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Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog

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China increases hazardous chemical regulations

December 8, 2016 | C&EN

China’s highest decision-making body, the State Council, has unveiled a three-year plan to prevent accidents involving hazardous chemicals that may bring headaches to chemical producers and shippers.


New bio-recycling process can depolymerize PET bottles, packaging and films

December 8, 2016 | Recycling International

Green chemistry company Carbios in France has announced that its innovative enzymatic bio-recycling process of polyesters is also applicable to crystalline polyethylene terephthalate (PET). ‘This means it can treat all kind of plastic waste containing PET, namely bottles, packaging and films,’ the firm says.


EPA moves to ban uses of trichloroethylene

December 7, 2016 | C&EN

EPA concluded in 2014 that trichloroethylene (TCE) in spot cleaning agents and aerosol spray degreasers could pose health risks to workers and consumers. TCE is a known human carcinogen, and studies have associated the chemical with neurological, developmental, and immunological toxicity.


Novel catalysts improve path to more sustainable plastics production

December 5, 2016 | Phys.org

University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers have discovered a new type of catalyst to drive the ODHP reaction. In a paper published Dec. 1 in Science, a team led by chemistry and chemical engineering Professor Ive Hermans reports success with hexagonal boron nitride and boron nitride nanotube catalysts in the chemical reaction that converts propane to propene.


Ranking retailers on avoidance of hazardous chemicals

December 5, 2016 | C&EN

A new report gives 11 major U.S. retailers an average grade of D+ in meeting rising consumer demand for safer products, though it also found major progress at some firms.



“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.

12-2Roundup.pngStart-up Green Distillation Technologies recycles 100% of rubber tires to be used as biofuels and raw materials

November 28, 2016 | ABC News

Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) can produce 3,000 liters of bio-oil from one giant seven-ton mining truck tire. It hopes to increase production to more than 8 millions liters annually by mid-2017. Director Trevor Bayley said the company used a technique known as destructive distillation to convert wasted, old rubber into renewable energy.


Closing the loop on the circular economy

November 26, 2016 | GreenBiz

What is remanufacturing? What are its additional economic or environmental benefits, and how does this industrial practice differ from reuse or recycling? This adapted chapter, "Remanufacturing and the circular economy," answers these questions with compelling case studies that illustrate the power of the circular economy model.


Protein provides new route to carbon-silicon bonds

November 24, 2016 | C&EN

Silicon is the second most abundant element in Earth’s crust after oxygen, but carbon-silicon bonds are unheard of in nature: Neither biological organosilicon compounds nor biosynthetic pathways to create them have been identified. But when given the right starting materials, some heme proteins can stereospecifically form carbon-silicon bonds, report researchers from Caltech.


Green Chemistry Club seeks to recycle used kitchen oil

November 23, 2016 | The Torch

Lane Community College has been attempting to produce biodiesel on campus by utilizing a continuous flow reaction and kitchen oil as a feedstock.


Will the artificial leaf sprout to combat climate change?

November 21, 2016 | C&EN

To find a renewable way to produce green fuels and chemicals, scientists have developed technologies that use sunlight to split water to make molecular hydrogen or reduce CO2 into hydrocarbons. However, these artificial photosynthesis and electrocatalysis technologies face significant research and engineering development challenges to produce fuels efficiently and economically.


New biodegradable sneakers woven from man-made spider silk biopolymers

November 18, 2016 | LabBioTech

AMSilk, located near Munich, is the world’s first biotech supplying synthetic silk biopolymers for textiles, cosmetics and medical devices. The company’s 100% biodegradable and vegan Biosteel fibers, stronger and lighter than conventional synthetic fibers, have been used by Adidas to create sustainable sneakers.



“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 David Constable, Ph.D., Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®


Planning and preparations for the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference have continued throughout the past two months. For most people, thinking about a conference that is to take place in June is not something that occupies too much attention. However, preparations for our conference begin in July and, during the fall, we experience one of our busiest periods in planning as we seek keynote speakers and organize the technical programming.


We were delighted this year to receive over 45 proposals to our call for symposia though such great response creates challenges itself as not all ideas can be accommodated. It is a reality of green chemistry that there is a variety of passionate stakeholders, and in choosing some sessions and not others, feelings are hurt. I do hope everyone understands that the selection of sessions is a reflection of the technical program chairs and the advisory committee’s interests; the ACS GCI does not have control over those decisions, though we do try to influence where we can.


The activities around the conference’s technical programming highlight a few areas of contention that are, I think, a reflection of the state of green chemistry in general. First, the GC&E Conference struggles with being a very broad tent: For some, the design of safer chemicals and toxicology should be emphasized; for some, it is organic and related process chemistry that should; for others, policy and regulation should stand at the forefront; and for others still, education should, and so on. My own opinion is that all of these areas are deserving of attention at some level, but they cannot all be accommodated in a small conference. Because some areas of green chemistry are supported by other organizations and their conferences, I do not feel compelled to have the same kind of content at our own and would prefer to highlight other equally important areas. You have to focus your efforts or else you please no one.


Second, there is a general sense that someone should be paying for green chemistry and the GC&E Conference because it is the “right thing to do” or because the cost is a barrier. I will not debate this here, but it is my experience that only very few organizations support the GC&E Conference and that support is not based on a moral argument. The costs associated with the conference are borne by registrations, supporters and exhibitors, in that order. The ACS GCI staff spends considerable time working to drive costs down while increasing the number of attendees, supporters and exhibitors—the latter two of which continue to be very challenging. Anyone who has attempted to fund green chemistry activities (research, conferences, etc.) knows just how challenging raising money is in this space.


Third, the multidisciplinary nature of the GC&E Conference requires considerable collaboration and partnership across many disciplines and organizations that are not necessarily aligned. This is the organizational corollary to the first point. The conference and green chemistry in general require that we reach out to a variety of stakeholders and organizations in academia, industry and government. Building this kind of coalition is not easy, takes continual care and feeding, and proves easy to find reasons not to collaborate. But I firmly believe that collaboration and partnership is essential for finding the best solutions to the grand challenges of sustainability. I would ask your indulgence and commitment to cultivating these collaborations and partnerships that are integral not only to the GC&E Conference, but also to green chemistry more broadly.


In October, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Pharmaceutical Roundtable fall meeting in Cambridge, Mass., hosted by the Novartis and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. The amount of activity in these 17 pharmaceutical companies in green chemistry and engineering is extremely impressive and inspiring. They agreed on four Initiation Grant winners (stay tuned for announcements later; it takes time to get through all the paperwork), outreach efforts in China and India, further development of their process mass intensity calculator to enable predictions for early development and its incorporation of LCA, various team updates (including Med Chem, Analytical, Continuous flow, etc.), their collaboration with Chem21 and the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative, tools for use (Reagent and Solvent Selection), and education initiatives. After two days of meetings, they also hosted an impressive array of speakers at a one-day symposium entitled “Innovating for a more sustainable pharmaceutical industry.” I would love to see this level of activity throughout the global chemistry enterprise, and I commend the ACS GCI PRT member companies for their outstanding commitment to advancing sustainable and green chemistry and for being models for collaboration and partnership.


I also had the privilege of attending a meeting in Korea, hosted by the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI), with various government officials to discuss the several high visibility issues with consumer products Korea has faced that have aroused public concern. In response, Korea has recently instituted its own version of REACH-type chemicals legislation and is very interested in moving forward with new government-sponsored green chemistry efforts. I applaud their initiative and look forward to their progress in green chemistry.


I was also involved in two different conferences this year that I normally do not get involved with. The first was a Chemical Watch symposium directed largely toward understanding the new Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act legislation, i.e. the TSCA reform bill. While chemicals legislation is a reality, it does not, in my opinion, enable green chemistry. This is a position that is not generally shared by people who promote green chemistry and as such, it will be the subject of a future post to explain. The second was the Guardian Green Chemistry Conference, a small conference in New York City hosted by the Guardian at the New York Academy of Science, where a majority of attendees were not chemists, which always makes for an interesting perspective on green chemistry. I do think that there is a disconnect between those at the consumer-facing end of the supply chain and those at the business-to-business end of the supply chain. I see this on a regular basis and am working to try to bridge the divide: It is, however, a big challenge.


At the fall AIChE meeting, I also spent time promoting and getting feedback on our AltSep technology roadmap for molecular property-driven alternative separations to distillation. This project is moving forward, and we are on track to finish the roadmap in the first half of next year. Moving from the consumer end of chemical concerns to the details of molecular to process modeling, simulation and design is jarring, to say the least. I am always struck by the amazing amount of work being done as well as by the gulf between the design of a molecule and the design of a commercially viable product. There is some amazing progress being made, and much remains to be done.


As always, please do let me know what you think.




“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.

Gary Spilman, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Resinate Materials Group, Inc.


In 2013, the U.S. produced 9.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles, yet less than 31 percent of them were recycled. That means 6.5 billion pounds of plastic bottles are destined for landfills or incinerators. Many of these bottles are made from poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and poly(bisphenol-A carbonate) (PBAC). These are materials that already have a significant energy history and environmental footprint paid to that point, and have become global commodity materials because of their performance properties.


PET offers excellent chemical resistance (semi-crystalline), low water uptake, high tensile strength and modulus, and excellent flexural strength and modulus [1]. PBAC offers extremely high impact strength, good chemical resistance, along with very good toughness [2]. These properties combine to make PET and PBAC excellent engineering materials. In addition, they are also a gateway to well-balanced, superior performance attributes (and some surprising advantages) as lower molecular weight polyols for demanding coating, adhesive, sealant, elastomer, plasticizer and specialty foam applications.


Although the use of recycled content is not a new concept, Resinate Materials Group (RMG) uses novel technology that allows one to build in unique and customizable performance. Through a proprietary process, PET and PBAC are broken down through glycolysis to an oligomeric state. Subsequently, these oligomers can be reassembled using unique combinations of mono- or multifunctional acids and other hydroxyl reactive building blocks. The result is a variety of specialty polyols that can be customized to specific performance needs. These unique materials are delivered from discarded engineering plastics at a cost comparable to traditional specialty polyols.


RMG’s approach to molecular design is best described as a hierarchy of components that are selected for integration with the oligomeric intermediates from glycolysis. This hierarchy dictates the foundation for raw material selection. The initial (and usually primary) ingredient choice is, of course, the digested recycled materials described. Second-priority sourcing is based on biorenewable components, a list that is constantly expanding. This includes such ingredients as levulinic acid derivatives, lignin, vegetable oils, dimer and trimer fatty acids, and sugars. Lastly, incorporation of appropriate intermediates from virgin petroleum sources may be necessary to produce the highest performance from polyols that can contain close to 100% “green” content (recycled and renewable).


RMG’s polyesters and hybrid systems utilize their high levels of recycled content from solid state plastics that have been processed into small flakes, chunks, pellets, or fibers, from sources such as consumer packaging, carpet and automotive components. As mentioned previously, the RMG process is unlike some tertiary (chemical) recycling processes using hydrolysis, methanolysis, or ethylene glycol glycolysis [3], [4], since we do not depolymerize to the monomeric state or target high yields of bis(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate [5], [6] (BHET, mol wt 252). This would amount to “over-processing” beyond the point of optimal usefulness for coatings. For example, one could synthesize virgin aromatic polyesters containing varying amounts of terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. However, these materials would be architecturally very different despite being compositionally similar to some RMG polyesters based on recycled PET content. This is because the initial digestion phase produces building blocks, which are far from monomeric. The glycolysis process is controlled by several factors, including overall time, temperature, catalyst type and level, and glycol-to-PET ratio. The figures (Figs. 1 and 2) are visual distributions of the resulting molecular weights from glycolysis of PBAC and PET respectively. For each system, the percentages of high oligomeric species (mol wt >1000) are noted based on detector area analysis.


Short “blockiness” in the polyester backbone can result from these various oligomeric constituents, and will, in turn, vary with the polydispersity of their prior glycolysis. Building up from the low-moderate molecular weight oligomers to high-performance macromolecular specialty polymers is the synthetic goal at RMG. In addition to PET and PBAC, we have also performed similar process steps using a variety of other recycled thermoplastics, including glycol-modified PET (PETG) and poly(trimethylene terephthalate) (PTT).


The most important design criteria for a given polyol product is its performance, since market value and success for this technology is primarily dependent on customer acceptance, validation, and use. RMG has coupled this performance with their goal to re-deploy and elevate the “used” molecules to their highest value. The recycled materials will be truly “upcycled” in this way, ultimately becoming transformed for a higher value purpose as a protective coating, adhesive or other specialty application. These new assigned applications may function for decades, as opposed to months as a commodity packaging material.


Beyond diverting consumer waste streams, there are additional streams available where alternative sources for valuable key raw materials may be found, such as those classified as “post-industrial recycle.” In a similar fashion, these waste materials can be recovered and incorporated into a variety of products. Surprisingly, some can occasionally be converted back to useful materials for their starting industry, and re-used within their original manufacturing processes and products. This results in a truly circular business model, where industrial waste streams can subsequently become a key input for RMG, to then convert into a key input for the initial industrial process - ultimately closing the loop and contributing to a circular economy approach to chemicals.


For more information about Resinate® polyols and licensable technology, visit www.resinateinc.com or call +1 800-891-2955.


Figure 1. Typical size exclusion chromatogram for digested recycled PBAC  (70% > 1000 Mn)

Figure 1.png


Figure 2. Typical size exclusion chromatogram for digested recycled PET (50% > 1000 Mn)


Figure 2.png

[1] http://www.plastic-products.com/part12.htm

[2] http://www.ptsllc.com/intro/polycarb_intro.aspx

[3] Bartolome, L., Imran, M., Cho, B.G., Al-Masry, W.A., Kim, D.H., Recent Developments in the Chemical Recycling of PET, Material Recycling – Trends and Perspectives, Achilias, D., Ed., 2012, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/33800.

[4] Paszun, D., Spychaj, T., Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 1997, 36, 1373.

[5] Al-Sabagh, A.M., Yehia, F.Z., Harding, D.R.K., Eshaq, Gh., El Metwally, A.E. Green Chem. 2016, 18 (14), 3997.

[6] Khoonkari, M., Haghighi, A.H., Sefidbakht, Y., Shekoohi, K., Ghaderian, A., Intl. J. Polym. Sci. 2015, Article ID 124524.



“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.

The Angelo State University ACS Student Chapter was established in 1971. The chapter was awarded their first green chemistry award for the 2008-9 academic year, and they have now received it for nine consecutive years. Recently, we asked the chapter to tell us more about what they are doing and what they have learned from including green chemistry in their chapter activities.


2016EcoFair.jpg Dr. Edith Osborne, Associate Professor, ASU ACS Student Chapter Co-Advisor

To choose green chemistry activities, we have sought information from the ACS and ACS Green Chemistry Institute® Websites. One resource we found helpful that is available on the ACS website is the ACS Green Student Chapter Activity: Chemistry Demonstrations. We also network with other student chapters at the National ACS Meeting and make sure to go the Chem Demo Exchange held there. We have also found other online resources, but we review all new demos carefully. Using new demos takes practice and planning. Depending on where we do the demo, we have to modify the activity for safety and time constraints.


We also bring in green chemistry speakers to educate students on our campus about green chemistry. The ACS GCI website is a helpful resource for green chemistry speaker ideas. One of our former students discussed a chemical treatment method that allowed for the reuse of water used for fracking. As we are in West Texas, water is a major issue. The newspaper always lists the months of our water supply. In our chemistry laboratories, we have made the effort to conserve water as much as possible by reducing the volumes used in experiments. We also have changed several of our laboratories to use greener reagents. This is also a cost saving measure. Nontoxic reagents cost less to ship to us when purchased and also to dispose of after use. Overall, our chapter tries to promote a general mindfulness of the Principles of Green Chemistry.

Mr. Kevin Boudreaux, Senior Instructor, ASU ACS Student Chapter Co-Advisor, Permian Basin Local Section Secretary

Being involved with Green Chemistry activities as a faculty sponsor has made me more aware of the need to make lab procedures and demonstrations greener. I have been able to replace some of the chemistry labs that I teach with labs that generate less waste, and I have worked out procedures for some other labs that allow them to be performed on a smaller scale, thus saving not only on waste, but also on the cost of the reagents and solvents. Our research into what qualifies a student chapter to be designated as a Green Chemistry chapter has made me pay more attention to my own work in the teaching labs, and made me conscious for the need to keep those activities green as well.

2015EcoFair.jpg Blake Holle, senior chemistry major, ASU ACS Student Chapter President 2015-2016

Whether it involves water soluble packing peanuts or a simple example of making biofuels, we try and plan our activities around large community events where we can promote chemistry to the masses. In our chapter, the Eco Fair and Family Day at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts provide the perfect backdrop for our events. Often our activities focus on elementary students to spark an interest in green applications at a young age.

Though finding and prepping green chemistry experiments have taught me a lot scientifically, the largest impact comes from the children we serve. It’s both rewarding and unexpected seeing their faces light up for concepts like waste removal and biofuels. No matter how advanced the subject, there is always a way to make science fun and relatable to children.

Sara Shirai, senior biology major, ASU ACS Chapter Vice President

When we choose and plan green chemistry activities we make sure they follow the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. When we demonstrate green chemistry at community outreach events and people have positive reactions to certain demonstrations, we sometimes repeat them at the next outreach activities.


From our green chemistry activities I learned that it is important to reach out to the community to inform people about how green chemistry can impact the environment. When we were at a community outreach event demonstrating how starch packing peanuts can dissolve in water, many children were amazed and their parents also showed their interest. Bringing green chemistry into the public awareness can not only impact the environment, but it could also impact their lives. 



“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 Paul T. Anastas, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University and David T. Allen, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin



Reflecting on a quarter century of advances in the fields of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, the strong scientific foundation that has been built is worthy of celebration. Innumerable green products and processes have been commercialized, with more than 100 of these scientific and technological advances recognized in the United States with Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Other innovations have been honored by similar awards in many other nations. As documented in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, and other journals serving the field, the global pace of advances in molecular, process, and systems design, using principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, is accelerating.


Although the work of the field that has been documented over the past 25 years is a tremendous beginning, what we find most exciting is the power and the potential of the next 25 years. Innovations in green chemistry and engineering, at molecular, process, and systems levels, are reported at an ever-increasing rate. The principles, tools, and metrics of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering that can guide these innovations have advanced in their sophistication. It is now possible for researchers and designers to quantify many dimensions of the improvements in sustainability that result from their work. These metrics serve as compasses and guideposts on pathways to sustainability.


It is our vision that, over the next 25 years, innovators around the world will use foundational and methodological advances in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering to transform major sectors of the global economy, ranging from fuels and chemicals, to transportation, agriculture, and water purification and delivery. The next generations of chemists, engineers, and other innovators will use new sets of tools and principles. These tools and principles will need to be integrated into chemistry and engineering education.


Excerpted from ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2016, 4 (11), pp 5820–5820

This article is part of the Building on 25 Years of Green Chemistry and Engineering for a Sustainable Future special issue.



“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 Ray Borg, Chair of the UMass Sustainable Scientists Association and Outreach Coordinator of the NSYCC


On Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Sustainable Scientists Association, and the Northeast Section Younger Chemist Committee hosted a workshop focused on green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry and chemical education at the Integrated Science Center at UMass Boston.  In addition to the large number of graduate students in attendance, several high school teachers and students from Urban Science Academy were also present.

ACS Table.jpg


The first half of the event was comprised of four talks from research chemists at Pfizer who implement green chemistry principles into their daily lives. Javier Magano gave the first presentation on how Pfizer has incorporated green chemistry over the last 14 years. Dr. John Wong followed with a presentation on how pharmaceutical compounds synthesized using biocatalysts can be more a sustainable alternative to traditional catalysis.  Next, Dr. Leo Letendre presented about his work with greening the industrial production of Celebrex®. Finally, Magano concluded the Pfizer presentations with a talk on the applications of transition metal catalysis in the pharmaceutical industry.


Attendees then proceeded to a working lunch hosted by Dr. Shen Duan where we broke into four different groups to analyze the varied synthetic routes of Pregabalin. After the discussion, each group presented what could be improved about each synthetic pathway in order to reduce energy and toxic materials, as well as to increase the yield of the desired compound.


Dr. John Warner, CEO of Warner Babcock and Co-Founder of Beyond Benign, opened up the green chemistry in education part of the workshop by presenting on his experiences through academia, industry and entrepreneurship. His life story as a chemist is fascinating and inspiring. He continues to innovate and implement green chemistry in all facets of his company and provides hope for the future.


Next, John de la Parra, a graduate student and instructor from Northeastern University, gave a talk on the green chemistry units that he and his colleagues, Vaso Lykourino and Alejandro Rovira, have been implementing in undergraduate curricula at Northeastern. Dr. Hannah Sevian from UMass Boston concluded with a presentation on the development of student thinking from middle to graduate school. Over her years of collecting surveys and data from students, she demonstrated examples of how chemistry is presented at these educational levels along with different ways to increase student engagement and understanding of the material.


The large, diverse and engaged crowd, as well as Pfizer’s generous contribution, made this event a great success! We hope to continue this collaboration and host more green chemistry events in the future.


Jose Magano.jpg

Hannah Sevian.jpg



“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_Nov_18.jpgTurning Greenhouse Gas into Gasoline

November 15, 2016 | Phys.org


A new catalyst material developed by chemists at MIT provides key insight into the design requirements for producing liquid fuels from carbon dioxide, the leading component of greenhouse gas emissions. The findings suggest a route toward using the world's existing infrastructure for fuel storage and distribution, without adding net greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere.


Scientists Devise More Accurate System for Predicting Risks of New Chemical Products

November 15, 2016 | Phys.org


The approach used by regulators to initially screen new chemical products for toxic effects is wrong almost half the time, according to scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They have proposed an improvement that could increase accuracy to as much as 85 percent, saving millions of dollars and years of development time for new drugs and other products while improving safety.


Evonik Gets Bio-based Methionine Technology

November 14, 2016 | C&EN


Evonik Industries, a German chemical company that is a major producer of amino acids for animal nutrition, is venturing into one of the field’s final frontiers: fermentation-based production of methionine.


Astronauts Can Now Make Tools in Space Using Bio-Based Plastic and Zero Gravity 3D Printing

November 10, 2016 | Bio-Based World News


Bio-based is ready for blast off with news that thermoplastic resin producer Braskem, are partnering with space manufacturing company Made in Space on green plastics for 3D printers which can operate in zero gravity. This innovation, a year in the planning, is important as it can give astronauts greater autonomy by enabling them to fabricate parts and tools using 3D printing, which can save time and costs.


What Election 2016 Means for the Chemistry Enterprise

November 9, 2016 | C&EN


The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and a Republican-controlled Congress portend significant impacts to the chemistry enterprise.  Given Republican's campaign statements, academic researchers are likely to feel a federal research funding pinch while the chemical industry could benefit from new energy policies and relaxed regulation.


New Method of Bio-Based Esther Production with Low Waste and Low Chemical Consumption

November 8, 2016 | Royal Society of Chemistry


The recovery of carboxylic acids from fermentation broth is one of the main bottlenecks for the industrial production of bio-based esters. This paper proposes an alternative for the recovery of carboxylates produced by fermentations at pH values above the pKa of the carboxylic acid. In this approach, the aqueous carboxylate anion is recovered using anion exchange, followed by desorption and esterification with CO2-expanded alcohols.


Cellulose Nanocrystals Can be Used as a Bio-based Filler in Plastics

November 7, 2016 | Phys.org


What if you could take one of the most abundant natural materials on earth and harness its strength to lighten the heaviest of objects, to replace synthetic materials, or use it in scaffolding to grow bone, in a fast-growing area of science in oral health care? This all might be possible with cellulose nanocrystals, the molecular matter of all plant life. As industrial filler material, they can be blended with plastics and other synthetics. They are as strong as steel, tough as glass, lightweight, and green.


Milking Microbes for Energy Could Help Replace Fossil Fuels

November 7, 2016 | Horizon Magazine


Researchers from Wageningen International and Uppsala University have bio-engineered microbial fuel cells that are three times more efficient than photosynthesis.

11-4.jpgWhy We Must Design as if We're Part of Nature

November 4, 2016 | Green Biz

To simply design for sustainability is no longer enough, we need to design for regeneration! Collectively, as a species, we have already done too much damage to simply aim for sustainability — what William McDonough calls “100% less bad.” We have to undo the damage done over centuries — in some cases over millennia. We have to regenerate healthy ecosystems functions everywhere. To be able to do this well, we have to become good at designing as nature.


Novomer Sells CO2 Polyol Business to Aramco

November 4, 2016 | Everchem

Saudi Aramco has acquired the Converge product line and associated operations and technologies from US-based Novomer. The transaction was valued at up to $100 million. Converge polyol is manufactured from and contains a significant portion of carbon dioxide (CO2). The technology provides a high-performance, cost competitive and more sustainable alternative to conventional petroleum-based polyols that are used in coating, adhesive, sealant, and elastomer (CASE) applications which feature in high-value, high-demand end-products, including within the flexible and rigid foam manufacturing segments.


Coconut Derived Bio-based Surfactants are a Promising Substitute for Alkylbenzen

November 4, 2016 | Med Gadget

Surfactants are traditionally being manufactured from the crude oil. Scarcity of crude oil and growing environmental concerns are key drivers of bio surfactants manufactured by using plants and natural substances like coconuts, soybean, grapefruit seed and pulp extracts, corn etc. Methyl Ester Sulfonates (MES) is the largest consumed bio surfactant derived from coconut and it is the perfect substitute to synthetics surfactants as detergent feedstock.


Technology Converts Human Waste into Bio-Based Fuel

November 2, 2016 | Science Daily

Wastewater treatment plants across the United States may one day turn ordinary sewage into biocrude oil, thanks to new research. The technology, hydrothermal liquefaction, mimics the geological conditions Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years.


BioAmber and Bolt Threads Among Companies Working on Bio-Based Alternatives to Petroleum-Based Plastics and Fabrics

October 31, 2016 | The Guardian

Jean-François Huc, CEO of Canadian chemical company BioAmber, believes that yeast may be the key to taking some of the petrochemical market. BioAmber uses a genetically engineered yeast to produce succinic acid, a chemical building block that can be used to make a host of products, including polyurethanes, plastics, paints and polymers.

news102816.jpgBio-based Cosmetic Start-up Amalie Beauty Inc Uses Natural Ingredients Grown in MIT Grad's Backyard Garden

October 27, 2016 | Indystar


MIT 2014 alumna Megan Cox created a line of “Farm to Face” products as a naturally-derived alternative to conventional cosmetics. Using ingredients grown in Cox’s grandparents’ Indiana backyard, Amalie Beauty Inc. plans to begin selling a line of face oils on November 1st, alongside the already successful Wink eyelash treatment which increases the body’s natural production of prostaglandins.


U.S. vs. EU: Chemicals Substitution Faceoff

October 27, 2016 | Green Biz


The European Union is far ahead of the United States in terms of legislative mandates that restrict the use or require substitution of highly hazardous chemicals. How well are EU governments and companies doing to develop safer substitutes, and how does their investment of resources and capacity building compare to the U.S.?


Alliance Launched to Support the Growth of the UK Bioeconomy

October 24, 2016 | Biomass Magazine


On Oct. 19, five established R&D centers across the U.K. announced a new alliance, BioPilotsUK. This alliance will seek to position Britain as a global leader in biorefining technology development and biobased product manufacture—two key elements of the bioeconomy.


Commercial CO2 Re-use Moves a Step Closer as Innovation Program Seeks Industrial Partners

October 24, 2016 | Business Green


The EnCO2re open innovation programme, formally launched at the K-Fair in Düsseldorf on Friday, is being led by cleantech incubator Climate-KIC and high tech polymer specialists Covestro. It aims use captured CO2 to replace fossil fuels as a feedstock in the manufacture of plastics.  The programme already has more than a dozen research partners in seven countries, however EnCO2re said is now ready to work with industrial partners deploy its CO2 re-use solutions at scale.  EnCO2re argues the CO2 re-use market has the potential to grow to up to 3.7 billion tonnes per year, 20 times its size today and equal to roughly 10 per cent of global emissions.

ISGC 2017, May 16th to May 19th, La Rochelle, FRANCE - is one of the worldwide leading events in the field of green chemistry and gathers more than 800 attendees either from academia or industry.


Apart from 24 invited lectures, ISGC 2017 will welcome 280 oral and flash communications. The most innovative and recent works will be selected for publication in a themed issue of the Green Chemistry journal. The call for abstract submission to the International Symposium on Green Chemistry is open for submission up to October 31st 2016.


Organized around multi-parallel sessions, ISGC 2017 will cover a broad range of topics such as renewable carbon, smart use of fossil, eco-efficient processes, alternative solvents, polymers, catalysis, biotechnologies, mechanism investigations, non-thermal technologies and environmental impact of chemicals/processes.


New in 2017:

ISGC-2017 has been thought as a cross-disciplinary platform and should offer to public and private scientists an ideal platform for sharing fundamental knowledge with industrial research and development stakeholders. In this context, ISGC creates the " Green Chemistry Challenge " : 1-to-1 meetings, exhibition area, innovation sessions and mentorship opportunities. Our objectives are to facilitate public-private and private-private partnerships, to present new challenges in R&D, to detect talented young researchers, etc. The "Green Chemistry Challenge" will be open very soon.


Information : www.isgc-symposium.com

Contact : contact@isgc-symposium.com

Call for papers: http://www.isgc-symposium.com/call-for-communications

Researchers Identify Greater Environmental Risks in 'Green' Material

Oct 17, 2016 | Phys.org


University of Sheffield Professors Ian Reaney, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Lenny Koh, Management School, undertook the first comparative life cycle analysis of piezoelectric materials as part of an EPSRC project. Their findings indicate that a replacement for lead zirconate titanate (PZN), recommended by global authorities due to its green credentials, is more dangerous to the environment.


4 Ways Green Chemistry is Helping Make the World a Better Place

Oct 17, 2016 | World Economic Forum


Now is the time to look at the circular economy on the micro-level. Much as fast expanding markets require us to look at the economy at the granular level, circular economy principles require consideration of resources on a molecular level. Chemistry is the study of matter, and “green chemistry” – or what we in the business world might call molecular technology – will be a key component in closing the overall consumption loop.


The Cost of Plastic Packaging

Oct 17, 2016 | Chemical and Engineering News


The growing use of plastic food packaging benefits consumers, but critics say industry isn’t doing enough to minimize the negative environmental impact.


How the Chemical Industry Joined the Fight Against Climate Change

Oct 16, 2016 | New York Times


It might seem surprising to find the world’s chemical companies on the front lines of preventing climate change, fighting to disrupt their own industries.  But in a sweeping accord reached on Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda, companies including Honeywell and Chemours, a DuPont spinoff, were among the most active backers of a move away from a profitable chemical that has long been the foundation for the fast-growing air-conditioning and refrigeration business. 

Finding Needles in Chemical Haystacks

Oct 15, 2016 | Phys.org


A team of chemists including Daniel Weix from the University of Rochester has developed a process for identifying new catalysts that will help synthesize drugs more efficiently and more cheaply. The trick was to do something that has not been attempted before, to examine libraries of drugs to find the cure for bad chemistry: new catalysts.

Sharon Nolen, PE, CEM
Manager, Eastman’s Worldwide Energy Program


nolen.pngAt Eastman, we believe sustainability is about creating more value than the resources we consume, and we focus our efforts in three key areas - creating “productivity” value through more efficient use of resources, creating “innovative” value through our sustainable products, and creating “shared” value through corporate responsibility-focused stakeholder engagement. As a Responsible Care® company, we have focused on creating “productivity” value through continual improvement in the areas of environmental, health, safety and security for more than 25 years, but we really put structure around sustainability as a corporate initiative in 2010 with the establishment of our Sustainability Council. At that time, we published a variety of near-, mid- and long-term sustainability goals that encompassed all three commonly recognized aspects of sustainability – economic growth, environmental stewardship and social responsibility. As the company’s size, business structure and corporate strategy continue to evolve, our sustainability strategy and Council also continue to evolve, and we have streamlined our goals into a ‘scorecard’ of aspirational goals intended to drive continuous improvement.


A key environmental goal at Eastman is to reduce energy intensity 20 percent by 2020 compared to a 2008 baseline, and to date, we have moved the needle by nine percent. However, energy efficiency is nothing new to Eastman. We’ve operated a combined heat and power (CHP) plant at our largest site in Kingsport, Tenn., since the 1920s. Also known as cogeneration, CHP represents the concurrent production of electricity and heat emanating from a single source, recovering heat that would typically be wasted during electricity generation. Due to the integrated nature of our manufacturing facilities, waste heat from one chemical process can be used for heat within a different chemical process.


Currently, we convert more than 70% of the energy we obtain from fossil fuel into power and steam for our manufacturing processes. We are highly motivated to focus on energy efficiency for many reasons. Internal and external studies show that energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to address greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, energy efficiency supports several Eastman initiatives beyond sustainability. For example, improved lighting results in safer conditions in day-to-day operations; longer-life light bulbs reduce the amount of time that employees spend at elevated heights changing bulbs. Repairing steam leaks minimizes drips and icicles in the winter making walkways safer. Improved efficiency supports Eastman’s productivity initiatives to reduce costs.


Making the most of available resources
POY_SustainedExcellence_2016lg.pngSo while we’ve spent decades looking at energy efficiency, several changes resulted in improvements to our energy program over the past several years. Following the ENERGY STAR® Guidelines for Energy Management, we identified gaps in the existing program. ENERGY STAR supplies examples of how other companies have filled these gaps. Eastman also benchmarked with other companies and used other available ENERGY STAR tools, such as the Green Team Checklist and Portfolio Manager. Eastman’s energy intensity measure follows the Department of Energy guidelines. Oak Ridge National Lab engineers participated in a review of Eastman’s measure and found it to be sound. Networking among industry groups provides opportunities to learn best practices. All of these resources proved valuable as we revamped the program and have continued to implement new processes and best practices.


Gaining support from the top
Management support at the highest levels made a big difference in the energy program. For example, an executive team member leads the Design and Natural Resources Sustainability Sub-council, which serves as a liaison between the energy program and the Sustainability Council. As a Certified Energy Manager, I lead our worldwide energy team full time. The team drives initiatives and improvement opportunities at the site and company level. We’ve also increased employee engagement, expanded data analysis, standardized energy surveys, and incorporated energy efficiency into design, which have led to great results.


Engaging employees to drive change
To engage employees, we use the company newsletter, energy events, and internal Green Teams to provide information on how to save energy at home and at work. We believe that if our employees are thinking more about energy efficiency at home, that will carry over into the workplace. We’ve also successfully tackled building efficiency. Several of our office buildings are now enrolled in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and have become ENERGY STAR Certified. While office buildings are a small part of Eastman’s energy footprint, we find participating in programs such as the ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings and informing building occupants of their Portfolio Manager Score and improvements they can make pay dividends beyond the individual buildings. Since decision makers are often housed in these types of buildings, the monthly communications on building performance and improvements seen (>25% in most cases) build credibility for the energy program.


Developing processes and standards
We firmly believe that our employees want to make the right decisions but cannot do so unless they have the right information. Since 2010, we have standardized our energy measure, shortened the frequency of reporting and developed models to normalize for production and weather. The latest improvement is the development of interactive tools available to anyone that allow the user to track energy trends for any site or area of interest for any time frame.  We continue to work toward greater frequency and availability of energy information to allow manufacturing to address issues as they arise. 


We have also developed a process to survey manufacturing areas for energy efficiency improvements. The survey primarily focuses on the utilities systems and manufacturing areas are continually identifying projects that can reduce energy use. For example, an energy assessment was performed on one of Eastman’s larger distillation units to determine the feasibility of doing additional heat integration with the unit. Savings would come from additional heat transferred to the column feed. It was determined that improving the feed heater design would allow operations to recover additional heat, improve reliability and increase capacity on the distillation unit. The project involved redesigning the interchanger to avoid large pressure drops and allow for more heat transfer capacity.


Because Eastman has had an energy program for many years, many of the current activities and initiatives are not completely new. Building energy efficiency into design is a good example. While there have always been engineers who did so, there was not a standardized approach for the process. Eastman now has a checklist that prompts every design engineer for specified projects over a certain dollar value to think about energy efficiency for all aspects of design throughout the project. 


Overcoming challenges
With any major program or initiative, there are always challenges. During the last six years, Eastman has grown through acquisition. When I became the energy manager in 2010, there were eight manufacturing sites in the program. There are now 22 of Eastman’s approximately 50 manufacturing sites in the program, and we are continually working to include new sites.


Finding the right balance between our large and small sites is also a challenge. Eastman’s energy footprint is dominated by our two largest facilities in Kingsport, Tenn., and Longview, Texas. It would be easy to focus all of our energy efficiency resources on those two sites. However, we understand the value of a company-wide program. Energy improvements at a small site may look minor when compared to Eastman’s total energy use but can be quite significant to the profitability and even longevity of a small site. Another layer to that is the fact that our two largest sites have been working on energy efficiency for many years. A lot of the low hanging fruit has already been addressed. So making improvements that significantly move the needle without significant costs can be a challenge. 


Staying energized
As you can see, we didn’t “flip a switch” and make energy efficiency happen overnight at Eastman. It has taken many years and a lot of hard work by many talented people to bring us to this point. My advice to other companies looking to make improvements is to get your employees involved. Encourage them to submit ideas and have a system for capturing those ideas. Even ideas that don’t look economically attractive now are worth saving for the future when energy costs might be greater and a carbon tax could affect economics. Take advantage of networking opportunities to learn what other companies are doing. Companies in very different industries can provide great ideas on employee engagement, project tracking, or reinforcement. Partner with internal organizations. Although it’s obvious that a good working relationship with manufacturing is imperative, others may not be so obvious. Engineering can incorporate energy efficiency into design, procurement can purchase energy efficient equipment and communications can publicize awards. Finally, link into existing company initiatives like safety and productivity. Show how energy efficiency can be integrated into and support existing programs.


Ultimately, we have to remember that sustainability and improving our energy efficiency is a continuous journey. It won’t happen overnight and the work is never complete, but with goal-setting, measurement, and engagement, industries and companies can make a positive difference.



“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 Ben Swanson, President, Trevor Tumiel, Treasurer, and Phil Sheridan, Faculty Advisor, SCACS, Canisius College


During this past spring, the Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society (SCACS) at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, organized several events related to green chemistry. 


First, we invited David Nalewajek, Ph.D., Research Fellow at Honeywell International’s Buffalo Research Laboratories, to present a seminar to our Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Dr. Nalewajek is a 1974 graduate of our department and was elected an ACS Fellow in 2015.  His seminar, "A Successful Response to a Global Environment Issue: The Montreal and Kyoto Protocols and Non-Ozone Depleting, Low Greenhouse Warming CFC Replacements" focused on causes of ozone depletion and the chemistry that he helped develop to create ozone-friendly CFC replacement compounds with low global warming potentialAfter the seminar, one attendee remarked, “Many times chemical companies are portrayed as having little to no concern for the environment. Dr. Nalewajek’s seminar illustrated how Honeywell’s development of CFC replacements was a clear example of a chemical company protecting the environment through green chemistry.” Another commented, “It was interesting to hear that global responses to climate change, not just U.S. policy, can drive the standards which a global company such as Honeywell must take into account when developing and selling chemical products.”  One student summed up the event by saying, "It was great to learn about environmentally important and innovative chemistry being done in our own backyard.”


Honeywell 8.PNGBuilding on the interest in green chemistry generated by Dr. Nalewajek’s seminar, we subsequently organized a tour of Honeywell International’s Buffalo Research Laboratories. Our goal was to learn more about their green chemistry initiatives and to explore chemical industry in the Buffalo area. Our group toured several laboratories at the facility, each of which was focused on developing greener and safer alternatives to a variety of important chemical products, including foams, aerosol propellants and air conditioning refrigerants.  We also visited the on-site large scale chemical production facility.  One student commented, "I really enjoyed seeing up close the green chemistry happening right here in Buffalo. The tour gave me a much deeper appreciation for how chemicals are developed and produced in industry. It was also great to recognize techniques and instrumentation that I have used in my undergraduate research."


As part of our chapter outreach, we included a green chemistry activity in a series of hands-on science experiments conducted with 3rd grade students at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School in Amherst, NY.  The 3rd grade students were divided into small groups, with two SCACS members leading each group.  Our experiments included coded messages with invisible (indicator) ink, exploring the hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties of regular sand and homemade magic sand, and creating a cloud in a jar. The visit concluded with making (and eating!) liquid nitrogen ice cream. Cloud-in-a-jar was meant to demonstrate environmental considerations. In this experiment, we gave each 3rd grade student a tall glass into which a small portion of boiling water was poured.  Next, they placed a watch glass over the opening and then put an ice cube on top. When asked what they observed, the students noticed that water vapor only condensed on the inside of the glass. 

Honeywell 9.PNGThe 3rd graders were then asked to repeat the experiment, but this time either a lit match or hairspray was added into the glass by a Canisius student before covering.  Again the 3rd graders were asked to observe what happened. In contrast to the first trial, they now noted that water vapor also condensed inside the glass, forming a white, wispy cloud. They were able to recognize that the soot or hairspray aerosols were necessary for cloud formation.  We then asked the students how pollutants from burning fossil fuels (i.e. smokestack emissions) could play a role in cloud formation1.  We concluded the experiment by discussing ways in which the 3rd grade students could help reduce pollution (i. e. walking or riding a bike instead of driving). Describing his experience working with the 3rd graders that day, one SCACS member commented, "It was amazing to see the enthusiasm generated by doing hands-on experiments. Plus, the cloud in a jar activity triggered many comments from the kids about environmental issues.”

Increasing our department’s awareness of green chemistry was an overall positive experience for everyone involved.  We encourage other chapters to seek out green chemistry speakers from local industries or universities.  Incorporating a green chemistry activity into a larger outreach effort is a great way to spread green chemistry ideas to a younger audience.


“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.

[1]  Kaufman, J.; Koren, I. Science 2006, 313, 655-658.

Contributed by Karolina Mellor, Ph.D., Program Coordinator, Yale Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering



The development of green chemistry was made possible because of the individuals in academia, industry, government and NGOs who dared to dream big and followed through by devoting their professional life to advancing and promoting the new discipline. Through their continuous work—from innovative research to awareness raising and advocacy—these individuals impacted and shaped green chemistry science and education.


Many of the early green chemistry innovators’ roots  trace  back to the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB). Four notable green chemistry leaders, Drs. John Warner, Amy Cannon, Nicholas Anastas and Buzz Cue were students at the University. UMB was not only place where they developed everlasting friendships, but more importantly, it was where they developed their passion for science.


awards-caption.jpgOn September 18, 2016, these green chemistry pioneers participated in an event at their Alma matter in celebration of 25 years since green chemistry emerged. The event was co-organized by Dr. Wei Zhang, director of the Center for Green Chemistry at UMB.


The event started with a warm welcome from Winston Langley, UMB Provost,  Zong-Guo Xia, UMB Vice Provost for Research & Strategic Initiatives, and Robert Carter, UMB Chemistry Department Chair. The welcome remarks were followed with talks by UMB distinguished alumni, who reflected on their career paths in green chemistry, and their recent work. John Warner talked about green chemistry and entropy relationships and how this concept drives his work at the Warner and Babcock Institute. Buzz Cue presented his work at Pfizer to develop greener processes to produce Zoloft  an antidepressant and selective serotonin inhibitor. Nick Anastas and Amy Cannon focused on a variety of educational opportunities to incorporate green chemistry and toxicology concepts into the modern school curriculum and chemistry community. This event appropriately acknowledged the work of the early green chemists who dared to be different and worked to advance green chemistry in its infant stages.


The author would like to thank Drs. Wei Zhang, Buzz Cue, Phillip Coish and Paul Anastas for their contributions to this article.



“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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