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The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® was thrilled to host the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony in Washington, DC this week!  ACS GCI coordinated this year’s nomination and review process in selecting the 2018 recipients:


Gupton.jpgTom Connelly, Jr. gives Prof. Frank Gupton his award.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Academic Award – Professors Frank Gupton and Tyler McQuade of Virginia Commonwealth University: Increasing Global Access to the High-volume HIV Drug Nevirapine through Process Intensification. Gupton and McQuade redesigned the process for creating this HIV drug, resulting in a 38% increase in yield and a reduction in waste generated. This novel process reduced the raw material cost by 30-40%. The new process was implemented through the Clinton Health Access Initiative in collaboration with two Chinese manufacturers resulting in a 9% reduction in the drug’s price.


chemetry.pngThe Chemetry team with Dr. Connelly.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Small Business Award – Chemetry Corporation: The eShuttle™ Technology for Propylene Oxide and Reducing CO2 Emissions in the PVC Supply Chain. This technology eliminates chlorine in the production of polyvinyl chloride (used to make PVC pipes, etc.), along with a chlorine-free method of producing propylene oxide, commonly used to make lightweight polyurethane foams and a variety of other valuable products. The eShuttle™ process reduces the power consumption of manufacturing propylene oxide by 60% compared to the conventional process, saving 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The new process also eliminates asbestos and mercury and removes the potential for the creation of chlorination byproducts associated with the current chlor-alkali process.



The Merck team accepts their award with Dr. Connelly.

Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Greener Synthetic Pathways – Merck Research Laboratories: A Sustainable Commercial Manufacturing Process for Doravirine from Commodity Chemicals. A new synthesis of this HIV drug reduces production materials by 81%, increases yield from 23% to 52% and reduces the cost of raw materials by 57%. A life cycle assessment revealed the carbon footprint and water usage were reduced by 88% and 90%, respectively.



Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic's Julia Shamshina and John Keyes (right) with
Prof. Robin Rogers receive their award from Dr. Connelly.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


Greener Reaction Conditions – Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, LLC: A Practical Way to Mass Production of Chitin: The Only Facility in the U.S. to Use Ionic Liquid-Based Isolation Process. Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, LLC, is commercializing a safe, environmentally friendly, low energy-demanding and overall less costly process to produce chitin from seafood waste. Chitin is used in a variety of applications, such as food processing, biodegradable plastics and biomedical applications. This zero-discharge process produces a very high-grade and pure chitin, making use of and monetizing this seafood processing waste.



Dr. Connelly with Corteva's Jaime Zambrano, Nneka Breaux, and Dennis Wujek.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography


The Design of Greener Chemicals – Corteva Agriscience™ Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™: Rinskor™ Active – Improving Rice Production While Reducing Environmental Impact. This herbicide uses a unique new chemistry that allows farmers to apply it in lower doses than prior herbicides, eliminating an expected 750,000 pounds of active herbicide ingredients in 2018. In addition, nearly the same amount of hydrocarbon solvents will be eliminated because the herbicide makes use of predominantly plant-derived and renewable solvents. In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted Rinskor™ the Reduced Risk Pesticide Designation in rice and aquatics.


Congratulations to this year’s winners!  These award-winning technologies demonstrate that great science can be accompanied by significant health and environmental benefits, reductions in the use and generation of hazardous substances, and economic advantages.


We were also pleased to have Dr. Leah Rubin Shen, Energy and Environment Policy Advisor for the Office of Senator Chris Coons give the congratulatory address, as well as Dr. Bill Carroll, ACS GCI Advisory Board Chair presiding and Dr. Tom Connelly, Jr., ACS Executive Director and CEO giving the science address. The U.S. Military District of Washington presented colors while Paula Christopher of the ACS performed the National Anthem.


8th IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry


I had the pleasure of participating in the 8th IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry in Bangkok, Thailand on September 9-14.  Professor Supawan Tantayanon organized the conference in collaboration with Professor Pietro Tundo, chair of IUPAC’s Interdivisional Committee on Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development. The conference attracted an international audience that shared research in tracks on green chemicals, polymers, and materials; green synthesis, manufacturing, and engineering processes; green fossil energy, biomass, and future fuels; and green chemistry education.  This is the first time this conference was held in Asia and it proved a wonderful venue for highlighting advances in and establishing collaborations on green chemistry research and education.




Dr. Mary M. Kirchhoff, Ph.D.

Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Director, Scientific Advancement Division

By Frank Roschangar, Director, Process Research & Global External Chemistry Management, Chemical Development US, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals


The 22nd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon in June 2018 featured a new interactive workshop concept. Herein, we summarize key outcomes of the workshop titled Metrics - Advances and Limitations in Determining the Greenness of Drug Manufacturing, which was chaired by Frank Roschangar from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, and featured five expert speakers from the ACS Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) and industry.  Each speaker presented their metrics-related topic in just 10 minutes, followed by the deployment of various idea-generating tools, namely SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), PPCO (Pluses, Potentials, Concerns, Overcome concerns; credit: Lisa Bodell, futurethink) and Assumption Reversal (credit: Lisa Bodell, futurethink), to stimulate interactive 15 minute discussions and suggestions for improvements on each topic.



Participants at the Metrics workshop at GC&E in Portland, Oregon. Photo Credit: Naim Hasan Photography


David Constable from ACS GCI presented Green Chemistry Metrics – Yes, you need more than one!  He emphasized that researchers ought to apply a system-wide view of chemistry and adopt a multivariate metrics approach to each assessment so that the environmental impact is optimized across the lifecycle of the product. From the subsequent discussion emerged the idea of reaching broad agreement on strategies for using differentiated metrics to effectively drive desired improvements.


Austin Smith from Amgen introduced Inspiring process innovation via an improved green manufacturing metric: iGAL, a new benchmark for manufacturing process waste at each stage of the pipeline. In the interactive session, opportunities were identified such as collecting more data and applying the concept to the pharmaceutical supply chain.


Eric Simmons from Bristol-Myers Squibb offered his perspective on Non-mass based metrics: Assessing environmental, health and safety impacts of chemical processes that led to the development of a comprehensive Process Greenness Scorecard for small-molecule APIs.  One opportunity that came out of the discussion was how to build industry consensus around the weightings of the individual metrics.


Michael Kopach from Lilly discussed Metrics for medium-sized drugs: Polypeptides and Oligonucleotides and disclosed that green chemistry has found little application in the preparation of these medium-sized molecules.  The audience found this field to have significant potential for adopting or developing adequate metrics to stimulate green innovation.


Sandra Robaire from Merck elaborated on the Streamlined PMI-LCA (Process Mass Intensity – Life Cycle Assessment) Tool for Small Molecules, which was recently streamlined by the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable as a more comprehensive tool when compared to mass-based metrics.  The ensuing interactive discussion revealed that collecting full LCA data on common reagents and crafting case studies from multiple companies may enhance the value and utilization of the tool. Overall, the sessions were highly participative and well received as such.  The output of each session was summarized by the chair and sent to the speakers for their consideration.  We are hopeful that several suggestions and ideas will have been followed up and results will be presented at the metrics workshop at the June 2019 Green Chemistry & Engineering conference in Reston, Virginia.

By Mr. Philip Krook, Communications Officer, ChemSec


Last week I heard a word that I had never heard before. It was a term explaining a phenomenon that has skyrocketed in the last years. The word was uberization.


At the time, I could already guess the meaning behind the expression seeing as I knew about the company from which the term is derived, but when I got home I still wanted to look it up because it really rang true to a project that we are working on in my organization.


An explanation I found on the internet stated that the term refers to “the utilization of computing platforms in order to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions between clients and providers of a service, often bypassing the role of centrally planned corporations”.


Wait, had I accidentally clicked on something that sent me straight to the project description of Marketplace?


Let me back up a little bit.


I work for ChemSec, a non-profit organization working towards a future free from hazardous chemicals. We work closely with decision makers and companies, advocating progressive legislation and sustainable chemicals management.


Working closely with corporate chemicals management has made us aware of a problem that many companies have when it comes to phasing out hazardous chemicals in their products and supply chains. They do not know where to find safer alternatives, and oftentimes they do not even know what they are supposed to look for since information regarding these alternatives is not readily available to them.


At the same time, we saw all these small start-ups popping up with innovative technical processes and alternative materials that would be game-changers in the industry if they only had the opportunity to market them. We also knew about large chemical producers that already had safer alternatives in their portfolios but for various reasons did not actively promote them.


The solution was quite obvious to us. We needed to connect supply with demand.


“Let’s uberize it!”, someone… did not say in a meeting. But someone might as well have, because that is exactly what we are trying to do. We want to enable potential customers to be put into direct contact with potential providers of safer chemical alternatives, eliminating the role of the middle man.


So, we created Marketplace.




Marketplace is a meeting point where buyers and sellers of safer chemical alternatives can interact. The website is meant to be a hub, similar to eBay, Craigslist or… well, Uber. If you are looking for an alternative you post a request, if you have a safe alternative you advertise it. If you are unsure you can just scroll through all the ads, using filters for chemical functions, industry or a specific hazardous chemical that you are looking to substitute.


A year into its development cycle, a wide range of stakeholders already recognize the potential in Marketplace. Large retailer brands, big chemical producers and small start-ups are posting more and more advertisements and requests, and European legislators and green chemistry leaders in the U.S. use Marketplace to stay updated on the latest alternatives and industry trends.


Hopefully, this uberization of safer chemical alternatives will lead to a much swifter phaseout of toxic chemicals in products and supply chains, while at the same time promoting the production of safer chemical alternatives instead of the hazardous ones.


If it has worked for hospitality, transportation and random consumer goods, then why shouldn’t it work for chemicals as well?



Learn more about ChemSec Marketplace in this upcoming webinar with Northwest Green Chemistry:


ChemSec Marketplace and its role in advancing safer alternatives: Focus on phthalates

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

10-11 a.m. PT

Register Here

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