Contributed by David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®
July has been an eventful month for sustainable and green chemistry. The 5th through the 8th I was privileged to be in Tokyo for the 7th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry / 4th Japan Association of Chemical Industries/GSC Symposium. I am always extremely grateful to be invited to participate in green and sustainable chemistry meetings around the world. These conferences are a fantastic opportunity to see and experience all the great work that is being done to move the global chemistry enterprise towards more sustainable practices.
Being in Japan brings a refreshingly different perspective to the global chemistry enterprise, especially as one looks at how an industry so dependent on petroleum may transition to increasing use of alternative carbon sources at scale. It’s also a great pleasure to see leading academics in Asia report their successes in catalysis, biomass conversion, flow chemistry, etc. There appears to be far less of a barrier to blending chemistry and chemical engineering (and other disciplines) as there is in the United States, and this is a great strength in my opinion. Overall, it was a stimulating conference and I am very much looking forward to attending the 8th International Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Monash University, under the patient leadership of Dr. Milton Hearn, has put together an outstanding bid for the Conference in 2017 and it is sure to be a memorable conference.
The next big week was the week of July 13th. There is so much that accompanies the 19th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference it is difficult to capture it all. Whatever one might say about the conference, it was, in my opinion, an unqualified success. We were delighted to begin the week with an NSF-sponsored student workshop on integrating green chemistry into research. Kudos to Dr. Peter Mahaffy, Dr. Marie Bourgeois, and Dr. Thomas Umile on their work to give very practical guidance to about 80 students on how to integrate green chemistry into their own work. Monday evening we were excited to once again host the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. There are now 6 categories of winning nominations, including an academic award, a small business award, and 4 focus areas that were won by small, medium and large businesses. You can find out more about the winners and the program here, and I hope you will agree that the judges picked very worthy technologies for this year’s honors.
It isn’t apparent to everyone, but there is a large amount of activity throughout the week focused on the industrial implementation of green chemistry and engineering. The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical, Chemical Manufacturers, Formulator’s and Hydraulic Fracturing roundtables all meet for face-to-face roundtable meetings and a poster reception, in addition to arranging, chairing and/or speaking in 7 sessions. It’s a huge contribution to the overall success of the conference and we are very grateful for the many examples of green chemistry integration and success in industry that they provide.
We were honored and extremely grateful to Senator Chris Coons for taking the time to join us to speak about his vision for Sustainable Chemistry. Traveling outside the beltway is an enormous inconvenience (as anyone in the D.C. area can attest to) and clearly demonstrates Senator Coon’s passion and commitment to promoting science in general, and sustainable chemistry in particular. Our Keynote speakers, Dr. Deborah Mielewski, Senior Technical Leader, Materials Sustainability from Ford, Dr. Frances Arnold, Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering at Caltech, and Dr. Angela Belcher, W. M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT, were all outstanding speakers and captivated the audience with good humor and gee whiz science.
None of this would be possible without the hard work on the part of many people. The conference organizing committee members, Dr. David Leahy of BMS, Dr. Bruce Lipshutz, Dr. Richard Wool, and Dr. Joseph Stanzione assembled an outstanding technical program. We are also very grateful to all of our sponsors and exhibitors who made this conference possible and have added to its attraction. Last, but not least, there is an army of ACS staff, ACS GCI staff, and volunteers who have contributed to the success of this conference over the course of the past year; without them, this conference would not be a reality. Special mention of Jenny MacKellar, our ACS GCI Program Manager, and our Conference Organizer Jane Day, for working patiently and diligently over many months to make the conference possible and memorable.
I hope to see you all in Portland Oregon next June 14th through the 16th for the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference!
As always, please do let me know what you think.
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