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Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog

186 Posts authored by: ACSGCI

Contributed by Nathaniel Beres, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Heidelberg University


I don’t remember hearing about green chemistry as an undergraduate, and if I did, I would have thought that it meant I should recycle. It wasn’t until graduate school that I really understood the goals and importance of green chemistry. As a faculty member, I want to make sure that all Heidelberg University Chemistry/Biochemistry graduates understand the value and importance of green chemistry much earlier in their careers than I did.


One of the hardest tasks when we first started was distinguishing between sustainability and green chemistry. One thing that helps us accomplish this at Heidelberg is the existence of other groups on campus that focus on sustainability activities. It allows us to put our energy into activities that deal more directly with green chemistry. I certainly think that green chemistry and sustainability are connected and that green chemistry is one of the driving forces towards sustainability, but in sustainability initiatives hazardous materials already exist and must be dealt with after the fact. Green chemistry attempts to limit their production in the first place. As Allison Perry, a junior here at Heidelberg, put it, “Green chemistry goes beyond the short-term activities of recycling and cleaning up litter and focuses on more long-term goals of producing products that create less pollution and are safer for the environment.”


Although our chapter was inactive for a number of years, when I came to Heidelberg about two and a half years ago, I reactivated it.  When submitting our chapter report that year I noticed that we could be considered for a Green Chemistry Award.  I decided to go for it.  We didn’t get it and, looking back, I can see why we didn’t. Our activities were not really in green chemistry but more in sustainability. One of the first things I did was look up the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry on the ACS GCI website. It helped me to think of ways we could take current or planned activities and make them more impactful by incorporating the principles of green chemistry.


When speakers come to campus we ask them about their involvement in green chemistry.  It’s interesting for our student members to hear about new aspects of green chemistry, particularly in industry.  About two years ago, researchers from the Ford Motor Group came to Heidelberg and gave some wonderful talks on the importance of green chemistry. Dr. Deborah F. Mielewski, Senior Technical Leader, Plastics Research and Sustainability at Ford Motor Company, visited Heidelberg and gave a talk about the importance of reducing waste and finding renewable methods to manufacture components of automobiles.  Since then, the student chapter has made an annual visit to her lab to see how green chemistry can be applied in an industrial setting, and we have worked to incorporate green chemistry activities into the yearly agenda.


Ali Bauer, class of 2017, recalls first learning about green chemistry in her freshman year on the trip to Ford’s research plant. She said, “It opened my eyes to new career fields and opportunities to improve products in a green way that I never considered before.” Another student, Lily White, class of 2016, was also affected by the field trip and said, “I definitely didn’t realize how much green chemistry is involved in manufacturing everyday items until we visited the Ford Research Facility and saw how much dedication was going into making green plastics and other materials used in vehicle production.”


At Ford, students can see green chemistry at work in applications such as utilizing crop byproducts for making up part of the bulk material in plastics and using soy-based oils for synthesizing foam for placement into vehicles.


At Heidelberg, we are also very fortunate to have the National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR) located on campus. The NCWQR has been a wonderful resource to help promote green chemistry for our chapter. One of our big activities last year, partially sponsored by an ACS Innovation Grant, was to conduct a water study titled How Much P is in your Water?


Dr. Aaron Roerdink, an assistant professor of chemistry at Heidelberg, and I asked local high school science classes if they were interested in sampling their water and trying to understand the solutes it contained.  We live in a rural area and were hoping to show students the effects of agricultural runoff.  The schools that opted to participate were given collection procedures and collected water from a variety of local water sources.  The water was analyzed in the NCWQR and the students in the chapter put on a presentation for the high school classes about the solutes in their water and tried to connect this to the use of chemicals in farming.


During the presentation we discussed ways of preventing fertilizers from washing into the environment (e.g., reformulating the fertilizers, use at the correct time, applying only the amount needed, etc.).  The compounds the students were discussing are not toxins, per say, just too much of a molecule you would most likely find in the system naturally. If we had only analyzed the solutes in the water, it would have been an environmental chemistry activity, rather than a green chemistry one. However, discussing waste prevention in this context helps the students begin to make the connection between their work and the first principle of green chemistry. This will allow them to start to think about how waste prevention can be implemented in the laboratory by redesigning processes or products to use fewer resources and generate less waste.


Some of our chapter members have also worked with the NCWQR to conduct research aimed at quantifying toxins in the environment through new analytical methods that minimize reagents and chemical waste. A collaborative project between NCWQR and the chapter gave students the opportunity to help research and develop new analytical techniques as well as improve instrumentation. It also helped NCWQR decrease their solvent use dramatically for pesticide extractions during soil analysis, including decreases of 89% dichloromethane, 80% methanol, and 92% for acetone. Through this project, students are learning to prevent waste, perform less hazardous synthesis, make careful solvent selections and prevent pollution in real-time.


Attending ACS National Meetings is also a great way to accomplish our goal of learning about and incorporating more green chemistry. Dani Blum, class of 2017, first heard about green chemistry at the 249th National ACS meeting in Denver, CO last spring and reflected that, “It was amazing to learn how far we have come to improve the uses of our resources and processes without expensive chemistries!” The ACS national meetings changed the perspective of other students as well, including Kevin Scrudders, class of 2018, who was introduced to green chemistry at the first conference he attended, where he learned about the importance of, as he put it, “doing chemistry in a way that reduces waste and excludes environmentally unsafe reagents/products.” Students have really latched onto the idea and are very excited about green chemistry when we attend the ACS national meetings; moreover, we use national meetings as a resource to bring ideas back to campus.


Of course, in addition to green chemistry activities, we still reach out to the community about chemistry in general. One of our chapter goals is to get (or keep) children interested in science. One of the big events we put on was a community chemistry demo show titled Chemistry: In Action!  We streamed the show live in case people could not attend.  The chemistry behind the demos was explained and then demonstrated. We had about 125 people attend and it was great to see the kids get into the show.  We also bring groups of kids on campus.  The chapter members put on some demos and let the kids make a polymer using glue and borax.  The kids really enjoy being able to apply chemistry in a hands-on activity.


Bringing green chemistry into our chapter has definitely facilitated its inclusion in my teaching. Our involvement with green chemistry has me constantly thinking about how I could change labs or protocols to make the organic labs greener.  One of the assignments for my organic lecture is to research green chemistry. Students select one of the labs we completed during the semester and redesign it as a green chemistry experiment.  Certainly, it will be an evolving process but my hope is that the chemistry labs will be much greener in the coming years because a basic understanding of green chemistry is essential for current and future chemists.  When I design a research project I always evaluate the type and amount of solvent we will be using.  If we can find a greener method then we will use it to accomplish our project. By incorporating the principles of green chemistry into our research it allows for the students to become better chemists. Ali Bauer (class of 2017) knows that her exposure to green chemistry will give her a competitive edge, helping her succeed in improving products while promoting a cleaner planet.


The students in our chapter are excited about green chemistry and how it enables them to conserve resources, minimize waste and become better chemists. Generating conversations about green chemistry and creating activities around it allows us to take part in a larger movement on and beyond the Heidelberg campus.




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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.


American's Bioeconomy Grows Opportunity
November 19, 2015 | USDA

The U.S. bioeconomy is thriving – supporting millions of jobs, driving economic growth, and expanding opportunities for biobased products from America’s farms and forests.


ARBIOS Receives € 1.6 Million from Bpifrance for Completing the Third Development Stage of the THANAPLAST™ Project

November 20, 2015 | Business Wire

Green chemistry company specializing in breakthrough technologies dedicated to the recovery of plastic waste and the production of bio-polymers.


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Retailers Take Steps to Support Responsible Use of Chemicals

November 19, 2015 | Just Means

Large retailers and personal care and cosmetic companies in the US are taking responsible action when it comes to chemicals.


Crop Protection Would be the Most Significant Feature of the Second Green Revolution

November 19, 2015 | Business Standard

Crop protection chemicals will become increasingly important in achieving higher yields and increasing productivity.


Learning to Love CO2

November 16, 2015 |C&EN

Companies and academics seek out profitable pathways to materials made from the unwanted gas.


Do We Need Green Analytical Chemistry?

November 16, 2015 | Green Chemistry

The science of Analytical Chemistry is developing new tools for providing high quality information that meets the needs and demands of end-users, which is provided within a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost.


Women Businesses-Owners Lead the Way with Safer Products

November 16, 2015 | EPA Connect

Women-owned and women-run businesses were incredibly well represented at this year’s Safer Choice Partner of the Year awards.


Another Biobased Dicarboxylic Acid Moves Toward Commercial Production, by Verdezyne

November 15, 2015 | Bio Based Press

With DDDA, biobased products have now entered the entire range of dicarboxylic acids, essential components of both nylons and many polyesters.



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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Contributed by Robert J. Giraud, The Chemours Company, Christiana Briddell, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®, and Amit Sehgal, Solvay USA Inc.


image001 (2).pngSeparation processes account for over a third of the energy used in chemical manufacturing. To advance the availability of less energy-intensive separations for industrial adoption, the ACS GCI Chemical Manufacturers Roundtable in partnership with AIChE sought a NIST AMTech planning grant to collaboratively create an innovation roadmap. Since receiving the award in May 2015, the collaboration has expanded to include researchers from universities and national labs, suppliers of commercial separations equipment, and a growing list of interested manufacturers and sustainability leaders. Successful roadmap development depends on the involvement of a wide range of chemical science and engineering innovators. Visit the project website to get involved.


Why is this important?


Separating fluid mixtures into valuable components is central to chemical manufacturing. Distillation is the approach generally used to effect these separations because it is a dependable, well-understood method that works. The problem is that distillation is a very energy intensive operation. Over a third of total energy use in U.S. chemical manufacturing is consumed by distillation.


Where are we headed?


Building on pre-competitive collaboration begun in 2013, the ACS GCI Chemical Manufacturers Roundtable partnered with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) to seek funding to create a sustainable separations innovation roadmap.  With the $500K awarded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMTech) Program in May 2015, the partnership is expanding the collaboration to engage chemical science and engineering innovators from the chemical and allied manufacturing sector, universities, separations equipment suppliers, separating agent providers, national labs, and federal agencies. By late 2016, we plan to test drive a draft roadmap for advancing the rational design and predictable, widespread industrial application of less energy-intensive separation processes as alternatives to distillation. This alternative separations (ALTSEP) roadmap will collaboratively identify and prioritize research, development, and demonstration needs for technology initiatives with the potential to transform the competiveness and sustainability of the chemical industry.


Who is involved?


The growing list of collaborators in the ALTSEP roadmapping project currently includes:

  • ACS GCI Chemical Manufacturers Roundtable (Ajinomoto North America, Inc., Albemarle, Arizona Chemical, Chemours, Dixie Chemical, DuPont, Pen A Kem, Sigma-Aldrich, and Solvay USA Inc.)
  • AIChE including its Institute for Sustainability, Separations Division, and Computational Molecular Simulation & Engineering Forum
  • NIST Materials Measurement Laboratory
  • Industrial Fluid Properties Simulation Collective
  • Pine Chemicals Association
  • AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sanofi
  • Ingevity, Compact Membrane Systems, University of Toledo, Rowan University


What can you do to help?


The innovation roadmap will be developed based on a series of three workshops in 2016; the first is planned for mid-February.  Success depends on the participation of practitioners and researchers across a range of specialties such as separations technologies, molecular modeling, porous materials, thermodynamics, physical properties, process simulation, and conceptual design.


We need your help to map out a path toward the widespread industrial application of energy-efficient separation processes. A few ways to get involved are:


  1. Participate in the roadmapping workshops to directly contribute to the content of the roadmap influencing the direction of critical research, development, and demonstration.
  2. Encourage the subject matter experts in separations at your company to participate.
  3. Provide examples of the types of separations your company currently performs via distillation so that we can assure roadmapping stays in tune with industrial needs.


Please contact gciroundtables@acs.org with your input. To learn more and to get involved, please visit http://altsep.org.


This article has been adapted from an article to appear in the December 2015 issue of Chimica Oggi – Chemistry Today (http://www.teknoscienze.com/).




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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® is pleased to announce that governing board member Lauren Heine and program manager, Ann Lee-Jeffs will be featured speakers next month at Chemical Watch’s Global Supply Chain Summit in Arlington, VA. Ann and Lauren will be discussing green chemistry programs and industry engagement at the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® and the Northwest Green Chemistry center. In addition, Lauren will present on the topic “Does Hazard Assessment Lead to Safer Products,” one of several at the Summit of interest to the green chemistry community.


The Global Supply Chain Summit will be held on December 7-8, 2015 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View, minutes from downtown Washington, DC.  The Summit’s theme is tackling cutting edge approaches to the safe use of chemicals, product stewardship, and supply chain communications. It is one of numerous conferences offered by respected global chemical regulatory news and analysis provider, ChemicalWatch.


The Summit program includes presentations by a number of expert speakers who will address best practices and lessons learned from current approaches by regulators and the regulated community, including case studies from downstream industrial sectors.  In addition, the Summit program features a review of the latest work being done on the assessment of alternatives to high risk chemicals, highlighting the current thinking on substitution and alternatives assessment from both sides of the Atlantic.


For more information, see the Summit brochure and program attached below.


Chemical Watch has offered Nexus subscribers a limited-time 15% discount on the regular Summit $1,585 registration fee (plus an extra 10% discount if you are also a current Chemical Watch subscriber).  To obtain this special registration rate, you must contact Ken Clansky directly at 202-803-5905 or ken@chemicalwatch.com.


The Summit only a few weeks away, so please act quickly to secure your discounted registration!


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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® is proud to announce the 2015 Ciba Travel Award Winners: Brooke Mason, Tova Williams, Brendan Phillips and Ryan Pearson.


Mason.jpgThe Ciba Travel award sponsors the participation of students—from high school through graduate school—to attend an American Chemical Society (ACS) technical meeting, conference, such as the Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, or training program, having a significant green chemistry or sustainability component.


Established in 2009 through the Ciba Green Chemistry Student Endowment, this award is intended to expand students’ education in green chemistry through participation at a relevant conference. The award is administered by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI). The award amount is based on estimated travel expenses, up to $2,000.




Brooke Mason is an undergraduate student working on her second bachelor’s degree studying environmental engineering at the University of Toledo. Her area of study deals with life cycle assessments of different photovoltaic (PV) cells. The goal of her research is to determine their environmental impacts from manufacturing with hopes of designing a benign PV cell.



Tova Williams is a Ph.D. student studying fiber and polymer science at North Carolina State University. Williams’ thesis topic is on computer-aided design of sustainable hair dye precursors.  Her research focus is on the design of environmentally benign dyes for human hair keratin fibers by utilizing latent pigment technology.



Phillips.jpgBrendan Phillips is an undergraduate chemistry student from Ursinus College (Collegeville, PA). His research demonstrates simple and industrially-relevant examples of transfer hydrogenation applied toward pharmaceutical synthesis, an area that employs hazardous hydride donors in organic transformations.



Ryan Pearson is a Ph.D. Student from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Pearson is part of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Division of Materials and Nano Science, studying Organic and Materials (Polymer) Chemistry. His research is on the development of organic photo catalysts for controlled radical polymerizations, coatings exhibiting antimicrobial properties, and new materials derived from biomass.



Pearson.jpgAll four winners have chosen to attend the 20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, June 14-16, 2016, in Portland, Oregon, where they will present their green chemistry & engineering research.




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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.


Message from the Director

Posted by ACSGCI Nov 17, 2015

Contributed by David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®


The Fall is always such a busy time of year as everyone rushes madly about to complete year-long objectives while teeing up plans for next year.  It’s also the time when we do a majority of planning for our annual green chemistry and engineering conference.   We are especially excited that we will be in Portland, OR, June 14 – 16, 2016, for our 20th Anniversary and looking forward to partnering with a variety of our West Coast colleagues to make this our most memorable conference yet!


Save the date 2016-banner-400.jpgOur Program Chairs, Dr. Jim Hutchison and Dr. Adelina Voutchkova have been working with their Advisory Committee to solicit, review and select symposium and workshop proposals for the technical program. We are extremely appreciative of the number and quality of proposals that were received, and equally excited as we anticipate a great technical program.


This year’s theme is: “Advancing Sustainable Solutions by Design,” and it is the first in a five year conference cycle that we are hoping propels the green chemistry and engineering community forward. We are also working very hard to attract noteworthy keynote speakers that might push our thinking about design and how to link that back to how we think about the chemistry we do. Please continue to visit our Conference web site and plan on joining us in Portland. If you are a part of a company that is seeking to support and commercialize green chemistry-inspired innovations, please do consider sponsoring and/or exhibiting at the Conference. You can find out more about that here.


I’d also like to shamelessly plug the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA): Tis the season to be jolly, but also to submit your nominations- please do so before December 31st!


If you have a green chemistry innovation that has been commercialized or is in the process of being commercialized, please do consider submitting. What I would ask, however, is that you clearly articulate the scientific innovation, the commercial benefit, and the environmental benefits associated with that innovation – the nomination is not a sales pitch or a marketing opportunity. If you have any questions about what kinds of companies have won, or what grabs the EPA’s attention, just spend a little time looking at the past winners. Remember that there have been well over a thousand nominations over the course of the Awards program, and this is a stunning record of innovation and achievement. I’ve never understood why there continues to be so many people lamenting that they need to see a business case for green chemistry. What more evidence do you need?  The last thing I would say about the PGCCA program at this point in time is that we are looking forward to the Awards ceremony to be held in Portland on June 13, 2016.  We hope that many of you can join us on the west coast as the EPA recognizes and celebrates the premier green chemistry innovations in the world!


There is also a lot going on with a few of the Industrial Roundtables that is worth mentioning. We have been extremely fortunate this year to see the Chemical Manufacturers roundtable obtain a NIST planning grant for Less Energy-Intensive Alternative Separations: Creating a Roadmap to Accelerate Industrial Adoption. The project team, led by Robert Giraud of Chemours and Amit Sehgal of Solvay has put an incredible amount of effort into getting  this work moving.  We are looking forward to a workshop in February where we will be inviting a small group of key innovators to think about what needs to be done to develop new molecular property-driven alternative separations processes. It’s fascinating, as is the case with much of science, how much more fundamental science is needed to better understand what is happening at the molecular level. We look forward to this work unfolding over the next year.


The Pharma RT is always extremely active and it would be difficult to catalog all of the activities in which they are involved, so I’ll just mention a few. The first is the grant program. In their Fall meeting the RT selected the grant finalists from their Spring grant solicitation and agreed to another grant for Greener Biologics Purification. The second activity of note is the development of their web-based reagent guide. This guide is so impressive that I personally can’t wait for it to be made public, which should happen sometime next year. There are currently nine guides for some of the most used transformations used by the Pharmaceutical Industry, and there are others to be uploaded next year. The guide will be transformative for the industry, but especially if it is used in academia, and I desperately hope that it will be widely used once it is released.


As always, there is so much to talk about and never enough time to highlight all the amazing work that is being done in green chemistry. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, please do enjoy the holiday with family and friends; there is always so much for which to be thankful.


Please do let me know what you think.






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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Contributed by Paul Withers, Professor of Geography, Bangor University


Society needs an external source of phosphorus (P) for food, bioenergy and industrial production, but this essential resource is finite, increasingly costly and running out. There is no substitute for P other than the rock P (RP) that is mined out of the ground, and current RP consumption rates are very high (over 20 million tonnes per year driven largely by demand for fertilizers), and forecast to increase. To make matters worse the major stocks of RP are situated in only a few countries raising fears that supplies of affordable fertilizers will become regulated by political forces. Current inefficiencies in the way we use P in society are also leading to widespread P losses to water leading to the eutrophication (algal blooms and hypoxia) of our rivers, lakes, reservoirs and coastal waters.  If society does not start to use this rock P more sustainably, its future food and water security in particular will be threatened.


The solution to this issue is in principle quite simple: to develop a circular economy for P based on the green chemistry principles of (a) the development of benign products and processes, (b) the elimination of waste, (c) the use of renewable (secondary) resources, and (d) the design of output-driven production systems with minimum requirements and maximum efficiency. In essence this means we have to use less, recover and recycle more, cut losses and redesign production systems to be more sustainable. Of course these goals are much more difficult to achieve in practice due to technological and economic constraints, but the task is not insurmountable (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2015/gc/c4gc02445a).


                                figure 1.png


The sectors of the P cycle where progress can be achieved are highlighted by the bubbles in Figure 1. This P cycle is inherently inefficient because the vast majority of the P that is mined each year becomes stored in the soil, or is dissipated in low-grade RP ores, manures, by-products, and residues that are not fully re-used or re-used uniformly. Losses and wastage occur in all parts of the cycle (dotted lines in the diagram) and once this P finds its way to the oceans it is impossible to recover. A large proportion of this dissipated P could be re-used and help close the P cycle. Particular green chemistry and/or green engineering challenges are to:


  • Recover harmful metals and rare earths from lower grade RP ores to make P products and residues safer to use and re-use and for added value: e.g. co-extraction technologies
  • Partially remove P from livestock manures to lower their N:P ratio for more efficient recycling to land and to re-use the recovered P as fertilizer or feed: e.g through biorefinery or membrane filter technologies
  • Transform wet bulky manures into transportable products that are directly re-useable or can be further treated to recover P more cost-effectively: e.g. super-critical combustion
  • Recover P (and other essential elements or compounds) from the vast range of food, human and industry waste and wastewater streams for re-use; e.g. mining residues, slaughterhouse waste, sewage, food processing waste, steel slags
  • Develop novel bioengineering techniques to enable greater soil P acquisition in situ: e.g. plant and microbial engineering
  • Improve product formulation design to improve their P utilization efficiency: e.g. refine livestock feeds to make them more digestible, develop novel biofertilizers
  • Reduce system P losses through greater P capture, recovery and re-use: e.g.
  • Re-use renewable secondary P sources rather than primary RP for production systems


Phosphorus is an element that can be continually re-used, and is thus a prime example of a critical resource that could be utilized more efficiently in a circular economy to support sustainable growth with less pollution. Green chemists and engineers have an essential role in helping to deliver this vision.




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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.


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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.



It’s Not Easy Being a Green Chemist

November 13, 2015 | In These Times

Green chemistry seeks to answer questions about chemicals’ safety—their human and environmental health effects, as well as the amount of waste produced by their manufacture—before they enter the marketplace.


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The Rise of the Non-Toxic Buyer: 6 case studies on safer chemistry

November 12, 2015 | GreenBiz

Environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) programs are increasingly taking into account the issue of toxicity, nudging buyers toward the purchase of products with less toxic chemistries.


Can Chemistry Save the World’s Cities? Science Symposium Urban Living: Day 2

November 12, 2015 | BASF

The latest research in chemistry and materials science could play a significant role in reshaping urban areas into more environmentally-friendly and livable places.


New deFUNKit Laundry Product Keeps Odors Out of Sportswear

November 11, 2015 | Press Release Rocket

First-of-its-kind permanent odor shield removes foul smells and blocks new ones from penetrating fabrics by ‘gluing’ natural deodorizers to clothing fibers at the molecular level.


USGBC Working Group Provides New LEED Guidance

November 11, 2015 | Proud Green Building

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Supply Chain outlines new resources for LEED buildings, rewarding green innovations. What's Fundamentally Reshaping Business?


Look to High School Chemistry

November 10, 2015 | GreenBiz

The global business context appears to be on the cusp of fundamental changes in expectations — of stakeholders and, in some parts of the world, of governments and regulators.


Environmental Working Group Launches Cosmetics Verification Program

November 9, 2015 | C&EN

Environmental Working Group launched a verification seal for personal care products intended to help consumers avoid toxic chemicals and contaminants that it says are commonly found in cosmetics.

Deinove is Included in the 40 Hottest Small Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy for 2015-16

November 5, 2015 | CNN

Deinove is ushering in a new era of green chemistry by designing and developing new standards of production based on bacteria of untapped potential.


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Northrup Teaches Chemistry at Green Street Teaching and Learning Center

November 5, 2015 | Wesleyan University

On Nov. 2, Associate Professor of Chemistry Brian Northrop visited the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center to lead an engaging chemistry workshop.


Green Chemistry Locally Grown: Are you prepared for New York county toxic free toy acts?

November 3, 2015 | Arnold and Porter LLP

Laws enacted over the past year by four counties across the state of New York ban the sale of children's products and apparel that contain certain substances in amounts that are otherwise entirely lawful under federal law.


Deinove Partners with Flint Hills in R&D on Animal Nutrition

November 3, 2015 | Ethanol Producer Magazine

Both companies aim to develop conditions for an industrial biological production process based on selected bacteria from Deinove and raw materials supplied by Flint Hills Resources.


Researcher Develops Material to Create Sustainable Energy Source

November 2, 2015 | PHYS ORG

A Florida State University researcher has discovered an artificial material that mimics photosynthesis and potentially creates a sustainable energy source.


Also Check Out ACS GCI in the News:


EPA Calls for the 21st Presidential Green Chemistry Award Nominations

November 4, 2015 | EPA

EPA is sponsoring the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® and members of the chemical community including industry, trade associations, and academic institutions.


GC3 and ACS GCI Launch Green Chemistry Tool

November 2, 2015 | Chemical Watch (Subscription only)

Moderated by the GC3 and ACS GCI, conversations in the forum will be sorted by topic and will allow representatives from corporations, NGOs, academia and the government to: network; stay current with green chemical news; and seek input from experts.




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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

‘Horizon Faculty Fellowship’ Helps Entrepreneurial Professors

October 29, 2015 | Mcpherson Sentinel

Teacher incorporates entrepreneurial concepts of critical thinking and sustainability into a general education chemistry course that emphasizes “Green” chemistry.


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Safer Chemicals Would Benefit both Consumers and Workers

October 29, 2015 | The Conversation

Consumer awareness and community activism exert pressure on manufacturers, and early-stage legislation, testing the waters of government involvement in the United States.


Global Research Alert Called for Microbial Ecosystems Critical to Life on Earth

October 28, 2015 | The Daily Galaxy

A consortium of 48 scientists from 50 institutions in the United States has called for an ambitious research effort to understand and harness microbiomes.


Isolation and Identification of Green Pigments from Waste Pineapple Peels

October 28, 2015 | LabMate

The use of Green Chemistry Principles when applied to the extraction and isolation of chlorophyll biodegradation products (Green Pigments) from pineapple peel waste.


University of Missouri Researchers Developing Biodegradable Displays for Electronics

October 28, 2015 | Sustainable Brands

University of Missouri researchers are creating biodegradable electronics by using organic components in screen displays, which could one day help reduce electronic waste in the world’s landfills.


Cleaning Up the Precious Metals Industry

October 28, 2015 | PHYS ORG

Researchers have discovered a new material that can catalyze the decomposition of cyanide ions in process waste streams.


Algenol CEO Exits; Staff Cut by 25%, Investors Re-Up for Two Years, New Direction Tipped

October 25, 2015 | Biofuels Digest

Algenol, winner of a 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, diversifies into carbon capture and water treatment while oil prices drop.




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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council Education Group is proud to announce the launch of the Safer Chemistry Training for Businesses. This free online curriculum is comprised of educational webinars, ranging from introductory to advanced, and supplemental reading materials. While the material has been developed with a business audience in mind, we hope that other groups, such as technical assistance providers and students, will also benefit from this foundation in green chemistry.


The Safer Chemistry Training was developed in response to our member companies' needs for education of their employees and supply chains in various aspects of green chemistry. It is a direct outcome of the GC3 Policy Statement on Green Chemistry Education, which calls on businesses and academic institutions to support and implement green chemistry training in order to fulfill societal and industrial needs.


The Safer Chemistry Training for Businesses is designed to be tailored to the specific needs of the learner’s job description and experience; the number of webinars watched and duration of training can be altered as needed.  For example, a purchaser trying to understand new corporate sustainability initiatives might only watch a few, whereas a chemist new to green chemistry might want to watch 5 or 6.


View the complete list of educational webinars here. Additional training webinars are planned and will be added to the Safer Chemistry Training in the coming months. Sign up for the GC3 newsletter to be notified of new additions. If you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact Saskia van Bergen.



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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

University of Sheffield to Expand Unique Partnership with Nanjing Tech University

GC News Roundup.pngOctober 23, 2015 | The University of Sheffield

Joint Institute will develop Masters and Ph.D. collaborations as well as joint research initiatives, starting with Green Chemistry


New Method Makes Oxygen a Raw Material for Carbon-Based Substances

October 23, 2015 | PHYS ORG

Chemistry and Biochemistry division shows how it is possible to change complex and ineffective oxidants for oxygen


Graphene Could Lower the Cost of Renewable Hydrogen for FCEVs

October 23, 2015 | Clean Technica

With lower process costs, you could see more hydrogen fuel stations powered by on site renewable energy, and the way would also be cleared for large scale power-to-gas systems driven by solar, wind or even tidal energy


Canada’s Science Community Content with Trudeau’s Victory

October 22, 2015 | Chemistry World

Trudeau pledged to create a new government office to safeguard science


Encouraging Government Policies to Drive Global Green Technology Market

October 21, 2015 | Industry Today

Green Technologies Market to be driven by increased environmental awareness and rising urbanization across the globe


How Business and Green Chemistry can Change the Manufacturing Industry

October 20, 2015 | Just Means

Encouraging surge in the movement toward a more sustainable manufacturing industry


Organoclick Awarded Täby's Environmental Prize

October 19, 2015 | Innovation in Textiles

Cleantech company wins environmental prize for its work with green chemistry and fiber-based material



Also Check Out ACS GCI in the News:


Green Chemistry Education Roadmap Charts the Path Ahead

September 28, 2015 | C&EN

Integration of green chemistry concepts into the chemistry curriculum has not proceeded at a fast enough pace to support this growing field


ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable Presents Awards

September 21, 2015 | C&EN

Roundtable awards grants for research that could lead to significant environmental benefits and have immediate application within the pharmaceutical industry




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


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Contributed by Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Novozymes Novozymes A/S, Krogshoejvej 36, 2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark




A few years ago, a report published by WWF concluded that industrial biotechnology has the potential to save the planet up to 2.5 billion tons on CO2 emissions per year - more than Germany’s total reported emissions in 1990 - and support building a sustainable future. Industrial biotechnology could help create a true 21st century green economy, as the WWF report states (1).


In 2013, industrial biotechnology became extremely visible on the political agenda with the EU Commission proposing a €3.8 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Biobased Industries (2), in order to accelerate the commercialization of biobased products in Europe. The European Commission will invest €1 billion and industry €2.8 billion, from 2014 to 2020, to boost market uptake of new biobased products that are “made in Europe.”


The UN agrees that biotech is key to solving the world’s toughest human challenges. We have also seen China make biotechnology a priority in its recent five-year plan. Industrial biotechnology applications are widely used in everyday life by people all over the world – and have been for years. They help reduce the amount of time needed to bake fresh bread, help us to produce fuel from corn and waste materials and save heat in laundry washing. In this way, biotechnology helps to replace chemicals and it offers a way to produce more with less energy and fewer raw materials.




One of the companies delivering biotechnological solutions is Novozymes, the world’s biggest producer of industrial enzymes as well as microorganisms, and the solutions provided by Novozymes are very much focused on feeding and fueling the world. Feeding the world is critical and an area in which Novozymes is fully engaged. According to UN researchers, demand for agricultural output is projected to grow by at least 70% by 2050. For this reason, Novozymes has engaged in a strategic alliance with Monsanto.


Naturally occurring solutions such as microbials, plant extracts, beneficial insects and other organic material will allow farmers to improve crop health and productivity. The collaboration between the two companies plans to transform research and commercialization of environmentally friendly microbial products that will provide a new platform of solutions for growers around the world.


To do so, Novozymes is establishing a new RH&D center in North Carolina dedicated to its bioagriculture business. Scientists at the new site in North Carolina will research and develop beneficial microorganisms found in the soil. The resulting technology will focus on improved crop yield, fertility and pest control for growers around the world. The significant expansion of R&D resources will enable Novozymes’ scientists to pursue an increased number of, as well as improved, biological solutions for the ever-changing challenges facing global agriculture.


Biotech is also certainly helping to fuel the world. Using biological processes such as fermentation and harnessing biocatalysts such as enzymes, yeast and other microbes to produce biofuels, we can reduce the use of petroleum, water and energy and reduce waste. Right now, biomass conversion is emerging and the technology is consistently developing to make production of cellulosic ethanol more cost-efficient and commercially viable.


Novozymes has partnered with Beta Renewables to demonstrate 2G, or second generation, technology on a commercial scale. 2G technology uses fuels that are manufactured from various types of biomass, and the Crescentino plant in Italy has an annual production capacity of 40,000 metric tons. The plant uses wheat straw, rice straw and arundo donax, a high-yielding energy crop grown on marginal land.




Under these headlines, Novozymes supply enzymes for five major global industries: Household Care, Food & Beverages, Bioenergy, Agriculture & Feed, and Technical & Pharma. Use of enzymes in each industry will provide environmental benefits. Enzymes used in laundry can replace surfactants in the detergent and work to reduce the washing temperature is minimized. Life cycle assessment is used to compare the environmental impact of enzyme production with the avoided impacts obtained by surfactant saving and reduced electricity production for heating wash water.


At first sight, the use of enzymes in laundry is not something that one would believe would have significant environmental effects. Doing laundry is one of the activities that consumes the most energy in an ordinary household. By washing at 30°C rather than 60°C or 40°C, the CO2 savings potential in Europe and the U.S. is around 32 million tons – equivalent to emissions from 8 million cars. At the same time, enzymes have the potential to replace up to 50% of surfactants, while maintaining cost and washing performance. If all Europeans washed their clothes using cold water, it would be possible to close three large coal-fired power stations, reducing the continent’s CO2 emissions by 12 million tons a year.




Many of these biosolutions come together and offer improved environmental performance for customers compared with conventional technologies. Not only does this result in higher-quality products at lower costs, it also enables our customers to reduce their CO2 emissions. Lower CO2 emissions help reduce the stress on our global climate and support the mitigation of climate change.


For 10 years, Novozymes has conducted peer-reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies to document the environmental impact of its biosolutions (3), and we develop specific claims together with our customers. We specifically advise our customers and partners on ways to reduce their CO2 emissions and leverage the positive impact on climate change that our products enable. We estimate that our customers avoided 60 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2014 by applying our products, the equivalent of taking approximately 25 million cars off the road. This is an increase of 8 million tons compared with 2013, and was driven primarily by increased sales and performance of our solutions for biofuels, household care and textiles. To give one example: In 2014, we conducted a comprehensive study (including an LCA and a consumer survey) to better understand and document how Novozymes’ patented biopolishing solutions can improve the quality of cotton clothing and extend its lifetime.


By using our biopolishing solutions, customers strengthen their brand and gain premium-pricing opportunities, fewer garments go to waste, and resource efficiency increases throughout the garment production chain. The study documents that our biopolishing solutions could potentially be applied in 40% of the world’s annual cotton production, and result in savings of approximately 24 million tons of CO2 emissions and 27 billion m3 of water. The study will be published in 2015.




Building on biotechnology, sustainability is an intrinsic part of the business for Novozymes. It is the nature of our technology and the technology comes from nature itself. Sustainability is fully integrated into Novozymes’ business and drives innovation for the company. In 2013, Novozymes was ranked as the most sustainable company in the Biotechnology Industry category of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 12th time. At Novozymes, sustainability is a business driver on three levels; 1) To operate responsibly, 2) To grow our current business, and 3) To develop new business. Through working responsibly, we strive to live out what we believe in and constantly challenge ourselves to optimize our business practices and improve our sustainability impact.




The generally positive sustainability impact of Novozymes’ solutions helps to grow the current business; the solutions enable the customers to meet their sustainability agendas through optimizing their use of raw materials and energy. Customers like what is offered by biotechnology, however, enzymes used in detergent need to be cost-competitive and better performing than the chemicals they replace. “Consumers are really excited about low temperature detergents because that translates to immediate savings on their electricity bills,” Peder Holk Nielsen explained in an interview with Forbes (4). But he also explained that most consumers aren’t willing to pay for those savings. When you look at the positioning of products as renewable or having a lower footprint, the big companies share data that roughly suggests that a lot of consumers would never buy a product that has a green label because they are suspicious of its performance.




Nevertheless, even though end users don’t seem willing to pay for sustainable savings and that sustainability has somehow faded from the global agenda, Novozymes has made it an integral part of its business – and has done so for years. To emphasize this, in 2015 Novozymes presented a renewed strategy with the headline of: “Together we find biological answers to better the growing world – let’s rethink tomorrow”.


Novozymes’ renewed strategy is also very specific and has a number of sustainability targets:


  • REACH six billion people with our biological solutions
  • EDUCATE 1 million people about the potential of biology from 2015-2020
  • CATALYZE five global partnerships for change from 2015-2020
  • DELIVER 10 transformative innovations from 2015-2020
  • SAVE 100 million tons of CO2 by 2020




To protect the world from the devastating effects of climate change all relevant technologies need to be put to use. Biotechnology is in use today and interest for the technology is increasing for good reasons. Today the world runs on fossil fuels; and we all know that this has high and long-term costs for our planet.


Biotechnology is a way to use renewable biomass as the most important raw material, enabling the production of the same products we get from oil today. A change from an oil-based economy to a biobased economy means a future where biorefineries replace oil refineries, and biological raw materials replace fossil fuels as the primary feedstock for materials, fuels and energy. The best news is that we have the technology ready here today – it is called biotechnology.


This article was originally published on Household and Personal Care Today, a publication from Tekno Scienze Publisher: http://www.teknoscienze.com/articles/hpc-today-biotechnology-and-the-sustainable -choice.aspx




1. http://wwf.panda.org/?174201/Biotechnology-could-cut-C02-sharply-help-build-gre en-economy

2. http://novozymes.com/en/news/news-archive/Pages/Europe-to-invest-€3.8-billion-in -the-biobased-economy.aspx

3. http://report2014.novozymes.com/material/glossary-entries/life-cycle-assessment/ Popup/True

4. http://www.forbes.com/sites/amywestervelt/2012/11/26/how-your-laundry-detergent- could-shrink-your-energy-bill/




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To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

The word is out. Green chemistry has caught on, and the field has grown tremendously since it first emerged in the 1990s. The question now is where are we going with all this momentum?


On September 18, 2015, we took an important first step in the roadmapping project for green chemistry. We hosted a visioning workshop with a small group of participants deliberately selected for their diverse perspectives on green chemistry. This step will catalyze additional workshops, meetings and full drafting of the roadmap plan.


TIMG_0042.JPGhe workshop was marked by the group’s optimism, but also by their earnestness to create a high-quality, durable and effective plan. They were tasked with setting the vision for the roadmap: the elements of the vision, the role of the roadmap, how to best engage the community, and next steps in the project. All of this in the context of the remarkable progress that has been made in green chemistry already.


Perhaps the most difficult task, however, was suspending disbelief for the sake of aspiration: believing in a future of technologies, chemistries, and innovations that now seem impossible. The group looked at roadmaps from other communities as models that provided insight into how to build a successful roadmap for green chemistry.


Preliminary results from an ACS GCI survey of hundreds of chemistry educators were also discussed.  It generated conversation about the state of chemistry education. Although the workshop participants acknowledged that academic reform is typically a slow process, they imagined a future state in which academic and industry leaders have collaborated to develop a chemistry education with green chemistry fully integrated. Already, the survey responses have shown that most chemistry educators are including topics like chemical hazards and exposure in their teaching.


The workshop was dotted with broader hopes for green chemistry as well. For example, how green chemistry has the ability to eliminate a wide array of social injustices. Or, how it enables interdisciplinary approaches that lead to innovation. The practice of chemistry was discussed as something in evolution, becoming ever-more benign and evaluated through systems-thinking. As the meeting drew to a close, participants enthusiastically volunteered to take on responsibilities and to continue to work towards a shared vision.


With green chemistry, chemists and engineers can know that they are doing the best science, with the best ethics, for the best future.  We’ll need input from you, the community, as the roadmap progresses. Keep an eye out for updates and opportunities to contribute. We can’t wait to see where the path will take this community.




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Message from the Director

Posted by ACSGCI Oct 21, 2015

Contributed by David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®


I’m currently writing this on a plane as I make my way to Illinois to speak at the Midwest Association of Chemistry Teachers at Liberal Arts Colleges (MACTLAC). I’m honored and excited to be asked to these kinds of events for several reasons. The first is, the data we’ve gathered suggests that teachers at these institutions are doing more than many other chemistry teachers to integrate green chemistry and engineering concepts into their curriculum. I think this is huge because at most R1 universities, teachers of chemistry are resistant and often antagonistic to the notion that teaching chemistry within a real-world context is important. The more I can do to encourage a change in how chemistry is taught, the more hope I have that society can and will change some of the less sustainable practices we take for granted as just “the way we do chemistry.” I often quip that if there isn’t an explosion, a fire, chemistry in a glove box, liberal quantities of liquid nitrogen, or a reaction at 1000+ C, then most chemists don’t think they’re doing real chemistry.


The second reason is that I get to talk about our educational roadmap initiative. For those who have not yet heard about this, I would invite you to have a look here. We are deeply indebted to our leadership team, Dr. Jim Hutchison, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon, Dr. Mary Kirchoff, the ACS Director of Education, and Dr. Eric Beckman, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and to our ACS GCI Program Manager, Jenny MacKellar, for shepherding this initiative over the past year. During September, the ACS GCI invited a group of leaders in green chemistry and green chemistry education to a visioning workshop that will be followed next June, 2016, by a larger workshop of green chemistry leaders and educators. The purpose of the second workshop is to build on the visioning workshop and develop a roadmap for green chemistry education.


There were several insights developed at the workshop that are worth mentioning. The first is that developing accepted learning objectives for green chemistry in all areas of chemistry curriculum will be enormously challenging. The second is that in order for the second workshop to be successful, it will be essential to build out some of the visions that were created as part of the workshop. These visions have to do with the practice of chemistry, the pull for chemists by industry, what students need to know, and how to move chemistry curriculum forward. Anyone who is part of the chemistry education sector, and those that have come through it, know exactly how hard it is going to be to move this roadmap forward. This is not to say that there hasn’t already been a lot of great work by some chemistry educators who have made great progress down the path of integrating green chemistry and sustainability concepts into their curriculum. There are, but I think that it is fair to say that this has not been done in a consistent or standardized manner.


I can’t emphasize enough how important and pivotal I think this initiative is to the future of the global chemistry enterprise. I hope all who are reading this recognize the magnitude of this challenge and I am equally hopeful you recognize that the ACS GCI, or those that are part of the workshops and working parties, will not be able to do this by themselves. This is a multi-year effort that will require the hard work of many dedicated people to be successful. We’ve just drawn the line in the sand, and we need every one of you to help us move the chemistry enterprise forward towards more sustainable practices.


It is possible to do this, but it won’t happen on its own, overnight. Thanks for doing your part to make this happen.


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






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