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One of the new elements of the GC&E Conference this year was a morning dedicated to Interactive Discussions—a different session format aimed to engage participants in discussions and actively explore new approaches and tools. Feedback from participants was positive and these sessions offered a welcome change and a great opportunity to meet and talk to new people.


We will be recapping the session in two parts. Part II will be published in the August issue of The Nexus.


Building Green Businesses

The Building Green Businesses interactive session engaged participants in exploring strategies to translate green chemistry technologies into commercial applications. Participants developed a business model canvas addressing a green chemistry challenge in the textile sector. This approach required attendees to work in teams to consider a number of factors, including customer segments, value proposition, and key partners, in developing business models. Organizer Marty Mulvihill of Safer Made shared information on funding sources, talking with investors, and building a start-up team.


Resources for creating a green business:


Venture Well- Accelerator and curriculum

Business model canvas resources

Safer Made Textile report



Implementation Strategies for Green Chemistry in Products – What are the Barriers, Opportunities, and Key Elements for Making Sustainable Consumer Goods?


In this session led by John Frazier, Bob Buck and Scott Echols, participants were lead through a series of thought-provoking questions and engaged in conversations to identify barriers to implementing green chemistry and then brainstorm potential solutions. The top five barriers identified were 1) long development/scale time, 2) regulatory requirements, 3) cost/investment, 4) clear communication with supply chain, and 5) economy of scale vs. existing chemicals.



High-level routes to overcome these barriers included:

  • Predictive modeling to identify greener alternatives
  • Communicate clear expectations across regulators, brands, suppliers
  • Seek “Co-opitition” Opportunities (competitors collaborating)
  • Educate to create demand
  • Reduce risk through investment insurance model
  • Develop greener purchasing systems
  • Enable fail-fast R&D
  • Multi-disciplinary approach to green chemistry needs
  • Recognize green chemistry as innovation


Minimizing Ecotoxicity and Persistence in Chemicals and Materials

Is it possible to develop a “safe” diazo dye? The Minimizing Ecotoxicity interactive session allowed participants to examine the acute and chronic ecotoxicity of chemical and material safety by using predictive models.  During the session, the attendees were asked to select three candidate compounds to propose a safer aromatic amine alternative based on ecotoxicity and biodegradation data. By studying a list of Primary Aromatic Amines (PAAs), the acute and chronic ecotoxicity data associated with them, in addition to predicted data on biodegradation, the attendees were able to create a list and report out their safer selection. After participants identified their “safer” compounds, they learned about the different methods of ecotoxicity data collection and how it’s used in an integrated approach to identify chemicals safer to other species.


To review the slides from the interactive session visit

The Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship sponsors the participation of a young green chemistry scholar to attend a green chemistry technical meeting, conference, or training program. This year's winners are enrolled at Ohio State and Colorado State. Both students chose to use the award to attend the GC&E Conference in June where they presented their research.


breen-luke.pngLuke Morrical receives Breen Award from Tom Connelly.
© 2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography



This year’s undergraduate recipient of the Breen Award is Luke Morrical, who is studying chemical engineering at The Ohio State University. Morrical was introduced to green chemistry last year through an internship at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.  His project involved using botanical compounds in conjunction with biobased polymers to combat microbial contamination in foods and food products.



Bonnie Buss receives Breen Award from Tom Connelly.
© 2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography.



Bonnie Buss, who is working toward her Ph.D. in chemistry at Colorado State University, is this year’s graduate student awardee. Bonnie’s research focuses on the application of organocatalyzed atom transfer radical polymerization to scalable photo-flow reactor systems. She has designed a new class of organic photoredox catalysts that hold promise as polymerization catalysts.


The ACS established the fund in 2000 to commemorate Dr. Breen’s commitment to and accomplishments in advancing green chemistry. Dr. Breen was instrumental in creating the Design for the Environment and Green Chemistry programs in the U.S. EPA, as well as founding the Green Chemistry Institute (which later became a part of ACS).

Congratulations to this year’s Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award winner, Emily Roberts, who is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Chemistry at the University of Southern California. She received the award from the ACS Executive Director and CEO Tom Connelly at the GC&E Conference in June.


hancock.pngEmily Roberts receives Hancock Award from Tom Connelly.
©2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography


The Hancock Award provides national recognition and honor for outstanding student contributions to furthering the goals of green chemistry through research and/or studies.


Roberts' research is directed towards improving the production of biofuels by scaling catalytic nanoparticle fabrication. She is investigating earth-abundant catalysts composed of Ni and Ni2P.  Her research is also focused on transitioning and scaling the batch manufacturing of these nanoscale catalysts to a continuous flow droplet microreactor using an ionic liquid solvent in place of volatile organic solvents.


The Hancock Award is sponsored by the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry and the National Institute of Standards & Technology.

My sincere thanks to all who attended and helped organize last month’s Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon—what a fantastic meeting!  A total of 580 attendees shared research results, engaged in interactive discussions, and visited the poster session, exhibitors, and product showcase.  The keynote speakers – Joe DeSimone, Don Sadoway, and Julie Zimmerman – were exceptional, and the high-energy networking events provided attendees with opportunities to establish new collaborations across sectors.


I would like to extend a special thanks to our conference co-chairs, Julie Haack and Richard Blackburn, for organizing such a dynamic conference. Their vision in retaining the scientific core of the conference while introducing new features, such as the interactive sessions and product showcase, was key to the success of the conference. The incredible support of my ACS Green Chemistry Institute® colleagues – Christiana Briddell, Ashley Choi, David Constable, Jane Day, Matt Deinhardt, Dawn Holt, Jenny MacKellar, Isamir Martinez, and Stephanie Wahl – was essential in delivering an outstanding meeting experience. The conference also afforded us the opportunity to recognize Kent Voorhees for his dedicated service to ACS GCI during his 11 years on the Governing Board, including five years as Chair.


voorhees.pngKent Voorhees thanked by Tom Connelly on behalf of his service on, and as Chair of, the ACS GCI Governing Board.
©2018 American Chemical Society. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography.


Planning for the 2019 joint 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and 9th International Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference is well underway. The conference will be held in Reston, Virginia from June 11-13, 2019 under the leadership of conference co-chairs Joan Brennecke and Philip Jessop. The call for symposia is open through September 10 and I encourage you to submit your ideas. Submissions are welcome in all areas of green chemistry and engineering, particularly those that address the conference theme of “closing the loop” of the chemical life cycle.


While much of ACS GCI’s attention has been lately focused on the conference, work continues on other fronts, as evidenced by two recent publications. Jim Hutchison and Tom Holme, who are deeply involved in developing the Green Chemistry Education Roadmap, published an editorial in the April issue of the Journal of Chemical Education on “A Central Learning Outcome for the Central Science”.  The Central Learning Outcome articulated in this article is that “Chemicals have benefits and hazards, and these must be considered together.” Tony Noce, ACS GCI Advisory Board member and Chair of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement, authored a May 27 comment in Chemical & Engineering News that outlined how chemistry can help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  He highlights chemistry’s essential role in meeting these ambitious goals.


Finally, I hope to see many of you at the ACS National Meeting in Boston next month. Symposia on green chemistry are featured in many of the technical divisions, including catalysis, chemical education, environmental, and organic.  Please stop by the GCI booth (#1418) in the exhibit hall – we look forward to welcoming you!




By Louis Diorazio, Pharmaceutical Technology and Development, AstraZeneca


Solvents are commonplace chemicals across industry and academia.  In many cases, the bulk of the materials that chemists process are solvents with the ‘interesting stuff’ present only as minor components.  From this, it can be seen that the greenness of a chemical process, whether in a lab or a manufacturing plant, will be heavily influenced by the selection of the correct solvent.  Although solvents can offer green credentials in their own right, this only translates into a green process once we recognize that the purpose of a solvent is to effectively support an application such as synthesis, coating or formulation.  A green solvent may not provide for a green process if we don’t properly consider its influence on aspects of the application from the molecular to the macro scale such as:


  • Accessible temperature window
  • ‘Molecular’ properties  and interactions e.g. pKa, redox potential, metal binding, solubility
  • Side reactions and impurities
  • Available analytical technologies e.g. refractive index, spectral properties
  • Product isolation and drying


Effective solvent selection should progress beyond the current contents of the solvent cupboard or from a limited appraisal of options.  The principles of solvent selection are very simple and start with a straightforward challenge ‘Do I really need a solvent?’  In many applications (e.g. making low cost / high volume materials), solvents bring unnecessary dilution and no benefit but if the need for a solvent can be justified, there are only two additional questions to answer:


  1. What properties do I need from a solvent?
  2. What solvents fulfill those requirements?


The new Solvent Selection Tool launched publicly by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable sets out to provide answers to these questions. Users start from a pool of 272 solvents that can be filtered based on a wide range of criteria such as:


  • Chemical functionality
  • Physical properties
  • Engineering and plant accommodation
  • Safety Health and Environment
  • ICH classification


In this way, the user can address traditional processing concerns such as chemical reactivity or water miscibility alongside environmental considerations. The tool deliberately avoids explicitly identifying solvent identities until the user is happy with the size of their shortlist, all of which fulfills the set criteria. Some unconventional or unexpected options may be encountered, the key is to be open to change – after all, what does a solvent look like? Ultimately this provides for rational solvent selection where results can be explored directly in lab studies or refined using predictive methods.


The issue of solvent selection is becoming more critical as legislation places restrictions on some traditional solvents (e.g. glyme, HMPA, benzene, NMP, DME) for reasons of health or environmental impact. This challenge will only increase over time and scientists will need to be more open minded with respect to solvent choice in the future.


Our perspective should focus on green solvent selection, i.e. providing end-to-end performance against all criteria rather than force-fitting a green solvent and expecting an optimal result. Take a look at the tool and tell us what you think.




L.J.Diorazio, D.R.J.Hose, N.K.Adlington, Org. Process Res. Dev., 2016, 20, 760-773

Contributed by Derrick Ward, Program Manager, Beyond Benign, and Erika Daley, My Green Lab


Are you looking to integrate green chemistry into teaching labs, but just can’t find time to look for and analyze new experiments? Are you a TA that would like to suggest safer experiments with a lower environmental impact, but haven’t been educated in the topic yourself? Are you a student or staff researcher that would like to make simple changes to green your lab practices, but don’t know where to start? We are happy to share that two non-profit organizations have joined forces to bring you a solution!


guides.pngGlobal industries are redefining their core business strategies by adopting greener chemistry practices that are reinventing supply-chain ecosystems to design models that create value for all stakeholders – including the planet. By simply adopting greener chemistry practices, whole industries have seen positive benefits ranging from novel innovations, reduced operational waste and costs, to increased market presence by differentiating themselves amongst their competitors. As a result, the North American green chemistry market is projected to grow from $3 billion to $20 billion by 2020. To facilitate the education and adoption of green chemistry by scientists supporting this market, we are thrilled to share that Beyond Benign and My Green Lab recently launched ‘A Guide to Green Chemistry Experiments for Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Labs’, with support from our mutual sponsor Millipore Sigma.


The guide provides 10 published, peer-reviewed green chemistry experiment that have been identified as substitutions for traditional undergraduate organic chemistry teaching lab experiments, in a pre-packaged, customizable manner that you may use as-is, or adjust to fit your own needs. Each experiment includes an introduction, experimental procedure, EH&S ratings, comparative analysis against traditional experiments, a TA guide, and example quiz questions. An assessment demonstrating qualitative benefits of green chemistry implementation, including energy efficiency, use of renewable resources, and use of safer solvents is also provided. Our goal was to make it as easy as possible for you to integrate these greener alternatives in your own teaching labs.


We took this opportunity to include several resources that extend well beyond academic teaching labs and apply to all academic and industry research settings. The introduction chapter includes information on greening common laboratory techniques, solvent and reagent substitution guides, ‘green chemistry 101’, and explanation of the EH&S safety ranking system we used so that you may adopt it for your own purposes.


qrcode.pngHow to Get Your Free Copy!

This guide is a FREE resource available for the chemistry community, from undergraduate students to faculty members, and it is available to download by scanning the QR code below or at:



After downloading your FREE copy of “A Guide to Green Chemistry Experiments for Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Labs”, check out the instructional webinar highlighting in more detail the design and benefits it offers to your organic chemistry laboratory! You can access the webinar here.


We Want to Hear From You!

We would love to hear from you with regards to how you are using the Guide, and suggestions for experiments you would like to see in future editions! To provide this and any other feedback, please take a moment to complete the following survey: We know your time is valuable, and greatly appreciate your input!

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