On Wednesday morning at the GC&E conference this week, ACS GCI presented a special "Hybrid" Session intended for our global audience. The session was titled "Advancing Global Green Chemistry - The Role of Government, Business, and Academia."

 

Madeleine Jacobs did an excellent job moderating the panel, which consisted of Dr. Cheryl Martin of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), Mr. Adam Monroe of Novozymes, and Dr. Matt Platz of NSF. Dr. Roger Sheldon, Professor Emeritus at Delft University of Technology, read the questions from the international audience, which had been emailed in.

 

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There were several hundred people in the room at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington DC, and another 242 people had registered to watch the event online. There were international participants from North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. 32 countries were represented, including Argentina, Brasil, Bulgaria, Spain, Chez Republic, Egypt, Iran, India, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 

All the panelists gave interesting and compelling presentations, showing what they were doing in their respective spaces to advance green chemistry. Dr. Martin, Deputy Director for Commercialization, spoke about her relatively new agency, ARPA-E, whose mandate is to improve energy security in the United States and make sure that the US is leading research advanced energy technologies. She reviewed the types of projects they are funding, all innovative and out-of-the-box solutions like "Electrofuels," or fuel made from carbon capture directly from the atmosphere. She definitely conveyed the freshness, excitement, and sense of mission that the agency strives for.

 

Mr. Monroe is the CEO of Novozymes, and he did a great job demonstrating a vision for what businesses can do to catalyze green commerce. He said that today, sustainability is a driver of business, and that businesses can look not only to satisfy the consumer, but also to address what the world needs. He gave some amusing examples, as well as some inspiring ones--such as the work they are doing in Africa to address the energy and water needs of rural people in Mozambique.

 

Dr. Platz gave us an informative overview of the NSF funding of green chemistry research in Universities, including economic statistics which he sees as the basis for why we urgently need to be able to make our industries more efficient and sustainable. He said, with passion, that green chemistry will be the growth area in the chemistry field, and encouraged everyone to do their research there. Mr. Platz also expressed how we need more holistic thinking in the chemistry departments.

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The questions from both the in-person audience and the international virtual audience were targeted and spurred a great dialogue for the last 45 minutes of the session. It was exciting having an international, yet live, feel to the whole event.

 

Everyone agreed that the event was a success and I'm sure there will be another hybrid event next year. When the recording of the event becomes available, I'll post a link to it in this group.