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Contributed by Laura M. Reyes, Ph.D. student and Green Chemistry Initiative Co-chair, University of Toronto.


As chemistry students advance through their education, they train and specialize to become better scientists. For those who pursue graduate school, they become experts in their area of research, acquiring advanced technical and analytical skills. In addition to all this training, a few graduate students at the University of Toronto decided to start the Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) in order to teach ourselves about green chemistry and enhance our education.


2015 Group Picture.jpgThe GCI was founded in 2012 by a group of a dozen members led by Laura Hoch and Melanie Mastronardi, who were curious about green chemistry but did not know how to apply the underlying concepts to their research projects. Since then, growing interest from the undergraduate and graduate community has increased the size of the group to 25-30 active members. Since the GCI is an entirely student-run organization, all of our events are organized with the educational needs of students as a priority. Our starting point is our own curiosity to know how others are succeeding in making chemistry more efficient, safe, and innovative. This approach seems to be working for the GCI, judging from participation in our events and the feedback we receive.


With an initial focus on showcasing how green chemistry can be applied to research, the GCI started a Green Chemistry Seminar Series. These seminars feature guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds, alternating between perspectives such as academic research, chemical industry, chemistry education, and governmental policy. Topics have ranged anywhere from catalytic reagents to the scaleup of green chemistry technologies and waste management considerations.


IMG_3634.JPGTo further engage the student community in thinking about green chemistry, the GCI organizes an annual, conference-style event. The theme changes each year, directing the choice of speakers as well as the general structure of the event as either a workshop or a symposium. In addition to the scheduled talks, the annual event also includes a research poster session, networking opportunities with speakers, and a social night to allow for more casual interaction between participants.


In addition to the seminar series and annual workshop or symposium, the GCI organizes many other events and projects, enabled by a large group of members. These include green chemistry trivia and blog posts, a chemical waste awareness campaign, a fumehood energy reduction campaign, outreach demonstrations, a YouTube video series, undergraduate curriculum development, and the creation of green chemistry resources.


Though the GCI has been largely successful so far, there are still challenges to overcome in our goals towards green chemistry education. One of biggest challenges is the mentality that green chemistry is not relevant to certain areas of research. Hopefully this will continue to change, as we strive towards featuring a variety of speakers, encompassing all fields of research. As for the individual members of the GCI, getting involved has its own personal benefits. The experience gained from organizing events, securing funding, recruiting speakers, and setting up collaborations amounts to a valuable set of professional skills. This is all in addition to a widened network of contacts and, of course, the green chemistry knowledge itself.


The GCI started from a desire to learn about real applications of green chemistry in research. This continues today, with renewed enthusiasm to also promote green chemistry education at the undergraduate level by working with the chemistry faculty at UofT. The process of learning green chemistry by organizing our own events has been very rewarding, and an expanding global network of similar student groups shows the inclination that young scientists have towards education in green chemistry and sustainable science.




“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 Ashley Baker, Research Assistant, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®


The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® has become a hub for green chemistry education and for students and educators to find new ways to integrate green chemistry into their curriculum. As a recent college graduate with a chemistry major - who now works on education projects at ACS GCI - I resonated with this question that recently arrived in the ACS GCI inbox:


“I am a chemistry major in my sophomore year at the University of -----.”  I recently learned of ‘Green Chemistry’ and have become very interested in the idea. My school currently doesn't offer a Green Chemistry program or any related classes, but I really think they should. It has become apparent to me that Green Chemistry is the future in the world of chemistry.


My question to you, the ACS, is what can I do to promote the study of Green Chemistry at my university, not only for myself, but for future chemistry students as well?”


For students wondering how they can create a green chemistry presence at their colleges and universities, there are fortunately many ways to make green chemistry a part of their lives and educations. Oftentimes the biggest road block for students is not knowing where to begin.


The most common and successful place to start is with a university’s existing ACS student chapter. ACS student chapters have the chance to earn a “green student chapter award” by completing at least three green chemistry activities. The ACS GCI has provided a reference of what could count as a green chemistry activity, listed here. Students can also explore the ACS GCI website which hosts a variety of resources about green chemistry – its history, examples of its use, and more. When thinking about completing a green chemistry activity it’s essential for students to remember that, while very important, sustainability initiatives and general outreach events are not necessarily green chemistry. Being able to draw specific conclusions between an activity or event and the green chemistry behind it is imperative. For example, analyzing pollutants in a body of water would be an environmental chemistry activity, but brainstorming ways chemistry could help prevent that pollution in the first place would more likely qualify as a green chemistry activity.


In the coming months, we will be highlighting exemplary student chapters and their green chemistry activities in The Nexus (see this month’s feature on Gordon College by Irv Levy). These chapters qualified as Green Chemistry ACS Student Chapters based on activities they conducted in the 2014-2015 academic year, and the articles will provide a wide range of ideas for student chapters who want to incorporate green chemistry at their colleges and universities.


“What if my university doesn’t have an ACS student chapter?”


Having a student chapter is far from the only platform for green chemistry outreach or learning opportunities. The ACS GCI facilitates a number of annual travel awards to support students who wish to attend green chemistry conferences and workshops. Students who apply for and receive these awards have opportunities to present and gain valuable feedback on their research, engage and make connections with peers and professionals, and learn about new career pathways and cutting-edge technologies in green chemistry.


15162-205.JPGThese awards include the Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship, Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry, and the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award.


Lauren Grant, who was able to attend the 19th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference (GC&E) as a 2015 Joseph Breen Memorial Fellow, is preparing to begin graduate school in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania with an interest in developing sustainable activation and transformation methods of dinitrogen. Grant was first introduced to green chemistry during her undergraduate studies through the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC). She reflected that, even with this background, attending the conference was eye-opening and gave her unique perspectives on her research and said, “Speaking with fellow green chemists about my work gave me new ideas to try and different ways of looking at the results I have. In fact, speaking with two other students gave me ideas of reactions to try to accomplish one of my goals.”


DSC_8834A.jpgThrough a grant from the National Science Foundation, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® has facilitated the participation of dozens of students in a yearly “Greening Your Research” student workshop that coincides with the annual GC&E conference. NSF Scholars consistently report that their experience at the conference and workshop gave them new tools for thinking about their research. Andrew Alexopoulos, a 2015 NSF Scholar and graduate student at the California State University, was empowered by the experience and said, “What I gained from the [workshop] was not a formula on how to use green chemistry, but a new mindset. I realized that I would not be able to find a green way to solve every problem but what I can do every time is try.” Additionally, Alexopoulos was able to evaluate his own research with using the tools and exercises provided in the workshop, allowing him to address complex laboratory problems with new solutions.


"I want to pursue green chemistry beyond my college education – what resources can help me do that?"


15163-476.JPGThe ACS Career Workshop, another event that happens in conjunction with the GC&E Conference, provides students with a slightly different approach to implementing green chemistry. The workshop helps to show students the myriad ways that green chemistry can be a part of their lives in the long run. Kelsey Boes, a 2015 NSF Scholar who attended the workshop, realized that her passions for design and chemistry could be united through green chemistry. Boes, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, said that the career exercises helped her see that long-term lab work might not be for her but that through science communication she could increase awareness of green chemistry and scientific inquiry in a different way. Upon return to her lab, she immediately began prompting discussions with her peers about making conscious chemical choices.


Another way to become involved in green chemistry is by joining a sustainability-focused organization for young chemists, such as NESSE (Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers). NESSE is a growing international, interdisciplinary, grassroots organization celebrating sustainability in science and engineering and creating new pathways to embed it through careers. It is a network of people who are passionate about using science and technology to build a sustainable and prosperous future for all. Students and professionals can interact with others interested in greener science through NESSE via member-run events like local lectures and meetings or virtually through webinars and the group’s website. Additionally, there are opportunities to join NESSE as an outreach volunteer, mentor, or even participate in elections for the organization’s Executive Board of volunteers.


Laura Hoch, NESSE’s Director of Sustainable Science Groups and chemistry Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto, says she wasn’t sure where to begin with green chemistry when she first learned about it in the second year of graduate school. Her advice to students? “I would suggest that you start talking to people in your department and see who else is interested in green chemistry. Then, figure out how you can work together to bring in people who can teach you what you want to know (e.g. by organizing a seminar series, or webinars, or a symposium). This is what we did at the University of Toronto and it has honestly been the best part of my Ph.D. experience.” She stressed that fostering an enthusiastic community is key, and that this can be started simply by initiating discussions among peers about green chemistry.


Not all green chemistry initiatives will reach a wide audience through outreach; enough individuals making green choices in their research adds up to something equally valuable. With so many avenues for involvement in green chemistry, students can choose what works for them while still making a meaningful impact. There are ways for everyone to get involved in green chemistry; it’s less a matter of finding a path and more about choosing which one to take.


Want to get involved and aren’t sure where to begin? Email with comments and questions.




“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 Irvin J. Levy, Professor of Chemistry and Department Chair, Gordon College.


Green Chemistry Principle #9 – Catalysis. As I look at the adventure that I have had over the past 25 years mentoring the ACS student chapter at Gordon College, either actively or in support roles, it is interesting to me to reflect on the many ways that green chemistry engagement has been a catalyst. Chartered by ACS in 1990, the chapter at Gordon College, in Wenham, MA, like many other student chapters, has seen times of great involvement and times of dormancy. Integration of green chemistry advocacy, though, transformed the past six years into the chapter’s most successful years.


Green chemistry has been an important focus on our campus since 2003. Our initial interest was prompted by a student who was adamant that we should learn more about the idea, which was still rather novel to those of us in the teaching trenches in the early years of the new millennium. Through her catalytic efforts that one student had a profound impact on our department, our faculty, and our students.


Now, our student chapter is an intentional catalyst, bringing information to others about green chemistry and encouraging those in the academic world to adopt it into their lecture, labs, research, and – yes – other student chapters of the ACS.


David Constable.pngSo, how do you become a catalyst? What can your chapter do to engage your students and provide an outreach to others? Well, the first part of that answer depends a lot on your chapter. You have to seek out activities that will be fun for you to organize and fun for the community that you want to reach. And the second part of the answer depends a lot on how experimental you feel. After all, we’re chemists! Experiment with ideas… try activities on your own… try sharing them with a group… and don’t worry too much whether you have a stellar success the first time out. Part of the nature of a chemist is to gather more data and refine the solution. You can do that with your chapter, too.


And you won’t be alone.


The concept of green chemistry is attractive to a lot of people. Folks who would profess no interest in “chemistry” suddenly become interested when you explain that green chemistry uses principles that allow us to get the benefits of chemistry but in ways that are designed to be safer for human health and the environment. Often, this “elevator speech” about green chemistry is enough to elicit a “tell me more” response. And then, off you go. We have found partners for our chapter in lots of places – and you will, too. Some examples:


  • Students from other majors who are interested in sustainability
  • Faculty in your department who are engaged in green chemistry or sustainability
  • Your student chapter advisor, who might not be engaged in green chemistry but who might become engaged if you spark her or his interest, you catalyst, you!


And once you’ve got a core of people to get the ball rolling, there are lots of resources available to you.  For example,


  • Other student chapters from nearby schools – check the ACS website for a full listing of the chapters that received the Green Chemistry Award in recent years
  • Look for advice from potential mentors at other colleges and universities – the Green Chemistry Commitment is one spot to find a list of institutions that might be willing to assist your chapter from a distance
  • Resources from ACS GCI, Beyond Benign, GEMs database, and others … you will find many sources of possible activities

science carnival.png

About that “core of people to get the ball rolling” … it doesn’t matter whether you are coming from a small, medium, large, or huge institution. You will probably find that there are a handful of people who are the most involved in your chapter. You simply need to hit that sustainable catalytic concentration of willing folks and you’re ready to get moving. There are many ways this can be done. Again, a lot depends on your interests and your willingness to try something new for the first time. Here are some ideas that have worked for us:

  • Invite guest lecturers to come to your campus to talk about green chemistry. If you follow this path be sure to work hard to get a wide audience. For example, you might invite education majors, business majors, local high school teachers, community environmental club members, etc. in addition to other students and faculty in your department.
  • Schedule visits to a nearby business or academic institution where green chemistry is happening. One way to discover them is by glancing at recent recipients of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (PGCCA).
  • Teach others about green chemistry through public display areas. For example, a display board that creatively explains two of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry for a semester, followed by another two principles the next semester. Every three years you could cover all of the principles. As another example, highlight the success of some of the most recent winners of the PGCCA – you could showcase half of the new winners in the fall and the other half in the spring.
  • Ask your faculty mentor or department chair how your chapter can use a green chemistry message to be of service to the department. For example, ask to have some time to explain green chemistry to visiting prospective students or have a green chemistry evening (with food of course!) with your new students each fall.


Honestly, the only limitation is your creativity and your willingness to try new activities, combined with your willingness to reach out to others for guidance and for time to brainstorm with you. And by all means, don’t try to just do what the chapter did last year. Make it fresh and your own every year. These are the critical tools you will need to be a catalyst and to make your green chapter activity uniquely your own.


As one of our current student chapter officers, Logan Walsh, said to me, “The key is to be creative and have fun. I love practicing Green Chemistry in our chapter because it is a real way young people can make a difference in the world today!”






“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 Clarissa A Biscainho, Diego Ss Aires, Sidney M C Chaves, Suzana Borschiver, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, School of Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering.


Concerns regarding the environment and growing necessity of technology to extract energy resources have been leading to a search for alternative energy resources, among which biofuels are the most studied nowadays. Biodiesel has been in the spotlight in the recent years.


Any vegetable oil extracted from oilseed can be used as a feedstock to biodiesel production (1). Recently, microorganisms have also been a topic of academic studies with the most diverse approaches, from the use of such microorganisms as lipid resources (2,3,4) to their genetic modification to produce biodiesel working as a biocatalyst (5). Some studies even suggest the use of animal fat wastes (AFWs) as feedstock in order to lower feedstock costs while simultaneously eschewing feedstock which might threaten food safety (6).Efforts have also been made to produce biodiesel using waste cooking oil.


Transesterification via basic homogeneous catalysis is the main industrial route for biodiesel production but today, different kinds of heterogeneous catalysts have been studied as a potential alternative to the previous method. Scientists have been searching for raw glycerin applications since raw byproduct generated during transesterification has a low value and its purification is sophisticated and expensive.(7) The aim of this work is to find the most relevant research and innovation concerning biodiesel all over the world and the perspectives about the future. An effective way to summarize these studies is by analyzing what the results indicate about the degree of maturity of the international biodiesel industry and how different regions of the globe are inserted in this scenario.


Biodiesel in International Scenario: Important players




Brazil was a starter on the biodiesel market. The potential for production is undeniable and government contributes with incentive measures and laws for mandatory mixtures of biodiesel and diesel. Despite high diversity of potential feedstock available in the country, soybean oil is still predominant, which is explained by Brazil’s position as one of the major soybean producers (8,9). However, future predictions indicate a potential change of scenery, wherein soybean reduces its participation in producing biodiesel and other feedstock, namely beef tallow, palm, castor bean and sunflower strengthen their roles as suppliers to the biofuel chain (9).


North America


The United States is well-known for its high oil consumption and, since most of the oil used in the country is imported, biodiesel has shown to be a good alternative in reducing dependence on Venezuelan and Middle Eastern oil. Likewise, it decreases dependence of national commodity producers on government subsidies. The main strategy used for stimulating the demand is incentives for biodiesel and diesel mixtures.


In Canada, the strategies to impel the biofuel consumption are almost the same as the U.S.’s, including the use of diesel and biodiesel mixtures in public transportations. Differently from the US, however, Canadian population is much smaller and the country has one of the largest oil reserves. Therefore, the motivations for the interest in biodiesel are not related to Energy Security but to environmental concern. (10)




In Europe, biodiesel industrial production has started in the early 1990s. In 1997, the major biodiesel producers in European Union joined together to create a non-profit organization known as European Biodiesel Board (EBB), aiming the stimulus to the use of biodiesel in the E.U. Since then, regulation for the use and production of biodiesel has been done by the establishment of specific legislation, especially in the countries that concentrate most biodiesel plants in E.U., namely Germany, Italy and Sweden.


In the E.U., the incentive to biodiesel use is part of the strategy to reduce the emissions as accorded in Kyoto agreement. Besides mandatory addition of biodiesel to conventional diesel, there are tax break policies and high taxes over oil derivatives (11).


Asia and Oceania 


In Malaysia and Indonesia palm oil global is the most important feedstock for biodiesel production. The know-how in oil seed cultivation has turned their biodiesel industry to become profitable. For both countries, biodiesel production from palm oil is also a strategy to deal with decrease in commodity’s price in the international market. In Malaysia, there are policies to guarantee the balance of palm oil for the biodiesel industry and for food supply (12).



In China, the big incentive to biodiesel programs is largely due to the increasing demand of energy in the recent years. Waste oil is one of the most important feedstock for biofuel production. Private companies and conglomerates are responsible for the major part of biodiesel production and many installed plants use cooking waste oil as feedstock (13).


In Taiwan, however, the conjuncture is a little bit different. Although policies for mandatory mixture of biodiesel to diesel were launched in 2008, the government announced, at the end of 2014, the discontinuity of such policies, due to some problems of biodiesel quality but mostly to concerns for lack of demand (14,15).




The tropical climate allows the growth of many vegetal species that can be used as biodiesel feedstock. Therefore, African countries are potential biodiesel producers. However, the development of biofuels industry depends on more than favorable natural environment. Structural social problems, lack of interest of local governments in creating policies to launch biodiesel industry and international expediency and speculation are some of the reasons that prevent the countries from having a strong biofuels industry (16,17).




Methodology – general aspects

For both applied and granted patents, first search was made in USPTO (18) using the keyword “biodiesel”, without year specification. The Boolean operator “AND” was chosen which consequently leads to search of patents containing the term “biodiesel” in both title and abstract.


Selection criteria

Patents historic evolution analysis suggests year publication as the first criteria for selection. Since biodiesel is a new and dynamic topic, the most recent research is the appropriate to give the to-come panorama of the sector. Therefore, both granted and applied patents were selected from 2012 to mid-2014, until achievement of a reasonable number of patents to a consistent analysis. Altogether, 80 patents were analyzed, from which 40 were granted and 40 applied.




The aim of macro analysis is to have a general view about the biodiesel panorama. The first step of the macro analysis is to obtain the historical evolution of the product to be studied. In this work, the historical evolution was represented by the number of all patents, both granted and applied published through the years, as shown in Graphic 1.


                                         Historical Evolution.jpg


Despite the interest over biodiesel has risen all over the world in 1990s, the number of patents before the 2000s is quite irrelevant. As expected, first researches over a new topic are done in academia, and very few lead to conclusive results that can be effectively applied in industrial processes. Graphic also shows a growing tendency in number of patents, which reinforces the idea that the issue is very dynamic and suggests that innovations with potential to be applied in industry are constantly being made.


Patents distribution by origin country

Knowledge of origin country is another important point in macro analysis. Biodiesel is a dynamic issue and the interest over it has been growing in different stages all over the world. Therefore, using all published patents to obtain the distribution could not reflect the current situation and mislead the analysis. For this reason, the distribution shown on Graphic 2 was done based only on the selected patents.

                                        distribution of patents.jpg


United States is the country with greater number of patents, with much higher percentage than any other country. Among all the analyzed patents, 55% were issued by the United States. The great stimulus given for patent’s deposit rather than for paper publication or for presenting research results in academic events figure out as reasonable explanations for high difference between number of patents’ publications of US and other countries.


However, the distribution of applied and granted patents separately shows some differences worthy to be mentioned, since these differences show some tendencies that cannot be perceived in the distribution based on all patents. For the granted patents analyzed, 70% were submitted by the USA, a much higher percentage than any other country. Brazil represents 5% of the granted patents.


Although USA remains in the leading position for the applied papers, with a percentage of 40%, there is great decrease in the difference between Brazil’s and USA’s percentage compared to granted patents. Brazil contributes with 15% of applied patents. Besides, although the contribution of Asian countries such as South Korea, India, Taiwan and Malaysia was not so expressive for granted patents, they represent each one, 7-8% of applied patents. Although the interest over biodiesel has grown more recently in these countries than in other parts of the globe, leading to the necessity of bench scale research, the change in their representativeness as origin countries of applied patents suggests that the technology is being developed with industrial purposes rather than being limited to academic interest.


Patents distribution by inventor

It is expected that companies submit most of the patents. Nowadays, many companies partner with universities, financing basic research, which is proving to be more profitable than opening its own research center. Sometimes, research purely done in academia does not have real application in industry. On the other hand, when companies are directly for funding research, such research will be aimed to industrial applications. As companies want to protect their intellectual property, innovation is usually submitted as patents. The data match the expectations: for granted patents, 54% were submitted by companies while 29% were submitted by universities or research centers and 17%, by natural person. For applied patents, the major part of inventors (45%) are natural persons whereas companies contribute for 35% of analyzed patents followed by universities and research centers with 20%.


Patents distribution by inventor companies’ profile

For patents, another interesting topic to be approached in macro analysis is inventor companies’ profile since it turns possible to see which industrial segments are interested in funding research over biodiesel. Energy companies submitted the 42% of analyzed issued patents. Not all of these companies already work directly with renewable energy. However, even companies in which feedstock is mostly based on oil are interested in funding biodiesel research. Engineering and technology companies also correspond to 29%, a high percentage, among analyzed patents. Since in the development of new technology, equipment and services play a very important role, it is totally understandable. Companies with diversified businesses, petrochemicals and specialty companies also appeared, with low representative percentage.





The aim of meso analysis is finding the most common topics discussed in the patents. For this purpose, six groups, named taxonomies were established, in which patents were classified according to their approach. One patent can fit more than one taxonomy; this is not so common, though, since patents tend to target an specific topic of study. Classification of a patent in such taxonomy is based on deep discussion of at least one issue mentioned in the classification criteria. Detailed glossary of issues handled in each taxonomy is shown on Table 1.


                 Meso taxonomies.jpg

Micro analysis is based on meso taxonomies detailing. Briefly, meso taxonomies are subdivided into specific topics that are usually approached with relatively frequency in patents. The three last meso taxonomies presented on Table 1 do not admit reasonable subdivisions as they already comprise all the topics. A glossary, made to clarify the points taken into account when classifying patents into micro taxonomies, is shown on Table 2.

                        micro taxonomies.jpg




For both granted and applied patents, the great part of them approach processes, followed by feedstock, product and catalyst. Very few patents discuss applications and byproducts. The optimization of processes not only reduces production costs but also leads to lower generation of byproduct, increases the yield and generates a better quality product, naturally reducing the necessity of onerous and sophisticated separation and purification techniques as well as efforts to find new applications for the byproduct. This explains the low number of patents referring specifically to byproduct as well as to product. The patents classified in the product taxonomy refer exclusively to the analysis of product quality and, although increase in product quality is an advantage achieved by the process improvement, it is not always approached directly in patents that refer to processes.


As can be seen from micro taxonomies distribution, the percentage of patents, either applied or granted, handling primary processes is much more representative than the ones in which secondary processes are approached, reinforcing that focusing on the primary processes has been proving to be more profitable. The low number of patents handling applications reveals that few efforts are being made in order to find new applications for the product and that, when it comes to innovation, product is not the main target. The presented distribution of taxonomies suggests characteristics of an industry in the maturity stage. In the early stages of an industry development, product innovation is very important. As maturity starts being achieved, however, innovation of product or radical innovation in the technology loses strength and major attention is given to optimization of processes (19).


Catalysts are also a great matter of discussion. Although homogeneous catalysts present some inconveniences, as previously mentioned, they are still the most common in industry. The great know how, technology and equipment already destined to their use as well as the higher prices of other classes of catalysts are still matters of resistance for changing. In fact, some granted patents focus on ways of reducing parallel reaction using homogeneous catalysts as an attempt to avoid changing catalysts. However, due to their strong disadvantages, which highly affect the costs of separation techniques and the product quality, most recent efforts in industry are being made to find alternative catalysts, reinforced by the lack of applied patents in the analyzed period referring to homogeneous catalysts. Even for granted patents, only 16% refer to homogeneous catalysts, a minor part of them.  Although at first sight the change in the catalysts seems to be a radical innovation, since it would represent a change in years of know-how, it can be understood as part of the attempt to increase the quality of the biodiesel and reduce the costs, consistent with strategies of an industry coming to its maturity stage.


Regarding feedstock, great part of patents approach secondary generation feedstock. The use of traditional feedstock is well-established and more attention is being given to taking advantage of rejects that were previously discarded. The use of second generation feedstock is also a strategy to reduce the costs. Besides being cheaper than virgin feedstock, it can also allow industry to reuse its own effluents, consequently reducing the costs with wastewater treatments, which can significantly impact in total costs. In the recent years, some academic works have raised the interest over the usage of microorganism derivative feedstock as well as their use in feedstock pretreatments. However, this approach was not observed in the analyzed patents, suggesting that research over this topic is still limited to academic interest. At first, the use of microorganisms can seem to be in the same position as the change of catalysts or the change from primary to secondary feedstock. The use of microorganisms is much more complex, though, and would definitely represent a radical change in the dominant technology.


In fact, the use of microorganisms just adds more steps to the process, namely the microorganism cultivation and lipid extraction, before the conversion into biodiesel. For being a totally new technology with more steps, at least in the beginning it would represent high increase in the costs and would demand time until the learning curve made it possible to reduce the costs. In fact, academic works relate that some of the successful techniques used for the extraction of lipids from algae, for example, are very onerous and efforts have been made in order to replace them but many of them were unsuccessful (4). Besides, although the use of microorganisms reduces many environmental and social problems caused by traditional crops, such as the demand for large cultivation areas  and competition in the food market, it does not necessarily eliminates the current technical and operational problems, since the extracted lipids still need to be converted into biodiesel.


Usually, radical changes occur in emergent industries, in which dominant technology is not stablished yet and news technologies are being experimented without strong concerns about costs. For an industry in the maturity stage, however, the search for new technology is done rationally and as part of a strategy that aims the reduction of costs. Other aspects of international scenarios previously mentioned in the introduction also sustain the degree of maturity on the industry. Taiwan’s decision to discontinue biodiesel’s mixture policies is a remarkable example. When an industry is achieving its maturity stage, signalized by increase in the international competition and insufficient demand, it is common to see players looking for alternative markets that seem more promisor (19).




Technology prospection turned it possible to have a sector panorama as well as tendencies for research in the next few years. In the analysis of this methodology, the comparison between applied and granted patents separately is very important since some aspects may be lost in the complete analysis. Besides, the differences also indicate changes in the research line and in the strategies adopted by countries. The most important contribution of this work, which summarizes the results presented in the data search, is the inference that many characteristics suggest that international biodiesel industry is achieving its maturity stage.


Nonetheless, as the work was based in the most recent patents from all over the globe and not restricted to a particular region, some peculiarities may have been taken for granted during the analysis, making it important to enlighten them. For the Asian countries, in which the interest over biodiesel has grown very recently, it is even more difficult to define whether the industry is achieving its maturity or not. Some characteristics of Asian biodiesel industry clearly match the ones of emergent industries whereas others fit well the classification of mature industries. For these reasons, it is reasonable to state that in these countries, biodiesel industry is in the beginning of a transition, less advanced than in other parts of the globe where the interest over biodiesel has started earlier.


The degree of maturity is not achieved at the same time in all the countries but the increasing interest in biodiesel all over the globe evidences that the international biodiesel industry is achieving its maturity as a hole, since the raise in the number of international players and consequently, of international competition, are signs of maturity and directly impact in companies’ profits and lead to changes in strategies to keep the competitiveness regarding their insertion in the global market.




To the Centre for Writers, from University of Alberta, for the free support to University of Alberta Alumni and all the dedication in carefully reviewing this manuscript.


This article was originally published on Chimica Oggi- Chemistry Today, a publication from Tekno Scienze Publisher: y-in-the-international-context.asp



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  7. Ribeiro, F.M., Peixoto, J.A.A., Souza, C.G. O Biodiesel no Contexto do Desenvolvimento Sustentável: Um Estudo Exploratório. Egenep (2008).
  8. Espíndola, T.E.G.; Freires F.G. Biodiesel in Brazil: Policies, Resources and Trends. POMS 21st Annual Conference, Vancouver, Canada (2010).
  9. ANP - Agência Nacional de Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis: (last checked on Dec. 15th 2014).
  10. (last checked on Apr 14th, 2015).
  11. European Biodiesel Board (EBB): (last checked on Apr 13th, 2015).
  12. Benchmarking of Biodiesel Fuel Standardization in East Asia Working Group (2010), ‘Current Status of Biodiesel Fuel in East-Asia and ASEAN Countries’ in Goto, S., M. Oguma, and N. Chollacoop, EAS-ERIA Biodiesel Fuel Trade Handbook: 2010, Jakarta: ERIA, 96-169.
  13. (last checked on Apr 14th, 2015).
  14. BiofuelsDigest: n-taiwan-for-heating-oil/ (last checked on Apr 14th, 2015).
  15. Tapeitimes: (last checked on Apr 14th, 2015).
  16. Oosterveer, P.; Mol, A.P.J.. Biofuels, trade and sustainability: a review of perspectives for developing countries. Biofuels Bioproducts & Biorefining. 4, 66–76, 2010.
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  18. United States Patent and Trademark Office: (last checked on Jul 31st 2014).
  19. Barney, J.B., Hesterly, W.S., Chapter 2 in Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage. Edited by Pearson, New Jersey, USA (2012).




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Asia’s flagship convention- “Industrial Green Chemistry World” (IGCW) is an ever growing global community of industry leaders and academic experts committed to forwarding and hand-holding the emerging field of “Green Chemistry & Green Engineering” among the burgeoning Indian Chemical Industry.


IGCW 2015 Full Logo.pngThe IGCW platform is recognized for bringing together key stakeholders of the chemical fraternity (both industrial and non-industrial) to deliberate on a common agenda of accelerating the implementation and industrialization of ‘Green Chemistry & Green Engineering’ practices into the Indian Chemical Industry. This December, Mumbai will witness the biennial convergence of 40 global experts, 400 senior executives and over 100 research scientists, academicians and students, participating in the 4th Industrial Green Chemistry World Convention, scheduled on 4th & 5th December 2015 at Hotel Courtyard Marriot, Mumbai.


The twin objectives of this Convention are, 1) to highlight leading ideas that have stood the test of time and have been transformed into successful implementations of ‘green chemistry &/or engineering’ based practices, and 2) to connect the right solution providers to the industry seekers.


IGCW-2015 promises yet another focused Industrial gathering to explore, engage-in and exchange- best practices, tools and technologies, which can make our chemical manufacturing processes environmentally benign, inherently safe and sustainably profitable.


4th IGCW-2015 aims to:

  • Facilitate an industrial ecosystem to accelerate the implementation and industrialization of Green Chemistry and Engineering practices
  • Bring forth technical know-how of green chemistry applications from the corridors of laboratories to the cauldrons of industry
  • Familiarize green chemistry not as a different genre, but as an integral way of doing chemical processes
  • Recognize emerging global trends in the direction of prioritizing sustainability and environmental safety
  • Express Industry’s commitment towards triple bottom-line benefits of Profit, Society and Sustainable planet
  • Connect various chemical community stakeholders
  • Create value for chemical companies by providing and seeking relevant services


The 4th IGCW-2015 Convention & Ecosystem provides an apt platform for solution and technology providers from across the globe to showcase their potential technologies, products and/or services to the Indian Chemical Industry seeking right partners for accelerating the implementation and industrialization of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering based practices in Indian Chemical Industry.


In this context, the 4th IGCW-2015 stands out as a timely opportunity for exploring new paradigms, new ways of collaborating and to showcase new products and technological solutions in the green chemistry and/or engineering direction.


Frequently Asked Questions:


What is Industrial Green Chemistry World (IGCW)?

  • IGCW is an expression that goes beyond the theoretical understanding of ‘green’ chemistry & ‘green’ engineering
  • IGCW is attempt that brings-forth relevant products, processes & technologies from the corridors of laboratories to the cauldrons of the Industry
  • IGCW is a growing ecosystem for creating real-time value for chemical companies by providing and seeking relevant services, technologies, products, expertise and/or solutions

Is it real?

  • IGCW is recognized as Asia’s largest industrial convention on ‘Green Chemistry & Green Engineering’
  • Being regularly organized every two years since its launch in 2009, and will be facilitated biennially until 2020
  • Leading institutes and organizations have come together to build the IGCW platform. Click here to view the list of past and present IGCW Partners and Supporters

Is it credible?

Is it worthy of my time and money?

Who else is participating?

  • Day I (4th Dec. 2015) is for chief executives, entrepreneurs, senior decision makers
  • Day II (5th Dec. 2015, pre-lunch) is primarily for technical directors/consultants, R&D managers, and principal scientists
  • Day II (5th Dec. 2015, post-lunch), is for project, production and operation  managers and consultants

Who are the Speakers?

IGCW-2015 brings together diverse experts and industry stalwarts on a common platform- the 4th edition of IGCW-2015 speakers include:

  • Dr. John Warner, Co-founder 12 Principles of Green Chemistry (The Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, USA)
  • Dr. David J. Constable (Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute, USA)
  • Dr. Raman Ramachandran (Chairman & Managing Director, BASF India)
  • Dr. Swaminathan Sivaram (CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow, National Chemical Laboratories, India)
  • Dr. Joachim F Kruger (Senior Vice President, Clariant Chemicals, Switzerland)
  • Dr. Maria Dalko (Director of Chemistry Department, L'Oréal Research & Innovation, France)
  • Dr. Murali Sastry (CEO, IITB-Monash Research Academy, India).

Click here to view the complete list of IGCW-2015 Confirmed Speakers

What’s in it for me and my organisation?

  • If you are solution provider you may consider showcasing your relevant product, technology, solution or services at the IGCW-2015 EXPO to tap the emerging ‘green chemistry & engineering market in India’
  • If you have a great idea, initiative or proof-of-concept which you want India to look at, you may consider submitting your case-study for IGCW Awards
  • If you are seeking solutions, technical insights, learning from Industry peers, and network with like-minded, you may Register here to attend the Convention

We are promoting awareness /building networks / expanding business opportunities for ‘green chemistry’, how do we come on-board as a Partner? 

That’s awesome! As, we too believe in synergizing our respective efforts and initiatives. Write to us at and we will love to hear more about your work, and partner with you to collectively forward the cause of ‘green chemistry & green engineering’.

How can I keep myself updated on IGCW-2015 Convention?

You can subscribe to IGCW -2015 news and updates by signing-up for weekly mailers at

You can also get connected to us (along with 30,000+ green chemistry community) on e-IGCW social media :  Twitter  ; LinkedIn ; Facebook

In case you need any further information or assistance, feel free to reach out us : Email:  Phone: +91 22 2879 1275 / 1835



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

Contributed by Ellen Sweet, Laboratory Ventilation Specialist, Cornell Department of Environmental Health and Safety; Mark Howe, Energy Manager, Cornell Department of Energy and Sustainability; and Spring Buck, Associate Director, Cornell Facilities Management.


Use of hazardous materials in laboratory experiments is inherently part of working in most laboratories. The choices of which of these materials used is an important role researchers and lab supervisors can play in reducing the environmental impact of their lab’s work. These choices can also impact the health and safety of people working in the space, operational costs such as the amount of mechanical ventilation necessary to work safely, and environmental impacts such as wastes generated. Chemical health and safety, the cost effective operation of facilities, and environmental compliance are all enhanced by sustainability efforts.


Achieving compliance with complex local, state, and federal regulations, and reducing the human and environmental impact of a lab are inherently intertwined. Sustainability efforts, including the principles of Green Chemistry, support the best use of institutional equipment and resources. These efforts have a positive impact on the health and safety of people in the lab and those supporting the labs, and generally reduce costs associated with lab operations.


However, with scientific research being the primary purpose of a lab, consciously incorporating sustainability into lab operations is often not an intuitive priority for lab supervisors and Principal Investigators. Prudent management of hazardous materials, along with the principles of Green Chemistry, support productive and successful research and education. Some key steps for implementation of sustainable lab management include:

  • Understand the hazards associated with the work being performed in a lab. This is a skill to be learned by all students and laboratory staff working in the laboratory environment.
  • Consider the health and safety aspects of laboratory work. Incorporate this information into the planning of experimental procedures that involves hazardous materials, including disposal of materials as they are no longer needed.
  • Consider and plan appropriately for the following:
    • Types and volumes of chemicals that are needed
    • Where in the lab the experiment should be conducted
    • Whether the procedure can be safely done on the benchtop or whether it should be conducted in a fume hood or glove box
  • Reach out to Health and Safety professionals for advice on regulations and best practices. Additional examples of actions, and associated benefits, are outlined in the following table:



These efforts pay off both financially and socially. The costs of supporting science education and research is becoming a larger concern as energy costs and climate change are an increasing social priority. Ventilation costs to support safe conduct of laboratory work is one of the biggest overhead costs associated with lab research.  Utility costs per square foot of lab area is 2-2.5 times that of office and classroom use.


                                                                           (Climate Action Plan, 2013)


At Cornell, energy conservation projects over the past decade have reduced energy use by 20%, while lowering the campus Energy Use Intensity (EUI) from 186 kBtu/Sf-yr to 157 kBtu/Sf-Yr.  Future projects will continue to reduce lab energy use while maintaining occupant comfort and safety.


Laboratory wastes, whether hazardous or unregulated solid waste, are costly to discard. Controlling the purchase and storage of chemicals reduces waste generation. If not handled properly these potentially impact not only the environment, but the custodial and waste management staff who must handle the wastes downstream.


Advancing sustainability on academic campuses takes ongoing collaboration between laboratory staff, and the institutional Environmental Health & Safety, Energy Management and Sustainability departments. Each plays an important role in the operational decisions of the laboratory and the long term institutional support of science education and research. Green Lab programs around the U.S. aim to assist and educate lab users in chemical management and promote Green Chemistry, lab energy conservation, solid waste management, as well as in other areas of laboratory operations.


Learn more about Green Labs at Cornell at:



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                   2016 Banner.png

Dates: June 14-16, 2016

Location: Portland, Oregon at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower

Submission Deadline: October 16, 2015

Notification of acceptance by: November, 2015


The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) is pleased to announce that it will hold its 20th annual scientific meeting June 14-16, 2016 in the eco-city of Portland, Oregon. The Green Chemistry & Engineering (GC&E) Conference Advisory Committee is now inviting the submission of proposals for symposia for presentation during this meeting.


The GC&E Advisory Committee requests that all proposals reflect ACS GCI’s mission to advance the implementation of green chemistry and engineering practices across the global chemistry enterprise. The overarching theme of the conference in 2016 will be Advancing Sustainable Solutions by Design. The committee will be looking for proposals which include perspectives from basic scientists, industrial scientists, business leaders, students, government, NGO, etc. Proposal submitters should creatively design their sessions to be highly interactive (e.g., facilitate lively discussion, include sufficient time for Q&A, rapid-fire sessions, workshop-based learning, debates, etc.).   Attendees should leave sessions with clear ideas for how they can use the information disseminated in the session in their professional careers.  Submitters are asked to describe how these outcomes will be achieved in the session and should provide potential speakers and/or topics of presentations.


The 2016 GC&E Conference Advisory Committee is especially seeking submissions which address the following topics:

  • DESIGN of more sustainable chemicals according to green chemistry and engineering principles
  • DESIGN of innovative chemical technologies
  • DESIGN of processes to increase efficiency and reduce waste
  • DESIGN of curricula and curricular materials to infuse green chemistry throughout education
  • DESIGN of materials for:

     o the built environment (e.g., homes, offices, manufacturing, etc.)

     o apparel and footwear

     o electronics

     o aerospace

  • DESIGN of novel approaches to:

     o collaborations between academia and industry

     o chemicals policy

     o green chemistry and engineering metrics / assessment methodologies


Proposals should include the following information:

  • A brief statement describing the rationale/need for this topic at the GC&E meeting (500 words or less);
  • A description of the practice gaps that will be addressed during the symposium. This description should focus on how addressing these gaps will advance green chemistry and engineering in this area;
  • Proposed speakers (with affiliations), anticipated topics of presentations and proposed mix of invited and contributed presentations.
  • Plans/methods for creating an interactive environment during the session. Workshops and panel discussions are encouraged.

Please submit your symposia proposal to by October 16, 2015. All symposia submissions will be reviewed by the GC&E Advisory Committee and applicants will be notified of decisions in November, 2015.


If you have questions, please contact us at the email address above. We are looking forward to a stimulating event as we celebrate 20 years of bringing together a diverse scientific community to advance green chemistry and engineering research, education and sustainable technologies.


Kind regards, GC&E Advisory Committee




“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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