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Hutch's Picks for the 18th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

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Contributed by Jim Hutchison, Co-chair, Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon

This year’s Green Chemistry and Engineering (GC&E) Conference offers an exciting series of multi-day technical tracks all focused on Advancing Chemistry, Innovating for Sustainability.  This year we created tracks of new content for the conference and have refreshed traditional topics.  I’m writing to share an overview of the conference and some of the sessions that I’m personally most excited about.

Keynote presentations will kick off each day.  I’m really looking forward to hear from three inspirational leaders who will address green chemistry innovation:

  • Dr. Seth Coe-Sullivan, Founder and CTO of QD Vision, will describe how green chemistry played an essential role is bringing quantum dot products to the market.
  • Professor Richard Blackburn, Head of the Sustainable Materials Research Group at the University of Leeds, will discuss how green chemistry design is being applied to the textiles and dying industry.
  • Professor Eric Beckman, co-Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh, will focus on molecular design, innovation and green chemistry.

There is a lot of great programming each of the three days of the conference.  The conference gets off to a great start Tuesday with five parallel tracks with compelling technical sessions including:

  • New chemical feedstocks – chemicals from biology, CO2 and natural gas
  • Design for chemical safety – strategies and tools for design and evaluation
  • Green chemistry education –educating beyond the BS and PhD
  • Greener processes – from hydraulic fracturing to biopharmaceuticals
  • Organic chemistry – approaches to highly reactive chemistries

Hutch’s pick(s):  There is a lot to choose from Tuesday, but I’ll be splitting time between the sessions on Design for Chemical Safety, Green Chemistry Education and New Chemical Feedstocks. The Design track has great speakers from academia, government and NGOs.  In green chemistry education, I’m excited to see how programs are tackling education beyond the formal degree training.  Finally, I’m excited to hear about recent advances in carbon dioxide chemistry.

A welcome reception wraps up the day on Tuesday.  I hope to see you all there.

Wednesday is action-packed.  In addition to five parallel technical tracks, a poster session with more than 70 posters will be held just after lunch.  There is also a Business Plan Competition that runs throughout the day and a career workshop and several mixers in the evening.  The technical sessions include:

  • Consumer products – Innovative and sustainable solutions in apparel and footwear
  • Waste to wealth – chemicals from waste food, trash and electronics
  • Design for chemical safety – workshop on tools for design and evaluation
  • Green chemistry education – charting the road ahead and success stories from the ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy
  • Organic chemistry – commercializing research advances in pharmaceuticals

Hutch’s pick(s):  Again, a lot to choose between, but I’ll be splitting time between the Design for Chemical Safety Workshop led by Jakub Kostal and the session on Innovation in the Footwear and Apparel.  There are a number of new tools for safer design that I’d like to learn about.  On the other hand, John Frazier has put together a great track about greening the footwear and apparel industry.

We’ll wrap things up Thursday with another set of parallel sessions, including a webcast session on Critical Materials in the afternoon.  The technical sessions include:

  • Organic chemistry – catalysis, kinetics and mechanisms
  • Critical materials – Earth abundant alternatives and the lifecycle of scarce materials
  • Consumer products –greening the supply chain
  • Policy and innovation – trends in innovation, regulatory landscape and implications for innovation

Hutch’s pick(s):  Can I be at two places at once?  I’m really interested to see the session on Policy and Innovation that Marty Spitzer and his team put together, but also am chairing an interesting session on Critical Materials.  Cyrus Wadia from the Office of Science and Technology Policy will kick off the Critical Materials session Thursday morning.

We have really tried to take the GC&E conference to the next level this year.  Please check out the technical program and plan to join us in June for a great conference.

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