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Contributed by Dr. Chuck Spuches, Associate Professor for Outreach, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry


The Central New York Section of the American Chemical Society, partnered with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), and RadTech International North America to host renowned chemist and lecturer, Dr. Stephen Cantor.  Dr. Cantor presented and led discussion April 9th on “UV Curing Technology:  A Route to Solvent-Free Adhesives and Coatings”.  Participants from throughout central New York gathered on the SUNY-ESF campus as Dr. Cantor’s presentation was simulcast as a live webinar with participants nationally and internationally. This webinar was part of an ongoing series, the Future of UV/EB Advanced Manufacturing: Trends, Strategies, and Applications.



Photo (L-R):  Dan Montoney, Chief Technology Officer, Rapid Cure Technologies; Dr. Neal M. Abrams, Past chair, CNY Section of ACS, Department of Chemistry, SUNY-ESF; Dr. Stephen Cantor; Dr. Jeff Schneider, Chair, CNY Section of ACS, Department of Chemistry, SUNY Oswego.



Dr. Cantor’s presentation and experience are emblematic of an industry-academic collaboration launched recently by SUNY-ESF and RadTech to support and advance the growing field of low-energy radiation curing. Stephen Cantor, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and was a Post-doc at Arizona State University, holds numerous patents resulting from a distinguished career researching and developing high temperature fibers and coatings. Dr. Cantor worked at the U.S. Rubber Research Center, American Cyanamid Medical Products Division, Pfaltz & Bauer, and Dymax Corp, where he continues as a consultant.


This recent lecture/webinar, the Future of UV/EB webinar series, and a three-course suite of online courses designed and taught collaboratively by industry experts and university faculty comprise the Radiation Curing Program.


The Radiation Curing Program recently announced the launch of a new short-course, “Principles of Energy Curing Technologies”, that fills a gap by serving key roles and aspects of the energy/radiation curing arena. These include, for example, people working in sales, customer service, marketing and business management,  R&D, and regulatory agencies.  Principles of Energy Curing Technologies is offered as a cost-effective and convenient online course to accommodate workplace and other demands. Participants will have four weeks to complete 10-15 total hours of self-paced instruction, and have opportunity to interact with course instructors. Taught by a team of industry experts with considerable experience in the field, active participation provides participants with a broad overview of energy curing science, materials, equipment, and processes.


Professionals, upper-level undergraduates, and graduate students may learn more about Summer 2014 Principles of Energy Curing Technologies and other Radiation Curing Program short course opportunities at or contact Kate Wall, Program Manager 315.470.4871 (direct)  l  315.470.6817 (main)  l



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On the less glamorous side of space exploration, there’s the more practical problem of waste — in particular, what to do with astronaut pee. But rather than ejecting it into space, scientists are developing a new technique that can turn this waste burden into a boon by converting it into fuel and much-needed drinking water. Their report, which could also inspire new ways to treat municipal wastewater, appears in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.


space.jpgEduardo Nicolau, Carlos R. Cabrera and colleagues point out that human waste on long-term journeys into space makes up about half of the mission’s total waste. Recycling it is critical to keeping a clean environment for astronauts. And when onboard water supplies run low, treated urine can become a source of essential drinking water, which would otherwise have to be delivered from Earth at a tremendous cost. Previous research has shown that a wastewater treatment process called forward osmosis in combination with a fuel cell can generate power. Nicolau’s team decided to build on these initial findings to meet the challenges of dealing with urine in space.


They collected urine and shower wastewater and processed it using forward osmosis, a way to filter contaminants from urea, a major component of urine, and water. Their new Urea Bioreactor Electrochemical system (UBE) efficiently converted the urea into ammonia in its bioreactor, and then turned the ammonia into energy with its fuel cell. The system was designed with space missions in mind, but “the results showed that the UBE system could be used in any wastewater treatment systems containing urea and/or ammonia,” the researchers conclude.


The authors acknowledge funding from NASA.


From the ACS Office of Public Affairs



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At the ACS National Meeting in Dallas, I had a chance to interview several representatives of ACS Student Chapters who were leading green chemistry educational activities at their institutions. Together with my colleague Doug Dollemore and the ACS Ambassadors program, we put together this video which highlights some of the student outreach efforts to get kids involved in sustainability and chemistry. (Also available at: ).



Many of these students and their institutions also presented their efforts during the Sci-Mix undergraduate poster session at Dallas. Bellow is the creative tree-themed poster from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in Ponce's ACS Student Chapter.

Poster- Green Chemistry.jpg


In fact, there were many more students that I didn’t get a chance to interview on video who are working with their peers to highlight green chemistry this Earth Day/Week:


"We will celebrate the 2014 Earth Week with a whole week of activities," says Jose Mercado Adrover, the leader of the ACS Student Chapter's Green Chemistry program at Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Their activities will include watching and discussing environmental documentaries, doing demonstrations using the Climate Science Toolkit, informing students and public on green chemistry and the water crisis, participating in a community activity planting medicinal trees, and participating in "Festival de la Química" Earth Week Edition in the National Historic Old San Juan.


"On Earth Day we will again have a campus wide green chemistry seminar," says Ronnie Funk from the Erskine College's ACS Student Chapter. In their last—and first—green chemistry seminar, 89 students attended. This time they will focus for the "non-scientist". In addition, Mr. Funk mentions that the are developing a hands-on green chemistry presentation for a non-major general chemistry class, as well as putting up a poster on green chemistry for display in the department hallway.


Congratulations to all these chapters—some of the 74 total who received the Green Chemistry Award for their outreach efforts in the 2012-3013 academic year!



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At this year’s Spring ACS National Meeting in Dallas, TX, Callie Bryan, PhD, a medicinal chemist at Genentech Inc. and ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable participant, organized a “Greening the Medicinal Chemistry Toolbox: Lunch and Learn” through the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry. The goal of the event was to inject some momentum into the conversation on how to implement green chemistry in industrial and academic research. This forum allowed for just that. leading to discussions on best practices and challenges that are relevant to both industry professionals and students/professors.


Bryan recruited speakers through the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable. Professor Neil Garg of UCLA kicked off the event by speaking about his research on the development of greener nickel-catalyzed cross-couplings, which was funded through a Roundtable grant. This was followed by brief presentations from Roundtable company members and ACS GCI Director, Dr. David Constable, on specific topics that pertain to medicinal chemistry. Dr. Helen Sneddon of GlaxoSmithKline discussed green reagent guidance in companies, and how to encourage culture change through guides and databases. Daniel Richter of Pfizer presented on the adoption of greener solvents and solvent reduction in medicinal chemistry practices. Dr. Stefan Koenig of Genentech gave an overview of basic green chemistry research in pharmaceuticals development. Constable rounded out the talks with a summary of greener chromatography approaches.


Pharma Lunch & Learn.jpg(L to R) Neil Garg, David Constable, Dan Richter, Helen Sneddon, and Stefan Koenig at the Lunch & Learn.


The presentations were followed by an hour of question and answer with the audience of industry and academic chemists. The take-aways were numerous—the main one being that everyone has challenges, but there are low-lying fruit and approaches that can help scientists. According to Bryan the low-lying fruit can be something like switching commonly used solvents—for example a common greener choice is THF to 2-MeTHF (which can be bio-derived). What’s currently more difficult is switching away from solvents like DCM (a high toxicity solvent often used in chromotagraphy) and techniques like silica gel chromatography (which requires large amounts of gel, solvents, and glass use). Another huge challenge is trying to move away from critical elements like platinum and ruthenium (both used in common catalysts), which are increasingly expensive as supply shortens.


There were many graduate students in attendance, wondering how to green their research, and industry professionals inquiring how to gain traction for green initiatives. “If we can provide bite-size guidance, scientists will have a much easier time employing and getting buy-in for greener practices. For industry professionals, encouraging upper management engagement will be key,” Bryan explained. The guidance Bryan mentions was heavily discussed at the symposium. One important factor will be approaches for collecting and distributing successful practices and tools that can lay the groundwork for others. More specifically, Richter and Sneddon described their solvent systems at their respective companies, in addition to the Roundtable’s Solvent Selection Guide. Tools like these are important frameworks for chemists to access and use to improve the safety and efficiency of their reactions. Resources like an upcoming sustainable chromatography manuscript and opportunities like the recent (and currently open) Greener Amide Reductions $50K Grant are other ways the Roundtable is informing and encouraging green engagement.


“The feedback from the event was very positive! There were many inquiries for solvent guides and a lot of research-specific information dissemination,” Bryan said.


To learn more about the topics discussed in the lunch and learn, and if you have any questions, email The upcoming ACS GCI Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in greater Washington, DC area and sustainability-themed 248th ACS National Meeting in San Francisco will be important venues for scientists to convene, continue the discussion, and create new directions for research and implementation. Follow the links to register today!



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The Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship is awarded to undergraduate through early career scientists who demonstrate outstanding research or educational interest in green chemistry. Breen Fellows receive financial support to participate in an international green chemistry technical meeting, conference or training program. The 2014 winner is Dr. Jennifer Dodson from the United Kingdom.


JennyDodson.jpgJennifer Dodson did her PhD work under Prof. James Clark at the Green Chemistry Centre at the University of York in the UK on the thermochemical conversion of biomass. While there, she became interested in the how to recover and recycle valuable elements with a mesoporus material she developed directly from fresh seaweed.


Then in 2012, she began a post-doc study with Prof. Claudio Mota from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil. “During her period in my group,” said Dr. Mota, “[Jennifer] did very good work, combining her experience and skills in hydrothermal carbonisation of biomass, with the group’s capability in catalysis, especially related to biomass conversion.”


JennyDodsonWheatField.jpgIn addition to her research interests, Jennifer, or “Jennie” as she goes by, is a strong advocate for communicating science to the public. She has done outreach to hundreds of school children in both the UK and Brazil, and is developing a green chemistry community outreach strategy for UFRJ’s Green Chemistry School. “Jennie is a very dedicated person and was instrumental in setting up our outreach activities in Green Chemistry,” says Dr. Peter Siedl, Professor at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in the Department of Organic Processes. “She is highly deserving of our recognition and gratitude.”

Jennie has also gained an understanding of science policy communication during a 2011 fellowship at the House of Parliament in the UK where she conducted briefings on sustainable technologies. As a past participant in the ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry and Sustainable Energy, she is developing an international early-career network for scientists and engineers.


“Jennie Dodson is one of the most able and motivated young researchers I have had the privilege of working with in my career,” says Prof. Clark.  “She is a very talented research chemist with a wide knowledge and understanding of green chemistry and a real desire to see the principles of sustainability applied in all walks of life.  She is a very fitting winner of this Fellowship that honours the man who started the green chemistry movement in the United States.”


Jennie will be using her Breen Fellowship to travel ACS GCI’s 18th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and Student Workshop this June where she will be presenting a poser on her research, “Novel natural solid-acid catalysts from carrageenan for the upgrading of glycerol”, as well as an oral presentation in the Education track, “Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers (NESSE): an initiative from the ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry and Sustainable Energy 2013.” We are thrilled to have her participation!


Dr. Joe Breen was an US EPA chemist and manager who played a major role in creating the EPA’s Green Chemistry and the Design for the Environment program. He went on to collaborate with colleagues in government, industry, and academia to found the Green Chemistry Institute—which later became part of the American Chemical Society—and is now known as ACS Green Chemistry Institute®.


“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email, 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.

AppliedSeparations_logo.jpgAt ACS GCI’s 18th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, Applied Separations will award the 4th Annual Supercritical Fluids Education Grant, worth over $30K, to an institute of higher learning to support education in supercritical fluids and their importance to green chemistry.


Applied Separations Unit.jpgBy using Applied Separations' Supercritical Fluid Extraction system, the Spe-ed SFE Prime, a system designed for teaching supercritical fluids in the classroom, professors will be able to educate their students about this green technology and its applications in foods and natural products where solvents can't be used, as well as nanotechnology, materials science and so much more.


Students can be shown how to easily replace petroleum-based or halogenated solvents with supercritical carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is one of the most commonly used supercritical fluids because it is green, safe, inexpensive, readily available and an ideal substitute for many hazardous and toxic solvents. Supercritical fluids are already being used in many industrial processes such as decaffeinating coffee, and countless ways to use apply this technology are being employed every day.


Click here to apply for the grant or to learn more about Applied Separations and its advancements with Supercritical Fluids. You can also call (610) 770-0900.


Award Cropped sm.jpg

Rolf Schlake, CEO Applied Separations gives grant at the 2013 GC&E Conference.

Photo Credit: Christine Brennan-Schmidt


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


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I missed writing something for the Nexus last month and over the period of time since I last wrote there have been a number of significant events I’d like to tell you about.


On the 11th of March I had the opportunity to take part in a gathering at the NASA headquarters here in Washington as part of the LAUNCH initiative.  LAUNCH is a collaboration between NASA, the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and Nike that tries to stimulate pivotal innovations in materials.  This year the LAUNCH organizers have decided to focus on a Green Chemistry challenge and that’s an exciting thing. A few new faces were in attendance, but for the most part, the usual suspects from the green chemistry community were sitting at the table.  It was an interesting day and I’m looking forward to seeing how the challenge shapes up.


On the 12th of March the Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference Program Chairs met with the ACS GCI staff to finalize the technical program for the conference. The conference is shaping up to be quite an event and we continue to work very hard to ensure that participants will not be disappointed. The program organizers have been working to maintain thematic coherence and continue to work with session chairs to ensure there will be a high degree of “connectedness” between sessions despite the usual diversity in content. I think you will see a difference in this years’ Conference that we hope to carry forward to future conferences.


The ACS National Meeting in Dallas the week of March the 16th turned out to be a great meeting.  There continues to be a considerable amount of technical programming across many divisions related to sustainable and green chemistry.  Like many areas of chemical research (e.g., nanotechnology, materials research, biochemistry) that are cross- or interdisciplinary, green and sustainable chemistry thinking and practices are being integrated in one way or another into research so it’s hard to decide where to listen in.  This is a very good problem to have.  Dallas was also where the ACS GCI launched its’ “What’s your Green Chemistry?” campaign.  Simply stated, this campaign is trying to capture all the ways people are applying sustainable and green chemistry in what they are doing.  It’s clear that a lot is happening throughout the world in green and sustainable chemistry and it is difficult at times to keep up with all that is happening!


In late March I had the opportunity to attend the Spring meeting of the Pharmaceutical Roundtable (ACS GCIPR) in Vitry, France hosted by Sanofi-Aventis. The ACS GCIPR continues to thrive and is a model for industrial collaboration and partnership. There are now about ten sub-committees within the roundtable working on implementing sustainable and green chemistry like solvent selection, reagent guides, biopharma best practices, grants, medicinal chemistry, etc., and more are being explored. Thinking back on where this group started in 2005 and where it is now is very gratifying and in many ways, pretty amazing. It is certainly our ambition to get all of the ACS GCI roundtables to this point.


This past week I had the great honor to be invited to Gordon College to speak. Gordon is a small school with a large green chemistry footprint. There are actually a significant number of schools, colleges and universities in New England, both small and large, that have been very active in teaching and promoting green chemistry. It certainly helps to have organizations like Beyond Benign, the Warner Babcock Institute, the Yale Green Chemistry and Engineering Institute and EPA Region I working very actively in the region, but many schools are equally active and influential in their own right. Once again, it is quite exciting to see just how many people are integrating green and sustainable chemistry into their education, their research, and into their communities. Green and sustainable chemistry is alive and well!


As always, 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, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.


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