20th Annual GC&E Sneak Peak- Part 3

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The sessions in this year’s 20th Annual GC&E Conference are packed with the latest research and discoveries in green chemistry and engineering. Take a look through the sessions – as described by the organizers themselves – to learn more about what real-world challenges will be addressed at the 20th anniversary event.

Session:  Exploring opportunities for green chemistry educators and researchers to address the social and environmental (in) justices of chemical exposure

Organizer: Dr. Ed Brush, Bridgewater State University

As “green chemists” we share a set of common principles that serve to guide us in making smart choices in how we design, make, use and dispose of chemicals and chemical products.  Chemicals provide the function that consumers demand in everyday products.  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 chemistry has the potential to offer solutions to help correct some of these disparities.

This unique symposium will bring together a group of participants who will explore and better understand the disparities in how hazardous chemicals impact society.  The symposium will start with a brief discussion about the session goals, and to survey the participants understanding of the benefits and unintended consequences of chemicals and chemical products.  Our speakers will address some of the current issues of social disparities related to chemical exposure, the type of changes needed in chemistry education, and how the field of green chemistry might offer solutions to achieve social and environmental justice.  The symposium will conclude with an interactive discussion as we plan our next steps, and how we might establish transdisciplinary collaborations between the social sciences and green chemistry practitioners to address the social and environmental (in) justices of chemical exposure.

Session: Moving towards more sustainable chemical building blocks

Organizer: Dr. Katalin Barta, Stratingh Institute of the University of Groningen

Chemical catalysis will play a central role in enabling the efficient conversion of renewable materials to useful chemical building blocks or fuels. The design of the novel catalysts will have to accommodate the increased level of functionality present in the renewable biopolymers. New creative solutions are needed for depolymerization, (partial) defunctionalization and selective bond cleavage reactions. Multiple sessions within this symposium will be dedicated to a range of talks from research areas related to the conversion of lignin, cellulose or fatty acids. Keynote speakers will include internationally recognized experts in the corresponding fields from the United States, Europe and Asia.

Session: Challenges, tools, and innovation in the apparel and footwear sector

Organizer: John Frazier, ACS GCI Governing Board Advisor and Independent Consultant (Previous, Senior Director of Chemistry, NIKE Explore Team)

The manufacturing of materials and the production of apparel and footwear continues to consume a high volume of chemicals, water, and energy. This session will discuss how green chemistry tools and innovation are being applied to some of this sector’s challenges. We will explore chemical selection/traceability, the necessity of high performance water repellency, durable colors, water based materials, and renewable content. Attend this session to see how innovators are moving this sector into the 21st century through the application of better chemistry.

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