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Contributed by David Constable, Ph.D., Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

 

Planning and preparations for the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference have continued throughout the past two months. For most people, thinking about a conference that is to take place in June is not something that occupies too much attention. However, preparations for our conference begin in July and, during the fall, we experience one of our busiest periods in planning as we seek keynote speakers and organize the technical programming.

 

We were delighted this year to receive over 45 proposals to our call for symposia though such great response creates challenges itself as not all ideas can be accommodated. It is a reality of green chemistry that there is a variety of passionate stakeholders, and in choosing some sessions and not others, feelings are hurt. I do hope everyone understands that the selection of sessions is a reflection of the technical program chairs and the advisory committee’s interests; the ACS GCI does not have control over those decisions, though we do try to influence where we can.

 

The activities around the conference’s technical programming highlight a few areas of contention that are, I think, a reflection of the state of green chemistry in general. First, the GC&E Conference struggles with being a very broad tent: For some, the design of safer chemicals and toxicology should be emphasized; for some, it is organic and related process chemistry that should; for others, policy and regulation should stand at the forefront; and for others still, education should, and so on. My own opinion is that all of these areas are deserving of attention at some level, but they cannot all be accommodated in a small conference. Because some areas of green chemistry are supported by other organizations and their conferences, I do not feel compelled to have the same kind of content at our own and would prefer to highlight other equally important areas. You have to focus your efforts or else you please no one.

 

Second, there is a general sense that someone should be paying for green chemistry and the GC&E Conference because it is the “right thing to do” or because the cost is a barrier. I will not debate this here, but it is my experience that only very few organizations support the GC&E Conference and that support is not based on a moral argument. The costs associated with the conference are borne by registrations, supporters and exhibitors, in that order. The ACS GCI staff spends considerable time working to drive costs down while increasing the number of attendees, supporters and exhibitors—the latter two of which continue to be very challenging. Anyone who has attempted to fund green chemistry activities (research, conferences, etc.) knows just how challenging raising money is in this space.

 

Third, the multidisciplinary nature of the GC&E Conference requires considerable collaboration and partnership across many disciplines and organizations that are not necessarily aligned. This is the organizational corollary to the first point. The conference and green chemistry in general require that we reach out to a variety of stakeholders and organizations in academia, industry and government. Building this kind of coalition is not easy, takes continual care and feeding, and proves easy to find reasons not to collaborate. But I firmly believe that collaboration and partnership is essential for finding the best solutions to the grand challenges of sustainability. I would ask your indulgence and commitment to cultivating these collaborations and partnerships that are integral not only to the GC&E Conference, but also to green chemistry more broadly.

 

In October, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Pharmaceutical Roundtable fall meeting in Cambridge, Mass., hosted by the Novartis and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. The amount of activity in these 17 pharmaceutical companies in green chemistry and engineering is extremely impressive and inspiring. They agreed on four Initiation Grant winners (stay tuned for announcements later; it takes time to get through all the paperwork), outreach efforts in China and India, further development of their process mass intensity calculator to enable predictions for early development and its incorporation of LCA, various team updates (including Med Chem, Analytical, Continuous flow, etc.), their collaboration with Chem21 and the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative, tools for use (Reagent and Solvent Selection), and education initiatives. After two days of meetings, they also hosted an impressive array of speakers at a one-day symposium entitled “Innovating for a more sustainable pharmaceutical industry.” I would love to see this level of activity throughout the global chemistry enterprise, and I commend the ACS GCI PRT member companies for their outstanding commitment to advancing sustainable and green chemistry and for being models for collaboration and partnership.

 

I also had the privilege of attending a meeting in Korea, hosted by the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI), with various government officials to discuss the several high visibility issues with consumer products Korea has faced that have aroused public concern. In response, Korea has recently instituted its own version of REACH-type chemicals legislation and is very interested in moving forward with new government-sponsored green chemistry efforts. I applaud their initiative and look forward to their progress in green chemistry.

 

I was also involved in two different conferences this year that I normally do not get involved with. The first was a Chemical Watch symposium directed largely toward understanding the new Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act legislation, i.e. the TSCA reform bill. While chemicals legislation is a reality, it does not, in my opinion, enable green chemistry. This is a position that is not generally shared by people who promote green chemistry and as such, it will be the subject of a future post to explain. The second was the Guardian Green Chemistry Conference, a small conference in New York City hosted by the Guardian at the New York Academy of Science, where a majority of attendees were not chemists, which always makes for an interesting perspective on green chemistry. I do think that there is a disconnect between those at the consumer-facing end of the supply chain and those at the business-to-business end of the supply chain. I see this on a regular basis and am working to try to bridge the divide: It is, however, a big challenge.

 

At the fall AIChE meeting, I also spent time promoting and getting feedback on our AltSep technology roadmap for molecular property-driven alternative separations to distillation. This project is moving forward, and we are on track to finish the roadmap in the first half of next year. Moving from the consumer end of chemical concerns to the details of molecular to process modeling, simulation and design is jarring, to say the least. I am always struck by the amazing amount of work being done as well as by the gulf between the design of a molecule and the design of a commercially viable product. There is some amazing progress being made, and much remains to be done.

 

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

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

 

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Gary Spilman, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Resinate Materials Group, Inc.

 

In 2013, the U.S. produced 9.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles, yet less than 31 percent of them were recycled. That means 6.5 billion pounds of plastic bottles are destined for landfills or incinerators. Many of these bottles are made from poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and poly(bisphenol-A carbonate) (PBAC). These are materials that already have a significant energy history and environmental footprint paid to that point, and have become global commodity materials because of their performance properties.

 

PET offers excellent chemical resistance (semi-crystalline), low water uptake, high tensile strength and modulus, and excellent flexural strength and modulus [1]. PBAC offers extremely high impact strength, good chemical resistance, along with very good toughness [2]. These properties combine to make PET and PBAC excellent engineering materials. In addition, they are also a gateway to well-balanced, superior performance attributes (and some surprising advantages) as lower molecular weight polyols for demanding coating, adhesive, sealant, elastomer, plasticizer and specialty foam applications.

 

Although the use of recycled content is not a new concept, Resinate Materials Group (RMG) uses novel technology that allows one to build in unique and customizable performance. Through a proprietary process, PET and PBAC are broken down through glycolysis to an oligomeric state. Subsequently, these oligomers can be reassembled using unique combinations of mono- or multifunctional acids and other hydroxyl reactive building blocks. The result is a variety of specialty polyols that can be customized to specific performance needs. These unique materials are delivered from discarded engineering plastics at a cost comparable to traditional specialty polyols.

 

RMG’s approach to molecular design is best described as a hierarchy of components that are selected for integration with the oligomeric intermediates from glycolysis. This hierarchy dictates the foundation for raw material selection. The initial (and usually primary) ingredient choice is, of course, the digested recycled materials described. Second-priority sourcing is based on biorenewable components, a list that is constantly expanding. This includes such ingredients as levulinic acid derivatives, lignin, vegetable oils, dimer and trimer fatty acids, and sugars. Lastly, incorporation of appropriate intermediates from virgin petroleum sources may be necessary to produce the highest performance from polyols that can contain close to 100% “green” content (recycled and renewable).

 

RMG’s polyesters and hybrid systems utilize their high levels of recycled content from solid state plastics that have been processed into small flakes, chunks, pellets, or fibers, from sources such as consumer packaging, carpet and automotive components. As mentioned previously, the RMG process is unlike some tertiary (chemical) recycling processes using hydrolysis, methanolysis, or ethylene glycol glycolysis [3], [4], since we do not depolymerize to the monomeric state or target high yields of bis(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate [5], [6] (BHET, mol wt 252). This would amount to “over-processing” beyond the point of optimal usefulness for coatings. For example, one could synthesize virgin aromatic polyesters containing varying amounts of terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. However, these materials would be architecturally very different despite being compositionally similar to some RMG polyesters based on recycled PET content. This is because the initial digestion phase produces building blocks, which are far from monomeric. The glycolysis process is controlled by several factors, including overall time, temperature, catalyst type and level, and glycol-to-PET ratio. The figures (Figs. 1 and 2) are visual distributions of the resulting molecular weights from glycolysis of PBAC and PET respectively. For each system, the percentages of high oligomeric species (mol wt >1000) are noted based on detector area analysis.

 

Short “blockiness” in the polyester backbone can result from these various oligomeric constituents, and will, in turn, vary with the polydispersity of their prior glycolysis. Building up from the low-moderate molecular weight oligomers to high-performance macromolecular specialty polymers is the synthetic goal at RMG. In addition to PET and PBAC, we have also performed similar process steps using a variety of other recycled thermoplastics, including glycol-modified PET (PETG) and poly(trimethylene terephthalate) (PTT).

 

The most important design criteria for a given polyol product is its performance, since market value and success for this technology is primarily dependent on customer acceptance, validation, and use. RMG has coupled this performance with their goal to re-deploy and elevate the “used” molecules to their highest value. The recycled materials will be truly “upcycled” in this way, ultimately becoming transformed for a higher value purpose as a protective coating, adhesive or other specialty application. These new assigned applications may function for decades, as opposed to months as a commodity packaging material.

 

Beyond diverting consumer waste streams, there are additional streams available where alternative sources for valuable key raw materials may be found, such as those classified as “post-industrial recycle.” In a similar fashion, these waste materials can be recovered and incorporated into a variety of products. Surprisingly, some can occasionally be converted back to useful materials for their starting industry, and re-used within their original manufacturing processes and products. This results in a truly circular business model, where industrial waste streams can subsequently become a key input for RMG, to then convert into a key input for the initial industrial process - ultimately closing the loop and contributing to a circular economy approach to chemicals.

 

For more information about Resinate® polyols and licensable technology, visit www.resinateinc.com or call +1 800-891-2955.

 

Figure 1. Typical size exclusion chromatogram for digested recycled PBAC  (70% > 1000 Mn)

Figure 1.png

 

Figure 2. Typical size exclusion chromatogram for digested recycled PET (50% > 1000 Mn)

 

Figure 2.png
 


[1] http://www.plastic-products.com/part12.htm

[2] http://www.ptsllc.com/intro/polycarb_intro.aspx

[3] Bartolome, L., Imran, M., Cho, B.G., Al-Masry, W.A., Kim, D.H., Recent Developments in the Chemical Recycling of PET, Material Recycling – Trends and Perspectives, Achilias, D., Ed., 2012, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/33800.

[4] Paszun, D., Spychaj, T., Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 1997, 36, 1373.

[5] Al-Sabagh, A.M., Yehia, F.Z., Harding, D.R.K., Eshaq, Gh., El Metwally, A.E. Green Chem. 2016, 18 (14), 3997.

[6] Khoonkari, M., Haghighi, A.H., Sefidbakht, Y., Shekoohi, K., Ghaderian, A., Intl. J. Polym. Sci. 2015, Article ID 124524.

 

 

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

The Angelo State University ACS Student Chapter was established in 1971. The chapter was awarded their first green chemistry award for the 2008-9 academic year, and they have now received it for nine consecutive years. Recently, we asked the chapter to tell us more about what they are doing and what they have learned from including green chemistry in their chapter activities.

 

2016EcoFair.jpg Dr. Edith Osborne, Associate Professor, ASU ACS Student Chapter Co-Advisor

To choose green chemistry activities, we have sought information from the ACS and ACS Green Chemistry Institute® Websites. One resource we found helpful that is available on the ACS website is the ACS Green Student Chapter Activity: Chemistry Demonstrations. We also network with other student chapters at the National ACS Meeting and make sure to go the Chem Demo Exchange held there. We have also found other online resources, but we review all new demos carefully. Using new demos takes practice and planning. Depending on where we do the demo, we have to modify the activity for safety and time constraints.

 

We also bring in green chemistry speakers to educate students on our campus about green chemistry. The ACS GCI website is a helpful resource for green chemistry speaker ideas. One of our former students discussed a chemical treatment method that allowed for the reuse of water used for fracking. As we are in West Texas, water is a major issue. The newspaper always lists the months of our water supply. In our chemistry laboratories, we have made the effort to conserve water as much as possible by reducing the volumes used in experiments. We also have changed several of our laboratories to use greener reagents. This is also a cost saving measure. Nontoxic reagents cost less to ship to us when purchased and also to dispose of after use. Overall, our chapter tries to promote a general mindfulness of the Principles of Green Chemistry.

Mr. Kevin Boudreaux, Senior Instructor, ASU ACS Student Chapter Co-Advisor, Permian Basin Local Section Secretary

Being involved with Green Chemistry activities as a faculty sponsor has made me more aware of the need to make lab procedures and demonstrations greener. I have been able to replace some of the chemistry labs that I teach with labs that generate less waste, and I have worked out procedures for some other labs that allow them to be performed on a smaller scale, thus saving not only on waste, but also on the cost of the reagents and solvents. Our research into what qualifies a student chapter to be designated as a Green Chemistry chapter has made me pay more attention to my own work in the teaching labs, and made me conscious for the need to keep those activities green as well.

2015EcoFair.jpg Blake Holle, senior chemistry major, ASU ACS Student Chapter President 2015-2016

Whether it involves water soluble packing peanuts or a simple example of making biofuels, we try and plan our activities around large community events where we can promote chemistry to the masses. In our chapter, the Eco Fair and Family Day at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts provide the perfect backdrop for our events. Often our activities focus on elementary students to spark an interest in green applications at a young age.

Though finding and prepping green chemistry experiments have taught me a lot scientifically, the largest impact comes from the children we serve. It’s both rewarding and unexpected seeing their faces light up for concepts like waste removal and biofuels. No matter how advanced the subject, there is always a way to make science fun and relatable to children.

Sara Shirai, senior biology major, ASU ACS Chapter Vice President

When we choose and plan green chemistry activities we make sure they follow the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. When we demonstrate green chemistry at community outreach events and people have positive reactions to certain demonstrations, we sometimes repeat them at the next outreach activities.

 

From our green chemistry activities I learned that it is important to reach out to the community to inform people about how green chemistry can impact the environment. When we were at a community outreach event demonstrating how starch packing peanuts can dissolve in water, many children were amazed and their parents also showed their interest. Bringing green chemistry into the public awareness can not only impact the environment, but it could also impact their lives. 

 

 

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

By Paul T. Anastas, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University and David T. Allen, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

 

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Reflecting on a quarter century of advances in the fields of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, the strong scientific foundation that has been built is worthy of celebration. Innumerable green products and processes have been commercialized, with more than 100 of these scientific and technological advances recognized in the United States with Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Other innovations have been honored by similar awards in many other nations. As documented in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, and other journals serving the field, the global pace of advances in molecular, process, and systems design, using principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, is accelerating.

 

Although the work of the field that has been documented over the past 25 years is a tremendous beginning, what we find most exciting is the power and the potential of the next 25 years. Innovations in green chemistry and engineering, at molecular, process, and systems levels, are reported at an ever-increasing rate. The principles, tools, and metrics of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering that can guide these innovations have advanced in their sophistication. It is now possible for researchers and designers to quantify many dimensions of the improvements in sustainability that result from their work. These metrics serve as compasses and guideposts on pathways to sustainability.

 

It is our vision that, over the next 25 years, innovators around the world will use foundational and methodological advances in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering to transform major sectors of the global economy, ranging from fuels and chemicals, to transportation, agriculture, and water purification and delivery. The next generations of chemists, engineers, and other innovators will use new sets of tools and principles. These tools and principles will need to be integrated into chemistry and engineering education.

 

Excerpted from ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2016, 4 (11), pp 5820–5820

This article is part of the Building on 25 Years of Green Chemistry and Engineering for a Sustainable Future special issue.

 

 

“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email gci@acs.org, 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 Ray Borg, Chair of the UMass Sustainable Scientists Association and Outreach Coordinator of the NSYCC

 

On Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Sustainable Scientists Association, and the Northeast Section Younger Chemist Committee hosted a workshop focused on green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry and chemical education at the Integrated Science Center at UMass Boston.  In addition to the large number of graduate students in attendance, several high school teachers and students from Urban Science Academy were also present.

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The first half of the event was comprised of four talks from research chemists at Pfizer who implement green chemistry principles into their daily lives. Javier Magano gave the first presentation on how Pfizer has incorporated green chemistry over the last 14 years. Dr. John Wong followed with a presentation on how pharmaceutical compounds synthesized using biocatalysts can be more a sustainable alternative to traditional catalysis.  Next, Dr. Leo Letendre presented about his work with greening the industrial production of Celebrex®. Finally, Magano concluded the Pfizer presentations with a talk on the applications of transition metal catalysis in the pharmaceutical industry.

 

Attendees then proceeded to a working lunch hosted by Dr. Shen Duan where we broke into four different groups to analyze the varied synthetic routes of Pregabalin. After the discussion, each group presented what could be improved about each synthetic pathway in order to reduce energy and toxic materials, as well as to increase the yield of the desired compound.

 

Dr. John Warner, CEO of Warner Babcock and Co-Founder of Beyond Benign, opened up the green chemistry in education part of the workshop by presenting on his experiences through academia, industry and entrepreneurship. His life story as a chemist is fascinating and inspiring. He continues to innovate and implement green chemistry in all facets of his company and provides hope for the future.

 

Next, John de la Parra, a graduate student and instructor from Northeastern University, gave a talk on the green chemistry units that he and his colleagues, Vaso Lykourino and Alejandro Rovira, have been implementing in undergraduate curricula at Northeastern. Dr. Hannah Sevian from UMass Boston concluded with a presentation on the development of student thinking from middle to graduate school. Over her years of collecting surveys and data from students, she demonstrated examples of how chemistry is presented at these educational levels along with different ways to increase student engagement and understanding of the material.

 

The large, diverse and engaged crowd, as well as Pfizer’s generous contribution, made this event a great success! We hope to continue this collaboration and host more green chemistry events in the future.

 

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

News_Nov_18.jpgTurning Greenhouse Gas into Gasoline

November 15, 2016 | Phys.org

 

A new catalyst material developed by chemists at MIT provides key insight into the design requirements for producing liquid fuels from carbon dioxide, the leading component of greenhouse gas emissions. The findings suggest a route toward using the world's existing infrastructure for fuel storage and distribution, without adding net greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere.

 

Scientists Devise More Accurate System for Predicting Risks of New Chemical Products

November 15, 2016 | Phys.org

 

The approach used by regulators to initially screen new chemical products for toxic effects is wrong almost half the time, according to scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They have proposed an improvement that could increase accuracy to as much as 85 percent, saving millions of dollars and years of development time for new drugs and other products while improving safety.

 

Evonik Gets Bio-based Methionine Technology

November 14, 2016 | C&EN

 

Evonik Industries, a German chemical company that is a major producer of amino acids for animal nutrition, is venturing into one of the field’s final frontiers: fermentation-based production of methionine.

 

Astronauts Can Now Make Tools in Space Using Bio-Based Plastic and Zero Gravity 3D Printing

November 10, 2016 | Bio-Based World News

 

Bio-based is ready for blast off with news that thermoplastic resin producer Braskem, are partnering with space manufacturing company Made in Space on green plastics for 3D printers which can operate in zero gravity. This innovation, a year in the planning, is important as it can give astronauts greater autonomy by enabling them to fabricate parts and tools using 3D printing, which can save time and costs.

 

What Election 2016 Means for the Chemistry Enterprise

November 9, 2016 | C&EN

 

The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and a Republican-controlled Congress portend significant impacts to the chemistry enterprise.  Given Republican's campaign statements, academic researchers are likely to feel a federal research funding pinch while the chemical industry could benefit from new energy policies and relaxed regulation.

 

New Method of Bio-Based Esther Production with Low Waste and Low Chemical Consumption

November 8, 2016 | Royal Society of Chemistry

 

The recovery of carboxylic acids from fermentation broth is one of the main bottlenecks for the industrial production of bio-based esters. This paper proposes an alternative for the recovery of carboxylates produced by fermentations at pH values above the pKa of the carboxylic acid. In this approach, the aqueous carboxylate anion is recovered using anion exchange, followed by desorption and esterification with CO2-expanded alcohols.

 

Cellulose Nanocrystals Can be Used as a Bio-based Filler in Plastics

November 7, 2016 | Phys.org

 

What if you could take one of the most abundant natural materials on earth and harness its strength to lighten the heaviest of objects, to replace synthetic materials, or use it in scaffolding to grow bone, in a fast-growing area of science in oral health care? This all might be possible with cellulose nanocrystals, the molecular matter of all plant life. As industrial filler material, they can be blended with plastics and other synthetics. They are as strong as steel, tough as glass, lightweight, and green.

 

Milking Microbes for Energy Could Help Replace Fossil Fuels

November 7, 2016 | Horizon Magazine

 

Researchers from Wageningen International and Uppsala University have bio-engineered microbial fuel cells that are three times more efficient than photosynthesis.

11-4.jpgWhy We Must Design as if We're Part of Nature

November 4, 2016 | Green Biz

To simply design for sustainability is no longer enough, we need to design for regeneration! Collectively, as a species, we have already done too much damage to simply aim for sustainability — what William McDonough calls “100% less bad.” We have to undo the damage done over centuries — in some cases over millennia. We have to regenerate healthy ecosystems functions everywhere. To be able to do this well, we have to become good at designing as nature.

 

Novomer Sells CO2 Polyol Business to Aramco

November 4, 2016 | Everchem

Saudi Aramco has acquired the Converge product line and associated operations and technologies from US-based Novomer. The transaction was valued at up to $100 million. Converge polyol is manufactured from and contains a significant portion of carbon dioxide (CO2). The technology provides a high-performance, cost competitive and more sustainable alternative to conventional petroleum-based polyols that are used in coating, adhesive, sealant, and elastomer (CASE) applications which feature in high-value, high-demand end-products, including within the flexible and rigid foam manufacturing segments.

 

Coconut Derived Bio-based Surfactants are a Promising Substitute for Alkylbenzen

November 4, 2016 | Med Gadget

Surfactants are traditionally being manufactured from the crude oil. Scarcity of crude oil and growing environmental concerns are key drivers of bio surfactants manufactured by using plants and natural substances like coconuts, soybean, grapefruit seed and pulp extracts, corn etc. Methyl Ester Sulfonates (MES) is the largest consumed bio surfactant derived from coconut and it is the perfect substitute to synthetics surfactants as detergent feedstock.

 

Technology Converts Human Waste into Bio-Based Fuel

November 2, 2016 | Science Daily

Wastewater treatment plants across the United States may one day turn ordinary sewage into biocrude oil, thanks to new research. The technology, hydrothermal liquefaction, mimics the geological conditions Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years.

 

BioAmber and Bolt Threads Among Companies Working on Bio-Based Alternatives to Petroleum-Based Plastics and Fabrics

October 31, 2016 | The Guardian

Jean-François Huc, CEO of Canadian chemical company BioAmber, believes that yeast may be the key to taking some of the petrochemical market. BioAmber uses a genetically engineered yeast to produce succinic acid, a chemical building block that can be used to make a host of products, including polyurethanes, plastics, paints and polymers.

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