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Five Ways Chemicals Can Save the World from Climate Change

February 24, 2016 | Elsevier

When it comes to the environment, the chemical industry doesn’t have the best reputation.


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What Chemists Do - Biochemistry and Green Chemistry Professor- Video

February 23, 2016 | American Chemical Society

Challa Vijaya Kumar, Ph.D, is a professor of chemistry at the University of Connecticut. Prof. Kumar's research interest is in the production of functional materials that are biodegradable.


Unlocking the Promise of Bio-Based Plastics

February 22, 2016 | DuPont

The growing global glut of crude and corresponding collapse in oil prices are reshaping short-term market dynamics.


Chemists Achieve Hydrocyanation without Using Toxic Hydrogen Cyanide

February 22, 2016 | C&EN

Organic Synthesis: Safer, reversible transfer reaction to make nitriles opens up new possibilities in chemical synthesis.


UK Engineering Students Win Grant to Further International Pesticide Research

February 22, 2016 | WKMS

A team of chemical engineering students from the University of Kentucky’s Paducah campus has won a federal grant of nearly $15,000 for the third time to further research on non-synthetic pesticides.


For Better Future, `Go Green with Chemistry`

February 22, 2016 | CI News

Today’s younger generation not only has a zest to do something different, but also feel responsible towards the mother nature. Taking up a similar role, 12th grade student Ranjini has started an initiative ‘Go Green With Chemistry.’


Research on Introducing Green, Sustainable A-Level Chemistry

February 21, 2016 | Times of Malta

The introduction and impact of green and sustainable chemistry in the A-level chemistry curriculum was the subject of a doctoral thesis by Mario Fenech Caruana for a Ph.D in Science Education he was awarded by the University of York.


Biofuel from Fungi: Barnyard Poop has Potential to be Broken Down and Turned into Energy

February 19, 2016 | Newsweek

New research shows the fungi that grow naturally in the gut of sheep, goats and horses can help turn biomass into biofuel more efficiently.


UCSB Chemical Engineer to Receive Presidential Award

February 19, 2016 | The Current

Michelle O’Malley is recognized for her innovative research at the frontiers of 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.

Battle Lines are Drawn in One of the Biggest Fights Against Toxic Chemicals in Decades

February 18, 2016 | Alternet

The laws governing the tens of thousands of chemicals that saturate the marketplace are being reformed. But will it make any difference?

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MillerCoors Cuts Brewery Waste Down to Zero

February 17, 2016 | Just Means

There are a number of strands in the sustainability story: different approaches, if you will, towards achieving a more sustainable economy.


Test-Driving the Hydrogen Car that Makes a Little Go a Long Way

February 17, 2016 | New Scientist

A prototype car tailored to its hydrogen power source gets more oomph from its fuel cell than competitors, leading the way to more efficient, cleaner vehicles.


World's Scientists Probe Our Hidden Universe of Microbial Ecosystems --Critical to Life (Today's Most Popular)

February 16, 2016 | The Daily Galaxy

Microbiomes are ecosystems of one-celled organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae, and plankton, as well as viruses.


Biofuel Researchers Employ Titan to Probe 'Lignin Shield'

February 16, 2016 | PYS ORG

When the Ford Motor Company's first automobile, the Model T, debuted in 1908, it ran on a corn-derived biofuel called ethanol, a substance Henry Ford dubbed "the fuel of the future."


New Method for Bio-Designing Yeast Could Improve Biofuel Production

February 15, 2016 | PYR ORG

An assistant research specialist at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) has designed a new strain of yeast that could improve the efficiency of making fuel from cellulosic biomass such as switchgrass.


A New Life for Coal Ash

February 15, 2016 | C&EN

Sustainability: Electric utilities, environmentalists, researchers, and regulators converge on sustainable solutions for recycling waste from coal-fired power plants.


Giant Wood-to-Diesel Plant Planned for Finland

February 12, 2016 | C&EN

Advanced biofuel: Chinese firm says it will spend $1 billion on Fischer-Tropsch facility


ACS GCI in the News New


ACS GCI Biochemical Technology Roundtable Opens for Membership

February 18, 2016 | The Nexus

With the launch of the Biochemical Technology Leadership Roundtable (BTLR), the ACS GCI seeks to provide a forum for pre-competitive industry collaboration.




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Contributed by Ann Lee-Jeffs, Program Manager; David Constable, Director; Christiana Briddell, Communication Manager, ACS GCI; and Steve Rochlin, co-CEO, IO Sustainability


The bio-based chemical industry is emerging as an important player in achieving a more sustainable future, contributing to the circular economy, and addressing the challenges of the 21st century. A growing sector, the U.S. bioeconomy is estimated to be worth $369 billion, employing 4 million Americans either directly or indirectly according to recent USDA report . A wide range of companies are involved from global corporations to innovative start-ups to many major brand name companies, as well as an ecosystem of supporting organizations, trade groups, government agencies and academic research centers.


Over the past year, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® has been conducting in depth research to evaluate the challenges and opportunities of the bio-based technology value chain. After interviewing over 50 stakeholders representing over 30 organizations from academia, government, NGOs and business, the responses made it clear that there is a significant unrealized potential here. On the positive side, stakeholders are finding that new bio-based and renewable chemical products are making progress in competing based on performance and price for existing applications, while offering expansions into novel and innovative applications.


However, to compete with existing, petroleum-based technologies on an even playing field will require the bio-based sector to substantially scale-up production. Doing so will require overcoming several key technical challenges—among the most notable being the need to enhance the effectiveness, and related costs, of feedstock conversation.


In addition, the industry needs to overcome obstacles such as a lack of awareness and interest by chemists and formulators, inertia in purchasing behaviors, feedstock consistency, improvement in quality performance, and price pressures. Establishing an empirical foundation for the industry’s claims of delivering superior environmental performance is another key area. In short, from research and development all the way to consumers, the organizations needs to break down silos and actively collaborate to build a thriving, competitive, high-performing, and sustainable industry.


The New Roundtable


With the launch of the Biochemical Technology Leadership Roundtable (BTLR), the ACS GCI seeks to provide a forum for pre-competitive industry collaboration. Building on our successful roundtable model,  the BTLR will be uniquely devoted to catalyzing and enabling the bio-based and renewable chemicals economy by promoting the underlying science required for the development and implementation of bio-based and renewable chemical technologies.


The scope includes technologies used to produce chemicals and products through biological transformations of bio-based and renewable materials, e.g., from bio-based feedstocks such as crop biomass, oil seed plants and algae, but also other renewable sources such as waste carbon dioxide and methane.


The Biochemical Technology Leadership Roundtable is now open for membership and two companies, Lanzatech and Intrexon, have already committed to becoming founding members.


“Supportive frameworks will help get new technologies to commercial scale in a shorter time frame,” says Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “LanzaTech is now 10 years old, a relatively mature company in the field of the bio-based economy, and we hope that our experience in this space will serve future members well as they bring their technologies to market.”


Intrexon, a company offering biological transformations with their Better DNA™ across many sectors, including health, energy, food, environment, and consumer products, sees value in the Roundtable, “BTLR will help us increase awareness and foster adoption of these transformative, bio-based technologies.”


Once the Roundtable forms, companies will identify key, pre-competitive levers to advance member company success and work collaboratively. Areas of potential collaboration identified by the stakeholder survey include:


  • Identification of key research enablers to reduce the costs and improve performance of feedstock conversion/transformation
  • Development of a credible scientific database regarding scientific trends in the field for businesses that supports commercialization, standards setting, and policy
  • Promotion and advancing scientific forums in the field to enable robust best-practice sharing and benchmarking
  • Identification of opportunities to support promising scale-up efforts in the field
  • Development of tools and methodologies to inform the design and use of bio-chemical and renewable chemical technologies
  • Enhancing global collaboration among companies to increase the accessibility of green chemistry and engineering expertise by:
    • Utilizing the ACS GCI network of international affiliates and researchers
    • Sharing best practices among our members
    • Educating and influencing current and future leaders on the field’s business values and scientific merits.


If you are interested in learning more, you can find the BTLR business plan, FAQs, and one-pager on our website . Companies interested in evaluating membership should contact Program Manager, Ann Lee-Jeffs .


The Roundtable will be officially launched for membership at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference taking place in Washington DC this week. The BTLR will be presented in a panel with Jack Bobo, Senior VP and Chief Communications Officer, Intrexon; Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, LanzaTech; Ann Lee-Jeffs, Green Chemistry Program Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®; with moderation by Steve Rochlin, co-CEO, IO Sustainability.


Keywords: biochemical; bio-based; renewable; biotechnology; supply chain; green chemistry; sustainability




“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 Laura Hoch, Technical Fellow, GC3


Collaboration and regular interaction between members of the green chemistry community is vital to the growth and widespread adoption of green chemistry. In order to facilitate discussion and networking outside of regular conferences the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) partnered with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) to create the Green Chemistry Innovation Forum as a place for members of the green chemistry community to connect, ask questions, and share ideas. The Innovation Forum has content on a wide range of green chemistry topics, from discussions of safer alternatives, to priority chemicals and functions, to showcasing innovative new products, to job postings, and serves as a hub for updates on the field of green chemistry and upcoming events. GC3 and ACS GCI staff act as moderators for the forum, monitoring submissions and recruiting experts within the field to respond to questions, encouraging interaction. By ensuring that every posted question gets a prompt answer our hope is to create a vibrant community of practitioners.


As with any Internet-based forum, the Portal’s usefulness and success depends on the number of users and diversity of interactions. Since the launch of the Innovation Forum in June 2015 we have seen steady growth in the number of views and comments for a total of 1,264 participants. In order to continue to drive traffic and respond to interests of the green chemistry community, we have initiated structured text-based Q&A sessions, entitled “Ask the Innovators,” as a way to simultaneously generate useful content and increase visibility of the forum. To date we have organized two successful Ask the Innovators events, in which people can directly interact with innovative scientists in real time, asking questions about their green chemistry solutions.


The first event in November 2015 focused on University of California Berkeley’s Greener Solutions Program, a project-based class that partners students with organizations involved in sustainable chemistry. Panelists included Tom McKeag and Meg Schwarzman of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, Billy Hart-Cooper, a student at UC Berkeley, and Kaj Johnson, Senior Director of Product Development at Method, who was one of the industrial partners of the program.  Topics of discussion ranged from how companies can become partners in the program to how new green chemicals can get introduced to the market.


The second Ask the Innovators event in January 2016 focused on the science behind greener alternatives to durable water repellents for textiles, which we titled “How Green is Your Raincoat?” Our expert panel included Bob Buck, Technical Fellow at Chemours, Matt Dwyer, Director of Materials Innovation at Patagonia, Stefan Posner, Senior Researcher at SWEREA IVF, and Philippa Hill, Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Leeds. Members of the green chemistry community asked a broad range of questions from how to engage key decision makers in the supply chain to make the transition to non-fluorinated DWRs successful, to how perflourcarbon compounds from raincoats are transmitted into the natural environment, to how biomimicry could be used to design novel water repellants. The discussion, totaling 93 posts, received 2,695 views and counting with 278 individuals participating.


Both of these events have demonstrated that using text-based Q&A sessions is an effective method to facilitate lively discussion around green chemistry innovation. We have several more Ask the Innovators sessions planned for the next few months  on topics ranging from strategies for mainstreaming green chemistry to greener flame retardants. If you have any feedback or suggestions for new Ask the Innovators topics, please send them to us! This forum is meant to be an important tool for the green chemistry community, so please don’t hesitate to contact us, either by commenting below or via email at




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

Contributed by PETRA HUBER*, SARAH MEROLA, ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Life Sciences and Facility Management, Campus Grüental


There is increasing interest in quantifying the penetration of active substances into the skin. Toxicologists wish to demonstrate the non-penetration of sunscreens to confirm product safety. Specialists in biopharmaceutical issues are interested in the penetration kinetics of active ingredients in various skin layers, the release of active ingredients from their carriers (“delivery”) and how different carriers such as simple solutions, emulsions or other carriers affect the efficacy of the product (1). In cosmetics both the penetration into the skin and efficiency of delivery of active ingredients are of interest. There is also a commercial need for better human skin equivalents (HSEs) as clinical skin substitutes and as models for permeation and toxicity screening. Testing methods must confirm that the barrier properties of the HSEs are comparable to skin (2).


It has been demonstrated that some active ingredients penetrate the barrier of the stratum corneum of the skin readily while others require the emulsion base in which they are incorporated to be modified. The penetration is determined by the molecular size of the substance and its lipophilic or hydrophilic character. The relationship between lipophilicity and hydrophilicity is represented by the dimensionless octanol-water partition coefficient, P. This describes the relationship of the concentrations of octanol (lipophilic) and water (hydrophilic) components detected in each phase of a two-phase mixture. The logarithm of the P value is positive for lipophilic and negative for hydrophilic substances. The penetration ability of a substance is described by its permeability coefficient (Kp).


Daniels (3) identified that a moderate lipophilic octanol-water partition coefficient (Pow between 10 and 100, corresponding to a logP between 1 and 2) and a molecular mass up to 500 g/mol (corresponding to daltons) indicate an ideal penetration of a substance through the stratum corneum of the skin epidermis.


As part of the drive to replace animal experiments, so-called Franz diffusion-type cells can be used in accordance with OECD Guideline No. 428 as an in vitro method to measure skin absorption (4). This offers an interesting alternative to the more costly in vivo method involving Raman spectrometric measurement on living skin (5).

Figure 1.png

The static test design uses a vertical Franz-type diffusion cell. As shown in Figure 1, the vertical glass Franz diffusion cell is composed of a lower compartment called a receptor and an upper compartment called a donor between which a membrane is positioned. The two compartments are held together with a clamp. The cells are surrounded by a water jacket to guarantee a constant temperature during the experiment. The OECD guideline recommends a temperature near normal skin temperature of 32 +/- 1 °C. The receptor chamber contains a receptor fluid that is constantly mixed by a stir bar. The receptor fluid should be chosen so that it is physiologically favorable for the skin and so that the test substance has an adequate solubility in it (4). If the solubility of the test substance in the receptor fluid is not sufficient, saturation and back diffusion may occur. Furthermore, the receptor fluid should neither influence the barrier function of the membrane nor the analytical procedure (6).


The donor chamber contains the test substance which is present as an aqueous solution or is formulated in such a way as to correspond to the way humans may be exposed to it. The test substance is applied on the skin (or membrane). The dose for percutaneous absorption should be infinite, where large volumes of active substances per unit area are applied (4).


The preparation of the individual Franz diffusion cells in the static model and the associated single-point measurement sampling, which in each case also means the termination of the experiment in the diffusion cell in question, are time and material intensive. The sampling of an adequate amount of receptor fluid is a delicate step. To maintain sink condition and to avoid air bubbles under the membrane, the fluid level should not change during the experiment. The sink conditions can be maintained by using multiple cells corresponding to the number of sampling points or by replacing the collected fluid with fresh medium. Both of these options are not optimal. By using a large number of cells the costs of material is extremely high. Furthermore, the usage of a large number of skin pieces (or skin equivalents) increases the heterogeneity of the skin samples resulting from the different skin sources and increases the standard deviation within multiple determinations. Alternatively, when replacing the collected receptor fluid with fresh medium unwanted errors may occur during the dilution step or when determining its concentration. In both cases a trained technician researcher needs to be present during the 24 hours of the experiment and a restricted number of sample points is possible.


An on-line measurement system that permits continuous measurement of penetration characteristics has been developed. The dynamical test design uses an in-line cell where the receptor fluid flows through the receptor chamber and simulates the blood circulation in the skin. The concentration of the test substance in the receptor fluid is determined directly by HPLC. This system capitalizes on the advantages of the Franz diffusion cell test method and can be utilized at the pre-screening stage to give time and cost-savings. This novel on-line measurement system is presented and discussed in this paper.






The Franz diffusion cell (Permegear Type 4G-01-00-25-20), with a custom built sample port of 3.5 mm, and the Franz diffusion cell V3 Stirrer were purchased from SES GmbH Analysesysteme (Germany). The synthetic membrane-based model, Strat-M®, for transdermal diffusion tests was purchased from Merck Millipore (Switzerland). Syringe filters (Chromafil Xtra PET 20/25) with a pore size of 0.20 μm were obtained from Machery-Nagel (Germany).


Caffeine (CA), (theobromine, TH, and epicatechin, EC, for the pre-tests) and phosphate buffer solution (PBS 1M and pH 7.4) were supplied by Sigma-Aldrich (Switzerland).


The UV/Vis spectrophotometer Cary 60, the fiber optic dip probe coupler and the fiber optic microprobe were purchased from Agilent (Switzerland). Cary WINUV software was used for every experiment. A second fiber optic microprobe (Falcata with a diameter of 3.2mm) was obtained from Hellma Analytics.  The main measurements, based on transflection, were conducted with this microprobe. Both fiber optic microprobes are developed to measure in small sample volumes (1 ml).


Diffusion method The diffusion study was performed using a Franz-type diffusion cell with a diameter of 25 mm, a surface area of 4.91cm2 and a custom made sample port of 3.5mm. The custom-made sample port was necessary to position the fiber optic probe in the acceptor chamber. The temperature of the cell was held constant by a thermostat-controlled water bath at 32+/-1°C. A small magnetic stir bar was introduced in the acceptor chamber to stir the acceptor fluid. The phosphate buffer solution was degassed for 30min with a water-jet vacuum pump and diluted with ultrapure water to 0.02 M. Subsequently the PBS solution was filtered with a syringe filter. Before filling the cell with the PBS solution, the fiber optic probe was positioned in the acceptor chamber so that no air bubbles were formed in the optical path during the filling. The sealing compound was placed on the surrounding of the acceptor and donor chamber. The Strat-M membrane was placed on the acceptor chamber avoiding air bubbles under the membrane and closed with the donor chamber and the clamp. After 15 minutes of equilibration 4ml of the donor solution with a concentration of 1g/L, which corresponds to an infinite dose of 4000μg, were applied and the measurement was started. During the kinetic study, measurements were taken every minute for the first hour and then every 30 minutes until the end of the experiment.



figure 2.pngThe penetration ability of a substance is described as its permeability coefficient (Kp [cm/s]). A comparison of the diffusion rates on a synthetic membrane (Strat-M®, Merck Millipore) showed that the selected pure compounds, Epicatechin (EC), Theobromin (TH) and caffeine (CA), applied at “infinite dose” (i.e. with a constant amount of active substance on the skin surface) had very different penetration abilities. With this pre-screening on-line method, a continuous permeation amount of caffeine from an aqueous solution (0.1%) was observed with a Kp of 9.07 *10-7 cm/s, see Figure 2. Because typically artificial membranes, compared with skin, do not represent such significant barriers, the lag times tL are very small and can be neglected (7). If barrier characteristics are given, for example with skin, the kinetic evaluation of the permeation coefficient should also include tL. This is the time required for diffusion through the skin. The investigation done on the synthetic membrane showed on a 95% significance level, the Pearson’s correlation coefficient exceeds r= 0.9986 that the growth curve is highly linear, i.e. the process is most probably of order zero. Howes et al. (6) proposed different mathematical models to evaluate/model/fit the resulting kinetic. This measurement system would enable a time-saving comparison of the barrier properties of various membranes; however, this was not the aim of the current study.


figure 3.pngMeasurements with both models of the microprobes demonstrated that the limit of detection (LoD) for caffeine was 3*10-6g/L and the limit of quantification (LoQ) was 1*10-5g/L. The calibration curve, measured at the wavelength λ 273nm  for caffeine, showed a linear relationship between the concentrations of 0.002 g/L (abscissa 0.1) und 0.018 g/L (abscissa 0.9)  validating the test method by microprobes within this range (see Figure 3). To check the accuracy of these data they were verified with the UV-absorbance detection by a micro plate assay (not shown).


In the method using UV-spectrometry (and a microprobe via transflectance), it is critical that the anticipated result falls within the linear measurement range, in accordance with the Beer-Lambert law, ideally with a transmission value of between 0.1 and 1. This expected value obtained from the acceptor medium in the Franz cell should be reviewed prior to the experiment with consideration given to the barrier properties of the selected membrane or in relationship either to the octanol-water partition coefficient, P, or the molecular mass, as stated above. In this study, neither the EC nor TH yielded results within the linear measurement range. This was probably due to their reduced solubility in the chosen medium and partly by their logP values rather than their molecular mass, see Tab.1. In general, the penetration of polyphenols is improved with smaller molecular size and moderate hydrophilicity (negative logP) according to Zillich et al. (7). If necessary, the initial concentration of the test substance in the donor medium should be adapted.






The in-vitro penetration studies with synthetic membranes in static Franz cells and an on-line detection by microprobe (optical principle of transflectance) were tested in triplicate for reproducibility. During one investigation the standard deviation within the results of +/-10% was due to the fragility of the setting of the Franz Cells and neither to the integrity of the membranes nor to the instability of the detection line. Measurement, for example by TEWL devices (transepidermal water loss), to proof the integrity of synthetic membranes is not specially required as it is with biological materials. However, this would make sense in the case of a resulting incoherent kinetic curve. For better readability, standard deviations have not been included in Figure 2 although the data was derived from multiple experiments.


To obtain consistent results, attention must be paid to the factors influencing degassing and filtration of the acceptor medium and to the absence of air bubbles under the membrane.


The all over recovery for the aqueous 0.1% caffeine solution was 99.3% +/- 4.4% (1.7% in the acceptor and 97.6% in the donor compartment) after triplicate analyses by UV-Vis spectrophotometry. The measuring principle was selective, i.e. there was no interference from the other substances in the media used in this study.  Individual substances could be detected at specific wavelengths. However, before tests are carried out on specific cosmetics, it must be established that auxiliaries are not detected within the selected wavelength range.


The above-mentioned properties and the determined limit of detection confirm the validation of this measuring method as described in the method section for single substances in aqueous solution.


In recent years, even though it is cost intensive, Raman spectroscopy has been established  as an alternative non-invasive method to directly determine penetrated active substances in human skin in vivo by focusing a laser into the top layers of skin (stratum corneum and within the first 200 μm of the skin) and recording the scattered Raman signals. Since this is not a standard method of measurement many degrees of freedom ensue. Hence, the suitability of Raman spectrometry for a specific measurement must be checked and validated. The limit of detection for measurement by HPLC can often be  lower compared to Raman spectroscopy provided that the substance to be detected is Raman active. Furthermore, absorption studies with quantitative recovery, which measure permeation and resorption processes in the in-vitro model, are not currently realizable.

figure 4.png

The on-line measurement technique permits the penetration kinetics of a substance to be determined in a full-thickness skin model (pig ear skin or human cadaver skin) instead of on synthetic membranes. In these cases, the full-thickness skin must be prepared separately to permit a quantitative recovery, as shown in Figure 4. To affirm the integrity of the dermatomed skin  the  mean of the TEWL flux was 3.83 g/hm2 +/- 1.30. The cut off-value of ≥ 20 g/hm2 was determined by internal investigation injuring the dermatomed skin intentionally with a scalpel (mean out of 20 single measurements).


After 8 hours of application, the substance epicatechin (EC) remained mostly in the donor compartment and a very small amount was detected in the skin layer viable epidermis, but this was at the limit of detection. The recovery for the aqueous 0.05% EC was 83% +/-0.72% after triplicate analyses.  Since the main barrier function of the skin is located in the stratum corneum, no or little permeation was expected. The amount of EC that was not detected on recovery and could have been permanently bound to skin proteins or possibly have been destroyed as a result of oxidation (1).


To optimize the delivery of the active ingredients into the skin, the polarity of the active ingredient must first be compared with the polarity of skin and the other emollient components (see the concept of Relative Polarity Index (RPI) by Wiechers J. (9)). This simple method of formulation should be checked and optimised before further skin application tests are carried out. Penetration enhancers, in addition to the chosen emollient and its polarity, affect the delivery and the penetration behaviour into the stratum corneum (9,10). Internal studies have demonstrated that the proposed in-line method can be adapted for investigations into the effects of using different formulation types or encapsulation systems with time-saving benefits.


Complex mixtures of substances in the acceptor medium should continue to be analysed by HPLC as long as their absorption maxima are not significantly different. The microprobe can be set for a lead compound. Some software programs also permit a wavelength scan during on-line measurement.


The aim of this study was to develop an alternative on-line measurement system fitted to the classic penetration study with Franz diffusion cell to directly quantify UV detectable substances in the receptor compartment. The classic in vitro method requires several samples to be taken from the receptor fluid over 24 hours and for corrections for the change in volume of the receptor fluid to be made or a number of cells equalling the number of the sample points to be used.


In summary, taking into account the previously discussed points, the following benefits can be derived from in-vitro penetration studies with a microprobe:


  • The combination of synthetic membranes permits prescreening of the fundamental penetration kinetics or release/delivery kinetics of substances.
  • Continuous monitoring of penetration kinetics can occur thanks to a theoretically unlimited number of measuring points. The duration of the experiments is based on the penetration behavior of the substance to be examined and the durability of the biological membranes (24-48 hours). The latter does not apply to synthetic membranes.
  • The presence of a technician researcher is not required and so the length of the experiment and the sample point can be set freely.
  • Due to the continuous measurement, less membrane material is required than with single-point measuring systems where the membrane is discarded after each data point.
  • The measurement system enables a time-saving comparison of the barrier properties of various membranes.




We thank Dr. Norbert Fischer, Vasilisa Pedan, Samantha Peters and Stella Cook, ZHAW, Wädenswil (CH), for their valuable support.





(1) Huber P., Merola S., Pedan V., et al., Study of polyphenol penetration from organic-aqueous cocoa extracts – antioxidant activity, IFSCC Conference 2015 Zurich, Proceedings, Full Paper and Poster, 2015

(2) Zheng Zhang, Bozena B. Michniak-Kohn, Tissue Engineered Human Skin Equivalent),  pharmaceutics 2012, 4, 26-41 Corp. 23-35, 2008

(3) Daniels R., Knie , U., Galenics of dermal products – vehicles, properties and drug release, JDDG 5:367–383, 2007

(4) OECD , OECD Guideline (428) for the testing of chemicals. Paris: OECD, 2004

(5) Huber, P., Adlhart, C., Luginbühl, V., Opitz, S., Morf, F., Yeretzian, C., Coffee based polyphenols with potential in skin care: Antioxidant activity and skin penetration assessed by in vivo Raman spectroscopy. Household and Personal Care Today, 9, 3. 60-65, 2014

(6) Howes, D., Guy, R., Hadgraft, et al. 'Methods for Assessing Percutaneous Absorption - The Report and Recommendations of ECVAM Workshop 13', Alternatives Lab. Anim., (24), 81-106,  1996

(7) Zillich, V. O., Schweiggert-Weisz U., HasenkopfK., et al.,  Release and in vitro skin permeation of polyphenols from cosmetic emulsions, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 1–11, 2013

(8) ChemSpider ID: 393368s’ ACD/PhysChem Suite, Advanced Chemistry Development, Inc., Toronto, On, Canada,, 2014

(9) Wiechers J. W., Formulating for Efficacy Skin Barrier, Chemistry of Skin Delivery in: Wiechers J. W. (Ed.), Skin Barrier: Chemistry of Skin Delivery Systems, Carol Stream: Allured Publishing, 2008

(10) Barry B.W., Bennet S.L., effect of penetration enhancers on the permeation of mannitol, hydrocortisone and progesterone through human skin, J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 39 535-546, 1987


Original article from Teknoscienze, PETRA HUBBER, HPC Today, Vol. 10(5), pp. 40-43, 2015




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It’s been a busy start to the New Year.  The annual GC&E conference always requires a considerable amount of effort throughout the year, and this year will be no different.  Moving the conference to Portland will have its challenges, and we are always looking for new approaches to ensure that there are interesting ways of presenting the science.   We’re also looking forward to the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony on the Monday evening before the Conference, and holding that event in Portland will be very different. At the end of that week, we are looking forward to holding a workshop to for the Green Chemistry Educational Roadmap, which will build on the visioning workshop we held in September of last year. In between, the ACS GCI Industrial Roundtables will be meeting and holding their annual industry poster reception. Every year I am amazed at all the activities that happen in that one week, but this year will take it to another level.  It will be a great week for green chemistry and engineering, and I hope that many of you will consider joining us there!


Aside from all of our conference planning, there is the Alternative Separations to Distillation project and a workshop to be held later this week. The ACS GCI Chemical Manufacturer’s Roundtable has been driving that initiative with an inspiring degree of commitment, and we look forward to developing a credible technology roadmap in the months to come. We’re also planning to kick off the Biochemical Technology Leadership Roundtable this week. This caps a year-long effort to engage with about 50 different organizations across the bio-based chemicals value chain to see if we can’t move the industry forward. I’m excited about the possibilities for this roundtable, and I hope we are able to coalesce a group of companies and make significant progress. It’s a challenging time for bio-based chemicals given the current dip in oil prices, so all the more reason to collaborate and partner to move the bio-based economy forward.


In late January, I was invited to be a part of a workshop at University of California, Santa Barbara (USCB) convened by Prof. Eric McFarland on the future of Energy and Chemicals production. It was a great workshop and I learned a lot from many of the speakers throughout the day. The next two days I was able to attend the Materials Research Outreach Program symposium at UCSB. I unfortunately don’t get as much time as I’d like to take in talks on materials research, and it was great to see and hear all the interesting work that is being done at UCSB. All three days, however, drove home the need to do more to raise awareness about how green chemistry and engineering thinking needs to be integrated into materials research. Whether you’re talking about catalysts that use platinum group metals, or electronics that use elements like indium or the rare earths, or you’re working with nanoparticles, all of these active research programs rarely consider the sustainability of the materials and processes that are being researched and developed.


For the last several years now I have been speaking quite a bit about critical elements and the sustainability of the elements that chemists rely upon to do the interesting chemistry they do. There seems to be a major disconnect between using a particular element, say iridium for catalysis, and the associated environmental burden that comes with that mg of iridium used in the lab. Or, perhaps it’s a rare earth element and the topic of investigation is superconducting magnets that could be used for a new generation of electric vehicles or wind turbines.  Regardless of the research, there seems to be little or no appreciation that there is literally mountains and rivers of waste that are associated with obtaining these materials. I hope you take the time to read Ashley Baker’s article in The Nexus this month, and I do hope more chemists think about ways of doing their research that cause less environmental impact and are more sustainable by design. As chemists, we need to be thinking more about not only doing “great” science, but science that is greatly beneficial and truly sustainable.


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






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Contributed by Ashley Baker, Research Assistant, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®


Slowly but surely the world is waking up to the reality and consequences that come with a disposable tech culture.  In May 2009, The Atlantic revealed “clean energy’s dirty little secret,” the story of how green technologies are currently made possible through the use of rare earth elements.  Just last year, the BBC featured an article detailing the disturbing conditions in and around an Inner Mongolia rare earths processing factory.


While the efforts of journalists and scientists seeking to raise awareness about the environmental and geopolitical issues surrounding rare earth elements have not inspired broad action, many different groups are seeking sustainable solutions.


Despite their name, these materials are not especially “rare;” certainly, many of them are more abundant in the Earth’s crust than commonly used platinum group metals. The challenges surrounding rare earths have more to do with their geographic concentrations and the difficulty in separating the desired elements from the ore in which they’re bound.


rare earth elements table.JPG

To add to the physical challenges of obtaining these materials, politics and global economics play key roles in the world’s supply.  China has the largest concentration of rare earths in the world, enabling the country to exert significant influence on the rare earths market.  Last year, the World Trade Organization determined that China was violating international trade agreements with its export restrictions.  The fact that the U.S., which has struggled to compete with foreign rare earth prices, filed the claim demonstrates the scale of these concerns.


Despite the challenges of mining and processing rare earths, our growing dependence on them – for everything from texting to national security – means avoiding them is no straightforward task.  This is where green chemistry can play a key role by re-imagining the processes and chemistries involved and innovating towards more sustainable solutions.  All over the world, chemists and engineers are seeking – and finding – ways to make sure that people throughout the world have access to technology that enables a higher standard of living, and for many years to come.


Alternatives, Innovation and Mitigation

Because of the market’s uncertainty associated with the distribution of rare earths, businesses have good reason to seek alternatives to buffer themselves against sudden price changes.  Companies such as Honda, Dell and Solvay are just a few that are innovating and seeking more sustainable ways of using rare earth elements or developing alternative approaches to delivering similar functionality.


Designing for recovery and recycling can cut down on the amount of rare earths a company needs to buy.  The Electronics TakeBack Coalition promotes green design and recycling of electronics.  That’s the route Dell is taking.  The theory is that by building products such that rare earth-containing components are easily identifiable and removable, the likelihood of the materials being either collected and reused increases.  Likewise, car manufacturer Tesla teamed up with Umicore to get as many rare earth metals as possible back from their electric engines.  Partnerships that enable more sustainable approaches while reducing operating costs are certainly a win-win.



While some companies look downstream for solutions like recycling, others are investigating opportunities for improvement closer to the beginning of the process.  Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for example, are seeking ways to improve the harsh processing steps.  They’ve found that ionic liquids may prove to be a safer alternative way to extract rare earths from mineral ores like bastnaesite, which is conventionally repeatedly treated with strong acids.  Further research into greener rare-earths processing methods could reduce the environmental impact of using them.



While mitigating the effects of using rare earths after the fact is certainly a step in the right direction, it would be ideal to avoid their use in the first place. IRENA is an international collaborative project with the mission of replacing indium and gallium in flat panel displays by using single-walled carbon nanotubes.  Similarly, novel metal alloys with computationally-predicted magnetic properties may just be the way forward.  With the help of computer programs that are more powerful than ever, there’s a chance novel compounds and materials could usurp permanent magnets made from rare earths.


The demand for these materials and products is great, and funding opportunities for more extensive research are emerging in response.  The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK began a £10 million program to support alternative, sustainable materials and to accelerate their commercialization.  Stateside, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) created the REACT program (Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies) to likewise fund research into substitute materials.


The current shortcomings of clean energy are certainly fixable; moreover, the methods we use now are hopefully just to tide us over as we transition from fossil fuels. Projects and organizations all over the world – like the Critical Materials Institute and the Critical Raw Materials Innovation Roadmap – are initiating collaborative efforts to create and implement technology that will work today and for many tomorrows. In addition, despite the bad environmental reputation of rare earths mining in China – by far the largest global supplier - there has been a buzz in clean production research over the past few years (reference: section 7.3.7).  Changes in Chinese mining regulation specifically target the most environmentally harmful mining methods, such as those that produce large quantities of radioactive slurry or facilities that fail to treat wastewater, gas and solid waste.  Encouraging results from research institutes and universities across China point to a future of safer and more efficient rare earths mining worldwide.


While the challenges may seem insurmountable, assuming there are no viable alternatives is a sure way to not find them, and believing something is impossible is a sure way to inhibit innovation. The future of rare earth element use will certainly require thinking far outside the box, and that could mean anything from mining the moon to undiscovered biochemical routes.

Doubts Raised About Key BPA Substitute

February 11, 2016 | Chemistry World

Accumulating research suggests that bisphenol S (BPS) – a preferred substitute for BPA – has a very similar toxicological profile to BPA, and may be no less harmful.

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Sustainable Innovation through Green Chemistry: Engaging graduate students outside of disciplinary silos

February 10, 2016 | McGill

Green chemistry is a rapidly growing area of interest for industry as companies face increased regulatory requirements, supply constraints, and consumer demands for sustainable products.


Can Manufacturing Save The World? Inspiration from Tesla, Owens Corning

February 10, 2016 | GreenBiz

Manufacturing and industrial production long have been the poster children for what is wrong with our current economic system.


Renewable Fuels from Algae Boosted by NREL Refinery Process

February 9, 2016 | Environmental Export

A new biorefinery process developed by scientists at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has proven to be significantly more effective at producing ethanol from algae than previous research.


Senator Uses Industry Roots to Prod Companies to do Better

February 9, 2016 | E&E Publishing, LLC

Because of how the chemical industry developed, whoever invented that particular brand of paint probably was thinking about how well it would work on Coons' walls -- not what would happen when its fumes filled his house, scientists say.


The Real Key to Remaking Manufacturing: Chemistry

February 9, 2016 | GreenBiz

In a vision of production where natural resource inputs drastically are reduced by constantly cycling materials back through supply chains, niche upcycling or re-manufacturing efforts tend to win out over models with potential to cost-effectively scale.


Bees Could Engineer Next-Generation Energy Storage

February 8, 2016 | Clean Technica

Energy storage could be the next item on the list when it comes to listing all the reasons we need to save the world’s bee population from collapse.


Guest Column: Tax Credit Would Support Value-Added Agriculture in Southwest Iowa

February 7, 2016 | The Daily Nonpareil

In the agricultural economy, declining commodity prices continue to be a concern. In corn- and soybean-rich southwest Iowa, this is of particular concern.




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Contributed by Mark Holtzapple, Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University

Figure 1.png

In 1996, we received the first Green Chemistry Challenge Award (Academic) for our process that converts waste biomass to animal feed, chemicals, and fuels. This award came at a very opportune time.  Less than one year prior to receiving the award, a start-up company was formed to commercialize our process.  The award validated the investment, which continues to this day.


Our process is an example of an entire class of biomass conversion processes, which we call the carboxylate platform.  It uses carboxylic acids and their salts as key intermediates to make industrial chemicals and transportation fuels (e.g., gasoline, jet fuel).  Potential feedstocks include municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, animal manure, agricultural residues, and energy crops.


Figure 1 shows an overview of the carboxylate platform.  Biomass components (e.g., cellulose, hemicellulose) are biologically converted to carboxylate salts (e.g., acetate, propionate, butyrate) via a mixed culture of microorganisms. The process is similar to classical anaerobic digestion, except that methanogens are inhibited, which allows carboxylate salts to accumulate rather than being converted to methane.

Figure 2.png



Using well-established chemical routes (Figure 2), the carboxylates are transformed into a wide variety of products, many of which are hydrocarbons commonly employed in gasoline and jet fuel.  In some cases, hydrogen is required in the chemical conversion step.  The hydrogen can be produced by gasifying undigested residues, or by reforming abundant natural gas.








Figure 3.pngFigure 3 is a schematic of the process. If the biomass lignin content is high, it is pretreated to enhance its digestibility. If the lignin content is low, pretreatment is not required.  Using a mixed culture of microorganisms derived from soil, the biomass is fermented to carboxylate salts, which are recovered and chemically converted to the products shown in Figures 1 and 2.




Table 1 compares the capital cost and selling price of hydrocarbon fuels from the three biomass conversion platforms.  Because of its simplicity, the carboxylate platform has a substantially lower capital cost, which allows for a low selling price for hydrocarbon fuels.


Table 1.png


The carboxylate platform is being performed in a demonstration plant that can process up to 1 ton per day of biomass feedstock (Figures 4 to 6).



                                                                 Figure 4.png

                                                                     Figure 5.png

                                                                     figure 6.png




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Contributed by Rob Falken, Managing Director and Inventor of BLOOM, and Abby Fisher, Design Director, BLOOM


Bioproducts, not biofuels. This is our mantra at BLOOM Foam, and here’s why. Despite the rising popularity of algae-derived biofuels as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based fuels, the production process has proven to be both costly and wasteful, outweighing any cost-saving benefits for sustainable profits. Harnessing biofuels from algae has been explored for nearly three decades, but still requires the need to grow specific strains of algae in tightly controlled conditions. This approach does little to combat the growing algal bloom problem caused by rising global temperatures, human population growth, and increased nutrient loading of waterways worldwide.


BLOOM Foam derives its algae from freshwater sources—like lakes and ponds—at risk of algal bloom. In doing so, we help to mitigate and control a problem detrimental to local ecologies and human health and safety, and develop it into a useful technology with a wide range of applications. With algae biomass, we are able to more effectively target and utilize algae’s myriad of benefits, without being limited by strain specificity or tricky extraction processes.


Harvesting the Algae


During the harvesting process, pond water burdened with algae bloom is pumped into a mobile harvester unit. Once inside the unit, the pond water is mixed with a water industry standard chemical coagulant to help the algae clump together in larger masses called flocs. Air bubbles push the flocs to the surface, where they are then skimmed off into a collection tank. The water is filtered and safely released back into the pond, protecting fish and other aquatic life from being harmed during the process. A pump truck collects the algae mass (now called a slurry) from the harvester unit, and delivers it to a facility where it is dewatered and dried via a solar drying process. Once sufficiently dried, the algae biomass is ready for polymerization into pellets before it is eventually expanded into a flexible foam with additional foaming compounds.


Designing a Product for the Greater Good


Depending upon the desired foam characteristics, BLOOM foams contain anywhere between 15–60% GMO-free algae biomass. Thanks to the high protein content in the biomass, we can replace a significant portion of the conventional polymers, and synthetic and petrochemical ingredients traditionally used to create foam. The foam’s production process can best be described through a process in which the algae biomass denatures into the polymer chain of a desired carrier resin (ethylene vinyl acetate, for example) and becomes one in the polymer chain. In doing so, a new hybrid bio-foam is created with beneficial performance properties and greatly reduced environmental impacts compared to conventional foam. We are currently evaluating production methods of producing recyclable foams and fully biodegradable foams; this is an ongoing area of development.


One very interesting feature of algae is its natural antimicrobial properties. Recently, the team at BLOOM Foam developed a line of antimicrobial foams, in which the antimicrobial is solely derived from algae. After many independent laboratory trials, the algae-derived antimicrobials were proven to be 99.99% effective at inhibiting the growth of odor-causing bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus (a gram positive pathogen) in the finished or treated article. What’s more, additional testing also yielded over 99% effectiveness at inhibiting the growth of E.Coli (a gram negative pathogen) in the finished or treated article. Our company is currently seeking broad global patent protection for this remarkable invention, and as such, the details of this continued area of development will be kept as proprietary for now.


Another key feature of BLOOM foams is the hypoallergenic certification. Our company commissioned an independent third-party clinical trial with over 200 participants between the ages of 18 and 70. The results of that trial concluded that BLOOM foam “did not demonstrate a potential for eliciting dermal irritation or sensitization.” This finding is important, as it ensures the broadest possible material adoption for BLOOM foam in many fields of use, from footwear to medical gear and beyond. By contrast, the proteins in most natural rubber latex foams trigger Type-1allergic reactions that limit their fields of use.



BLOOM Stock Colors


BLOOM foam is currently available in eight stock colors. Our pigments are created using standard industry colorants (for now). We are evaluating bio-derived pigments and testing them against UV degradation, colorfastness, and wear resistance. Nearly all commercial applications of BLOOM foams require the utmost in performance. That is, the foam must perform to every standard of conventional petrochemical and synthetic foams for it to be a viable alternative. Our inventor and co-founder, Rob Falken, is currently working on a chemical and solvent-free method to safely extract the algae pigment (chlorophyll) from the foam’s feedstock to produce a wider range of custom colors, and a pure white alternative. As an environmentally-minded biotech company, it is very important to us that every phase of our production process—from harvesting the algae to manufacturing our foam—mitigates environmental impacts as much as possible. We are constantly working to maximize the benefits of our products and technology.


Life Cycle Analysis of BLOOM Foam


BLOOM Foam has commissioned a full third-party Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) by the globally recognized organization Earthshift. The comparative analysis results of the LCA determined that BLOOM Foam reduced impacts in all major environmental categories (ecosystem, resources, cumulative energy, climate change, and water) by 20-41%.


Nature has proven to be a powerful ally in helping to advance some of today’s most exciting technologies. As forward-thinking companies begin to recognize the value of working with nature, rather than against it, we begin to shape a more sustainable future that helps protect our natural environment, and enriches lives for generations to come.



BLOOM Holdings, LLC is a joint venture between Algix, LLC—the world’s leading algae biomass harvester—and Effekt, LLC, an environmentally-minded product and material development company.


BLOOM exists to offer a more sustainable solution to the synthetic and petrochemical foams prevalent in today’s market.




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Sprucing Up Biofuel with Renewable Antioxidants

February 5, 2016 | Phys Org

Scientists in the UK have used antioxidants isolated from spruce woodchips to stabilise biodiesel.


"Exploding" Sugar Beet Cells for Faster Fermentation

February 4, 2016 | Phys Org

Sugar beet is an interesting raw material in the biobased economy as the sugars it contains can easily be fermented into valuable molecules.


Lithium Battery Catalyst Found to Harm Key Soil Microorganism

February 4, 2016 | Phys Org

The material at the heart of the lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles, laptop computers and smartphones has been shown to impair a key soil bacterium, according to new research published online in the journal Chemistry of Materials.


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The University Professors Who are at the Heads of the 2015 Class

February 4, 2016 | Maclean’s

Get out your catalogues and try to nab a course with one of the best university teachers in the country.


The Scientists Harvesting Energy from Humans to Power Our Wearables

February 4, 2016 | The Guardian

An MIT lab has produced a device the size of a stamp that harvests energy from bending movements. Commercializing it could be a breakthrough for wearables.


Boost for Non-Animal Toxicology Testing

February 3, 2016 | Chemistry World

US researchers have taken a step forward in a large-scale collaborative effort to develop ways of assessing compounds’ toxicity without relying on laborious, expensive and ethically contentious animal experiments.


Why Materials Will Make or Break the Circular Economy

February 3, 2016 | Green Biz

For sporting goods giant Adidas, a foray into the world of upcycled goods started with a reality TV show. On an episode of "Whale Wars," where marine avengers aboard a ship called the Sea Shepard chase down illegal fishing boats, the crew found themselves with tons and tons of contraband gillnets.


More Biobased Plastics for Bottles: Dupont announces PTF

February 2, 2016 | Biobased Press

Coca-Cola and Danone have not yet decided on biobased plastics for their bottles (PET or PEF), but DuPont announces another competitor: PTF.


Olive Oil Untangles Plastic

February 2, 2016 | Student Science

Chefs often add olive oil to spaghetti to aid the cooking process and improve flavor. Now a study finds that olive oil and other vegetable oils can also help make one type of plastic into super-strong fibers. Those fibers are ideal for making products such as bulletproof fabrics or ropes that anchor offshore oil rigs.


Is Finland's Neste the World's First 21st Century Oil Company?

February 2, 2016 | ChEnected

In an era of hyper-branding, normally whenever a corporation changes its name and logo — altering the image countless commercials have indelibly burned into consumer psyches — it's usually a Hail Mary pass thrown by desperate management trying to dodge a PR disaster.


Barriers to Pollution Prevention

February 1, 2016 | C&EN

Environment: Many industrial facilities report they are unaware of greener chemicals or alternative technology.


The Race for the 100% Biobased Plastic Bottle

February 1, 2016 | Biofuels Digest

In Switzerland, AVA Biochem revealed that it is expanding its product portfolio to include platform chemical FDCA (2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid)— and that’s a pathway to a molecule called PEF that’s a potential bio-based replacement for PET used to make clear plastic bottles for soft drinks.


Introducing the World's First Zero Isocyanate Industrial and Commercial Coating

February 1, 2016 | Spray Foam

Industrial Finishes & Systems has entered into a definitive exclusive national distribution agreement with Hybrid Coating Technologies (HCT) for several of HCT’s coating formulations.


‘Green Chemistry is Need of the Hour'

January 30, 2016 | The Times of India

"Clean and green chemistry is need of the hour and scientists across the country should take initiative in research for it," exhorted Prof PD Yadav, vice chancellor of the Institute of Chemical Technology.


UoN Awarded ‘World’s Greenest University Campus’ Title

January 30, 2016 | IMPACT

The University of Nottingham has been awarded the title of the most environmentally-friendly campus in the world for the fourth time.




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Contributed by Jaime Conway, President of Northeastern University’s Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, Northeastern University


Our student chapter is one that focuses heavily on professional development, campus presence, community service, and, very importantly, green chemistry. I clearly remember when I was introduced to green chemistry.


My second year here, representatives from Gordon College came to speak about their involvement with the initiative. They introduced the Twelve Principles, and they illustrated how they were implemented in the classroom. I then found out that Northeastern University had just signed the pledge for the green chemistry initiative. All of this helped establish my interest, but I lacked the context to implement the principles in my own life.


This context came along with the practice of spreading knowledge about green chemistry. I got more involved in our student chapter by joining the Executive Board.  I began to help plan demos and events that highlighted green chemistry, a continued focus of the group. With a more hands-on approach, I was properly able to explain and inform my community of its importance.



NUSAACS has many different ways to get the word out about green chemistry on our campus. An annual event is our celebration of Earth Day. General awareness of Earth Day is great to facilitate discussions about going green, but is not specifically chemistry related. In order to use the general awareness of our campus to our advantage, we host an Earth Day event where fellow students plant seeds in a small pot to bring home with them with one condition: they watch our green chemistry demo. These demos have included a blackberry solar cell and a demo of benign and effective substitutes to hazardous chlorinated bleach products that anyone can use. Our student chapter has been featured in our university’s news for our efforts with green chemistry and Earth Day’s emphasis on general sustainability.


We also try to incorporate green chemistry at our weekly meetings. NUSAACS members get involved by performing demos and learning to speak more technically about the Twelve Principles. An example of a demo is using cabbage water as a natural pH indicator to evaluate popular household cleaners. The principles were displayed in how effective red cabbage was as a pH indicator. Using benign chemicals such as this is entirely as effective as a standard lab indicator, yet is not widely used due to convenience and lack of an initiative. This dynamic demo was a great way to discuss the many aspects of Green Chemistry and how we can apply it not only as chemists, but also as humans in our everyday lives.


Lastly, NUSAACS believes that it is important to spread the word to other chemists from other schools as much as possible. This year, NUSAACS hosted a joint student chapter meeting attended by two other Boston ACS chapters. Students from Suffolk University and UMass Lowell listened to our guest speaker, Dr. John Warner from the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. As one of the pioneers of green chemistry and the creator of the premier company in the field, Warner captivated the audience with his presentation on his life, his career, his creation of the institute, and his goals moving forward. He spoke in detail about the issue is not the existence of harmful compounds but the fact that chemists are not taught to consider and avoid these chemicals. His talk was extremely informative and was even more powerful coming from someone so passionate about the cause.


Our student chapter tries to greatly emphasize green chemistry. We have implemented 2-3 events each year in an attempt to be recognized with a Green Chapter Award, and it has since grown into a passion for our members. This year, we decided to try some new events in order to further the discussion. One idea that we are excited to accomplish is a bulletin board in our chemistry building that will display the Twelve Principles along with some photos of different demos and events that we have held throughout the years. This will help us reach students taking chemistry classes that may not be studying it as their major. Another idea of ours is a journal club, where members will read articles, discuss them in detail, and challenge themselves to find new or different ways to do the experiments that would make the chemistry greener.  We really feel as though this would be good practice to hone our skills for when we enter our future research and careers. Lastly, while they may not count as green chemistry events, there are many other great ways to practice general sustainability, such as by signing your school’s pledge to use reusable water bottles, cutting down on general waste of your chapter, volunteering at museums to teach children about the importance of the environment, and more.


As your chapter moves forward with green chemistry, ACS has many resources that are extremely useful. They have held “Greening Your ACS Student Chapters Webinars” where many of your questions can be answered. They also have a myriad of general and demo ideas on their website that can inspire some events within your chapter. Beyond Benign, a foundation that focuses on green chemistry education and outreach, also has many resources for those passionate for the initiative. Lastly, feel free to reach out to our chapter at with any questions or even just to say hello. We love to collaborate with other chapters!




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