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EPA Honors Winners of the 21st Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Honored Contributor
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annually recognizes landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners were honored at a ceremony on June 13th in Portland, Oregon. The winners and their innovative technologies are:

Newlight Technologies, from Costa Mesa, California, has developed and commercialized a carbon capture technology that combines methane with air to produce AirCarbon™, a high-performance thermoplastic material that matches the performance of a wide range of petroleum-based plastics while out-competing on price. Newlight’s biocatalyst combines air and methane-based carbon to produce polymers at environmentally friendly, ambient conditions. Despite the conceptual simplicity, previous technologies utilizing carbon capture to manufacture plastics resulted in production costs that were significantly higher than petroleum-based manufacture of plastics.


Professor Paul Chirik, from Princeton University, discovered a new class of hydrosilylation catalysts based on earth-abundant transition metals such as iron and cobalt that have superior performance to existing platinum catalysts. This base metal catalyst technology offers the opportunity to enable new chemical processes that provide the desired product exclusively, eliminate distillation steps, and avoid generation of byproducts and unnecessary waste. This technology is based upon “metal-ligand cooperativity,” a broad catalysis concept pioneered by the Chirik group, where electron changes occur concomitantly between the metal and the supporting ligand.

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CB&I and Albemarle, companies from Texas and North Carolina, developed a catalyst-process combination technology, the AlkyClean® solid acid alkylation process, which coupled with CB&I’s novel reactor scheme, produces high quality alkylate without the use of liquid acid catalysts. Additionally, neither acid-soluble oils nor spent acids are produced, and there is no need for product post-treatment of any kind.


Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, Indiana, discovered a powerful nitrification inhibitor that can inhibit soil bacteria from rapidly converting nitrogen in the ammoniacal form to nitrate, thereby retaining more nitrogen in the more stable ammoniacal form. By keeping nitrogen in the root zone for a longer period during the season, Dow’s nitrogen stabilizers improve Nitrogen Use Efficiency and reduce nitrogen loss through leaching and nitrous oxide emissions. N-Serve® was the first commercial product introduced by Dow in 1974, but it is only suitable for use with anhydrous ammonia fertilizer applications due to the limitations of its physical-chemical properties.

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Verdezyne, Carlsbad, California, developed a yeast fermentation technology platform to provide manufacturers and consumers with renewable alternatives to existing petroleum-based chemical intermediates.


This technology focuses on the production of dicarboxylic acid chemical intermediates such as adipic acid, sebacic acid and dodecanedioic acid (DDDA). The first of these to be commercialized will be BIOLON™ DDDA, which will be used primarily in the manufacture of nylon 6,12 for engineered plastics that require special properties such as high chemical, moisture, or abrasion resistance. Other uses for DDDA are in the manufacture of adhesives, coatings, corrosion inhibitors, lubricants, and fragrances.

During the 21 years of the program, EPA has presented awards to 109 technologies.

An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2016 submissions from among scores of nominated technologies and made recommendations to EPA for the 2016 winners. The 2016 awards event was held in conjunction with the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference.

Article from the U.S. EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics

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Also see Green success stories: The 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards | June 13, 2015 Issue - Vol. 94 Issue 25 | Chemical & Engineering New… by Stephen Ritter, C&EN.

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