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Arizona Chemical Company, a world leader in bio-refined specialty chemical products and member of the ACS GCI Chemical Manufacturer's Roundtable, received the Bulldog Reporter Silver level award for its 2012 Sustainability Report in the category of Best Annual Report on Corporate Social Responsibility and/or Sustainability.


bulldog.jpg”Annual sustainability reporting is one way in which we demonstrate our company’s commitment to the performance fundamentals, metrics and results that drive our business,” said Kees Verhaar, President and CEO, Arizona Chemical. “Achieving this award acknowledges our success in communicating effectively while reinforcing the significance of sustainability to our company.”


Bulldog Reporter CSR Award winners were chosen exclusively by working journalists from hundreds of entries representing the very best strategic and tactical prowess that corporate communications has to offer, according to the communications publication. Report submissions were judged for their ability to achieve extraordinary visibility, influence opinion, and demonstrate exceptional creativity, and command of media and technology.


Read the report, "Adding Value with Biodegradable Solutions."

Last week the ACS GCI Roundtables hosted the 4th Annual ACS GCI Roundtable Poster Reception, dedicated to green chemistry in industry. The event was co-located with 18th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Bethesda, MD, and was welcomed by the four roundtables, Chemical Manufacturer’s (ChMR), Formulators’ (FR), Hydraulic Fracturing (HFR), and Pharmaceutical (PR). While the conference convenes a broad audience of more than 400 people, the Roundtable Reception hosts a more focused audience of about 120 people drawn largely from industry but includes selected esteemed colleagues from government and non-government organizations, and academia performing highly relevant research.


There were government officials (EPA, USDA, Dpt of Commerce, Dpt. of State, etc.), industry professionals, and academics in attendance whose work is dedicated to addressing challenges in the chemical industry and developing green chemistry solutions. The evening is centered around the invited poster presenters, whose work is on display throughout the evening to inspire conversation. The exclusive event is meant to foster collaborations across the value chain to develop innovative, more sustainable products and processes in various sectors of the chemical industry.


2014RTReception.jpgRoundtable co-chairs at the reception with David Constable, ACS GCI Director
(L to R) Amit Sehgal of Solvay (ChMR), Danny Durham of Apache (HFR), Phil Sliva of Amway (FR), Dave Long of ACS GCI Board (HFR), John Tucker of Amgen (PR), Juan Colberg of Pfizer (PR), David Constable, and Samy Ponnusamy of Sigma Aldrich (ChMR)


This year’s reception was sponsored by Flotek Industries' Florida Chemical, ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, and LAUNCH (a platform that was founded by NASA, NIKE, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and The U.S. Department of State to identify and foster breakthrough ideas for a more sustainable world). The night began with opening remarks from ACS GCI Director David Constable, John Tucker, a senior scientist at Amgen and newly elected co-chair of the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable, and David Acker the VP of Business Development at Flotek-Florida Chemical. It was followed by an announcement from LAUNCH about their 2014 challenge. John Frazier, Nike's Senior Director of Chemical Innovation, and Nancy Jackson, a current Franklin Fellow at the State Department (on loan from Sandia National Laboratories) unveiled that the focus of the LAUNCH competition this year is green chemistry. To learn more, please visit their website.

Overall, with food and conversations flowing for hours, the night was a hit. With the objective being to expand attendees' network in order to advance the research, development, and marketing of industrially relevant, greener alternatives, over 90% of the event's survey respondents indicated that the reception met or exceeded this objective. With new partnerships already underway from the reception, we are already looking forward to next year's event!



“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.

Contributed by Raymond Borg, recent graduate of the University of Maine, and new student at UMass Boston


The ACS GCI green chemistry workshop provided me with an opportunity to network with leaders in the field of green chemistry and to make acquaintances with other student members from all over the world.


This was the first ACS green chemistry workshop that I attended.  Ten minutes after arriving I met a fourth year graduate student from UMass Boston who is working in the laboratory that I hope to join in the fall when I start grad school.  That alone was quite amazing, but it didn’t stop there!


Marty Mulvihill from UC Berkley energetically kicked off the workshop by having everyone introduce themselves, then he shared his experience with green chemistry and why it is pertinent to contemporary global issues.


I particularly got a lot out of the next presentation, delivered by Dr. David Constable, the Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute®. He illustrated the power of applying green principles into one’s laboratory research, as well as the responsibility that chemists have in designing their laboratory research. He emphasized how it is essential for chemists to question traditional laboratory procedures, especially when it comes to solvent selection. He introduced several tools that are available to aid chemists in selecting solvents.


After lunch the workshop continued with a presentation from Dr. Marie Bourgeois of the University of South Florida on several databases such as ToxNEt, ToxCast, and ToxPredict that are available to chemists to determine the toxicity of various compounds.


Then, Dr. Douglas Raynie from South Dakota State University presented a case study to the group, where super critical CO2 was used design a better procedure for analyzing the quality of laundry detergent produced on an industrial level.


The workshop ended with an interactive activity that had the student members share how they could green their own research.


The presenters have inspired me to use available tools to spread green practice in the lab and awareness to fellow chemists.  The connections that I made with people at the workshop carried over into the conference and deepened my overall experience of the conference.





“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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Contributed by Giulia Paggiola, PhD student, University of York, UK


As a European PhD student I found the conference really worth the travel, a truly wide-ranging event, filled with inspirational people and exciting initiatives.


The strong focus on applicable science really attracted people and speakers from different sectors - process chemists,  toxicologists, economists, industrials, regulators, NGOs. It has been especially exciting to meet some of the most reputable green chemists in a very comfortable environment. In terms of my work with solvent substitution, this has been especially helpful for putting my research into a bigger picture context and for creating contacts with experts in chemicals regulation and toxicology, two fields that I feel are growing in relevance in the green chemistry world as a whole.


What I found most striking and original was the level of commitment to education strategies and the amount of support and time that the conference dedicated to student initiatives and workshops. Thanks to this I got to know other young researchers and spend very enjoyable moments with them both within and out of the conference time, and I am sure these bonds will endure and evolve in the future.


I have also really appreciated how everything ran smoothly and spot on schedule despite the number of simultaneous sessions, which has allowed me to move across sessions confidently.


I look forward to attending next year's ACS GCI conference!"



“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.

On Wednesday, June 18, the ACS GCI hosted the final round of the 2014 Green Chemistry and Engineering Business Plan Competition. Four semi-finalists arrived at the 18th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Bethesda, MD to present their business plans to a panel of expert judges and compete for a $10,000 prize. The day was much anticipated after months of preliminary activities which included an executive summary round, a business plan round, and a social media round.


With the intent of enabling new technologies and providing entrepreneurship-related educational opportunities for the green chemistry community, the ACS GCI put out a call in early 2014 for executive summaries from early-stage green chemistry and engineering companies. From more than a dozen applications, the four semi-finalists were selected:

  • Cell-Free Bionnovations: high energy density sugar-powered biobatteries for portable gadgets that are biodegradable and refillable
  • Circa Group: decreasing dependence on oil & gas by bringing a new waste cellulose-based solvent to market
  • SioTeX: transforming an industry by replacing fumed silica with a low-cost and ecofriendly solution
  • U.S. Bioplastics: cost competitive biobased plastic packaging from sugarcane waste


The semi-finalists were then provided a free subscription to Business Plan Pro and a free webinar on the software led by Dr. Dan Daly, the Director of Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs. With this new toolbox, the teams then had to complete a full written business plan and prepare a twelve minute presentation for the in-person final round (which together, constituted 70% of their final score).


In an effort to raise awareness of green chemistry and emphasize the important role chemistry plays in all of our lives, the third and most unique component of this competition was the social media score (which was the remaining 30% of the teams’ final score). We ran a crowdsourcing campaign called “Change the World with Green Chemistry,” which allowed for anyone in the world to have a stake in this competition. This platform enabled individuals from all backgrounds to learn how these new technologies are changing the world and then vote for the one(s) they want to see come to market.


By the time the final competition rolled around, the campaign generated more than $3,000. The teams were well-practiced and ready to present to the expert judges: Dr. Eric Beckman (Professor of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and Co-Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation), Dr. Dan Daly, and Joe Indvik (Co-Founder, COO, and President of SparkFund); these three judges also sat on an afternoon panel, "Science, Sustainability, & Entrepreneurship." After watching all four presentations and grilling each team with hard-hitting questions, the judges deliberated and selected SioTeX as the grand prize winner!


SioTex  Daly with check (3).jpgDan Daly presents the grand prize to Ash Kotwal, Lisa Taylor, and Gary Beall of SioTeX.


“The ACS GCI Business Plan Competition provided additional validation of our innovative technology and further demonstrated the team's ability to effectively communicate our corporate strategy,” said Ash Kotwal and Lisa Taylor. “Being announced as the Grand Prize Winner during the Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference also gave us a greatly appreciated opportunity to network with academic and industry professionals throughout the remainder of the proceedings.”


SioTeX makes a product called Eco-Sil from rice hulls, an alternative to fumed silica. The product can be used in paints, plastics, and tires, a market which SioTex reports is worth $1.5 billion in annual sales. The company was created by Haoran Chen, a graduate student in the Ph.D. program at Texas State University, after he developed the technology. Chen currently serves as the company's CTO with his team, Marcus Goss (COO), Ash Kotwal (VP of Manufacturing), Lisa Taylor (VP of Sales and Marketing), Cesar Rivera (CCO), and George Steinke (CEO). They are looking forward to constructing their pilot plant this fall to scale production of Eco-Sil.


We look forward to watching SioTeX and the other competing companies develop, and to preparing for next year’s competition which will be hosted at the 19th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in July 2015!


Thank you to all who participated in the competition! And a huge thank you again to our three judges/panelists who helped review the applications and make the day a huge success. We also would like to thank Dr. Michael Lefenfeld (President of SiGNa Chemistry) and Dr. Rui Resendes (Executive Director of Green Centre Canada) for their assistance in developing the competition.




“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.

Once again it was a very hectic winter and spring this year as the ACS GCI staff prepared for 18th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference held this past week. Conferences like this require a significant amount of work on the part of many people and it would be impossible to list all the people I’d like to thank. I think, however, that those who attended would agree that overall the conference was a great success. The conference organizers, Dr. Jim Hutchison (University of Oregon), John Frazier (Nike) and Dr. Tina Bahadori (US EPA) did a great job identifying key themes for the conference, and recruiting theme leaders to deliver a total of 30 technical sessions. Twelve of the 30 sessions were organized by the ACS GCI Roundtables and I think this is representative of the significant investment industry has made in green chemistry and engineering.


Every year, for many years, there has been an NSF-sponsored workshop for students on the Monday before the conference begins. As was the case last year, I had the distinct pleasure and honor to judge the conference NSF Student Travel Award nominations. The worst part of this process is turning away students since there are limited funds to give out.  I’d like to fund all students with an interest in attending since these conferences are so hugely beneficial to the students and to the rest of the conference attendees. Students are able to attend the workshop, present posters, make oral presentations, network with people in the field and with like-minded students, and participate in many other events the conference has to offer. This is truly invaluable.


This year we had assistance with the student workshop from Dr. Marty Mulvihill of UC Berkeley, Dr. Marie Bourgeois from the University of South Florida, and Dr. Douglas Raynie from South Dakota State University. The workshop attempted to give students an idea of how to green their research and several tools were highlighted for the students to integrate into their work. To cap this day there was a wonderful event sponsored by a new student-inspired organization known as the Network of Early Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers (NESSE). The event included an insightful panel discussion addressing the general theme of “From Bench to Big Picture” where students were given a glimpse of broader issues shaping where green chemistry is going.

There is so much that goes on at this conference it is hard to capture all of it.  Apart from the technical sessions, it is an opportune time to hold meetings of the ACS GCI Roundtables. For most of the roundtables, this is the only time that business is conducted face-to-face, and the meetings cover a lot of ground. This year the ACS GCI Hydraulic Fracturing Roundtable was opened for membership and that represents a huge milestone. We are hoping this roundtable is able to add many members over the next few months and that it is able to finish identifying key goals and deliverables for the next year. 


Another event we were especially pleased to hold again this year was the GC&E Business Plan Competition for early stage entrepreneurs. There were a total of four semi-finalist teams that made presentations on Wednesday last week and it’s very exciting to see teams working to operationalize green chemistry related ideas and bring them to commercialization.  Congratulations again to the winning Team, SioTeX, and to all the teams that participated! We are especially indebted to Dr. Dan Daly for his work with these teams prior to the conference and for helping to shepherd this event to completion. He was joined in the final judging by two other individuals intimately involved in product commercialization:  Dr. Eric Beckman from the University of Pittsburgh and Joe Indvik, Co-Founder, President, and COO of SparkFund. We are also deeply grateful for the work of two other individuals, Dr. Rui Resendes from GreenCentre Canada and Dr. Michael Lefenfeld, who helped review applications for this event, worked to raise support, and shaped the competition.

One indication of how good any conference is may perhaps be judged by the degree of enthusiasm and the volume of the discussion outside of the technical sessions at breaks, before keynotes and during lunch. Clearly, there was a tremendous amount of interaction, high interest in those companies and organizations exhibiting, and many animated discussions no matter where you looked. I think the conference was a success on many levels.

Two weeks before this conference I had the opportunity to attend the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council’s (GC3) annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN.  This meeting has a very different flavor than the GC&E Conference and serves mainly the consumer-facing end of the chemical supply chain.  The GC3 is doing some interesting work to better understand what mainstreaming green chemistry looks like, what green chemistry innovation is, and how they can advance Green Chemistry education.  They’ve established a retailer sub-group and are thinking about ways to broker conversations with companies further back in the supply chain.  This underscores a general trend in green chemistry where consumer demands are likely to force changes in formulations, materials and chemical compositions of product components.  It will be interesting to see how all this plays out.

It’s been a busy month for green chemistry and that’s a good thing! 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.


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

On Monday, just before the opening of the Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, I arrived jetlagged and exhausted into Washington DC. I was there to speak with Laura Hoch at the ‘From Bench to Big Picture’ event and to formally launch NESSE, a brand new Network for Early-career Sustainable Scientists & Engineers. After a year of setting up the network, researching other organisations, writing our constitution, scrambling to finish our website and organising the ‘From Bench to Big Picture’ event in collaboration with the ACS GCI, we were nervous, excited, and a little unsure as to how it would be received.


The event was a fantastic example in engagement and discussion. Three great speakers highlighted the importance of communication and connecting our research with bigger picture issues if we’re going to make an impact in society, vital in the area of green chemistry and sustainable science. Darcy Gentleman talked about communicating simply without dumbing down, asking us how we would describe our research using the ten hundred most common words in English (thousand isn’t in there!). Paul Chirik spoke inspiringly about his research in using more abundant elements for catalysis, highlighting just how many elements we use every day (around eighty!), and Caroline Trupp Gill talked about how important it is to communicate to policy makers WHY we’re doing green research. NESSE then led an interactive cafe-style discussion about ‘How we can get our green research out into society’. The early-career researchers raised a broad range of issues such as being better trained in toxicology, sustainability, business skills, and effective communication, as well as being connected across disciplines.



Early-career researchers discuss getting their research into society at the Bench to Big Picture Event


This is where NESSE hopes to provide an opportunity for early-career researchers working on green technologies to work together towards a green future. We want to create an interdisciplinary network, bringing together chemists, biologists, engineers and others to forge the connections, skills, and knowledge to take their research from Bench to Big Picture.


Our top priorities are to:

  1. Connect early-career researchers online and face-to-face;
  2. Support sustainable science initiatives at universities;
  3. Promote the incorporation of green science, such as green chemistry, green engineering, and sustainability, into curricula worldwide;
  4. Promote the awareness of green science amongst the public through outreach activities.


At the NESSE discussion, jetlag and exhaustion quickly vanished thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the young researchers in the room. The discussions that started on Monday have continued throughout the GC&E conference. Several people are keen to go away and start groups at their universities, bringing speakers on green chemistry and sustainable science topics to other grad students and post-docs and building a sustainable science community together with other disciplines. NESSE will act as a support network and hub to provide resources and inspiration. We’ve also been discussing how we can act as a multiplier to bring the great work of green chemistry educators to more audiences.


We have many other plans and ideas, with the only limits being the time and enthusiasm of our members. Do join us to become part of this new community and build a greener future.


NESSE new recruits at GC&E.jpg

The new NESSE recruits at the Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference 2014


We are very grateful to the ACS and ACS GCI for their support, both financially and in person, to help NESSE get off the ground. NESSE developed out the ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry and Sustainable Energy 2013.



“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.

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