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Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog

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Creating Nanodust from E-Waste Could Increase Ease of Recycling

March 21, 2017 | EurekAlert

Researchers at Rice University and the Indian Institute of Science have an idea to simplify electronic waste recycling: Crush it into nanodust. Specifically, they want to make the particles so small that separating different components is relatively simple compared with conventional processes.

 

Pine Bark Extract Can Be Used as a Biobased Resin

March 20, 2017 | C&EN

Researchers from University of Chicago were able to identify active agents in tree bark extracts called proanthocyanidins, flavonoids found in many natural products that exist as oligomers with up to six or more linked subunits. In the current study, they aim to identify the specific structural motifs within the proanthocyanidins that lead to the increase in dentin’s strength.

 

Arizona State Professor Wins NSF Career Award

March 15, 2017 | ASU Now

Ryan Trovitch won the grant for his work in sustainable catalysis. His current research project involves manganese hydrosilylation catalysts as an alternative to platinum in the production of silicone polymers.

 

Nanotechnology has Led to Proof of Concept for Biobased Isoprene

March 15, 2017 | Sustainable Nano

An interview with Dr. Paul Dauenhauer, part of a research team from the Center for Sustainable Polymers who have developed a new chemical process to make isoprene (one of the key ingredients in car tires) from biomass such as grass or corn.

 

How Green Chemistry is a Golden Opportunity for Science and Technology Students

March 14, 2017 | Venture Well

John Warner discusses how green chemistry is evolving to respond to a host of health and environmental challenges. Like most complex social issues, future science and technology professionals and entrepreneurs will be charged with addressing these problems through innovation. They will have their work cut out for them, but there will be tremendous demand for their solutions.

 

New Chemical Safety Database Launched

March 14, 2017 | C&EN

This new online tool allows scientists to submit and search for safety information about hazardous reactions which are not publicly cataloged elsewhere.

 

Biobased Cosmetics Line Biossance from Amyris is Now Being Sold at Sephora

March 10, 2017 | The Bio Journal

Biossance is known for pioneering the first renewably-sourced 100% plant-based squalane, the mega-moisture molecule that keeps skin healthy and hydrated. The company has made a commitment to providing sustainable solutions for the personal care industry.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

 

New Grant Program Funds Exploratory Research for Greener Pharmaceuticals

The Nexus Blog

The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable (GCIPR) has launched a new grant program specifically aimed at funding promising green chemistry research ideas that have yet to be tested—enabling researchers to gather preliminary results with which they can seek funding from traditional sources. The first four awardees of this ‘Ignition’ grant program have now been selected.

 

Effectively Communicating the Need for Green Chemistry

The Nexus Blog

The early green chemistry advocates used several distinct arguments to encourage a wide variety of chemists to adopt green chemistry principles, which themselves outlined a variety of avenues chemists could use to rethink their processes. The three frames identified through analysis of extensive interviews and archival data are explored in this article.

 

Top Value Added Chemicals: The Biobased Economy 12 Years Later

The Nexus Blog

In 2004, the Department of Energy identified their top 12 value-added chemicals that can be derived from biomass, which could potentially replace petroleum-based formulations. 12 years after the original publication, this article features four biobased chemicals with recent innovations on the market: Itaconic Acid, Glucaric Acid, 3-Hydroxybutryolactone, and 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural.

 

 

“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!

 

frank picture.jpgFrank Roschangar, Ph.D. MBA, Director, Process Research & Global External Chemistry Management, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Session: How Green is Green? Metrics Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

 

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

A: I became very interested in green chemistry & engineering during my 2014 MBA thesis, where I had planned a general review of this field. However, as I began reviewing and writing, I noticed a major deficiency in the field: the highly inconsistent application of available metrics. It was simply impossible to tell from metrics applications whether a process was green or not.

 

From my perspective, consistency is critical for credibility, so I set out to develop an approach that would address the consistency topic, seeking input, in particular, from Yale Faculty Prof. David Bach; Boehringer Ingelheim colleague, Dr. Chris Senanayake; and E factor inventor, Prof. Roger Sheldon. And so emerged the Green Aspiration Level, or GAL – not a new metric per se, but rather a green chemistry manufacturing goal based on PMI or complete E factor averages relative to industry (Green Chem. 2015, 17, 752-768).

 

The GAL allows, for the first time, the meaningful evaluation of the greenness of any drug manufacturing process. The concept was subsequently enhanced through the outstanding collaboration of nine large pharmaceutical firms, with the analysis of 46 processes and the introduction of the Green Scorecard reporting tool (Green Chem. 2017, 19, 281-285; Nexus Blog 14-Dec-2016).

 

What motivates me to continue working in green chemistry & engineering is the desire to help catalyze the full adoption of the GAL methodology in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. By some estimates, the pharmaceutical industry alone produced 10 billion kg of waste in 2008 (Cue, B. W. (2012) Green Chemistry Strategies for Medicinal Chemists, in Green Techniques for Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK).  Since GAL is a green chemistry goal, it will, if fully implemented around the globe, highly motivate scientists to actively reduce waste as part of their daily routines – and a 10-20 percent, or 1-2 billion kg, achievable reduction of global waste would have tremendous long-term benefits to the environment and human health. It is this vision that drives my continued efforts in this space.

 

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

A: I am organizing a session around green chemistry metrics titled “How Green is Green? Metrics Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” and am very fortunate to be joined by highly renowned academic speakers – Prof. Anastas, the “father” of green chemistry, and Prof. Sheldon, the inventor of the E factor – alongside well-known industry speakers Drs. Jimenez-Gonzales (GSK), Martin Eastgate (BMS) and Kristi Budzinski (Genentech) to provide a state-of-the art overview of the topic. This will be an exciting session, and I encourage everyone who is involved in the fields of green chemistry and engineering to attend.

 

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

A: Attendees will gain first-hand insights from experts in the field, ranging from metrics evolution to Life Cycle Analysis, PMI/E factor prediction to enable synthesis route selection, PMI assessment of biologics, and the Green Aspiration Level concept to assess and rate manufacturing greenness. Attendees will learn everything important about green metrics and likely new aspects that they were not aware of before. The attendees will gain knowledge from this session that is practical and may be applicable to their own fields of green chemistry and engineering work.

 

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

A: The new insights and ideas presented in the metrics session are not only aimed at inspiring and actualizing greener manufacturing within the pharmaceutical industry, but they could also have widespread implications for broader fine chemical manufacture. This session will hopefully influence green thinking and stimulate discussion within diverse scientific and industrial communities. I am very much looking forward to those discussions at the conference.

 

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

A: I am a Director of Process Research and Global External Chemistry Management at Boehringer Ingelheim, located in Connecticut, USA. In this function, I am leading five teams of process researchers, analytical researchers, and the outsourcing group to enable rapid and economical API process research and supply drugs for preclinical and clinical development studies. I am responsible for the synthesis design, development, scale-up, and transfer of safe, robust, green, and cost-effective manufacturing processes. I am also engaged in innovation strategy, alternative drug development, and IP management. Importantly, a new collaboration project between 10 large pharmaceutical firms aims to prepare a follow-on manuscript to the GAL/Green Scorecard methodology later this year.

 

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

A: I loved all sciences in high school and as an undergraduate student, so I would likely be a mathematician or physicist.

 

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

A: I like traveling within the U.S. and overseas as well as hiking, gardening, and enjoying delicious food.

 

 

“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.

In 2004, the United States Department of Energy published a landmark report titled “Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass,” in which they highlighted a dozen molecules as the most promising framework molecules that could potentially replace commonly used petroleum-based molecular building blocks. These 12 biobased value-added chemicals would provide prospective routes for everything from biofuels to less toxic paints and adhesives, which can be seen in Figure 1.  Despite the fact that these innovations took almost 13 years to garner attention and be developed on an industrial scale, these molecules now embody the promising future of the biobased economy.  The following update features four biobased chemicals with recent innovations on the market:  Itaconic Acid, Glucaric Acid, 3-Hydroxybutryolactone, and 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural.

 

analogous-model-of-a-biobased-product-flow-chart-for-biomass-feedstocks.png

 

Itaconic Aciditaconic.png

 

The basic chemical composition of itaconic acid is similar to the petrochemicals currently derived from maleic acid/anhydride.  Maleic anhydride is the basis for many coatings and polymers and is currently produced in large volumes for this purpose.  Itaconic acid’s functionality lies in two distinct carboxylic acid groups that allow the molecule to be easily broken down into monomers and rearranged into various chemical structures.  However, this production and reconstruction process is often slow and comes at a high economic cost, contributing to a slow uptake from manufacturers over the past decade.

 

In 2004, the key barrier to commercial success for this biobased chemical was its limited polymerization potential.  However, one company has devoted itself to building up the itaconic acid market for the past 20 years, creating biobased polymers for various small-scale industrial and commercial applications. A recent agreement with AkzoNobel expands Itaconix’s economic resources and will likely accelerate the rate at which itaconic-based polymers are commercialized.

 

Holding 42 current patents, Itaconix sells a multitude of products in the homecare, industrial, and personal care markets. These include: non-phosphate water conditioners for dish detergents, agriculture, and industry; a no-residue odor neutralizer; mineral dispersion polymers; low-VOC paint and coating binders; flexible formaldehyde-free encapsulation technology; and even a bio-based hair styling polymer. The variety of compositions and applications of Itaconix’s products have enormous potential once they achieve commercial-scale production and market equality with conventional petroleum products.

 

Glucaric Acid (also called Saccharic acid)glucaric.png

 

This organic sugar comes from inexpensively obtained glucose oxidized with nitric acid, which serves as a conversion catalyst for complex sugar polysaccharide breakdown. The resulting simple sugar monosaccharaides can then be used further in biorefineries. One high value application for glucaric acid is as an intermediate in the production of biobased adipic acid, which is used to produce various polyurethanes, non-phthalate plasticizers and biodegradable polyesters, as well as 100 percent renewable nylon-6,6 fibers. This nylon is widely used in the textile and plastics engineering industries.  Glucaric acid is a key feedstock that could make the process more sustainable and is currently being developed by Rennovia Inc.

 

Another company investing in glucaric acid technology is Rivertop Renewables, whose commercial production facility manufactured more than nine million dry pounds of sodium glucarate in 2016.  Their patented chemical oxidation process fully converts the glucose feedstock by utilizing every carbon atom and adding oxygen weight, allowing for greater acid production compared to C6 sugar feedstock input. The process also allows for reagent recovery, leading to low energy consumption throughout the manufacturing process.

 

3-Hydroxybutryolactone (3-HBL) Picture3.png

 

As a cyclic C4 sugar compound, 3-HBL requires multiple chemical transformations during production and, therefore, is not considered to be an economically viable option as a chemical building block.  However, various high value derivatives, such as gamma-butenyl-lactone and acrylate-lactone, can result from dehydration and esterification respectively. Such derivatives have potential applications in the formation of new polymers. Considering that 3-HBL is labeled a specialty chemical with fairly high value uses, not much research has been done on commercialization or potential as a commodity chemical intermediate. However, a small startup called Kalion Inc. is challenging convention by producing 3-HBL in high volumes for pharmaceutical applications.

 

Kalion is providing a low cost and highly efficient production route to 3-HBL, which they intend to commercialize. The main advantage of Kalion’s process is the ability to specify the chirality of the molecule and then use 3-HBL as a pharmaceutical intermediate. The basic core structure, along with the chiral specificity of 3-HBL, may potentially benefit the emerging Oxazolidinone class of antibiotics, with higher purity rates and lower costs than traditional antibiotic production methods.

 

5-Hydroxymethylfurfural  (5-HMF)5hmf.png

 

Although not among the “Top 12” highlighted in the DOE report, this molecule was identified in the study as a major biobased chemical building block derived from starch and cellulosic C6 sugar feedstocks. 5-HMF can be synthesized from different types of C6 carbohydrates through dehydration.  According to Ava Biochem, the special characteristics of 5-HMF make it “a key chemical in biochemistry and an important ingredient in the industrial production of polymers,” including resins and additives.  Avalon Industries, the current market leader in 5-HMF production technology and applications, uses a cost-efficient and scalable method of hydrothermal processing to produce 5-HMF. Avalon is currently developing 5-HMF based adhesives of various types, such as phenolic, melamine and urea resins.  Avalon’s goal is to create a 100 percent biobased and sustainable non-toxic adhesive in which 5-HMF fully replaces formaldehyde in each of the resin formulations.

 

5-Hydroxymethylfurfural contains an aldehyde group, as well as an alcohol functional group, which allows for various structural reformations once broken down into furan-monomers and corresponding polymers, leading to more than 175 product derivations and 20 different high-performance polymers. These furan derivatives have been called the “sleeping giants” of renewable chemicals due to their enormous market potential. As a key intermediate between biomass and biochemicals, 5-HMF is primarily seen as a natural, toxin-free formaldehyde replacement, which is also often biodegradable in product form. One key application lies in oxidation with furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) as a basis for polyethylene furanoate (PEF) manufacturing, currently in commercial-scale production at several companies, including BASF, Avantium and Eastman. PEF made from 5-HMF is a biobased substitute for polyethylene (PET), which is widely, and wastefully, used in soft drink bottles and food packaging. Further applications for 5-HMF currently being developed by Avalon include agrochemicals, pharmaceutical active ingredients, wood composites, paints, and coatings.

 

 

These advancements collectively represent the general furthering of the biobased and renewable chemicals economy over the past decade, and reinforce the promise of a biobased future. According to McKinsey & Company, estimated “worldwide production of biobased products is projected to grow from approximately $203.3 billion in 2015 to $400 billion by 2020 and $487 billion by 2024.”  Sustainability initiatives, as well as non-toxic alternatives, are gaining priority in the chemical industry, and one can expect an increased number of promising developments from these molecules in the future.  Biobased formulations have the potential to replace a majority of petroleum-based chemical feedstocks and derivatives, therefore making everyday products greener on the most basic molecular level.

 

 

“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!

 

CaillolCramail-Updated.pngSylvain Caillol, Ph.D., Institute Charles Gerhardt,

University of Montpellier

Prof. Henri Cramail, Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques, University of Bordeaux

Session: Design and Routes for Sustainable Polyurethanes

 

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

A: Sylvain Caillol (pictured left): What motivates me is the idea that we try to be the change we expect on Earth to reduce negative environmental impacts. It makes sense.
Henri Cramail (pictured right): My main motivation is to preserve the resources of our planet and to develop a safer chemistry.

 

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

A: Sylvain Caillol & Henri Cramail: This session aims to gather the highest-level contributions from the academic and industrial communities in order to discuss and deliberate on the future challenges in the design of sustainable Polyurethanes and Non-isocyanate Polyurethanes for the chemical industry.

 

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

A: Sylvain Caillol & Henri Cramail: Attendees will learn of the most recent developments from academia and industry concerning sustainable routes for the design of Polyurethanes (PUs) in relation to both isocyanate regulations and the use of renewable resources. What makes this session unique is that all the key issues for future developments of sustainable PUs and non-isocyanate PUs (NIPUs) will be addressed, such as innovative and promising bio-based monomers for industrial PUs and NIPUs; monomer reactivity and molar mass issues for NIPUs; access to innovative foams; emulsion NIPUs; up-scaling issues; characterizations; and promising applications for NIPUs.

 

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

A: Sylvain Caillol & Henri Cramail: Our favorite aspect would be the presentation of recent results and networking with research scientists.

 

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

A: Sylvain Caillol: I am currently focused on the design of safer, biobased monomers for emulsion polymerization.
Henri Cramail: I am currently investigating different routes to enhance the reactivity of carbonates in the course of NIPU synthesis.

 

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

A: Sylvain Caillol: I would be a marine biologist.
Henri Cramail: I would probably be a farmer/wine maker.

 

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

A: Sylvain Caillol: Scuba diving
Henri Cramail: Playing sports

 

 

“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 Mark Evans, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Camston Wrather

 

The structure of this series first touched on the consumption and disposal of electronic waste and its environmental and human health impacts (Part 1), followed by a technical overview of current resource recovery methods, both informal and formal (Part 2). This final installment will highlight the importance of taking a multi-disciplinary approach when implementing applied scientific discoveries and, in particular, the challenges faced when attempting to bring the larger concept of green chemistry to market in a circular economy.

 

Throughout the course of this series, one might have gleaned that implementing green chemistry will require drawing from multiple academic disciplines like chemistry, material science and engineering in order to reach a new level of understanding in bringing a technical solution to market. That is definitely a major part of it, but there is also a more profound significance that lies just outside our notion of developing green chemistry. That profound significance is the role that women play in the success of implementing green chemistry.

 

I am not alluding to the lack of women in science and engineering (16 percent for chemical engineers), our dismal — indeed arcane — reluctance to promote women to the C-suite (at Fortune 500 companies, women account for just 15 percent of corporate executives), or our persistent gender pay gap (in 2015, full-time women working in the U.S. were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid). Although each of these are major issues, I am alluding to the role women play in whether any green innovation will ever become commercially viable.

 

There have been many attempts to organize the various principles of green chemistry. Most people accept the 12 principles of green chemistry designated by Paul Anastas and John Warner as the current standard model or definition, and although it excels in describing the fundamental design principles, it is silent on its implementation. This brings us to this series’ most salient point:

 

If green chemistry is to achieve its environmental mission, it must displace or disrupt an existing process wherein the final product is commercially viable.

 

In short, if you cannot sell your greener product, then the environmental benefits will never be realized.

 

In the ACS section entitled History of Green Chemistry, it states: “Green chemists and engineers are working to take their research and innovations out of the lab and into the board room through the creation of viable industrial products that can be embraced by today’s industry leaders.” I would argue that it is less about a viable green product being embraced by industry leaders and more about whether a viable green product will be embraced by women. That might sound controversial, but let’s have a look at the facts.

 

Consider the following: 85 percent of all consumer brand purchases are made by women, with 92 percent of them passing along information on deals and finds to others. If you are designing a green process for the construction industry, you should know that 91 percent of new home purchase decisions are made by women. In fact, 51 percent of personal electronic purchases, 60 percent of new cars, 93 percent of food and 93 percent of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals are made by women, accounting for more than $5 trillion annually, or roughly one-half of the U.S. GDP.

 

Over the next decade, women will control two-thirds of consumer wealth ($12 to $40 trillion), yet 84 percent feel misunderstood by investment marketers, 91 percent say advertisers do not understand them and 74 percent feel misunderstood by automobile marketers.

 

For example, the pulp and paper industry is among the world’s largest producers of air and water pollutants, and it also consumes a vast amount of raw materials, like water, energy and forest fibers. Now let’s assume a greener process was invented that dramatically reduces GHG emissions and energy consumption for paper towels, and we used our standard advertising and marketing campaigns to sell that product. The ad would, more than likely, depict a husband and son watching a spill cross the room until Mom comes along to cheerfully clean up the mess. This is not how you market to women or for greener products, yet these types of marketing stereotypes still persist.

 

This brings up an interesting question: If women control 93 percent of household purchases, will they be receptive to green marketing? That answer is yes, with nearly 50 percent of women wanting more green choices. Too many businesses behave as if women have no say over purchasing decisions, and companies continue to offer women poorly conceived products and services and outdated marketing narratives that promote female stereotypes. If green chemistry is to reach its environmental mission, then it must accomplish this task through product sales. If the vast majority of product sales are determined by women, then using outdated marketing narratives that promote female stereotypes is not the best course of action. Therefore, if green chemistry is to reach its environmental mission, we need to stop outdated marketing narratives that promote these stereotypes. This argument is not only logical, but it is sound as well, because if you believe in a world where the alternative is true, then you would be one that believes in continuing environmental degradation and negative female stereotypes.

 

Some might argue that the role of the chemist and the discovery of greener processes lies outside the purview of end-product marketing. After all, it is up to a company’s marketing division to brand and sell its products. While fundamentally true, if we consider the current 12 principles of green chemistry as a starting point to achieve actualized environmental benefits, then product success becomes part of the equation.

 

In wrapping up this series, it is my opinion that green chemistry and the principles currently used to define it are not fixed constructs, but rather, merely starting propositions. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach when implementing applied scientific discoveries will necessarily entail product sales. If we continue to use outdated narratives and negative stereotypes towards the largest purchasing segment of our population — women — then we run the risk of never fully realizing the power of our scientific and engineering achievements.

 

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Mark Evans is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Camston Wrather and a University of California at Berkeley, Alumni.

Connect with author on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

“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!

 

JaredPiper.jpgJared Piper, Ph.D., Director, Process Chemistry, Pfizer

Session: Advances in base metal catalysis: powerful tools for sustainable chemistry exploration

 

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

A: As a process chemist, I feel it is my responsibility to explore green chemistry alternatives and make every effort to deliver a process that is as environmentally friendly as possible. The motivation is as simple as seeing these improvements implemented on a larger scale and knowing that you have done a job well done.

 

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

A: The session “Advances in Base Metal Catalysis” will highlight recent advances in the replacement of transition metals with environmentally friendly and more abundant earth metals for catalytic methodologies.

 

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

A: Attendees will get exposure to recent advances in both academia and industry, focused on green and sustainable catalysts for the preparation of complex pharmaceutical targets and natural products.

 

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

A: I am most excited about seeing collaborators from the past, present and future. Partnerships and the potential to think about green chemistry together is a real opportunity.

 

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

A: My work consists of identifying synthetic routes to small molecule targets in cardiovascular medicine. Another aspect of my work is developing a talented group of scientists, which I find very satisfying.

 

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

A: I was raised in a farming community, so that has always been a dream of mine. I would love to manage a small, self-sustaining property.

 

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

A: With three kids under the age of 10, my time is spent in various family and volunteer activities. I also enjoy weightlifting, boxing, and overall fitness.

 

 

“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.

Green chemistry principles have provided inspiration to many research chemists looking for a new way to think about a challenging technical problem. Unfortunately, the funding to do this kind of exploratory research isn’t readily available. That’s why the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable (GCIPR) has launched a new grant program specifically aimed at funding promising green chemistry research ideas that have yet to be tested—enabling researchers to gather preliminary results with which they can seek funding from traditional sources. The first four awardees of this ‘Ignition’ grant program have now been selected.

 

“We created the ignition grant program to kick-start research for sustainable solutions to chemistry and engineering problems relevant to our industry,” says Stefan Koenig, co-chair of the Roundtable and senior scientist at Genentech, Inc. “Considering the number of high-caliber applications we received, it’s clear this program is addressing a real funding need.”

 

Professor Zacharias Amara, Pharm. D., Ph.D., from the Conservatoire National Des Arts Et Métiers in Paris, France in support of his work, “Smart Synthesis with Magnetically Recoverable Visible Light Photocatalysts.”

 

Amara-use-this.png“The Ignition Grant is a great support to start my research project in Green Chemistry,” says Amara. “The ACS GCIPR provides an ideal mentorship which, I am convinced, will help me produce high-impact research with a real industrial mindset.”

 

Amara explains his project like this:

 

“Photocatalysis is an incredibly powerful activation mode that will soon become useful to chemical pharmaceutical production. Our objective is to make photocatalysis more efficient and greener by developing a robust chemical reaction system. Our approach is a fully integrated continuous flow process where both the photoreaction and the purification steps are combined in a single operation. As a result we will deliver a smart recycling technology with simplified access to complex pharmaceutical intermediates and minimized amounts of wastes.

 

"Our idea is to combine flow photochemistry with magnetic nanoparticles (NPs). As a result heterogeneous and magnetic nano-photo-catalysts will be created to convert the energy of visible light into electron flows that can be harvested to catalyze clean organic reactions. We hope these “smart nano-reactors” will have the potential to demonstrate superior efficiencies compared to conventional photocatalysts.”

 

Professor Jeffery A. Byers, Ph.D., from Boston College for his work, “Development of an Iron-Based Catalyst for Suzuki-Miyaura Cross Coupling Reactions.”

 

byers_web.jpg“Large-scale implementation of palladium-catalyzed cross coupling reactions is often hindered by extensive purification required to remove trace amounts of the toxic palladium catalyst. Replacing palladium catalysts with iron-based catalysts is an alternative that can lead to similar reactivity without the environmental drawbacks. Moreover, because many iron-based cross coupling reactions are mechanistically distinct compared to palladium-catalyzed reactions, the development of iron-based catalysts has great potential to demonstrate complementary reactivity compared to the well-established palladium-based catalysts.

 

“Despite these advantages, the most well developed iron-based cross coupling reactions have been for Kumada-type cross coupling reactions. This type of cross coupling reaction faces its own environmental and substrate scope limitations because they involve using highly reactive and basic Grignard reagents.

 

“Unlike Kumada-type cross coupling reactions, the organoboronic acids or esters commonly employed in Suzuki-Miyaura reactions are easily prepared, stored, and handled. However, iron-catalyzed Suzuki-Miyaura reactions are uncommon, and those that do not require preactivation of the transmetalating agent with organolithium reagent are unprecedented. Since the environmental concerns associated with handling organolithium reagents are similar to those for Grignard reagents, these reactions face similar practical limitations as iron-catalyzed Kumada-type cross coupling reactions.

 

work.jpg“In this proposal, fundamental studies in organometallic chemistry will be undertaken that are aimed towards understanding the factors that have limited the development of an iron-based catalyst for the Suzuki-Miyaura type cross coupling reaction.

 

“Through a combination of computational studies and stoichiometric reactions designed to mimic proposed reactive intermediates, the thermodynamic and kinetic feasibility of a boron to iron transmetalation reaction will be investigated. To complement these studies, new analytical tools will be developed to probe the speciation of paramagnetic iron complexes that exist in solution during catalytic reactions. From these studies, it is expected that the factors that currently limit application of iron-based complexes for their use in the Suzuki-Miyaura reaction will be revealed.

 

“Ultimately this information will be used for the logical design of a Suzuki-Miyaura reaction catalyzed by iron, which is expected to be tremendously useful for addressing the environmental issues that currently face palladium-catalyzed cross coupling reactions. These studies are also expected to lead to mechanistic insight that will open the door for the development of novel cross coupling reactions catalyzed by iron."

 

Professor Dennis Hall, Ph.D., from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada for his work, “Borate-based catalytic directing groups for alkene and C-H functionalization reactions using readily available alcohol substrates.”

 

Hall.jpg“Transition-metal catalyzed transformations such as CH and alkene functionalization (e.g., catalytic hydroboration) often require large ligating directing-groups that need to be installed and later removed after the desired transformation. The atom- and step-economy of these processes, even the CH functionalization reactions, tends to be suboptimal. This research proposal attempts to address the reliance of current CH and alkene functionalization methodologies on large and wasteful stoichiometric directing groups.

 

“Despite their synthetic utility, free alcohols – especially phenols – are generally not efficient as ligating directing groups with transition metals. The ability to transform alcohols directly without resorting to any sort of stoichiometric protecting or directing group could lead to substantial economies in chemical processes of great relevance to the pharmaceutical industry, and was deemed a priority research area in the 2007 Roundtable report by Constable, et al.

 

“To this end, the concept of boron-based catalytic directing group (CDG) is proposed. Alcohols and phenols possess the ability to form reversible borates in the presence of B–OH containing compounds like boric acid and boronic acids. Thus, we will design borate-based reversible CDGs for alcohol substrates, including phenols, that can provide turnover in transition metal-catalyzed reactions leading to significant improvements of atom- and step-economy in useful transformations. A suitable borate directing group must be designed to embed a Lewis basic atom, preferably nitrogen or phosphorous, and be able to bring in the substrate and the transition metal in close proximity for effective reaction. A number of prototype borate CDGs will be evaluated, initially on simple stoichiometric transformations, and promising candidates will be optimized for catalytic turnover.”

 

Professor Oana R. Luca, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado, Boulder for her work, “Catalyst and electrolyte-free direct electrochemical cross coupling.”

 

Oana Luca.jpg“This type of grant allows us to kick start our research program into a direction focused on sustainable, scalable chemical transformations,” says Luca. “We chose to apply for this grant because it provided us with a unique opportunity to propose a high-risk, high-reward conceptual idea, that if demonstrated, could trigger a wave of new synthetic opportunities in mostly uncharted radical chemical space.”

 

Luca  further explains:  “In the long term, we hope to gain a deep understanding of reactivity of electrochemically-generated radicals. We look forward to learning how to harness this knowledge towards constructing chemical architectures that were previously inaccessible synthetically. Instead of looking to perfect a catalyst, we take a simpler approach: electrochemistry as a controllable method of direct radical generation and utilize it to form sought-after C-C bonds.”

 

Each awardee will receive $25K for six months. Since 2005, the Roundtable has given over $1.9 million dollars in research grants to advance the sustainability profile of pharmaceutical processes using green chemistry techniques. To date, these grants have resulted in 64 journal publications and over 2272 citations.

 

The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable brings global industry leaders together to catalyze the implementation of green chemistry and engineering. Current members include Amgen, AstraZeneca, Asymchem, Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Codexis, Eli Lilly and Company, F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis, Pfizer Inc., Roche, Sanofi, WuXi AppTec, Co., Ltd. and ACS GCI.

 

 

“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 Mar4-10 v2.jpgNestle and Danone are Investing in Biobaased Water Bottles

March 9, 2017 | C&EN

Nestlé Waters and Danone are the latest beverage makers to investigate biobased polyethylene terephthalate (PET). They are teaming up with the California-based start-up Origin Materials to form the NaturALL Bottle Alliance, which hopes to have water bottles made from renewable PET on store shelves by 2020.

 

5 Reasons Companies Should Turn Their Waste into Profits

March 8, 2017 | Tech Co

There is tremendous business potential in reusing wastes from production processes, and this article explores the specific advantages of using a business’s organic waste as an additional revenue stream in the lucrative biochemicals market.

 

New Organic Synthesis Method is More Energy Efficient

March 8, 2017 | EurekAlert

Microwave-induced rapid synthesis of organic compounds helps to reduce waste formation by reducing unwanted side reactions, maintaining atom economy, and providing products with high yield and, in many instances, with predictable stereochemistry.

 

Brewery Makes Biodegradable Six Pack Rings

March 7, 2017 | Bioplastics Guide

Saltwater Brewery has partnered with the ad agency We Believers to create the first fully edible beer can packaging. Made from byproducts of the brewing process such as wheat and barley, their six-pack holders are fully biodegradable and completely digestible for marine animals.

 

Bacteria Used to Extract Metal from Mining Ores

March 7, 2017 | Phys.org

Research is being pursued into how Chilean copper ores can be extracted in a more environmentally sustainable way. Bioactive substances derived from bacteria may replace or reduce chemicals. A further aim is to increase metal yield while extracting metals that are traditionally difficult to separate out, in particular the molybdenum content.

 

Biomimicry of Mussel Fibers May Lead to Self-Healing Biopolymers

March 7, 2017 | Bio Based News

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces have gained the first insights into how mussel attachment fibers, known as byssus threads, are produced in the mollusk foot. They discovered that this could serve as a blueprint for the environmentally friendly production of complex polymer structures.

 

Next-Generation Natural Materials on the Rise in Cosmetics

March 6, 2017 | Cosmetics Design

Market research company Frost & Sullivan, reveals that next-generation natural materials are expected to replace traditional synthetic materials in the personal care industry.

 

 

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

Change is hard and it takes a compelling reason to do it. Implementing green chemistry principles in your work takes significant effort, so why do it? What message sparked your interest and motivated you to change your perspective and work?

 

In a recent paper, “If Chemists Don’t Do It, Who Is Going To?” Peer-driven Occupational Change and the Emergence of Green Chemistry," the authors explore the effects of arguments used by advocates of green chemistry in an attempt to promote its adoption to their peers. Borrowing a concept from communication theory — framing — the authors find evidence that the way green chemistry is presented affects whom it resonates with or not. For chemists who want to get an “outside” perspective on their field, this paper sets the discussion within the current understanding of how occupations change in response to various pressures. The findings may also help you communicate your research or work more effectively to different audiences and troubleshoot unexpected reactions.

 

Last year, green chemistry celebrated its 25th anniversary. From the beginning, its growth has been, to a significant extent, organic — driven by chemists advocating for change among their peers. Although external forces (e.g., regulations and pressure from retailers/consumers) are growing factors in support of change, most green chemistry efforts remain voluntary initiatives.

 

The early green chemistry advocates used several distinct arguments to encourage a wide variety of chemists to adopt green chemistry principles, which themselves outlined a variety of avenues chemists could use to rethink their processes. The three frames identified through analysis of extensive interviews and archival data are as follows:

 

The Normalizing Frame positions green chemistry as an approach in line with mainstream chemistry’s focus on discovery, design, and the optimization of processes. If you side with green chemistry’s call for innovation, you probably connect with the Normalizing Frame.

 

The Moralizing Frame is the ethical imperative to do chemistry in a way that minimizes chemistry’s negative impact on human and environmental health, or ideally puts humanity on a path toward sustainability. If you align with these values and seek to apply them to your work, this frame probably speaks to you.

 

The Pragmatizing Frame looks to green chemistry for its usefulness in providing perspectives that open up new ways to tackle practical problems. If you find green chemistry an effective tool to cut costs, pack more students in your fume hood-free lab, and/or create products that will not likely be subjects of future chemical regulation, this frame applies to you.

 

Of course, many of us associate with more than one of the above frames; they all are valuable. Interestingly, the authors found that each frame tends to resonate with a specific occupational role: The Normalizing Frame attracts innovators; educators, public communicators, and students are attracted to the Moralizing Frame; and problem solvers are attracted to the Pragmatizing Frame. Does this ring true to you?

 

Tensions Between Frames

The existence of multiple frames has attracted a diverse group of chemists to green chemistry, providing certain strength to the community. However, it has also created a degree of resistance among chemists who might have been compelled by one frame, but find another frame undercuts the message and turns them off. Three tensions were identified:

 

Tension of Quality: Innovators and researchers attuned with the Normalizing Frame are turned off by the Pragmatizing Frame’s focus on practical applications. The perception that cutting-edge fundamental research is not compatible with applied research is wrapped up into this tension.

 

Tension of Commitment: The moralizing frame, while a powerful motivator for many, can rub some chemists the wrong way. Problem solvers attracted to the Pragmatizing Frame use green chemistry in support of other business or organizational goals. Green chemistry is not a guiding principle, as it is in the Moralizing Frame, but one of many useful tools — and in any business, there are limits on how much one can push a greener approach if it is not also benefiting the bottom line.

 

Tension of Complexity: Innovators also have trouble with the Moralizing Frame because in their research they know that to achieve the best result, one must often make trade-offs. A chemistry that is greener in one regard, may lag in another and often does not hit all of the principles of green chemistry.

 

As a result of these tensions, the authors note, some voices have expressed the need to narrow the message and focus on green chemistry’s ability to advance the science (the Normalizing Frame). However, others in the community have advocated to keep the doors open and continue to utilize any message that works to reach the largest number of people — whether tensions arise or not.

 

We will end where we began… Change is never easy. It is natural that those who are “dipping their toes” in green chemistry will begin with small changes. However, as one works with the principles over time, a natural expectation arises that one will continue to develop a more robust, innovative and nuanced understanding of how the arc of chemical research and development can be bent toward the ever-elusive dream of a truly sustainable science — the necessary underpinning of a sustainable society and world. As a community of early adopters, how can we strive to hold green chemistry as an inclusive yet rigorous way of doing science, attractive to our brightest minds, biggest sources of funding, most capable implementers, and most diverse and inspired crop of young chemists yet?

 

Reference Table

 

 

 

Normalizing

Moralizing

Pragmatizing

Motivation for green chemistry

GC is consistent with mainstream chemistry in its focus on discovery, design and optimization(e.g., optimizing a reaction, exploiting chemical diversity, designing out hazards)

Ethical imperative to deliver social benefits and take ownership over the impact of their work(e.g., What better choices can we make?)

GC can help you tackle day-to-day challenges (e.g., getting in front of regulations and increasing the safety of labs, which increases the amount of students they can handle)

Who tends to resonate with each frame

 

(Note: A chemist may take on different roles in one job or over the course of his/her career, thereby resonating with multiple frames.)

Chemists in role of innovators

“GC forces you to think about chemistry differently…which pushes you toward innovation.”

Chemists in role of educators and communicators

Audiences critical of chemistry, such as the public and consumers, students who may be inspired to make a difference, chemists who want to think of their research benefiting people, and the planet

Chemists in role of problem solvers

Cuts the cost of waste disposal and operating fume hoods; helps with fundraising and curbing manufacturing costs

Description of the tensions that may arise between frames

Tension of Quality between Normalizing and Pragmatizing

 

Innovators say, “We don’t do applied research,” “GC is for folks who can’t come up with better ideas,” “uptake in liberal arts colleges puts off research universities doing ‘cutting-edge research,” “publishing because it’s green not good research” “not rigorous”

Tension of Complexity between Moralizing and Normalizing frames


Innovators think GC principles don’t capture the complexities and nuances in developing chemical products and processes

Tension of Commitment between Pragmatizing and Moralizing


Problem solvers use GC when it supports other goals, not as a guiding principle like the moralizing frame suggests. GC incompatible with need to make trade-offs, can only cut so much inefficiency out

 

 

“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.

 

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Contributed by Bruce H. Lipshutz, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry

 

In 2011, the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award was given to the Lipshutz Research Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara on the promise that our second generation designer surfactant, TPGS-750-M, would lead to new technologies that avoid the use of organic solvents as the reaction medium – that following nature’s lead, very limited amounts of water could be used instead. Indeed, in return for the EPA’s vote of confidence, there are now many commonly used reactions in organic synthesis that no longer need to be run in organic solvents (Figure 1), thereby dramatically dropping the levels of what is, by far, the major component of organic waste created by the chemical enterprise worldwide.1

 

nok-fig1.png

nok-fig2.png

Notwithstanding these successes, it seemed obvious that alternatives to TPGS-750-M would be needed, as it would be naïve to assume that this single surfactant should work in every situation. Moreover, we were still learning the new rules for organic synthesis that prevail under these very different conditions. In a medium of 98 percent water, homogeneous catalysis is happening inside a nanomicelle’s hydrophobic core, where concentrations are approximately 10 times those typically used in reactions, and everything in the pot is undergoing micelle-to-micelle exchange through the aqueous mixture. The fact that this surfactant is composed of vitamin E, a commodity chemical, also meant that it could be subject to shortages, and is by far the most costly component of the three involved in its two-step synthesis. These considerations prompted us to look for a third generation surfactant that would not only function akin to TPGS-750-M,2 but would also be a less expensive alternative. For this, we looked at phytosterols, with many of these natural products being both available and even healthy, that might also be derivatized to form similar micellar arrays in water. Enter Nok.

 

This assignment went to first-year graduate student Piyatida Klumphu, from Thailand, who asked to be called by her nickname: Nok. In time, Nok found that using b-sitosterol, the major component of a mix of double bond isomers (and therefore, inexpensive), can be combined with succinic anhydride and MPEG-550 to form… Nok (Figure 2).3

 

Although Nok that is dissolved in water above its critical micelle concentration (ca. 10-4 M) leads to nanomicelles that are about the same size as those formed from TPGS-750-M (ca. 45-60 nm), the surprise came from its cryo-TEM analysis. Rather than forming spherical particles, Nok forms rods and worm-shaped nanomicelles. This unexpected observation may account for the differences seen occasionally in its chemistry versus its predecessor.

 

The initial disclosure of this new surfactant was in 2014, when it was shown to behave like TPGS-750-M in many types of reactions. It has since become readily available as an item of commerce (Aldrich catalog number 776033). In general, we view it as the first option for running reactions in water. As a mix of phytosterols (mainly b-sitosterol), it is far less expensive than racemic vitamin E, though with each being used at the 2 weight percent level, it is unlikely to make either a driver in any process used at scale.

 

Among the reports that use Nok as the surfactant of choice, the recent (2016) disclosure of the monophosphine ligand HandaPhos that forms 1:1 complexes with Pd is included.4 This new catalyst is active at the ppm level (≤1000 ppm, or ≤0.1 mol percent) in Suzuki-Miyaura cross-couplings in water at ambient temperatures (Figure 3, A). A study in 2015 appeared involving the reduction of aryl bromides in nanomicelles composed of Nok, a reaction determined to be generally far less efficient when using other surfactants, such as cremophore, PTS and TPGS-750-M (Figure 3, B).5 Another study that will soon be submitted favors Nok as the surfactant, enabling several gold-catalyzed processes to be carried out not only in water at ambient temperatures, but also at the ppm level of this precious metal, with recycling of everything in the pot (i.e., the water, surfactant, and the chelated gold catalyst).6 What’s the secret to this new technology? HandaPhos (Figure 3, C).

 

A: ppm Pd-catalyzed Suzuki-Miyaura reactions using (HandaPhos)Pd

 

figure-a.png

 

B: Reductions of aryl bromides in water at rt, enabled by Nok

 

figure-b.png

 

C: Representative ppm Au-catalyzed reactions in Nok/H2O using HandaPhos technology (“L” in LAuCl = HandaPhos)

 

nok-fig3.png

Although Nok is still rather new to the micellar catalysis scene, it seems to have a bright future in that it provides a cost-effective alternative to TPGS-750-M in general, and can also be the surfactant of choice. To date, it has been purchased by almost 100 different institutions, suggesting that it is certainly being tested. Understanding why one designer surfactant might function in a superior fashion to another, however, remains for future investigations.

 

As for Nok – the first-year graduate student who was assigned this project in the first place? She successfully defended her thesis on Nov. 28, 2016, and soon thereafter assumed a faculty position at Maejo University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

References

 

  1. For reviews on the use of designer surfactants in water, see:  (a) Lipshutz, B. H. ; Ghorai, S. Aldrichimica Acta.2008, 41, 59.; (b) Lipshutz, B. H. ; Ghorai, S. Aldrichimica Acta.2012, 45, 3.; (c) Lipshutz, B. H. ; Ghorai, S. Green Chem.2014, 16, 3660. See also: La Sorella, G.; Strukul, G.; Scarso, A. Green Chem. 2015, 17, 644. and references therein.
  2. Lipshutz, B. H.; Ghorai, S.; Abela, A. R.; Moser, R.; Nishikata, T.; Duplais, C.; Krasovskiy, A.; Gaston, R. D.; Gadwood, R. C. J. Org. Chem. 2011,76, 4379.
  3. Klumphu, P.; Lipshutz, B. H. J. Org. Chem. 2014,76, 888.
  4. Handa, S.; Andersson, M. P.; Gallou, F.; Reilly, J.; Lipshutz, B. H. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2016,55 (16), 4914.
  5. Fennewald, J. C.; Landstrom, E. B.; Lipshutz, B. H. Tetrahedron Lett.2015, 56, 3608.
  6. Klumphu, P.; Handa, S.; Desfeux, C.; Lipshutz, B. H. manuscript in preparation.

 

 

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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!

 

Sparling,Brian 3796.jpg

Brian Sparling, Ph.D., Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry, Amgen

Session: The Wild “Green” Yonder: Emerging Technologies to Enable Sustainable Organic Synthesis

 

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

A: As a medicinal chemist, my goal is to make a variety of high purity compounds in a timely manner in, initially, relatively small amounts. At face value, it can be challenging to effectively implement the principles of green chemistry to this type of work; however, the cumulative impact of changing the culture of medicinal chemistry to be green may not only have a significant impact on the sustainability of our work, but also shorten project timelines as these processes are scaled, and a compound is pushed forward through the developmental pipeline. Thus, the implementation of green chemistry is a win-win-win scenario for medicinal chemistry, my company and the environment. To me, it just makes sense!

 

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

A: The session highlights recent advances in the field of organic synthesis that promote aspects of green chemistry.

 

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

A: The four speakers at my session will focus on new methodology at the forefront of organic synthesis. Late-stage functionalization, bimetallic catalysis, iron catalysis, and strain-release amination will be highlighted, as well as practical applications. It should be very interesting to anyone who does organic synthesis!

 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of the GC&E Conference?

A: What amazes me most is seeing the creative ways in which the principles of green chemistry are being applied to research across many different disciplines.

 

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

A: Chronic pain is an affliction to which there are few effective, non-addictive treatment options. My research is focused on developing new pain therapeutics and the validation of new protein targets that may be relevant to the treatment of pain.

 

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

A: The restoration of antique sports cars

 

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

A: Going on adventures with my daughter!

 

 

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

News Roundup Feb24-Mar3.jpg

French VC Has Raised the Largest Green Biotech Fund in Europe

 

March 3, 2017 | LabioTech

The largest biotech VC in France, Sofinnova Partners, is banking on the emerging sector of bio-based, sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.  Its new fund of €106M will be invested in 8 to 10 companies over the next 3 to 4 years, especially in startups developing green technology for the transformation of raw materials such as agricultural waste or CO2 into renewable bioplastics and other bio-based materials.

 

University of Georgia Collaborating with Norton Point to Make Use of Ocean Plastics

 

March 2, 2017 | UGA Today

Engineers and polymer scientists with the University of Georgia's New Materials Institute are helping Norton Point, which manufactures sunglasses from post-consumer plastic waste, with testing of its "ocean plastics" products and finding new product applications.

 

University of Nottingham Opens Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry

 

March 2, 2017 | Nottingham Post

After having been destroyed by fire in 2014, the center is finally open! It incorporates all the latest developments in sustainable construction and renewable energy provisions to ensure it will have zero impact in terms of carbon over 25 years.

 

Industry Collaboration Leads to Biomass to Glucose and Lignin Pilot Plant

 

February 28, 2017 | Biobased World News

The technology converts woody biomass into sugars and lignin. It is particularly suited for making high purity glucose required for the production of a wide range of bio-based chemicals and materials for the chemical industry of tomorrow. The lignin is also an excellent feedstock for renewable bioenergy applications, as its energy content is significantly higher than that of woody biomass.

 

Polymer Additive Creates Mechanically Tougher Plastic

 

February 28, 2017 | Cornell Chronicle

Coates’ Research Group at the University of Minnesota has developed a multiblock polymer that, when added in small measure to a mix of polyethylene and polypropylene, creates a new and mechanically tough polymer.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

 

What’s Up with “Nok”? A Third Generation Designer Surfactant

 

University of California, Santa Barbara | The Nexus Blog

Although Nok is still rather new to the micellar catalysis scene, it seems to have a bright future in that it provides a cost-effective alternative to TPGS-750-M in general, and can also be the surfactant of choice. To date, it has been purchased by almost 100 different institutions.

 

Activation and Discovery of Earth-Abundant Metal Catalysts Enabled by Sodium tert-Butoxide

 

University of Edinburgh | The Nexus Blog

A sustainable future for catalysis relies on the use of first-row, low cost, low toxicity, Earth-abundant metals. Despite this, the metals that are most abundant have yet to be adopted by the global community.

 

 

“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 Feb18-24.jpgHow Sustainability Efforts and Eliminating Waste Can Boost Brand Perception

 

February 23, 2017 | Green Biz

Perceptions of a company’s environmental record are intertwined with perceptions of a product and play a role in whether many of us buy Brand X or Brand Y. That begs the question: What is it that consumers want to see companies doing that would demonstrate that they’re environmentally friendly good guys?

 

Naturally Occurring Nanoparticles in Fertilizer Reduces Agricultural Runoff

 

February 22, 2017 | C&EN

Nitrogen fertilizers—used to grow crops around the globe—have a problem. After they’re applied to soil, more than three-quarters of their nutrients get washed away before plants can absorb them. That wastes money and creates environmental messes downstream. Now, researchers have used nanoparticles to create a potential solution: a fertilizer that releases nutrients over a week, giving crops more time to absorb them, reducing waste and toxic runoff.

 

Google and Healthy Building Network Create Green Materials Database

 

February 21, 2017 | The Fifth Estate

Tech giant Google has joined forces with the US-based Healthy Building Network to launch a web-based materials analysis tool that promises to advance healthy materials use, accelerate access to high-quality and comparable data, and connect supply with demand.  Stacy Glass, of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, said it also outlines key steps manufacturers need to take to achieve healthy materials – inventory, screening, assessment, optimization and transparency.

 

More Natural Approaches to Catalysis

 

February 20, 2017 | C&EN

To make chemical processing more sustainable, chemists turn to animal, vegetable, and mineral sources for catalytic materials, such as earthworms, red mud and “bio-ore”.

 

University of Malta Department of Pharmacy Developing Greener Processes Laboratory

 

February 19, 2017 | Times of Malta

The University of Malta’s Department of Pharmacy is contributing to the development of green processes by establishing a dedicated state-of-the-art laboratory. The collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and academia will contribute to further develop sustainable environmentally friendly processes.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

 

Transforming End-of-Life Bits Into Tomorrow’s Atoms (Part 2): So Why Can’t We Just Recycle [e-waste]?

 

Camston Wrather | The Nexus Blog

The prior installment of this series (Part 1) touched on the consumption and disposal volumes of electronic waste (e-waste) and its impacts. This article will cover a technical overview of current resource recovery methods, both formal and informal.

 

Critical Elements Series: Helium Shortage to Occur in the Next 25-50 Years

 

ACS Green Chemistry Institute | The Nexus Blog

As the second most abundant element in the universe, it seems strange to think of helium as endangered. The gas has a wide variety of uses, from cryogenics (think super-cooling MRI magnets) to SCUBA diving equipment. The problem: Unlike most other elements, helium is so light, it escapes the Earth’s atmosphere with ease, and thus the supply is being constantly depleted.

 

 

“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 Feb11-17.jpg

Timberland Partners with Thread International to Incorporate Plastic Waste into Fabrics

February 17, 2017 | GreenBiz

Thread transforms trash that has been collected and sorted by local workers in Haiti — where mounds of plastic bottles clogging waterways are a common sight — into fabric sourced by brands such as Timberland, which is developing a line of sneakers and boots made with Thread’s "Ground to Good" fabric. The line will launch in the spring.

 

New Tech Breakthroughs Design Impacts Out of Everyday Products

February 16, 2017 | Sustainable Brands

While recycling most certainly plays an important role in the shift to the development of a more circular, sustainable economy, it largely focuses on a product or material’s end of life. But recent initiatives and technological breakthroughs are helping more companies design environmental impacts out of their products’ life cycles.

 

Chemistry Professor at Utah State Replaces “Old-school Techniques with Cutting-edge Research with an Emphasis in Green Chemistry”

February 15, 2017 | AZo Cleantech

Specifically, Professor Sun is examining the development of a biomass intermediate for the oxidation half reaction, which could offer a green, water-soluble polymer precursor to substitute such fossil fuel-derived polymers as polyethylene terephthalate or PET.  PET is used in all types of household products, fabrics, furnishing, vehicle interiors, appliances, and more.

 

Avantium and BASF Seek IPO Funds to Build Bio-based Chemical Plant

February 15, 2017 | C&EN

Avantium, a 2000 spin-off from Shell with technologies for converting plant sugars into biochemicals and polymers, says it will make an initial public offering of shares on two European stock exchanges by the end of March.  Avantium says it will invest up to $80 million of the money it raises in its Synvina joint venture with BASF. The venture plans a 50,000-metric-ton-per-year plant for 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, a sugar-derived intermediate for recyclable polyesters such as polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

 

Breakthrough Textiles Help Fashion Industry Close the Loop

February 13, 2017 | Sustainable Brands

Many different brands are making moves towards a more circular economy through textile innovation and consumer engagement. Recently, H&M debuted its new “Bring It” garment recycling campaign, as well as a new BIONIC-based Conscious Exclusive collection, while Kering announced the next stage of its ambitious sustainability plan. Now, Lenzing, G-Star and Patagonia are launching new initiatives to bring the fashion industry closer to closing the loop.

 

 

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

By Mary M. Kirchhoff, Ph.D., Acting Director, ACS GCI; Executive Vice President of Scientific Advancement, ACS

 

I had the privilege of attending the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) “Arc of Science: Research to Results” event on Capitol Hill last evening.  Featured exhibits highlighted NSF-sponsored research that “enhances the United States economy, security and global competitiveness.”  Projects covered a breadth of topics, from cybersecurity to ocean acidification to monitoring the urban environment.  The event showcased NSF’s substantial investment in science and science education, funding that has supported 223 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics, medicine and economics.  We cannot imagine our lives without the Internet, touch screens or Google, all of which were built on NSF funding.

 

The “Research to Results” theme is one that is highly relevant to green chemistry:  Translating fundamental green chemistry research into greener products and processes results in benefits to human health, the environment, and the economy.  Green chemistry discoveries will have the greatest impact when implemented at an industrial scale such that energy and water usage are minimized, efficiency is maximized, and the use and generation of hazardous materials are reduced or eliminated.

 

The goal of transforming green chemistry discoveries into commercial products is reflected in this year’s Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference theme of “Making Our Way to a Sustainable Tomorrow”.  Conference symposia will address a wide range of topics, including those focused on the academic/industry interface, such as “Bridging the Gap:  The Diverse Paths from Academic Discovery to Industrial Implementation for Innovations in Green Chemistry” and “Greener Organic Chemistry Research in Academia:  Accelerating the Pace of Industrial Adoption”.  Registration for this year’s conference opened yesterday, and I encourage you to join us in Reston, Virginia from June 13-15 by registering at http://www.gcande.org/registration/.  I look forward to seeing you there!

 

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