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Celebrating the Winners of the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Honored Contributor
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The American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) was honored to partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to host the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony and reception at the EPA headquarters in Washington D.C. this past Monday! A panel of technical experts convened by the ACS GCI make recommendations to EPA for the winners of each award category. The awards were presented by Alexandra Dunn, Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. 

Congratulations to this year’s recipients:



Alexandra Dunn gives Professor Sanjoy Banjeree his award, joined by his team of collaborators.
Photo credit: @DCEventPhoto

Academic Award – Professor Sanjoy Banjeree of The City University of New York Energy Institute: Rechargeable Alkaline Zn-MnO2Batteries for Grid Storage Applications.

Professor Banerjee, in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Urban Electric Power Inc., created rechargeable zinc-manganese dioxide batteries that can be recharged thousands of times without significant degradation of capacity. These batteries do not have some of the limitations of lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries, and use materials that are abundant and already in use. Transforming this technology into a grid-scale rechargeable system would enable a revolutionary, low-cost, green technology able to meet critical U.S. electrical grid needs.


The Kalion, Inc. team receiving their award from Alexandra Dunn.
Photo credit: @DCEventPhoto

Small Business Award – Kalion, Inc.: Microbially Produced High-Purity Glucaric Acid for Diverse Uses.

Kalion, Inc. has commercialized the first microbial fermentation process to produce glucaric acid. Glucaric acid produced by Kalion’s method offers the possibility of replacing environmentally polluting chemicals with a biodegradable, non-toxic, sugar-derived product. Kalion's fermentation process solves the challenges of traditional chemical approaches and enables the production of high-purity, low-cost glucaric acid. 


The Merck & Co. team accepting their award from Alexandra Dunn.

Photo credit: @DCEventPhoto

Greener Synthetic Pathways Award – Merck & Co.: Innovating for a Greener Future: Development of a Green & Sustainable Manufacturing Process for Zerbaxa.

Merck & Co. is being recognized for their efforts to reduce the carbon footprint and energy usage by redesigning the manufacturing route to the antibiotic component of Zerbaxa. Key to the redesign is a sustainable crystallization-based purification process that enabled the development of the revolutionary new process that reduces process mass intensity by 75%, reduces raw material costs by 50% and increases the overall yield by more than 50%. Additionally, carbon footprint and energy usage are expected to be reduced by 50% and 38%, respectively, and water savings are estimated to be 3.7 million gallons annually.


Alexandra Dunn presents the WSI team with their award for TRUpath.
Photo credit: @DCEventPhoto

Greener Reaction Conditions Award – WSI: TRUpath.

By creating TRUpath, WSI developed a successful alternative to traditional commercial laundering technologies that use harsh and harmful chemicals. TRUpath utilizes more readily biodegradable surfactants and eliminates phosphates from wash formulas making it less toxicTRUpath™ detergent has prevented the discharge of petroleum hydrocarbons into wastewater by approximately 200,000 lbs/yr and reduced overall laundry wastewater discharge by more than 1.3 million lbs/yr. Additionally, the annual use of natural gas is reduced nationwide by greater than 5.1 million therms, and 545 million gallons of water are saved annually. 

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


ACS GCI would like to thank Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention for giving the congratulatory address and presenting the awards. We would also like to thank Chair of the ACS Board of Directors, John Adams for giving the Science Address, David Widawsky, Director of the EPA's Chemistry, Economics, and Sustainable Strategies Division for giving the welcoming remarks, and the U.S. Military District of Washington for presenting the colors and singing a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem.

We look forward to doing it again next year!