspects of bio-based and renewable chemicals.

 

Several speakers highlighted entrepreneurial opportunities available in Delaware. The Delaware Innovation Space, for example, offers an “innovation ecosystem” to support start-up companies. DESCA, the conference co-organizer, embraces its mission to “foster sustainable innovation among key stakeholders in the public and private sectors.” The ability of the bio-based and renewables market to positively impact Delaware’s economy was evident in remarks delivered by Delaware Governor John Carney and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. We should all be so lucky to have our elected officials take such an interest in chemistry!

 

The conference demonstrated the importance of convening scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and financial backers to address the challenges and opportunities – some of which are unique to the local area – of bio-based and renewable chemicals. Such collaborations can help accelerate the development and implementation of greener technologies.

 

See you in Reston!

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Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!

 

kennykirschner.pngLeo T. Kenny, Ph.D., Planet Singular

Michael Kirschner, Design Chain Associates, LLC, ACS GCI Governing Board

Session: Connecting the Green Chemistry Supply Chain to Design in the Electronics Industry

 

Q: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?

A: Leo Kenny: As a chemist working in the semiconductor industry for more than two decades, I have had the opportunity to be involved directly with the unique, forward-looking environmental systems that have been developed in this industry segment over many decades. From the use of novel materials, highly capital-intensive process equipment, and increasingly complex process development challenges for each successive device generation, these have driven proven strategies to design for the environment. I believe these learnings can be proliferated across the technology life cycle from R&D, the supply chain (materials and equipment), and downstream to the electronics industry to drive better decisions and mitigate risk in materials selections.

Michael Kirschner: Nearly all chemical and product design since the dawn of the industrial revolution has been done with little to no consideration of environmental and human health impact or constraints. When we humans are given product design goals and related constraints, we compete, improve and excel. I think product environmental/human health performance in general (not just in electronics) has enough headroom to improve dramatically, in a Moore’s Law-like fashion, because of this. And that is good, because the planet is giving us indications that this change in our approach is necessary.

 

Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.

A: Given the increasing complexities (materials, supply chain, regulatory, product diversity) of the semiconductor and electronics industries, a holistic life cycle approach is critical for chemical and material selections as they apply to product development.

 

Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?

A: The challenges and issues the electronics industry faces in dealing with chemistry, which is not a primary consideration to the brand owners in the electronics industry. We have presentations from a variety of perspectives on, for instance, how to implement alternatives assessment. This is a concept that is very well understood and is part of the design process in nearly all other areas of product design, but applying it to chemical selection has been challenging.

 

We also will have a couple of presentations on green chemistry successes and applications in the electronics supply chain.

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?

A: Leo Kenny: The people who attend! There is an intangible and very special quality I associate with ACS members and certainly those involved with GC&E. Over the years, I have been challenged to adequately describe what makes ACS and GC&E unique, but I have consistently appreciated the welcoming, positive and forward-looking outlook among folks who come to these conferences. This love of science and learning, and the importance of viewing the advancement of new discoveries in a broader context is always a compelling reason to participate in the GC&E Conference.  I can think of no organization better suited to address our big global challenges (especially in the environmental, materials and sustainability space) than ACS and its GC&E Conference.

Michael Kirschner: I love going to other sessions and hearing how other industries and thought leaders are addressing parallel challenges. The cross-fertilization possibility is exciting: All of our supply chains overlap upstream. I truly enjoy connecting with people who are interesting and thoughtful as well as catching up with folks I have not seen in a year!

 

Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?

A: Leo Kenny: After voluntarily leaving my role as an advanced materials technologist for a large semiconductor manufacturer, I have been working on a variety of technical engagements.  These include industry level engagements (in the chemical, semiconductor, sensor, MEMS and electronics industries) in smart city and infrastructure, green chemistry & engineering, and environmental development, as well as consulting with companies on developing strategies, systems and processes in these areas.

Michael Kirschner: I focus on helping manufacturers understand and ensure that their products comply with customer and environmental regulatory requirements that impact their products. Some have significant pressure and opportunity to innovate in green chemistry areas even though they are not chemists or toxicologists and they do not really think of chemicals when they think of their products. Getting past these issues can be challenging, but the draw of being able to improve performance areas where others are not even paying attention can be a significant competitive advantage.

 

Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?

A: Leo Kenny: A writer! Though I occasionally dabble in writing, it is really not viable to do it professionally, unless one does it on a full-time basis. I think I would enjoy pursuing it if I had the time.

Michael Kirschner: Since I am not a chemist (I am an electrical engineer), I am doing it! So maybe the better question is, “If you were a chemist, what would you be doing?” My thought process tends to analyze a specific issue back to its source, which leads me to work on more holistic approaches to solving them. For instance, clients ask me to help them comply with a specific regulation that restricts the presence of six substances in their products. The fact is, there are many more regulations that restrict or require the disclosure of hundreds more substances in their products (and more are always expected), so rather than repeat the compliance process when they suddenly become concerned with the next regulation in the next market they target, I help them define their compliance process broadly enough to address all existing and future (knowable) requirements.

 

Given that, to answer the question, one of the more fundamental issues I see in chemistry right now that I am entirely unqualified to address is the application of toxicology during the design of molecules; I would probably be focused on something to do with that. Or maybe I would just be bagging groceries for a living… hard to really know.

 

Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?

A: Leo Kenny: Typically I spend my free time with my family and friends. I like hiking, reading, traveling (especially to state and national parks), watching sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey), camping, amateur radio and volunteering for various community groups.

Michael Kirschner: I used to do lots of rock & roll concert photography when I was just out of college. I have gotten back into that as well as street and event photography over the past six or seven years. Some of my old photos were used in the new Martin Scorsese/Amir Bar-Lev movie about the Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia called “Long Strange Trip,” and that was very exciting. My street photography work has been featured in a couple shows here in San Francisco recently, and some protest photos of mine were published in “San Francisco Magazine” – that has been energizing as well. My involvement with the local photography community brings me into contact with a very wide and creative range of people I would otherwise never have had the chance to meet. My photo website is mikek.photography.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!

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Sharon Papke, Head of CAS NAFTA Advocacy and Business Support, Covestro LLC

Session: Innovating for Today: Applications of Green Chemistry & Engineering Principles in Industry

 

Q: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?

A: Working for a global chemical manufacturer, I see and hear of all the advances we are making for improvements to both our internal processes and products for external customers.

 

Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.

A: The session I helped organize focuses on the developments of green chemistry in industry today. There is a Covestro paper that will cover a very exciting new process where CO2 is used as a raw material in the chemical manufacturing process. I see this as an excellent example of innovative green chemistry that is being implemented today.

 

Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?

A: What makes it unique is that it is not theoretical, experimental or lab scale green chemistry – these papers highlight industrial scale applications of green chemistry.

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?

A: I am looking forward to the networking opportunities. I like being able to attend the sessions and then follow up in person with the presenters to gain additional insight. I have had great conversations at the past conferences.

 

Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?

A: My work involves sharing the great work that my colleagues are doing. I work with the external marketplace to share the innovative solutions that we are bringing to the market.

 

Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?

A: I was once a bench chemist, but now I work to educate our value chain on Covestro’s developments. I speak with government officials, educators, customers, end users, academics and other influencers in our marketplace every day.

 

Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?

A: I have played ladies’ competitive platform tennis for the past 15 years. It is a winter sport, played outdoors, that helps the winter season pass by very quickly. In the summer, we play for fun with a lower-bounce ball that was designed for warm weather play.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!

 

Ed Brush, Ph.D., Bridgewater State University

Grace Lasker, Ph.D., University of Washington

Session: Green Chemistry = Social and Environmental Justice: Theory and Practice

 

brushlasker.pngQ: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?

A: Ed Brush: My childhood on the eastern end of Long Island in New York had a significant impact on my awareness of environmental issues and career path. My grandfather was a potato farmer who used DDT, which very likely contributed to his passing from bone cancer. As an eighth grader, I participated in the first Earth Day back in 1970. When I first became aware of green chemistry in 1999, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. As a chemistry educator, my teaching, research and outreach efforts have been focused on bringing my students greater awareness on environmental issues and the benefits of green chemistry. My professional contributions involve engaging with colleagues to reach a broader audience.

Grace Lasker: My scholarship as well as teaching centers around education concerning low dose, chronic chemical exposure and health: Many of the exposure issues we face might have been avoided if we had considered toxicological affects during the design phase rather than after they were sent to market. Furthermore, we know through extensive research that there are racial, socioeconomic and gender divides for chemical exposures and resulting health disparities. Green chemistry is a part of the holistic solution to prevent these issues for the next generation.

 

Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.

A: The social justice and green chemistry symposium is designed to increase awareness of exposure disparities in our population and draw light to the crucial need for designing chemicals with toxicity endpoints in mind due to the real impact some of these chemicals have on our vulnerable populations.

 

Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?

A: The intersection of social justice and green chemistry is still in its infancy. Attendees have the opportunity to network and become a member of a team of scientists, educators, policy-makers, engineers and others who can have real impacts on reducing chemical exposure and health disparities in vulnerable populations.

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?

A: Ed Brush: I attended my first GC&E in 2003 and have been coming back ever since as I am always pleasantly surprised by the diverse topics covered through symposia, plenary speakers, and posters. My favorite aspect is being able to share new ideas with a multidisciplinary group of attendees, receive constructive feedback, and form professional collaborations.

Grace Lasker: This is my first time attending this conference, so I am most excited to meet others who are passionate in approaching chemical design not just from a functional standpoint, but from a toxicological impact standpoint. I am also looking forward to meeting educators who teach in these areas to see what their pedagogical approaches are and learn how to become a better educator.

 

Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?

A: Ed Brush: My primary teaching responsibility is in organic chemistry, where I have worked to bring green chemistry into the laboratory. My research is done with undergraduate students who aim to apply green chemistry and sustainability principles to the synthesis of small organic molecules with potential therapeutic effects. We are also very interested in exploring the social (in)justice of exposure to harmful chemicals by looking at diesel exhaust and caffeine exposure in children. Additionally, I am the coordinator of Project GreenLab, an outreach initiative aimed at helping high school and middle school educators bring green chemistry into their classrooms.

Grace Lasker: Much of my research and teaching is currently focused on the public health aspects of chemical exposure, along with related social and environmental justice issues. I am also a certified nutritionist, so chemical exposure through food is another focus of mine by way of consumer education and advocacy in a right-to-know philosophy. Most everyone I encounter and talk to about chemical exposure have no idea that there is even something out there, much less that research is showing more and more that low dose, chronic exposures are correlated with negative health outcomes. I believe everyone has a right to know this regardless of educational status, socioeconomic status, etc. My goal is to develop educational materials/courses/programs at all levels (consumer, primary, secondary, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate) to help individuals understand the growing risk and learn how they can make small changes to reduce their potential exposures.

 

Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?

A: Ed Brush: That is a tough question as I grew up with a chemistry set and love my work as a professional chemist! Given the challenges faced by science today and impacts on society, I may very well have gone into politics.

Grace Lasker: I am actually not a chemist. My graduate degrees are in molecular genetics, nutrition, and public health. I can say confidently though that chemistry is present in all of these disciplines, and I carry those principles with me to think critically about all things I encounter.

 

Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?

A: Ed Brush: As an educator, it sometimes seems that my work follows me everywhere! In summer, my wife and I spend a lot of time gardening, canning, freezing and, of course, cooking!

Grace Lasker: I have a four-year-old, a six-year-old, and an engineer husband. We are usually building Lego structures, putting together circuits, playing board and card games, or building things in the shop. I write fantasy as well, so I like to pretend I have enough time to write my next novel!

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!

 

Stephen C. DeVito, Chief, Data Quality & Analysis Branch, Toxics Release Inventory Program, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

Stanley P. Kolis, Research Advisor, Small Molecule Design and Development, Lilly Research Labs, Eli Lilly and Company

Session: Advancing the Design and Selection of Safer Commercial Chemicals: How do We Begin?

 

kolis1.pngQ: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?

A: Stanley Kolis: I want to make sure that the good we do in manufacturing pharmaceuticals to treat disease is not compromised by negative effects on the overall environment.

Stephen DeVito: The environment is our most precious resource. Protecting it is a high priority. Green chemistry and green engineering practices are fundamental, win-win, common sense ways of preventing pollution at its source.

 

Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.

A: This session will focus on the prioritization of toxic chemicals used in commerce globally and will foster discussion on how available pharmacokinetic, toxicity, toxic mechanism, structure-activity relationship, and other data can be used with alternatives assessment constructs to design safer and more sustainable substitutes.

 

Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?

A: Well-known, recognized speakers from industry, academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations will not only speak on the above topic, they will also participate in a panel discussion to share their perspectives on how industry, academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations can work collaboratively and use regulations as an innovation catalyst to design safer and more sustainable chemicals.

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?

A: Stanley Kolis: This is the first GC&E Conference that I am attending. Of course I am looking forward to seeing how our session plays out, but I am really interested in seeing what is cutting edge in the field.

Stephen DeVito: Networking. There is no other better conference for networking with green chemistry and green engineering folks.

 

devito1.png

Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?

A: Stanley Kolis: I am currently involved in executing thermal hazards assessments and process safety evaluations for our small molecule development and manufacturing organizations.

Stephen DeVito: Using the Toxics Release Inventory to characterize the impact of industry implementation of green chemistry and green engineering practices on reducing emissions and other waste management quantities of toxic chemicals.

 

Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?

A: Stanley Kolis: I would probably be a computer programmer or AI engineer. I think that machine learning and data science are fascinating.

Stephen DeVito: I would probably be a teacher. I love to teach.

 

Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?

A: Stanley Kolis: I have four kids aged eight through 17, so I am usually attending one of their sporting or other events. When that is done, I spend some time dabbling in the Python computing language, taking MOOC courses, or reading whatever I can get my hands on.

Stephen DeVito: I spend my free time with my wife and our two children. We love to go on trips, go to sporting events, and watch old movies.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!

 

Jim Lalonde, Ph.D., Codexis
Session: Development of Novel Enzymes for Efficient Synthesis

 

Jim Lab Coat Headshot 3.jpgQ: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?

A: I am proud to work in the green chemistry and engineering space for several reasons: We are developing methods for producing chemicals that are inherently clean and efficient; reactions that produce a desired product in a safe and efficient manner without creating waste is good all around; and we preserve the environment, conserve resources, protect workers, and create an economic advantage for our company. Producing effective medicines more economically is also particularly motivating. Pharmaceutical actives are becoming more targeted, potent, and thus safer, requiring lower dosages, but also tend to be more complex than molecules from a decade ago. Enzymes are particularly good at performing transformations on complex molecules with exquisite selectivity.

 

Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.

A: My session at GC&E will focus on using state-of-the-art enzyme engineering methods to create enzymes that can perform non-natural reactions desired by chemists and are capable of acting on non-natural substrates.

 

Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?

A: Attendees will learn about breakthroughs in the engineering of novel enzymes from leaders in the field.

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?

A: Learning about highly selective methods for performing efficient chemical synthesis, especially in the pharmaceutical field

 

Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?

A: My team at Codexis is developing enzymes for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and natural food ingredients, enzymes for Next Gen sequencing, and enzyme replacement therapies.

 

Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?

A: Clinical research

 

Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?

A: I enjoy working out, hiking, and good food and wine with my four adult kids.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Leading up to the GC&E Conference we will be posting interviews with our 2017 GC&E Conference organizers to learn a little more about them and the excellent sessions you can look forward to at this year’s conference!

 

Richard Blackburn, Ph.D., Head of Sustainable Materials Research Group, University of Leeds
Session: Facing Forward: Designing sustainable cosmetics & personal care products

 

Ml0Ga9M6.jpgQ: What motivates you to work in the green chemistry & engineering space?

A: It is a fantastic opportunity for truly multidisciplinary collaboration that approaches, researches and discovers solutions to global problems of sustainability.

 

Q: In one sentence, describe the session you are organizing at GC&E.

A: Cosmetics (deodorants, hair dyes, hair styling products, make-up, sunscreens, nail colorants, skin & hair care products, etc.) are big business, and there is increasing interest among consumers in more sustainable and natural ingredients. This session examines how green chemistry and engineering can make this industry more sustainable and addresses the problems encountered in the process of doing this.

 

Q: What will attendees learn at your GC&E session? What makes it unique?

A: The session covers the growth of sustainable and ‘natural’ actives and cosmetic products, clean extraction processes, and the application of green chemistry in the synthesis of novel actives and formulation ingredients, packaging innovations, and the marketing of cosmetics.

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference (or what are you looking forward to)?

A: Meeting green chemists and engineers from many different backgrounds, doing the fun run, and then feeling no guilt on the final pub crawl!

 

Q: What are you currently focused on in your work or research?

A: Sustainability issues within the textiles industry, researching novel fibers, dyeing, and finishing products and processes, and tackling this with green chemistry and engineering solutions through the choice of raw materials, processing conditions, and end-of-life issues. We also work on sustainable cosmetics, making products safer and more sustainable for consumers, and undertaking a significant amount of natural products research in developing new actives and extraction processes.

 

Q: If you weren't a chemist, what would you be doing?

A: Probably scraping a living trying to pursue a career on the stage in musical theater

 

Q: When you aren't at work, how do you spend your free time?

A: Enjoying being an amateur musical theater performer, watching football (soccer to my American friends), and enjoying walks in my beautiful home county of Yorkshire

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

News Roundup May5-12.png

Researchers Create Anticancer Nanomaterials by Simulating Underwater Volcanic Conditions

May 12, 2017 | Phys.org

Researchers at Aalto University have developed a sustainable synthesis process for Zinc peroxide using biomimicry, which uses minimal amounts of additional chemicals and results in the creation of cancer-fighting nanomaterials.

 

Got Plants? Bio-Based Shoes, Lingerie, Auto Parts and More

May 11, 2017 | Green Biz

As consumer demand grows for sustainable and non-fossil fuel derived products, the number of products hitting the market keeps growing and sales are keeping pace.  Read this article to find out more about innovations from Reebok, DuPont, Tate & Lyle, BASF, Eastman Chemical and more.

 

Air Conditioning Powered by Plants

May 10, 2017 | IsoBio Project

IsoBio researchers have developed home insulation made from biobased materials that help regulate temperature & humidity using passive complex interlinked pore structures.

 

Sustainably Sourced Synthetic Perfume Mimics Natural Fragrance

May 8, 2017 | Premium Beauty News

New molecule from Symrise mimics the natural fragrance of lily of the valley flower and is also biodegradable & derived from D-limonene in orange peels.

 

UPCOMING DEADLINES:

 

Building Capacity for Science Communication: Partnership Awards

Call for Proposals | Due June 1, 2017

With support from the Rita Allen Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences is pleased to offer two awards of $37,500 each to support the formation and development of collaborative science communication researcher-practitioner partnerships. These awards are intended to facilitate the efforts of science communication researchers and practitioners to plan collaborative projects that pursue shared research interests aligned with the recently released consensus report, Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda.

 

2017 Research Grant for Increasing the Utility of Photoredox Catalysis in Medicinal Chemistry

Applications Open Now | Due June 2, 2017

The focus of this grant will be toward optimizing existing methodology and reactor technology toward gram-scale photochemical reactions in greener solvents using substrates that are employed widely in the pharmaceutical industry, such as heterocycles and heavily functionalized intermediates. One grant is planned to be awarded and the total award is limited to $50,000 for a grant period of 12 months.

 

ACS Science Coaches Program

Applications Open Now | Due August 15, 2017

Science Coaches is a joint ACS and American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) program that pairs chemists (coaches) with K-12 chemistry teachers to enhance the science skills in students across the US for an entire school year.  Chemistry professionals at all stages in their careers (graduate students, retirees, current professionals, former teachers, etc.) or in any chemistry-related field are encouraged to apply!

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

News Roundup Apr29-May4.png

Sustainable Polymer Technologies for Controlling Mercury Pollution

May 3, 2017 | InDaily

Work at Flinders University to test and commercialize a new method to remove mercury pollution from land and water, using polymers that were recovered and repurposed to absorb the pollutants, will progress this year with an $80,000 Australian Government environmental science grant.

 

Antioxidants and plastics could be made from byproducts of wheat milling

May 3, 2017 | Phys.org

As a commodity, the least valuable part of the wheat grain is the bran – the outer coating of the kernel, which is typically sold as animal feed. Now researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have developed a process to extract valuable biomolecules from this offal which could be used as antioxidants, prebiotics and even food packaging material.

 

Sustaining the Aquaculture Revolution

May 1, 2017 | C&EN

The aquaculture industry is investing in biochemistry. Companies are developing proteins based on methanol, algae and other alternative feedstocks.

 

California Moves Forward with New Chemical Regulations

May 1, 2017 | National Law Review

California legislation has prohibited perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in consumer products, including fast food packaging.

 

Chemists Introduce a User’s Guide for Palladium Acetate

April 29, 2017 | C&EN

Palladium is a critical element of concern for green chemists. This user’s guide spreads awareness of how catalysis involving palladium could be improved, made more predictable and reproducible.

 

2017 Research Grant for Increasing the Utility of Photoredox Catalysis in Medicinal Chemistry

Due June 2, 2017 at 5 p.m. EDT

The focus of this grant will be toward optimizing existing methodology and reactor technology toward gram-scale photochemical reactions in greener solvents using substrates that are employed widely in the pharmaceutical industry, such as heterocycles and heavily functionalized intermediates. One grant is planned to be awarded and the total award is limited to $50,000 for a grant period of 12 months.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

News Roundup Apr21-28.png

A Circular Economy Approach to Business Growth

April 28, 2017 | Business Live

 

Circular economy actors need to collaborate with governments, customers and industry chains to create joint value and to innovate using new business models and technologies.

 

Researchers Develop Green Materials for Industry

April 27, 2017 | Pravda Report

 

Researchers University of Coimbra, University of Aveiro and the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria develop biodegradable plastics from pine sawdust & cellulose fibers

 

How Worms Turn Trash into Nutrient-Rich Compost

April 27, 2017 | Washington Post

 

Here's the biology, physics and chemistry behind worms' ability to transform food scraps into nutrient-rich soil, as told by ACS Reactions.

 

Machine Learning Dramatically Streamlines Search for More Efficient Chemical Reactions

April 25, 2017 | Phys.org

 

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stand University used machine learning – a form of artificial intelligence – to prune away the least likely reaction paths, so they can concentrate their analysis on the few that remain and save a lot of time and effort.

 

“Wax Worms” Can Rapidly Biodegrade Polyethylene Bags

April 24, 2017 | Research Gate

 

[Conventional] methods for breaking down polyethylene, which use corrosives like nitric acid or certain bacteria, take months to work. By contrast, 100 wax worms can biodegrade 92 milligrams of polyethylene in a mere 12 hours.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

News Roundup Apr7-20.pngCVS to Remove Parabens, Phthalates & Formaldehyde from over 600 Products

April 20, 2017 | Drugstore News

CVS Pharmacy announced it will remove parabens, phthalates and the most prevalent formaldehyde donors across nearly 600 beauty and personal care products from its store brand CVS Health, Beauty 360, Essence of Beauty, and Blade product lines.  CVS Pharmacy will stop shipping store brand products that don’t meet these standards to distribution centers by the end of 2019.

 

Turning Ocean Plastic Pollution into Fuels

April 19, 2017 | The Plaid Zebra

A sailboat captain has teamed up with an organic chemist to combat plastic pollution

 

Industry Collaboration Leads to New Biobased Clear Coat Hardener for Automobiles

April 12, 2017 | Biobased World News

Manufacturers and suppliers in the car industry are working to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in production. This trend has prompted an all-German collaboration between the iconic car manufacturer Audi, the bio-based coating supplier BASF and material company Covestro.

 

European Parliament Bans Palm Oil-based Biofuels

April 11, 2017 | Sustainable Brands

To address the problem of unsustainable palm oil production, the European Parliament has approved a resolution to introduce a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the European Union, and phase out the use of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020.

 

An Overview of Industrial Sustainable Polyurethanes

April 10, 2017 | Biofuels Digest

Sustainable polyurethanes are a fast growing segment of the polymer market and represent a success story for the investment by government and industry in products with a lower carbon footprint.

 

Major Companies Shifting Feedstocks Away From Oil

April 10, 2017 | Green Biz

Nearly one in five barrels of oil is used for advanced materials, specialty chemicals and other non-fuel purposes, and increasingly is being used to create new materials that substitute for those with higher greenhouse gas emissions, such as steel, aluminum and concrete.  There is a vast potential business opportunity in growing the percentage of oil used for such purposes.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

 

Greener Catalysts for Greener Processes: Application of Supercritical Antisolvent Precipitation for Catalyst Preparation

Cardiff University | The Nexus Blog

The supercritical antisolvent precipitation technique offers advantages for the preparation of catalysts by greener routes compared to some of the more traditional routes. Furthermore, it offers a powerful tool for catalyst discovery, as it enables researchers to access new materials with unique morphologies and microstructures that may not be readily accessible using more conventional synthesis routes.

 

Critical Elements Series: Iridium – An Amazingly Useful Element, but at What Cost?

Amanda Morris | The Nexus Blog

Despite its rarity, consumption of iridium in daily life continues to increase.  In the realm of chemistry, iridium has seen increased interest for its applicability in a wide range of catalytic reactions, especially in the pharmaceutical sector, but also in biomass conversion and many other applications.

 

University of Toronto and Trinity College, Dublin Students Win 2017 Breen Memorial Fellowship

ACS GCI | The Nexus Blog

Each year, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) awards one or more Breen Memorial Fellowships to undergraduate-through-early-career scientists who demonstrate outstanding research or educational interest in green chemistry. The 2017 Dr. Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship winners are Samantha Smith, from the University of Toronto, and Caitilín McManus of Trinity College, Dublin.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.

 

To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

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