Skip navigation

News_2016_2.jpgCan Bio-Based Chemicals Improve Products’ Performance and Sustainability?

January 4, 2016 | Environmental Leader

Driven largely by increasing concerns, government support for environmentally responsible sources and processes, and technological innovations, market participants see the need to shift focus from petrochemical feedstock to renewable feedstock.

 

Renewable Fuels from Algae Boosted by NREL Refinery Process

February 9, 2016 | Environmental Expert

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.

 

Sustainable Chemistry: Putting carbon dioxide to work

March 9, 2016 | Nature

Carbon dioxide is an abundant resource, but difficult for industry to use effectively. A simple reaction might allow it to be used to make commercial products more sustainably than with current processes.

 

Researchers Seek Ways to Extract Rare Earth Minerals from Coal

March 15, 2016 | Phys.org

With supplies growing scarce of essential materials needed to make products ranging from smart phones to windmills, Virginia Tech researchers are working with academic and industry partners in a $1 million pilot project to recover rare earth elements from coal.

 

Chemists Devise Safer, Cheaper, 'Greener,' More Efficient System for the Synthesis of Organic Compounds

March 28, 2016 | Phys.org

Chemists at The University of Texas at Arlington have devised a safer, more environmentally friendly, less expensive and more efficient water-based system for the synthesis of organic compounds typically used in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, cosmetics, plastics, textiles and household chemicals.

 

Edible film: The future of eco-friendly packaging?

April 4, 2016 | DW

Food packaging is a major source of plastic waste. Developing wrapping that is edible could help - not just the environment, but maybe even taste, too. A scientist at a green chemistry conference in Berlin tells DW how.

 

The Future of Low-Cost Solar Cells

May 2, 2016 | C&EN

Perovskite solar cells can be deconstructed using solvents and could be the solution to PV end-of life recycling. These cells and other emerging photovoltaic technologies grab headlines. But will they ever come to market?

 

TSCA Reform: EPA Publishes First Year Implementation Plan

June 30, 2016 | JD Supra

On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an Implementation Plan that outlines EPA's plans for early activities and actions under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, legislation that significantly amends many of the provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

 

Bio-based Hydrocarbons: Starch and Sugar to be Used as Commodity Chemical Feedstocks

July 18, 2016 | ChemSusChem

Sources of fossil-based hydrocarbons, such as heavy oil, shale gas, and oil sands, have helped address the decline of global fossil fuels production. However, these are finite resources and the continued development of sustainable and renewable alternatives to petrochemicals production must not be neglected. Renewable, non-food-based biomass is considered to be one of the most promising alternatives for the production of fuels and chemicals.

 

Researchers Study Whether Renewable Is Always Better

July 19, 2016 | 4 Traders

Making plastics from plants is a growing trend. It's renewable, but is it better? A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers examines the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of three plant-based plastics at each stage of production compared with that of their common fossil fuel-based counterparts.

 

The Plastics Revolution: How Chemists are Pushing Polymers to New Limits

August 17, 2016 | Nature

Polymers have infiltrated almost every aspect of modern life. Now researchers are working on next-generation forms.

 

How the Chemical Industry Joined the Fight Against Climate Change

Oct 16, 2016 | New York Times

It might seem surprising to find the world’s chemical companies on the front lines of preventing climate change, fighting to disrupt their own industries. But in a sweeping accord reached on Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda, companies including Honeywell and Chemours, a DuPont spinoff, were among the most active backers of a move away from a profitable chemical that has long been the foundation for the fast-growing air-conditioning and refrigeration business.

 

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 Republicans' 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.

 

6 Bio-based Plastics Made from Unconventional Feedstocks

November 17, 2016 | Design News

As bio-based and renewable plastics become more common the raw materials used for feedstock are also getting more varied, including used chewing gum, tires and carbon dioxide.

 

Protein Provides New Route to Carbon-Silicon Bonds

November 24, 2016 | C&EN

Silicon is the second most abundant element in Earth’s crust after oxygen, but carbon-silicon bonds are unheard of in nature: Neither biological organosilicon compounds nor biosynthetic pathways to create them have been identified. But when given the right starting materials, some heme proteins can stereospecifically form carbon-silicon bonds, report researchers from Caltech.

 

Research Simplifies Recycling Process for Rare-Earth Metals

December 12, 2016 | Phys.org

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have pioneered a process that could enable the efficient recycling of rare-earth metals, which are found in many high-tech devices.

 

 

“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 David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

 

Back in October, I wrote about systems thinking: what it is and why we need to think about it more in chemistry. This month, I’d like to talk about a related idea, and that is life cycle thinking. Most people, when they hear “life cycle,” think about a product they know and perhaps how long that product has been on the market. Or, they think about all the activities to bring a product to market, and how long it takes to do that. One obvious example of this is how people think about an automobile. Large auto companies (Ford, GM, Volkswagen, Toyota, etc.) have been around for the better part of 100 years, they have multiple brands (Lincoln, Cadillac, Buick, etc.), and multiple cars that are part of those brands. For any line of cars, there is a design stage, a pre-production stage, a production stage, market entry, regular major redesign stages, etc., and sometimes, a line brand and line of cars is halted (e.g., GM – Saturn, multiple car lines). We can then talk about the life cycle of a car either from the development of a line of cars to the retirement of that line of cars, or we can think about the life cycle of the car from the perspective of the time I bought the car, sold the car, someone else buys it, etc. until it ends up as scrap.

 

The above example illustrates two important points. First, this is how most business people think about life cycle. Second, a fundamental idea in life cycle thinking and systems thinking is the idea of scope and “boundary conditions.” In other words, I can talk about a line of cars from the broader perspective of when a company first conceives and develops a brand, a line within that brand and the retirement of the brand from the market. Or, I can talk about how I bought my Prius in 2010, and I’ll keep it until it dies, and I have to buy a new one. In either case, stating my boundary conditions is extremely important in order to understand the context of a business case, say the return on investment (ROI) of a car. A life cycle ROI will obviously mean something different to a car manufacturer as opposed to an individual buyer.

 

An important tool that is used to better understand systems or systems-level impacts is life cycle inventory and assessment (LCI and LCA). This kind of life cycle is different than the business person’s idea of life cycle but let’s return to the example of an automobile. An automobile is a very complex assembly of smaller parts that we use to transport ourselves from point A to point B. Each of those assemblies can be broken into parts and individual parts can be broken down into their component pieces, and those component pieces can be further delineated into individual materials. So, the body of the car has bumpers, a hood, doors, etc. A door will have a window, interior panels, some electronics and mechanicals, multiple coatings, padding, etc. Each of these individual components can be broken down until you get to the smallest, indivisible part, and each part has a supply chain associated with it that extends backwards to raw material extraction (e.g., an ore, or petroleum, etc.), and extends forward to when that part is no longer usable and it is recycled or disposed of in some fashion.

 

What the Life Cycle Inventory Assessment does is take an inventory of the inputs and outputs of each manufacturing process for each part as it moves through its series of manufacturing steps from the extraction of the ore (raw material) to where it finally ends up in the environment. Those inputs (fossil fuels (mass and energy), ores, oxygen, etc.) and outputs (products, by-products, emissions, etc.) are generally grouped into impact categories like ozone depleting substances, greenhouse gas equivalents, etc. and added up across the entire life cycle. For a product like a car, you can probably imagine that to do a full life cycle inventory, you have thousands of parts for which detailed input and output information is collected. To say the least, it’s pretty complex, and I haven’t begun to talk about the assessment phase; i.e., once I have all those impact categories, what does that mean for human and environmental health and safety?

 

But chemists don’t make cars, so what does life cycle have to do with chemistry? Well, chemists make chemicals and materials, many of which do go into making an automobile, and each of those chemicals and materials have a life cycle. Let’s take another example closer to what a chemist may encounter and say we make a chemical for a crop protection agent like a pesticide. Apart from looking at how the pesticide might affect the target pest, e.g., a leaf borer through a mechanism related to one part of its growth phase and therefore non-toxic to other organisms, making that pesticide, applying it, and thinking about how it degrades in the environment are all part of its life cycle considerations. In making that compound, you are likely going to have a synthetic route characterized by a set of complex intermediates, and a process that employs a variety of reagents, catalysts, solvents, etc. to make each intermediate and final product, after which there is a formulation step where the pesticide is mixed with other solvents, and chemicals so it may be applied. There’s also going to be a lot of energy associated with the production of the pesticide, and energy use in its application. How much of the pesticide is manufactured is directly related to how much needs to be applied per acre of crop and how many times during a season it needs to be applied. The efficacy of the pesticide, characterized in terms of mg pesticide/acre is known as the functional unit; a very important concept in life cycle inventory/assessment because impacts are normalized to the functional unit; i.e., X number of CO2 equivalents/functional unit.

 

So, I hope you can see that from a systems perspective, a chemist has a great many opportunities to change the life cycle impact profile and the overall systems effects a chemical might have. In the case of the pesticide, for example, finding a chemical that is exquisitely selective for the intended target such that it does not adversely impact any other living organism, and that doesn’t require a large amount of chemical/acre to protect the crop, will have a huge positive system benefit. Another crop protection strategy might be to employ different approaches like integrated pest management or genetically modifying the plant to have resistance against the pest, and these should also be considered. The chemist also has control of the synthetic path to the final active ingredient through decisions about which framework molecule to start with and how to make and break bonds to functionalize that framework molecule, adding the bits and pieces that take you to the final molecular structure, most likely a molecule with multiple chiral centers and therefore synthetically challenging. And the process chemists and engineers have considerable control over the process that is used to make each intermediate and the active ingredient. Each of these choices has a potential system cost and an overall system benefit. As in all of life, the choices we make matter.

 

As I’ve said before, the notion that green chemistry and engineering is not good science or that it is not challenging is a frankly astoundingly ridiculous assertion. It is, in fact, amazingly complex, and that complexity is frequently daunting. That’s why systems thinking and life cycle skills are so important for chemists to be aware of and incorporate in their work. I think that chemists are masters of solving complex problems, and I have every confidence they can solve the many challenges faced in delivering a more sustainable world. It’s just going to require them to think about chemistry differently than they currently do, and they are going to need to develop creative, innovative solutions to address the complex problems. The challenges are immense, but if they weren’t, where would the fun be?

 

 

“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.

roundup-12-16.pngGreen Biologics Starts Shipments of Bio-Based n-Butanol & Acetone

December 14, 2016 | Business Standard

Green Biologics Ltd, the UK-based company that makes specialty chemicals from agricultural waste and sugar cane, has started commercial shipments of bio-based n-butanol and acetone from its manufacturing facility in Little Falls, Minnesota (USA).

 

New Bio-Based Plastic Leaches Less, Keeps Food Fresher

December 13, 2016 | PBS

Traditional “green” plastics have their share of problems, whether it be a compostable food container with sides too flexible to a secure lid or a biodegradable bag that rips on its way to the compost bin. But a new and improved biodegradable polypropylene carbonate film—PPC—may have solve those problems.

 

Chemists Uncover a Means to Control Catalytic Reactions

December 12, 2016 | Phys.org

A team of researchers, led by Nobel Prize-winning chemist John Polanyi, employed a combination of experiment and theory to discover that the position of the molecule on the catalytic surface is a key factor in determining the rate at which particular bonds break.

 

Meet Photanol: Harnessing Cyanobacteria’s Powers for Green Chemicals

December 12, 2016 | Labiotech

Producing fuels and chemicals from CO2 and light has long been a dream of Biotech, and Amsterdam-based Photanol is working on making it an industrial reality with engineered cyanobacteria. The following article is an interview with Ross Gordon, Director of Business Development, about Photanol’s strategy.

 

Researchers Expand Research on Simplifying Recycling of Rare-Earth Metals

December 12, 2016 | Phys.org

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have pioneered a process that could enable the efficient recycling of rare-earth metals, which are found in many high-tech devices. Mining and purifying rare-earth metals is not only expensive and labor-intensive, but takes a devastating toll on the environment. The current methods for recycling them are wasteful and inefficient. The paper focused on one pairing in particular which could enable scientists to recycle rare-earths from compact fluorescent light bulbs.

 

 

“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.

We’re very pleased with how preparations for the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference are coming together. Our technical program chairs, Dr. David Leahy, BMS, and Dr. Amit Sehgal, Solvay, have been working very closely with us, and we are on schedule to open the abstract system on the 4th of January. Due to the large number of symposia proposed, the conference will add a 7th concurrent technical track this year — it’s very exciting to see GC&E expanding and broadening like this. We have also been working with a variety of partners to put together a new set of student workshops and a toxicology-oriented workshop being run by Beyond Benign and the MODRn research collaborative. Of course, we are looking forward to once again hosting the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences on the Monday night preceding the conference. This should be an outstanding week of technical programming, extensive networking and fun events. I hope to see many of you in Reston, Va. this June.

 

I was honored to be invited to the UN-sponsored Summit on Science and Technology Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals at the New York Academy of Sciences which took place earlier this month. At the summit, I worked with others to think about how to implement more sustainable consumption and production to support the sustainable development goals. There are a huge number of innovations we need to be working on now to enable the transition to more sustainable production, and it is perhaps easier to think about production than it is about consumption. Clearly, there needs to be more innovations in science and engineering research to effect substantive changes and move the world to closed loop, bio-based, and renewable production and consumption.

 

The end of the year is invariably a time of great reflection for many, and that is certainly true for me. I think it’s been a great year for green chemistry and engineering and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute®. We’ve made solid progress with the education road map effort, the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Portland was a great success, and the industrial roundtables continue to grow and thrive. We’ve expanded our Nexus readership and our social media following, especially on Twitter. I’m very proud of what the Institute has accomplished with your help, and I look forward to increasing our reach and impact in the New Year.

 

This will be, however, not as director of ACS GCI, but as its science director. As of Jan. 1, Dr. Mary Kirchhoff will be heading a new staff division within ACS—the Division of Scientific Advancement. In addition to her work to establish this new division, Mary will assume responsibility for the ACS GCI as director. Many of you know Mary through her leadership as the director of the Education Division, where she has been for the past 11 years, and her long-term leadership of the ACS Summer School on Sustainable Energy and Green Chemistry. Mary is an ardent supporter of green chemistry, and was the first assistant director of the ACS GCI in the early 2000s. I hope you will join me in congratulating Mary on her new appointment and in supporting her as she moves Scientific Advancement and the ACS GCI forward. The details of the transition will take time to work through, but you may be assured that we will not miss a beat and will continue to deliver on all our programs.

 

It’s been a pleasure and an honor to be here over the past four years as director of the ACS GCI, and I look forward to working with you in my new role. All that remains for me to do is to wish you a happy, joyous, restful holiday season with friends and family, and a very prosperous, healthy and happy New Year!

 

David_Signature.png

 

 

“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 2016 Ciba Award in Green Chemistry was awarded to four outstanding students from the University of Cincinnati, University of Pittsburgh, University of Toledo, and Yale University. These doctoral students and candidates have shown significant abilities to incorporate creative green chemistry solutions into their research. Administered by the American Chemical Society (ACS)’s Green Chemistry Institute®, the Ciba Travel Award enables students with an interest in green chemistry to travel to an ACS scientific conference with a specific green chemistry component.

 

The students will have opportunities to expand their education by attending symposia, networking, and presenting their research. This year’s awardees’ research areas include reduction in waste generation and toxicity, green synthetic methodologies, utilization of nano-enabled biomaterials, and control of antimicrobial activity through nanoparticle modulation.

 

From a pool of excellent applications, the panel of judges selected the following winners (list is pictured from left to right):

 

CibaWinners.png

  • Badri Bhattari is a Ph.D. candidate in the chemistry and biochemistry department at the University of Toledo in Ohio. His area of interest is the investigation of greener routes for the synthesis of silver nanoparticles. The goal of his research is to reduce waste generation and toxicity of the reagents and solvents used in these syntheses. He plans to attend the 253rd ACS National Meeting, April 2-6, 2017, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Rebecca Haley is a Ph.D. candidate studying organic chemistry with a concentration in green synthetic methodologies at the University of Cincinnati. Haley’s thesis topic is on Understanding Solid State Nickel Catalysis in the High Speed Ball Mill. After graduation, she plans to continue research in methodologies that employ recyclable catalysis and reduce solvent waste. She will attend the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Reston, Va., June 13-15, 2017.
  • Lauren Pincus is a Ph.D. green chemistry and engineering student from Yale University. Pincus’s broad research interest is to design more sustainable water treatment technologies. Her current research project aims to develop selective adsorbents for remediation of inorganic contaminants using nano-enabled biomaterials. She will be attending the 253rd ACS National Meeting, April 2-6, 2017, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Lisa Stabryla is a Ph.D. student of environmental engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. Stabryla studies the control of antimicrobial activity and preclude resistance by modulating specific physicochemical properties of the nanoparticle. She wants to pursue research questions related to the design of nanomaterials in a way that safely provides solutions to global public health challenges, such as antimicrobial resistance. Lisa will attend the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Reston, Va., June 13-15, 2017.

 

 

“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.

All over the country, chemistry undergraduate students are doing green chemistry outreach and activities as part of their ACS Student Chapters. The Green Chemistry Award for ACS student chapters started in the 2001-2002 academic year, with only four winners. Since then, several schools have used their creativity to come up with their own green chemistry activities. To recognize their efforts, ACS GCI presents a Green Chemistry award to chapters that have done at least three green chemistry activities over the last school year. Activities range from putting on green chemistry themed scavenger hunts to volunteering at local schools to spread the word about green chemistry. This year there were 52 winners!

 

Examples of what the ACS Chapters achieved this year include the following events and programs:

  • Students at Canisius College promoted green chemistry through green demonstrations with third graders at the local elementary school in Amherst, N.Y. Read more
  • Angelo State University celebrated their ninth consecutive time receiving the green chemistry award. They are extremely proud of their efforts to reduce waste and utilize nontoxic reagents in their chemistry laboratories. They also work hard to educate the campus as a whole about bringing in green chemistry speakers. Read more
  • At West Virginia State University, the chapter is involved in science days at local elementary schools, booths around campus, and other community events to educate on the importance of green chemistry. Read more

 

The 2015-2016 academic year Green Chemistry Student Chapter Award winners are:

 

Angelo State University Student Chapter

Penn State Berks Student Chapter

Union University Student Chapter

Bellevue College Student Chapter

Ramapo College of New Jersey Student Chapter

University of California-Los Angeles Student Chapter

Canisius College Student Chapter

Sacramento City College Student Chapter

University of California-San Diego Student Chapter

City Colleges of Chicago Wilbur Wright College Student Chapter

Saginaw Valley State University Student Chapter

University of Central Arkansas Student Chapter

College of William & Mary Student Chapter

Saint Francis University Student Chapter

University of Florida Student Chapter

Duquesne University Student Chapter

Salt Lake Community College Student Chapter

University of Houston Student Chapter

Emory University Student Chapter

South Texas College Student Chapter

University of Massachusetts Boston Student Chapter

Erskine College Student Chapter

Southwest Minnesota State University Student Chapter

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Student Chapter

Florida International University Student Chapter

Tarleton State University Student Chapter

University of New England Student Chapter

Gordon College Student Chapter

Tennessee Technological University Student Chapter

University of Pittsburgh Student Chapter

Heidelberg University Student Chapter

Texas Christian University Student Chapter

University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla Student Chapter

Henderson State University Student Chapter

The College of New Jersey Student Chapter

University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus Student Chapter

Humboldt State University Student Chapter

The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico Student Chapter

University of Tennessee at Martin Student Chapter

Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce Campus Student Chapter

The University of Texas at Dallas Student Chapter

University of Texas at Tyler Student Chapter

Inter American University of Puerto Rico San German Campus Student Chapter

Truman State University Student Chapter

University of Toledo Student Chapter

Middle Tennessee State University Student Chapter

Tuskegee University Student Chapter

Waynesburg University Student Chapter

Northeastern University Student Chapter

Union College Student Chapter

West Virginia State University Student Chapter

Pasadena City College Student Chapter

 

 

If your chapter needs assistance thinking of green chemistry activities that will help you receive a green chemistry award, review the ACS GCI Student Chapter Guides and watch informative videos for unique, fun ideas! We are excited to see what everyone does this school year.

 

Congratulations to all 52 chapters for reaching your green chemistry goals!

 

Keep up the good work all!

 

 

“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 Laura M. Reyes, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, GreenCentre Canada

 

IHC4 standalone with text.jpgIt is critically important that the right resources are readily available to advance chemistry technologies with the potential to impact climate change. GreenCentre’s IHC4 program is there to help.

 

GreenCentre Canada created the InnovationHouse Chemistry Countering Climate Change (IHC4) program to advance technologies that could directly counter climate change, or otherwise help the world adapt to a changing climate. These technology areas could include anything from greenhouse gas reduction and utilization to water and resource management, plus anything in between. The IHC4 program provides resources—either through services or direct funding—to chemistry-and-materials-based technologies that show environmental and commercial promise.

 

So far, GreenCentre has run two initiatives under the IHC4 flag:

 

Through the IHC4 Competition, GreenCentre is providing development services and resources to start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises at no cost to the winning clients. The IHC4 Competition culminated in an exciting day of presentations from nine finalists to a panel of experts, as captured in a video of that day. Out of these, the five resulting competition winners were: Alchemy, Anomera, CHAR Technologies, Forward Water Technologies, and Qwatro, whose projects are all currently being planned and carried out in the GreenCentre labs.

 

The IHC4 Call for Academic Inventions supports early-stage academic technologies by awarding proof-of-principle grants up to $50,000 per project. The application period for this competition just closed on December 15. In the next phase, projects will be assessed and sent out to an industrial review committee who will not only help choose the winning grant recipients, but will also provide valuable feedback to applicants regarding potential commercial applications from an industry perspective.

 

We have already seen a very positive response to these IHC4 initiatives. Climate change is a global and communal problem that we all face, but few people (relatively speaking) realize the huge impact that chemistry can have in fighting against it. By creating a program specifically for technologies that use chemistry to counter climate change, we have noticed a deeper understanding of the importance of advancing green and sustainable science.

 

At GreenCentre, we plan to continue creating and organizing IHC4-focused opportunities that enable us to support innovation in chemistry and materials at various stages of development.

 

Want to stay updated on upcoming GreenCentre and IHC4 news? The best way is to sign up to our InnovationHouse portal, where you can learn more about our competitions and portfolio technologies, and keep up to date on our network. We will also be at the 21st Annual GC&E Conference in June 2017 – see you there!

 

 

“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 Frank Roschangar, Director, Chemical Development, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals

 

Collaborators: Juan Colberg (Pfizer), Peter J. Dunn (Pfizer – retired), Fabrice Gallou (Novartis), John D. Hayler (GlaxoSmithKline), Stefan G. Koenig (Genentech), Michael E. Kopach (Eli Lilly), David K. Leahy (Bristol-Myers Squibb), Ingrid Mergelsberg (Merck), John L. Tucker (Amgen), Roger A. Sheldon (Delft University of Technology), and Chris H. Senanayake (Boehringer Ingelheim)

 

Green and sustainable chemistry is critical for balancing the long-term sustainability of business, society, and the environment. It stimulates scientific innovation, reduces environmental footprint, lowers development and manufacturing costs, and can therefore contribute to the greater affordability of drugs for patients. However, the full potential of sustainable drug manufacturing has been inhibited by the absence of harmonized green chemistry metrics, inconsistent starting points for analysis, and the neglected complexities of the diverse manufacturing processes. Seeing this, nine large pharmaceutical firms from the IQ Consortium Green Chemistry Working Group and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable, together with Professor Sheldon, the inventor of the E factor, joined their efforts to mitigate these problems.

 

They formulated the critically needed, unified and innovative green manufacturing measure, Green Aspiration Level (GAL), which exceeds conventional approaches to green chemistry metrics for the entire industry and provides the ultimate benefit to both the environment and the patient (Green Chem. 2017, 17, Advance Article). Their research substantially advances and expands on earlier methodology (Green Chem. 2015, 17, 752–768) with a detailed analysis on a data set of 46 drug manufacturing processes, including the oft-neglected, outsourced production and early supply chain segments, and a validation that the GAL enables consistent and meaningful green manufacturing analyses in the pharmaceutical industry for the very first time. GAL is very easy to use, with analysis requiring mere minutes to develop once process E factors or PMIs have been determined.

 

Figure.jpg

In addition, the researchers introduced a novel reporting tool – the Green Scorecard – in their work that acts as a value-added communication strategy that captures key information for executive leadership and facilitates the tool’s widespread industrial adoption. Its application is showcased, for example, in the commercial Pradaxa manufacturing process (see Figure). The Scorecard calculator, along with detailed instruction, is freely available at the IQ Green Chemistry website.

 

The chemists expect that a broad implementation and utilization of the new goal-driven GAL-based rating system for green and sustainable drug manufacturing will lead to changes in mindset among industry leaders and motivate efforts to significantly lower the environmental footprint of the pharmaceutical industry. Achieving this goal will motivate more economical drug development and manufacture, and thereby contribute to reducing the cost of drugs to patients.

 

The new insights and ideas presented in their research are not only aimed at inspiring and realizing greener manufacturing processes within the pharmaceutical industry, but they can also have widespread implications for broader fine chemical manufacture. The chemists therefore hope to influence green thinking and stimulate discussion within diverse scientific and industrial communities to ultimately lead to the broad adoption of the new methodology among them, as well as the realization of the aforementioned benefits to society.

 

 

“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 Robert J. Giraud, Principal Consultant, The Chemours Company and Christiana Briddell, Communications Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

 

The U.S. Department of Energy has granted the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) Chemical Manufacturers Roundtable an award in support of their initiative Sustainable Separation Processes: Accelerating Industrial Application of Less Energy-Intensive Alternative Separations (AltSep).

 

The DOE High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) award provides $300,000 to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to use their high performance computing capabilities to explore the fundamentals of fluid separations using porous mass separating agents (MSAs) such as adsorbents and membranes.

 

The objective of the work is to advance the rational design of MSA-based processes to enable significant reductions in the energy required for separations central to chemical manufacturing. The U.S. chemical industry currently relies on distillation to separate molecules, a process that consumes roughly 10% of energy used in the country.

 

Rooted in a partnership between ACS GCI and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, AltSep brings together innovators from industry, universities, and government to transform the way we meet industrial fluid separation needs. Progress on a technology roadmap made through a series of recent workshops has enabled the Roundtable to begin to move forward priority research areas as represented by the DOE award. Learn more at altsep.org.

 

 

“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 Ed Brush, Professor of Chemistry, Bridgewater State University, ebrush@bridgew.edu, @GreenChemEd

 

In preparing a symposium proposal on green chemistry and social/environmental justice (#GCSEJ) for the 2017 Green Chemistry & Engineering (GC&E) Conference, I had to address what I saw as the “practice gaps” that would be addressed. In assessing the outcomes following our #GCSEJ symposium at the 2016 conference, I feel that a gap exists between connecting the promise and potential of green chemistry in achieving social and environmental justice, and our ability to define, identify and understand the issues. Chemistry plays an essential role in our everyday lives, but there have admittedly been unintended consequences contributing, in some cases, to disproportionate exposure to hazardous chemicals based on race and socio-economic status. Although real-world examples are readily available — such as exposure to diesel particulates in inner cities, the Flint, Mich. lead crisis, and hazardous mining practices for “endangered elements” in Africa — science educators sometimes struggle to make effective connections in the context of social and environmental justice. Furthermore, when educators are challenged to integrate new material into their courses and curriculum, the most common responses are that “we don’t have the material or enough time, or lack the professional development resources to do so.”

 

But the conversations during and following the 2016 Portland GC&E Conference were different. There was engagement across disciplines, very strong enthusiasm for integrating #GCSEJ in chemistry education, and an equally strong desire to overcome challenges through design thinking (#DesignThinking). Many of us share the dilemma that the topics of social and environmental justice are outside our comfort zones. Rarely were we challenged to make these connections in our undergraduate or graduate training, and today we lack the access to relevant materials and resources necessary to engage our students. Our work is more objective. We have received extensive technical and theoretical training in laboratory research, but often missed out on examining the societal context of our research. I have found it helpful to reach out to my colleagues in the humanities and social sciences who are better trained to guide their students in processing the human experience, and through academic research, make connections on the impact human activities have had on our world — and will continue to have in the future.

 

We need to generate new curriculum ideas that include multidisciplinary input and that will engage instructor and student in creating educational resources that are openly accessible. The challenges of generating and developing these ideas will be explored through symposia at two upcoming conferences. At ACS San Francisco (April 2017) there will be a #GCSEJ session that is part of the “Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice” symposium. We are also looking for speakers and participants for a multidisciplinary symposium at the 21st Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Reston, Va. in June 2017. The goal of these symposia is to better define, identify and understand the societal issues and design connections to green chemistry. This will be accomplished through: (1) sharing knowledge and experiences across disciplines and fields; (2) discussing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; and (3) learning about educational strategies and resources. A potential outcome of these conversations is to place chemistry in a more meaningful, relevant and accessible context that better connects scientists, non-scientists, students, teachers, thought leaders, policy-makers, business leaders, and community organizers with green chemistry in transdisciplinary teams that help form solutions to correct social and environmental disparities.

 

If commenting on Twitter, please use #GCSEJ.

 

 

“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_Dec_9.jpg

China increases hazardous chemical regulations

December 8, 2016 | C&EN

China’s highest decision-making body, the State Council, has unveiled a three-year plan to prevent accidents involving hazardous chemicals that may bring headaches to chemical producers and shippers.

 

New bio-recycling process can depolymerize PET bottles, packaging and films

December 8, 2016 | Recycling International

Green chemistry company Carbios in France has announced that its innovative enzymatic bio-recycling process of polyesters is also applicable to crystalline polyethylene terephthalate (PET). ‘This means it can treat all kind of plastic waste containing PET, namely bottles, packaging and films,’ the firm says.

 

EPA moves to ban uses of trichloroethylene

December 7, 2016 | C&EN

EPA concluded in 2014 that trichloroethylene (TCE) in spot cleaning agents and aerosol spray degreasers could pose health risks to workers and consumers. TCE is a known human carcinogen, and studies have associated the chemical with neurological, developmental, and immunological toxicity.

 

Novel catalysts improve path to more sustainable plastics production

December 5, 2016 | Phys.org

University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers have discovered a new type of catalyst to drive the ODHP reaction. In a paper published Dec. 1 in Science, a team led by chemistry and chemical engineering Professor Ive Hermans reports success with hexagonal boron nitride and boron nitride nanotube catalysts in the chemical reaction that converts propane to propene.

 

Ranking retailers on avoidance of hazardous chemicals

December 5, 2016 | C&EN

A new report gives 11 major U.S. retailers an average grade of D+ in meeting rising consumer demand for safer products, though it also found major progress at some firms.

 

 

“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.

12-2Roundup.pngStart-up Green Distillation Technologies recycles 100% of rubber tires to be used as biofuels and raw materials

November 28, 2016 | ABC News

Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) can produce 3,000 liters of bio-oil from one giant seven-ton mining truck tire. It hopes to increase production to more than 8 millions liters annually by mid-2017. Director Trevor Bayley said the company used a technique known as destructive distillation to convert wasted, old rubber into renewable energy.

 

Closing the loop on the circular economy

November 26, 2016 | GreenBiz

What is remanufacturing? What are its additional economic or environmental benefits, and how does this industrial practice differ from reuse or recycling? This adapted chapter, "Remanufacturing and the circular economy," answers these questions with compelling case studies that illustrate the power of the circular economy model.

 

Protein provides new route to carbon-silicon bonds

November 24, 2016 | C&EN

Silicon is the second most abundant element in Earth’s crust after oxygen, but carbon-silicon bonds are unheard of in nature: Neither biological organosilicon compounds nor biosynthetic pathways to create them have been identified. But when given the right starting materials, some heme proteins can stereospecifically form carbon-silicon bonds, report researchers from Caltech.

 

Green Chemistry Club seeks to recycle used kitchen oil

November 23, 2016 | The Torch

Lane Community College has been attempting to produce biodiesel on campus by utilizing a continuous flow reaction and kitchen oil as a feedstock.

 

Will the artificial leaf sprout to combat climate change?

November 21, 2016 | C&EN

To find a renewable way to produce green fuels and chemicals, scientists have developed technologies that use sunlight to split water to make molecular hydrogen or reduce CO2 into hydrocarbons. However, these artificial photosynthesis and electrocatalysis technologies face significant research and engineering development challenges to produce fuels efficiently and economically.

 

New biodegradable sneakers woven from man-made spider silk biopolymers

November 18, 2016 | LabBioTech

AMSilk, located near Munich, is the world’s first biotech supplying synthetic silk biopolymers for textiles, cosmetics and medical devices. The company’s 100% biodegradable and vegan Biosteel fibers, stronger and lighter than conventional synthetic fibers, have been used by Adidas to create sustainable sneakers.

 

 

“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.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: