Foam Infused with Spent Coffee Grounds Cleans Contaminated Water

September 21, 2016 | Laboratory Equipment

U.S. researchers have found a way to recycle spent coffee grounds into filters. These filters are capable of removing heavy metal contaminants from ground water.

 

Biobased Carbon Fiber Produced from Sugar

September 21, 2016 | The Daily Evergreen

Researchers at Washington State University are working on a way to convert agricultural and forestry sugar feedstock to polyacrylonitrile, which is used in the production of carbon fiber. “By utilizing a bio-based form like sugar rather than a petrochemical form, the cost of carbon fiber productions goes down and less greenhouse gasses will be released through the production process,” said Jinwen Zhang, associate professor with the School of Mechanical and Materials engineering.

 

Can These Biobased Nanoparticles Help Detect Tumors?

September 20, 2016 | Labiotech

The Italian company Bio-ON has released their newest product, which uses bioplastic nanoparticles to detect tumors. Bio-ON’s plastics are produced from agricultural waste, which eliminates competition with the food industry, and are 100% biodegradable.

 

Eastman Chemical Company Develops a Safer Solvent

September 20, 2016 | Green Biz

The chemical company has developed Eastman Omnia, a new high-performance solvent for cleaning applications, after a long journey using both computational and bench chemistry to narrow down their search. They used the EPA’s guidelines for carcinogenicity, neurotoxicity, acute mammalian toxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, repeated-dose toxicity, and environmental fate and toxicity to develop the new solvent.

 

Alkaline Membranes for Renewable Energy Storage and Conversion

September 19, 2016 | Azo Materials

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently received a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The grant will fund research to develop ion-conduction materials for alkaline membranes, which will allow the replacement of platinum with Earth-abundant metals in next-generation fuel cells.

 

Making Surfboard Manufacturing More Sustainable

September 19, 2016 | Surfline

Surfers around the world are going green by choosing certified ECO-boards over other options. Sustainable Surf's ECOBOARD program aims to reduce the environmental impact of a surfboard related to the carbon footprint and use of hazardous materials and encourages manufacturers to use recycled and plant-based materials.

 

Navy Completes Flight Tests Using Biofuel

September 19, 2016 | Biomass Magazine

The U.S. Navy is a leader in incorporating alternative fuel into operational supplies, in order to increase mission capability and flexibility. Part of this vision was realized this month when the EA-18G "Green Growler" completed flight testing of a 100-percent advanced biofuel at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Turning Windows into Solar Power Generators

September 9, 2016 | Green Building Elements

Several start-ups, including Ubiquitous Energy, PolySolar, and SolarWindow Technologies, are finding ways to turn infrared and UV light from the sun into electricity using windows. They’ve designed transparent coatings that can be applied to existing glass surfaces or even flexible plastic.

 

Chemical Company is to Offer Biobased Temperature Controlled Packaging

September 12, 2016 | Packaging Europe

Croda, a specialty chemical company, has developed a biobased phase change material. The new material has applications in pharmaceutical packaging, especially for shipping temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.

 

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Bioscience Company Wins Award for ‘Best Ingredient Made From Recycled Materials’

September 9, 2016 | EconoTimes

Amyris, Inc. in partnership with Boticario Group has been named a Gold Winner by Cosmetics Design USA for their development of the ingredient Neossance Hemisqualane. This ingredient, which is biodegradable and non-toxic to aquatic life, has applications in skin and sun care, hair care, and makeup removal.

 

Earth Friendly Products Releases First Pet Care Products with EPA’s Safer Choice Label

September 14, 2016 | Market Wired

Earth Friendly Products, maker of ECOS environmentally friendly cleaning products, announced that they are the first company to receive this label for a line of pet care products. These hypoallergenic conditioning shampoos are made using the safest ingredients and have been tested for performance.

 

NSF Awards Research Grant for Plant-Based Indigo Dye Production

September 14, 2016 | Newswise

Stony Creek Colors, which manufactures biobased textile dyes, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a not-for-profit institute, have received a grant to improve genetic resources for plant-based indigo dye production. The goal of the research is to make the manufacturing of blue jeans more sustainable.

 

Chemistry Professor at UCLA Wants to Improve Safety Culture

September 15, 2016 | Lab Manager

UCLA chemistry professor Craig Merlic was recently spotlighted for his activities as the head of the UC Center for Laboratory Safety. He teaches a safety course for all of the chemistry and biochemistry graduate students, and hopes the center’s work will become the “gold standard in laboratory safety in the United States.”

 

5 Great Videos on Biomimicry

September 15, 2016 | Green Biz

Green Biz highlights five videos about biomimcry—the idea that humans should try to mimic natural systems when making decisions about product design, architecture, engineering, energy systems, carbon capture, city planning, and more.

 

Renmatix Receives Investment for Commercialization of Plantrose ® Process

September 15, 2016 | Renmatix

Renmatix, a leader in affordable cellulosic sugars, received a $14 million investment from Bill Gates and Total, the global energy major. The investment will drive the building of Plantrose-enabled biorefineries, facilitating further market development in downstream bioproduct applications.

 

 

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

 

It’s hard to believe that three weeks have passed since we were at the 252nd ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia. The ACS National Meetings are usually a whirlwind of activity and it’s a bit overwhelming to keep up with all the concurrent activities. We once again had the pleasure of several Pharma RT member company representatives, Leanna Schuster from GSK and Mike Kopack of Lilly, join us at our booth to talk to attendees about green chemistry and what they are doing in their respective companies to implement green chemistry. We also partnered with our LAUNCH colleagues to promote the 2016 LAUNCH Chemistry Challenge.

 

In case you had not heard, this year’s LAUNCH challenge is “…a global call for innovators, entrepreneurs, companies and organizations to enable predictive chemical design through innovative applications of data in chemistry. “ There are 4 focus areas: Data Generation, Data Access, Data Integration, and Data Analysis and Application. I would invite you to investigate this and see if you have a part to play.

 

One of the highlights of the week was the opportunity to hear Senator Chris Coons speak at the Hero’s of Chemistry Awards Ceremony. Senator Coons is a strong and articulate supporter of sustainable chemistry. We are extremely grateful for his persistent advocacy in the Senate to progress some form of legislation promoting greater Federal Agency attention to sustainable chemistry. He and Senator Collins have asked the U.S. General Accounting office to do a technology assessment around sustainable chemistry implementation in the U.S., and we are looking forward to a report sometime next year.

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The ACS GCI continues to progress the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference under the able leadership of Jenny MacKellar, Dawn Holt and Jane Day. The Advisory Committee and Technical Program Chairs continue to map out the details of the conference and planning for all the various parts of the Conference are well in hand. We are looking forward to the Technical Session Submissions and I would ask you to remember that the closing date for that is the 7th of October. This is going to be another great conference, and I hope you are making plans to be a part!

 

We continue our work on the education roadmap with a variety of stakeholders, once again under the able leadership of Jenny MacKellar and our Leadership Team Jim Hutchinson, Mary Kirchoff and Eric Beckman. It’s challenging work to integrate green chemistry concepts into what is normally taught in chemistry curriculum. One bridge we’re building is the idea of systems thinking; a concept familiar in biology and engineering, but not so much in chemistry. But, to truly address some of the major sustainable and green chemistry challenges we face, we need to think more about all the systems involved in making the world more sustainable and where to integrate green chemistry thinking and practice. These opportunities need to be recognized and understood by educators so they may be taught within routine chemistry education.

 

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

 

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Contributed by Mark Dorfman, Biomimicry Chemist, Biomimicry 3.8

 

Nature, the oldest and wisest chemist, is by necessity, a green chemist. By “nature”, I’m referring to the living natural world. Unlike inanimate rocks and minerals, organisms are constrained by the need to survive, thrive and nurture their young in the same place they make, use and manage chemistry. For example, minerals achieve brilliant colors using lead, mercury or cadmium, but over billions of years of R&D, organisms have figured out how to achieve a dazzling array of show-stopping displays without relying on the incorporation of heavy metals.

 

Color is only the tip of the iceberg. We would be hard-pressed to find a functional challenge faced by commercial chemicals and materials that organisms haven’t faced in varied environments. The list includes functions such as lubrication, self-cleaning, oxygen management, coatings, surface slipperiness, adhesion, water/ice resistance, conductance, fragrance, flavor, structural strength and flexibility, impact resistance, protection from predators, responsiveness to environmental cues, biodegradability, and signal sending/receiving.

 

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Not only do organisms not pollute their environment or themselves, in the course of meeting these functional challenges through chemistry, they create conditions conducive to life. For example, oxygen is a by-product of the energy-generating and chemical-synthesizing photosynthetic system; mollusks filter their watery surroundings; and falling leaves decompose into nutrients that feed the host tree and nourish the surrounding soil.

 

A set of deep patterns common to the chemistries across species and environmental contexts make the living world a rich storehouse of strategies that could inspire innovative, green chemistry approaches to new commercial chemistries and materials. Perhaps the two most important deep patterns in nature’s chemistry are self-assembly and shape complementarity. In biology, chemical transformations occur when reactants fit together hand-in-glove at ambient temperatures and pressures. The 3D shape self-assembles as a result of the strategically placed functional groups that attract or repel each other in a watery environment, thereby pulling the complex structure into the required shape. Shape complementarity and self-assembly relate to multiple green chemistry principles including: waste prevention, atom economy, less hazardous chemical syntheses, safer solvents and auxiliaries, reduced derivatives, catalysis, and inherently safer chemistry for accident prevention.

 

Another important deep pattern in nature’s chemistry is maximizing the use of non-covalent bonds. This includes: hydrogen bonds, van der Waals forces, and hydrophobic, electrostatic and pi interactions relating to the green chemistry principles of reduced derivatization and designing for degradation down to reusable building blocks. Nature’s chemistry meets its functional challenges using just over two dozen elements in the periodic table in relative positions and proportions that result in effective yet safer chemicals and materials. Nature introduces toxicity only when toxicity is the desired functional challenge, such as for protection or predation.

 

Biomimicry is a methodology that systematically taps into the living natural world’s rich vein of innovative biological knowledge, including nature’s chemical intelligenceto tease out the deep patterns and principles at work across divergent species. It then uses these deep patterns and principles to inform the design of new high-performing, high-quality, and effective solutions for solving specific industrial chemical and materials challenges in a way that is, by nature, green.

 

 

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Contributed by Catherine Rawlins, Chair of the Northeastern Section American Chemical Society - Younger Chemists Committee (NSYCC)

 

Over the years of my involvement in the NSYCC, our group and our goals have grown considerably. We continuously expand activities to include more hands-on and impactful programming, and recently considered the topic of green chemistry. It is still a focus area many people are not familiar with, especially with how it can be implemented in the lab or classroom. Accordingly, we developed a 1.5-hour workshop as part of a larger green chemistry event hosted by Pfizer. The workshop will focus on green chemistry education for educators. The goal is to develop techniques to better engage their students with chemistry, human health and the environment through real-world applications in the chemical industry.

 

We were fortunate to receive a Local Section Sustainability Programming Grant from the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement to help make this event possible.  We are also going to collaborate with Pfizer to take the event to the next level. Pfizer already has a workshop and curriculum established which covers key concepts in green chemistry as it applies to drug development. Raymond Borg, a long time board member, volunteer and green chemistry enthusiast, will co-facilitate this workshop with his advisor Dr. Jonathan Rochford and the UMass-Boston Sustainable Scientists Group. Their efforts in fostering this partnership will make for a successful event!

 

This half-day workshop will introduce participants to the pharmaceutical industry and give insight into how drugs are discovered and developed. Participants will learn how to determine greener alternatives to solvents in the lab, and work with real case studies to determine the different synthetic routes to create a drug. It will also cover biocatalysis, flow and transition metal catalysis with a discussion of how to reduce the degree of hazardous materials and streamline these processes. One of the founders of Beyond Benign, Dr. John Warner, will be speaking on the challenges and benefits of educating educators about green chemistry. The remainder of the workshop will focus on an easily implementable green chemistry lesson plans for the teachers to implement in the classroom.

 

The workshop is free and will be held on Saturday, November 5th at UMass-Boston’s brand new Integrated Science Complex building. Pfizer will provide breakfast and lunch along with helpful educational materials for attendee usage. It is our hope that we can spread this knowledge to a wide range of chemists and science educators to promote greener and cleaner methods in our field.

 

Information about the schedule of the workshop will be posted as it develops. Should you have questions, please contact Catherine at catherine.rawlins@nsycc.org, or Raymond Borg at raymondedwardborg@gmail.com

 

We hope to see you there!

 

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Contributed By Jonathan Winfield 1, Jonathan Rossiter 2 and Ioannis Ieropoulos, Ph.D. 1, Bristol BioEnergy Centre, Bristol Robotics Laboratory 1, University of the West of England, Dept. of Engineering Mathematics, University of Bristol 2

 

Robotics is a field that is not normally associated with green technology or sustainability. Robots are generally constructed using materials that are non-biodegradable, toxic and expensive. These factors can limit the potential uses that an artificial agent might have, especially if operation is required outside and away from where humans live. Things are further complicated when considering the robot’s power supply. In most cases, batteries are used that will inevitably run out and require recharging from charging stations. Imagine then, an environmentally friendly robot, one that can safely roam a targeted area whether that is within agricultural fields, rain forests or remote jungles. Movement would not be random but with a preset purpose built-in perhaps to identify pests, clean up human-made waste and generate electricity from it, or simply monitor/sense environmental conditions.

 

When designing such a robot it is important to consider that the natural environment is a well-balanced and closed system where new organisms are born, live and die. The materials that make up the dead are then recycled within that same ecosystem. Could a biodegradable robot fit into such a system and be developed with the capability of consuming other robots at the end of their life? These are areas that we at the University of the West of England (UWE) and the University of Bristol have been investigating through a Leverhulme Trust funded project to develop biodegradable robots.

 

Based at the Bristol BioEnergy Centre within the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, this line of work has focused on three overlapping areas, a) the robots source of power in the form of microbial fuel cells, i.e., the robot’s stomach, (b) the robot’s mechanism for movement, i.e., artificial muscles, (c) the biodegradability of the materials. In addition we also looked at whether power could be produced from the consumption of its own parts, i.e., could a robot muscle be fed to the robot stomach!

 

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) even when made out of conventional materials are a very promising green technology. MFCs have been described as ‘bio-batteries’ but this term is not wholly correct because batteries start life with a set amount of reactants. Once the reactants are depleted the battery will cease to operate until recharged at a human-made charging station. A fuel cell on the other hand will carry on producing power for as long as it is being fed with a fuel. For MFCs, that fuel can be any liquid containing organic matter, e.g., wastewater, urine or agricultural runoff. As with a conventional battery, a MFC consists of a negative (anode) and a positive (cathode) electrode. Bacteria grow on the anode and breakdown organic matter in the wastewater releasing electrons and protons. The movement of the electrons and protons to the cathode equates to the production of electricity. Making the technology even more attractive is that the production of electricity comes as a direct consequence of the removal of organic pollutants—the more power produced the cleaner the liquid becomes. This process is never-ending providing the bacteria are continuously fed; we have MFCs in our lab that have been running now for eight years!

 

Quite rightly there has been considerable interest in the technology from wastewater treatment companies as well, in addition to the robotics application. Before investigating biodegradable robots, Prof. Ieropoulos developed the EcoBot series of robots. Using MFCs as the sole source of power, four robots were constructed over a ten-year period. Each new embodiment moved closer to total autonomy such that EcoBot’s III and IV could move towards a food source when their ‘on-board’ bacteria were hungry and even expel waste when depleted. The EcoBots were a wonderful demonstration of utilizing bacterial power for a useful purpose, however the MFCs aboard the robots were built from conventional plastics and materials.

 

The first step in developing biodegradable MFCs was the identification of alternative and functional ‘green’ materials to replace the commonly used components. In conventional MFCs, a proton exchange membrane (PEM) is often used to separate the electrodes while allowing for the movement of protons from anode to cathode. Not only are PEMs expensive but they can inhibit microbial metabolism and more importantly for our project, they are not biodegradable. In order to find biodegradable replacements, the focus moved to porous materials, ones dense enough to isolate the electrodes but of a porosity that would enable proton transfer. A range of diverse and in some cases unconventional materials were trialed; these included paper, gelatin, alginate and even fruit (specifically kiwi fruit). Perhaps the most unusual material investigated was natural rubber from condoms!

 

The motivation for using natural rubber was that it was also proving to be a viable material for the biodegradable artificial muscles. In the early stages of the experiment the MFCs with condom membranes produced no electrical current whatsoever. This was because the material was so impermeable that even protons could not pass through, which is perhaps expected given the original purpose of the material.

 

After a number of weeks and to our surprise, the MFCs began generating a working voltage which continued to increase over the ensuing months. After almost a year the MFCs with ‘condom’ membranes were outperforming those with conventional PEMs. What was enabling the production of bio-electricity? Biodegradation. Microbes were eating into the natural rubber and creating channels and pores that enabled the flow of protons. Impressively over time, areas of the rubber were completely degraded but the accumulation of microorganisms (biofilm) formed a natural patching that ensured the electrodes remained isolated from one another. The formation of such biofilms on conventional PEMs can inhibit performance but with the rubber separators, their presence boosted performance.

 

Next we looked at developing alternative electrode materials and our list of ingredients included egg yolk, gelatin, graphite and lanolin. During all of our experiments we ensured the materials were both biodegradable and non-toxic using microbiological techniques and through composting studies at the Bristol Botanic Gardens.

 

The next step was to develop stacks or multiples of biodegradable MFCs in order to maximize power output. For the individual MFCs in the stack we used natural rubber from laboratory gloves, egg-based electrodes and 3D printed MFCs chassis using biodegradable plastic (polylactic acid). The completed MFCs are shown in Figure 1 and when fed with natural waste (e.g., urine) the stack of 40 MFCs in a series/parallel electrical configuration produced over 3 volts and a power density of 4 Watts/m3

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For the artificial muscles we focused on biodegradable electroactive polymers, materials that change in size or shape when stimulated by an electric field. In other words, these materials transduce electrical energy into mechanical energy. In general, there are two categories, i) materials that actuate through the movement of ions and, ii) those that respond to electrons. In both cases biodegradable materials were successfully used as viable replacements to the conventional versions. Natural rubber, being very compliant, proved to be an excellent dielectic elastomer actuator. Gelatin demonstrated actuation through the movement of Na+ ions in the gel and in solution, as shown in the figure below.

 

Now with moving parts and a source of power we looked at whether a biodegradable robot might be able to gain energy by consuming the parts of another. To achieve this, gelatin muscles were ‘fed’ to MFCs. Fuel cells fed with the ‘robot muscle’ exhibited a doubling in power as the bacteria consumed the material.

 

There is clearly more work to be done before biodegradable robots are a thing of the present, but our preliminary findings suggest that it may not be long before such robots are helping protect the environment. They could be sent to remote or sensitive areas to collect data, even tapping into natural resources to obtain their energy, e.g., muddy puddles, sediments or pests like flies or mosquitos. As long as this fuel is continuously supplied the robots will be able to keep working and therefore accruing data. We envisage a built-in mechanism that initiates biodegradation once the robot’s ‘time has come’ or its mission is complete. For example, the release from an internal compartment of a specific microorganism to consume the robot or an inert chemical that renders the robot chassis consumable. In comparison to drones, the biodegradable ground robots, while not covering as much area, could continue operating for longer. Perhaps further down the line, biodegradable drones may even be achievable!

figure2.JPGAnother role is deployment in areas where human-made waste has accrued such as oil spills or nuclear waste. There have been reports of bacteria that can eat up crude oil in spills and even nuclear waste. Imagine then sending robots to infected areas, loaded with these bacteria that clean the problem as the robot glides over the surface until the area is uncontaminated. Once the all-clear has been broadcast, there need not be any further human intervention, i.e., to remove the device, because the robot can be left to degrade harmlessly into the environment.

 

 

 

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Contributed by Jeffery A. Byers, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Boston College

 

It is particularly challenging to find an application where synthetic plastics have not become important. From disposable bags, cutlery and cups, lightweight automobile parts, vibrant paints and robust coatings, sticky adhesives, flexible textiles, and even devices designed to deliver drugs, the usefulness of synthetic polymers have arguably made them the most important discovery of the twentieth century. However, as we get firmly entrenched in the twenty-first century, our society is faced with the challenge of continuing to produce synthetic polymers that have properties suitable for all of these applications (and more) but without the environmental disadvantages that have plagued many synthetic polymers derived from non-renewable resources. In order to achieve this goal, access to synthetic polymers that are degradable and derived from renewable resources is an ongoing effort for chemists and engineers. Unlike the synthetic polymers developed previously, these new materials must meet the materials properties requirements and have degradable properties that are in line with the intended application: plastic bags should last months and car bumpers should last years, not vice versa.

 

As part of this ongoing effort, our research group has targeted versatile catalyst systems that can incorporate multiple building blocks (i.e., different monomers), control three-dimensional structure (e.g., stereochemistry) and control polymer architecture (e.g., linear versus cross-linked polymer). A catalyst system that has been particularly versatile has been the iron-based complex shown below that, when combined with an alcohol initiator, is active for the ring opening polymerization of lactide (a byers1.jpgcyclic dimer of lactic acid) to give the industry leading biodegradable polymer, poly(lactic acid). The catalyst was extremely well behaved resulting in nearly uniform molecular weight distributions and a linear relationship between molecular weight and conversion, both characteristics of a living polymerization reaction.[1] However, what distinguished this complex as a particularly versatile catalyst was the ability to control three dimensional structure by changing the identity of the initiators and the ability to change the reactivity of the complex by altering its oxidation state (e.g., iron(II) vs. iron(III)). These properties have been utilized to synthesize polymers that contain the biologically-derived poly(lactic acid) in a way that is expected to diversify its physical and mechanical properties as well as tailor its degradation rates.

 

An interesting and useful property of lactic acid is that it is a chiral molecule. Chiral molecules, like hands, are molecules whose mirror image is not superimposable. When these lactic acid units are assembled in a polymer, the two different possible chiral lactic acid units, or stereoisomers, can assemble in regular or irregular ways. Previously it has been shown that the physical properties[2] and degradation rates[3] of poly(lactic acid) can be profoundly affected by how the stereoisomers are distributed (e.g., alternating versus homogeneous distribution) and how regularly they are distributed. For example, polymers that have a random distribution of lactic acid stereoisomers are amorphous materials that degrade relatively quickly while those with uniform distribution are crystalline materials with high melting points and slower degradation rates. Thus, the ability to synthesize poly(lactic acid) with the stereoisomers distributed in different ways provides access to materials with a broad array of physical properties and degradation profiles.

 

Historically, carefully designed, and (often) chiral catalysts have been utilized to synthesize poly(lactic acid) in a stereoregular fashion. However, this approach can be synthetically laborious if the synthesis of poly(lactic acids) with different degrees of stereoregularity is desired. Alternatively, the iron-based catalysts that we have developed are capable of producing a range of stereoregular poly(lactic acids) from a single iron catalyst precursor.[4] The key to the success of this method was the discovery that stereoselectivity in the polymerization reaction could be affected by the identity of additives used as initiators. Whereas alcohol initiators led to stereoirregular poly(lactic acid), silanol initiators led to stereoregular poly(lactic acid). Not only did the different additives change the selectivity of the reaction, the regularity of this stereoselectivity (also known as tacticity) could be controlled by altering the identity of the silanol initiator and the stereoisomer of the lactide (see graph where higher Ps indicate more stereoregular polymer and Ps = 50 is stereorandom polymer). Since the silanol initiators were used as additives in the reaction, a variety of stereoregular poly(lactic acid) was obtainable without the need to synthesize a library of metal precursors. Mechanistic studies revealed that the origin of the stereoselectivity in these reactions was a consequence of the silanol additive converting the achiral iron complexes into chiral catalysts during the course of the reaction. Since the three dimensional structure of the catalyst was partially defined by the silanol additive, the degree of stereoselectivity could be altered by changing the identity of the silanol additive.

 

While control over stereochemistry is a powerful advantage for tailoring the properties of poly(lactic acid), the iron-based catalysts proved to be even more versatile. Unlike most catalysts used for lactide polymerization, the iron-based catalysts can be reversibly oxidized by sequential exposure to chemical oxidants and reductants. Inspired by previous reports that demonstrated that lactide polymerization rates could be altered by changing the oxidation state of a catalyst,[5],[6],[7] we were pleased to find that our iron-based catalyst system could be deactivated upon exposure to oxidants and then later reactivated upon exposure to reductants (see blue trace in graph below). The switching capabilities of the catalyst system rendered it useful for the diversification of poly(lactic acid) when we discovered that complementary reactivity was observed when epoxides were used as monomers.[8] In other words, the iron-based catalyst could be switched on and off for epoxide ring opening polymerization much like it could for lactide polymerization, but this time the oxidized form of the catalyst was active for polymerization whereas the reduced form of the catalyst was inactive for polymerization (see red trace in graph below).

 

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We next capitalized on the complementary reactivity of the catalyst towards polymerization of epoxides and lactide by carrying out redox switchable copolymerization reactions starting from a mixture of an epoxide and lactide (see top of Scheme below).[8] Polyester-polyether diblock copolymers could be synthesized by starting with the catalyst in its reduced state resulting in the selective polymerization of lactide followed by chemical oxidation resulting in the selective polymerization of the epoxide. The alternative diblock copolymer starting with epoxide polymerization first followed by lactide polymerization could also be synthesized by starting with the catalyst in its oxidized state followed by chemical reduction. These results were exciting because they provide access to copolymers that are difficult to synthesize in one step, and they also suggested that multi-block copolymers of various polyester/polyether composition could be synthesized from the same reaction feed by altering the oxidation of the catalyst and the time between redox events. Such copolymers are expected to exhibit physical properties and degradation rates that differ significantly compared to poly(lactic acid).

 

In addition to synthesizing block copolymers using the iron-based polymerization catalysts, we have applied the redox-switching capabilities of the catalyst to create a redox-triggered crosslinking reaction (see bottom of the Scheme below).[9] Cross-linked polymers are linear polymers that have been chemically bonded to one another. Cross-linked polymers are tough materials that often demonstrate superior properties compared to linear polymers, but they are commonly difficult to process. As a result, triggered crosslinking reactions are desirable because they allow one to process the linear polymer prior to its crosslinking. Although many external stimuli have been used to trigger crosslinking reactions (e.g., heat, light, acid, etc.), to the best of our knowledge the only example of redox-triggered crosslinking reactions that has been reported to date have been for the reversible formation of disulfide bonds (i.e., RS—SR).[10] The development of a redox-triggered crosslinking reaction would complement the established methods. Moreover, while cross-linked poly(lactic acid) has been achieved through high energy light[11],[12] or electron beam irradiation,[13] the effect that crosslinking has on the physical, mechanical, and degradation properties of the polymer have largely been unexplored.

 

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To utilize the redox-switchable, iron-based complexes for crosslinking applications, we synthesized a monomer that incorporated both a lactide-like cyclic diester and an epoxide (see bottom of the Scheme below). Exposing this monomer to the reduced form of the complex resulted in the formation of a linear polyester that contained epoxide functional groups as side chains. Catalyst oxidation and concentration of the reaction mixture led to the rapid intermolecular reaction between the epoxide side chains, which resulted in crosslinking of the polymer. This material demonstrated significantly different thermal and swelling properties compared to linear poly(lactic acid). Furthermore, copolymerizing the epoxide functionalized cyclic diester with lactide using the reduced form of the catalyst followed by oxidation resulted in crosslinked poly(lactic acid) with variable crosslinking densities. This capability led to the production of a series of polymers derived from lactic acid that possessed different thermal properties. It is expected that future exploration of the polymer's mechanical properties and degradation rates will lead to polymers with significantly different properties compared to poly(lactic acid).

 

While investigation of the thermal, mechanical and degradation properties of the polymers that we have synthesized are still in its infancy, access to a wide variety of polymers with varying composition, stereoregularity, and three dimensional structure has been made possible by utilizing the iron-based catalysts developed in our lab. It is expected that the synergism between catalyst structure and polymer properties will continue to pervade with the ultimate goal of developing degradable polymers derived from renewable resources that can be used for a wider variety of applications.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

[1] Biernesser, Ashley B.; Li, Bo; Byers, Jeffery A.* “The redox controllable polymerization of lactide catalyzed by bis(imino)pyridine iron bis-alkoxide complexes” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013, 135(44), 16553-16560, DOI:10.1021/ja407920d.

 

[2] Auras, Rafael A.; Lim, Loong-Tak; Selke, Susan E. M.; Tsuji, Hideto Poly(lactic acid): Synthesis, Structures, Properties, Processing, and Applications; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2011, ISBN:978-0-470-29366-9.

 

[3] Gorrasi, Giuliana; Pantani, Roberto* “Effect of PLA grades and morphologies on hydrolytic degradation at composting temperature: Assessment of structural modification and kinetic parameters” Polymer Degradation and Stability, 2013, 98(5), 1006-1014, DOI:10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2013.02.005.

 

[4] Manna, Cesar M.; Kaur, Aman; Yablon, Lauren; Haeffner, Fredrick; Li, Bo; Byers, Jeffery A.* “Stereoselective catalysis achieved through in situ desymmetrization of an achiral iron catalyst precursor” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015, 137(45), 14232-14235, DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b09966.

 

[5] Gregson, Charlotte K. A.; Gibson, Vernon C.*; Long, Nicholas J.; Marshall, Edward L.; Oxford, Phillip J.; White, Andrew J. P. “Redox Control with Single-Site Polymerization Catalysts” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2006, 128(23), 7410-7411, DOI:10.1021/ja061398n.

 

[6] Broderick, Erin M.; Guo, Neng; Vogel, Carola S.; Xu, Culling; Sutter, Jorg; Miller, Jeffrey T.; Meyer, Karsten; Mehrkhodavandi, Parisa; Diaconescu, Paula L.* “Redox Control of a Ring-Opening Polymerization Catalyst” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011, 133(24), 9278-9281, DOI:10.1021/ja2036089.

 

[7] Wang, Xinke; Thevenon, Arnaud; Brosmer, Jonathan L.; Yu, Insun; Khan, Sneed I.; Mehrkhodavandi, Parisa; Diaconescu, Paula L.* “Redox Control of Group 4 Metal Ring-Opening Polymerization Activity toward L-Lactide and ∈-Caprolactone” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014, 136(32), 11264-11267, DOI:10.1021/ja505883u.

 

[8] Biernesser, Ashley B.; Delle Chiaie, Kayla; Curley, Julia B.; Byers, Jeffery A.* “Block Copolymerization of Epoxides with Lactide Facilitated by Redox Switchable Iron Polymerization Catalysis” Angewandte Chemie, International Edition, 2016, 55, 5251-5254, DOI:10.1002/anie.201511793.

 

[9] Delle Chiaie, Kayla; Yablon, Lauren L.; Biernesser, Ashley B.; Michalowski, Gregory R.; Sudyn, Alexander W.; Byers, Jeffery A.* “Redox-Triggered Crosslinking Reactions” Polymer Chemistry, 2016, 7, 4675-4681, DOI:10.1039/C6PY00975A.

 

[10] Chan, Nicky; Yee, N.; An, So Y.; Oh, Jung K. “Tuning Amphiphilicity/Temperature-Induced Self-Assembly and In-Situ Disulfide Crosslinking of Reduction-Responsive Block Copolymers” Journal of Polymer Science Part A, Polymer Chemistry, 2014, 52, 2057-2067, DOI:10.1002/pola.27216.

 

[11] Yang, Sen-lin; Wu, Zhi-Hua; Yang, Wei; Yang, Ming-Bo “Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Chemical Crosslinked Polylactide (PLA)” Polymer Testing, 2008, 27, 957-963, DOI:10.1016/j.polymertesting.2008.08.009.

 

[12] Quynh, Tran M.; Mitomo, H.; Nagasawa, N.; Wada, Y.; Yoshii, F.; Tamada, M.* “Properties of Crosslinked Polylactides (PLLA & PDLA) by Radiation and its Biodegradability” European Polymer Journal, 2007, 43(5), 1779-1785, DOI:10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2007.03.007.

 

[13] Phong, Lester; Han, Ernest S. C.; Xiong, Sijing; Pan, Jie; Loo, Say C. J.*, “Properties and Hydrolysis of PLGA and PLLA Cross-Linked with Electron Beam Radiation” Polymer Degradation and Stability, 2010, 95(5), 771-777, DOI:10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2010.02.012.

 

 

 

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Ikea and Neste to Partner on Production of Sustainable and Bio-based Polymers

September 7, 2016 | Plastics Today

Neste, a company from Finland that specializes in oil refining and renewable solutions, and Ikea of Sweden have announced a joint initiative to develop and produce renewable, bio-based plastic materials. They would like to release their first proof-of-concept during 2017.

 

Beckham, Gong, and Sneddon are First Winners of the ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering Lectureship Award

September 6, 2016 | ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

The awards, which recognize early career investigators’ research contributions to green chemistry, green engineering, and sustainability in the chemical enterprise, were given to Dr. Gregg Beckham of NREL, Prof. Jinlong Gong of Tianjian University, and Dr. Helen Sneddon of GlaxoSmithKline.

 

University of Alberta Receives Grant to Fund Big-Picture Research on Energy’s Futureroundup.jpg

September 6, 2016 | Edmonton Journal

The University of Alberta received funding from the Canada First Excellence Research Fund for the Future Energy Systems Research Institute. The institute will bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to work together on a holistic approach to reduce the environmental impacts of fossil fuels and develop low-carbon energy strategies.

 

Superatom Crystals of Fullerenes May Have Potential in Sustainable Energy Generation and Storage

September 6, 2016 | EurekAlert

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia University found that superatom crystals of fullerenes have distinct thermal conductivity properties that are related to the crystals’ rotational disorder. They believe they could one day make up a new material that could change from being a thermal conductor to an insulator, acting as a kind of thermal switch.

 

New Catalyst for Renewable Energy Production Requires Less Iridium

September 2, 2016 | Phys.org

Researchers at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a new catalyst, a thin film of iridium oxide layered on top of strontium iridium oxide. This new catalyst is 100 times faster, works better as time goes on, and is more stable under acidic conditions than other similar catalysts.

 

New Fabric a Creative Substitute for Air Conditioning

September 2, 2016 | Cosmos

A new kind of fabric, which reflects sunlight from the body and allows for heat radiating from our skin to escape, has been developed by researchers at Stanford University. The researchers hope that the material can be developed commercially, eventually helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Boston University Incorporates Sustainability Ambassadors into Orientation

September 2, 2016 | BU Today

Sustainability ambassadors were a new addition to Boston University’s freshman orientation this year. They provided an engaging way for new students and their families to learn about the sustainability initiatives at the university.

 

Clean Energy from Enzymes?

September 1, 2016 | Science Daily

Hydrogenases are a group of enzymes that produce and split hydrogen, and thus have potential in the search for sustainable energy. Oxygen degrades their active sites, so a team of researchers set out to understand the mechanism of hydrogenases better in hopes to find a way to avoid this drawback.

 

 

 

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Incorporating Single Fluorine Atoms into Chiral Pharmaceuticals

September 2, 2016 | Pharmaceutical Technology

At GlaxoSmithKline, researchers discovered a greener way to incorporate a single fluorine atom at a chiral center. Their method, which utilizes fluorine gas and a copper catalyst, was found to have a process mass intensity (PMI) more than four times lower than their original method.

 

Solar Cell Technology Start-Up Awarded $2M from DOEROUNDUP.jpg

August 31, 2016 | University of Arkansas

Picasolar Inc., a start-up company out of the University of Arkansas, was awarded $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance a pilot manufacturing program. They have a goal of producing 1,000 solar panels that utilize their technology, which requires less silver than solar panels already on the market.

 

Notre Dame Research Could Have Application in Solar Cell Generation and Radiation Detection

August 30, 2016 | University of Notre Dame

Plasmonic nanoparticles have the ability to absorb light from the sun, and this research group at the University of Notre Dame is trying to harness that absorbed energy. The group also discovered that these nanoparticles can be used to detect radioactive actinides for use in nuclear forensics.

 

Club Coffee LP Receives Innovation in Bioplastics Award for Compostable Single-Serve Coffee Pod

August 30, 2016 | Plastic News

The Society of the Plastics Industry presented the award to Club Coffee LP for their innovative compostable coffee pod, which utilizes bioplastic in its design. Club Coffee’s pods break down fully in typical municipal and industrial composting facilities in as little as five weeks.

 

Global Green and Bio-based Solvents Market May Grow to $13.74 Billion by 2024

August 30, 2016 | Sci/Tech Nation

A recent report published by Grand View Research, Inc. predicts the market size of green and bio-based solvents to grow to $13.74 billion by the year 2024. The group attributes this projection to the strict regulations imposed on the chemical industry by the EPA and other governmental agencies.

 

Seventh Generation Incorporates Bioplastic in Laundry Detergent Bottle

August 30, 2016 | Greener Package

Seventh Generation’s 100-oz. laundry detergent bottle has received an upgrade—it’s now made from recycled HDPE and bio-based polyethylene. This takes Seventh Generation one step closer to its vision of having all of its bottles made completely from recycled or bio-based materials by 2020.

 

The Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profit

August 30, 2016 | Earth 911

These 7 companies are adapting their methods to meet the triple bottom line and be more environmentally conscious.

 

Research Project in the Netherlands May Extend Battery Life of Streetlamps and Electric Cars

August 29, 2016 | Horizon

Though lithium-ion batteries last longer than lead-acid batteries, they are not utilized in streetlamps because they cannot withstand cold temperatures. This research group from the Netherlands has designed a solution—a solar-powered heater.

 

Excellence in Teaching Sustainability Award Received by Professor at Fort Hays State University

August 29, 2016 | Fort Hays State University

News Dr. Gregory Weisenborn received the Excellence in Teaching Sustainability Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) for teaching his students a broad and holistic approach to operations and systems engineering.

 

 

 

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We need your feedback! Please take five minutes to fill out this survey. All participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards.

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The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI), in collaboration with the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3), created the Green Chemistry Innovation Portal in 2015 to provide a platform that enables more effective communication and networking within the green chemistry and engineering community. It has been just over a year since it's been open and it's time for us to assess how useful the Portal has been and what could be done to improve it. 

 

As members of the ACS GCI community, you know that green chemistry and green engineering are key approaches to a more sustainable world. Advancing the field means each of us making the connections and seeking out the knowledge that we need to move our projects and ideas forward. In a field like green chemistry, we often have to reach outside our close colleagues, and often in completely different circles altogether.

 

Whether you have visited the Green Chemistry Innovation Portal or not, we want to know if you think the use of the portal would be helpful in your work and what might help you to make the connections that move your sustainability/green chemistry projects and research forward. 

 

Please take a moment to fill out this 5 minute survey—your participation will help us better serve the needs of the green chemistry community!   Many thanks! The ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

 

 

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Pete Myers on The Health Benefits of a Circular Economy (Watch)

August 22, 2016 | Circulate

Keeping materials cycling throughout the economy is good, right? Perhaps not, if you haven’t considered exactly what materials you’ve got re-entering the loop. Unfortunately, we don’t know all the substances contained in the products and built environment around us, or understand the health impacts that can occur as a result of the accumulation of certain chemicals.

 

Mold Might Be The Future Of Recycling For Rechargeable Batteries

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August 21, 2016 | Forbes

Today in Philadelphia, Jeffrey A. Cunningham of the University of South Florida described how he and his collaborators are studying how well fungi can recycle rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. At this point, the technology is at the proof-of-concept stage.

 

Companies Urged To Think Green When Designing New Catalysts for Shale Gas

August 19, 2016 | BNA

Constable spoke with Bloomberg BNA about a workshop report the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released Aug. 18. The report urged federal agencies and the private sector to conduct research in specific areas to improve catalysts.

 

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.

 

Rethink How Chemical Hazards are Tested

August 16, 2016 | Nature

John C. Warner and Jennifer K. Ludwig propose three approaches that would help inventors to produce safer chemicals and products.

 

Green Chemistry: From the Bench Top to Industry, A Chemical Engineer’s Perspective

August 15, 2016 | The Green Chemistry Initiative Blog

As a chemist, do you ever think about how to scale up your chemical reactions, or your chemical processes?

For most of us, the answer is no. However, this idea of industrial scale is something that is constantly addressed in the Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry department. Consequently, the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry become fundamental to scale up a reaction from the bench top in a research lab to mass production in a chemical plant.

 

White Dog Labs Looks to Build Delaware's Next Chemical Giant

August 14, 2016 | Delaware Online

Acetone is not commonly thought of as an important or economically valuable chemical. Most people probably know it only for its usefulness in removing nail polish.

 

 

 

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

 

The pace of activities has thankfully slowed just a bit over the past month, although we are down another person with Ann Lee-Jeff’s departure to assume her role at Teva as a Sr. Director, Product Stewardship. I was sorry to see Ann go; she was an experienced hand and did a great job engaging with business. But I’m very happy that she found a Product Stewardship role and it’s a great career move for her. We are actively looking for a replacement and we have had some great applicants, so I’m looking forward to getting someone on-board to pick up where Ann left off.

 

I had the opportunity to attend the Gordon Conference on green chemistry a few weeks ago. The good news about that event is that most of the people in attendance were different than those in attendance when the Conference was in Hong Kong in 2014. I say this is good news because I’d like to think that green chemistry is becoming better known and accepted after 20 years or so, and seeing different people means more are thinking about green chemistry and engineering research and development. The conference is preceded by a symposium for students and there clearly were a significant number of students who were actively engaged throughout the Conference.

 

Since I’ve been the director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute®, I’ve had the privilege of attending many green chemistry conferences and symposia, at international, national and regional meetings. What I’ve observed is that the alignment of research and development activities as presented in many of these symposia with the principles of green chemistry and engineering is not always very good — it’s more of a mix. Of course, if you take a longer view, the trend is that the degree of alignment is improving over time. Still, we have a way to go. This is a topic that I would hope to discuss more comprehensively at some point, but take this one quick example: hydrogen peroxide. Many people promote hydrogen peroxide as a green reagent without considering the life cycle environmental, safety, and health hazards associated with its production and use, so I would encourage you to read Ashley Baker’s article in this issue. We should include a systems, life cycle view in our consideration of what is “green,” regardless of whether or not the substance we are making is green or has a human benefit.

 

Yes, I see there has been progress in green chemistry and engineering, but there’s still a lot of opportunity for improvement.

 

Last week the Chemical Manufacturers Roundtable held another workshop for the AltSep technology roadmap for less energy-intensive separations. The workshop brought together another 34 outstanding researchers from industry and academia to map out research needs that would allow us to achieve a vision for the conceptual design of separation processes in the 21st century. Now comes the hard part of synthesizing the first 3 workshop outcomes and planning the remaining workshops to fill in the gaps.  This has been an exciting project and I am thrilled by the progress that has been made. Robert Giraud of Chemours and Amit Sehgal of Solvay continue to perform Yeoman’s work and I continue to be grateful and inspired by their commitment; this project would not have proceeded as quickly or as well without them driving it.

 

Work on the 2017 Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference continues apace. We are grateful for our Conference advisory committee and our program chairs’—David Leahy (BMS) and Amit Sehgal (Solvay)—work to date. We are looking forward to another outstanding conference next year and please don’t forget to respond to the Call for Symposia  which closes on October 7th.

 

These are just a few of the things that are on my mind at the moment and there is actually a lot more that is happening in green chemistry and engineering at the Institute and elsewhere, and that is surely a good thing.

 

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

 

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Contributed by Dr. Karen Goodwin, Professor, Centralia College

 

In July of this year, I had the opportunity to be a first-time attendee at the Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, held in Portland, Oregon. Now in its 20th year, this is the first time the conference was held on the west coast. As a professor at a small community college in Washington state, the fact that this conference was held close to home was one of the primary factors that allowed me to attend.

 

The three-day event was packed with technical sessions, spanning education, research, synthesis, business, and industry. This variety made it easy to find talks that were of interest, and brought together chemists and engineers from every corner of our field. The social events provided many opportunities for networking, and because of the wide variety of attendees, the conversations were fascinating. For me, talking with colleagues about what is going on at the front lines of chemistry and engineering gave me real-life examples to use in my classrooms. It was also gratifying to be able to talk about chemistry education, and to hear the perspective of the people that will be interviewing and hiring my students in the future.

 

There were several technical sessions that focused on green chemistry in education. At my institution, I instruct both general and organic chemistry, so I was pleased to find talks that included curriculum for both of these courses. One of the sessions, led by Jane Wissinger, focused specifically on education resources involving polymers and plastics. Having a session such as this, with talks on a specific common theme, allowed attendees to hear from speakers at a variety of institutions. This diversity assured that no matter what the restrictions of your individual laboratory, there was certain to be an experiment or lesson that you could put immediately into your curriculum. Another session, Design of State of the Art GC Curricula, led by Jim Hutchison, focused on infusing green chemistry into chemistry programs. Starting with an overview of the Green Chemistry Education Roadmap by Jim, the talks focused on the approaches that are being taken at a variety of schools around the country, and provided specific resources to help curriculum designers in planning their own courses. The final session I attended was the Design of Curricular Materials - Rapid Fire session, again led by Jane Wissinger. I had the opportunity to present in this session, and as this was my first time presenting at a major conference, the rapid fire format was perfect for me. By having each speaker limited to 10 minutes, attendees were able to hear more talks, and to be presented with very specific lessons and labs that are being used right now in classrooms around the country. Each of these sessions were well attended, and being able to share ideas and teaching philosophies with educators from so many different institutions was an amazing experience.

 

The final event of the conference was a Pub Crawl, which was new to this conference. The event broke up attendees into groups with similar interests (educators, industrial chemists, etc.) and provided a nearby pub location for each. The groups, each with a leader to facilitate conversation, walked to the pub and spent the next few hours networking and sharing ideas. The off-site locations made for a more relaxed atmosphere than can usually be achieved at a conference location, and was just a very laid-back way to end the day before heading home. It was nice to be able to explore some of the city of Portland, while still being able to get in a final visit with new-found colleagues.

 

I came away from this experience with a renewed energy, and so many ideas for further improvement of my green chemistry curriculum. I strongly encourage any educator considering implementing green chemistry into their courses to attend this conference in the future—whether you are already a part of the green chemistry community, or just want to find out more, there will be something of interest to you. The passion for relevant and high-quality instruction was evident in all the talks that I attended in the education track.  Overall, the green chemistry “crowd” is very welcoming—it was evident that there were many years of camaraderie among most of the participants, but this first-time attendee was welcomed in with open arms. I am hopeful that the success of the event will mean that it is held on the west coast again!

 

 

 

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Contributed By Ed Brush, Professor of Chemistry and Coordinator of Project GreenLab, Bridgewater State University

 

The vision statement of the American Chemical Society reads, “Improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.” Chemistry has inarguably provided numerous contributions to humanity, however, we also need to be aware of the unintended consequences of chemicals on human and environmental health. Hazardous chemicals are disproportionally impacting children and adults in low income, minority neighborhoods, while the presence of naturally-occurring and human-made chemicals restrict access to clean air and water. This violates our definition of social and environmental justice where all people, regardless of race or economic status, have the right to live, work, play and learn in healthy, safe environments.

 

“Green chemists” share a set of common principles that guide us in making smart choices in how we design, make, use and dispose of chemicals and chemical products.  Green chemistry has the potential to offer solutions to help correct many of these disparities. This perspective was shared by over 75 attendees at the 20th Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland this past June, who participated in a symposium on green chemistry and the social and environmental (in)justice of chemical exposure. The purpose of this unique symposium was to bring together, for the first time, a multidisciplinary group of participants to begin exploring and understanding the racial and socioeconomic disparities in how hazardous chemicals impact society.Ed Brush Graphic.png

 

The symposium began with a brief overview to set the perspective that included contributions from attendees who shared their views on the disproportionate exposure of chemicals on society. The tone for the symposium was set by Mary Kirchhoff, Director of ACS Education Division, who gave an excellent overview in her talk on “Chemistry in a Social Justice Context”. Mary nicely defined social justice from a historical perspective, as well as the EPA’s roadmap to integrate environmental justice into its programs, policies, and activities.  Additional contributors to the symposium were Annelle Mendez, Michael Cann, Ed Brush and Olga Krel. When considering the breakthrough technologies recognized through the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge awards, many of these have made significant contributions to cleaner air and water, and the safer design and use of chemicals and chemical products. It is implicit that green chemistry = social and environmental justice, and fully complements the dynamic ACS Mission Statement, “to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.”

 

All those interested in continuing this discussion are encouraged to submit contributions to the Nexus Newsletter and Blog. Contributors are also invited to join in a proposed session on green chemistry and issues of social/environmental justice during the symposium on “Green Chemistry Theory & Practice” at the ACS meeting in San Francisco in April 2017, and at the 21st Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Reston, VA in June 2017.

 

 

 

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What Chemicals are in Your Tattoo?

August 15, 2016 | C&EN

European regulators worry about the inks used to make body decorations, which can be repurposed from the car paint, plastics, and textile dye industries.

 

How Lego Rebuilt Itself as a Purposeful and Sustainable Brand

August 11, 2016 | Forbes

Flashback to the 1960s when plastics were the future and companies proudly advertised “Better living through chemistry.” It was obviously a different time with different understandings and attitudes towards petrochemicals.

 

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New Catalyst Offers a Route to Cost-Effective Biobased, Biodegradable Plastics

August 11, 2016 | Plastics Today

While biodegradable plastics derived from renewable sources are nothing new, affordable degradable bioplastics that can equal the performance of petroleum plastics, are far and few between. Now, all that seems set to change.

 

Revolutionary Computer Program Could Change Chemistry Forever

August 10, 2016 | RSC

"The internet is the only comparable network in existence," says Bartosz Grzybowski from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. He is talking about Chematica – a computer network mapping millions of molecules and reactions in the known chemical universe.

 

Yikes! I Just Increased My Platinum Footprint

August 8, 2016 | Sustainable Manufacturer Network

Who knew contact lenses could cause such angst? Mark Jones ponders his platinum footprint after purchasing a new type of cleaning system for his contact lenses.

 

Another Brick in the Molecule

August 5, 2016 | Rice University

Rice University chemical engineers explore market for pure levoglucosan.

 

Cornell Scientists Convert Carbon Dioxide, Create Electricity

August 4, 2016 | Cornell

While the human race will always leave its carbon footprint on the Earth, it must continue to find ways to lessen the impact of its fossil fuel consumption.

 

Wooden Surfboards to Mushroom Handplanes: The Surf Companies Tackling Ocean Waste

August 2, 2016 | The Guardian

Ocean waste is a serious problem for companies emotionally and physically connected to the sea, said the founder of outdoor clothing company Finisterre in a recent Guardian debate, but that connection also gives them a strong incentive to find solutions. Here we profile some of the companies doing just that.

 

Going Green with Biocatalysis

August 2, 2016 | PharmTech

Enzymatic catalysis offers pharma manufacturers a way to implement the Principles of Green Chemistry.

 

The Ultimate Beauty Luxury? Non-Toxic Color that Restores Your Pre-Gray Hair

July 31, 2016 | Forbes

When I arrived at Hairprint headquarters in Sausalito a year ago, I was greeted by author and environmentalist Paul Hawken, and Philippa Shenandoah, a hair stylist I’d worked with on photo shoots. Hawken stared at my head: your hair is colored? “Yes, highlighted,” I said. “Is it a problem?”

 

 

 

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