Message from the Director - Celebrating the Winners of the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Honored Contributor
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The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® was thrilled to host the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony in Washington, DC this week!  ACS GCI coordinated this year’s nomination and review process in selecting the 2018 recipients:

Gupton.jpgTom Connelly, Jr. gives Prof. Frank Gupton his award.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Academic Award – Professors Frank Gupton and Tyler McQuade of Virginia Commonwealth University: Increasing Global Access to the High-volume HIV Drug Nevirapine through Process Intensification. Gupton and McQuade redesigned the process for creating this HIV drug, resulting in a 38% increase in yield and a reduction in waste generated. This novel process reduced the raw material cost by 30-40%. The new process was implemented through the Clinton Health Access Initiative in collaboration with two Chinese manufacturers resulting in a 9% reduction in the drug’s price.

chemetry.pngThe Chemetry team with Dr. Connelly.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Small Business Award – Chemetry Corporation: The eShuttle™ Technology for Propylene Oxide and Reducing CO2 Emissions in the PVC Supply Chain. This technology eliminates chlorine in the production of polyvinyl chloride (used to make PVC pipes, etc.), along with a chlorine-free method of producing propylene oxide, commonly used to make lightweight polyurethane foams and a variety of other valuable products. The eShuttle™ process reduces the power consumption of manufacturing propylene oxide by 60% compared to the conventional process, saving 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The new process also eliminates asbestos and mercury and removes the potential for the creation of chlorination byproducts associated with the current chlor-alkali process.


The Merck team accepts their award with Dr. Connelly.

Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Greener Synthetic Pathways – Merck Research Laboratories: A Sustainable Commercial Manufacturing Process for Doravirine from Commodity Chemicals. A new synthesis of this HIV drug reduces production materials by 81%, increases yield from 23% to 52% and reduces the cost of raw materials by 57%. A life cycle assessment revealed the carbon footprint and water usage were reduced by 88% and 90%, respectively.


Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic's Julia Shamshina and John Keyes (right) with
Prof. Robin Rogers receive their award from Dr. Connelly.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Greener Reaction Conditions – Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, LLC: A Practical Way to Mass Production of Chitin: The Only Facility in the U.S. to Use Ionic Liquid-Based Isolation Process. Mari Signum Mid-Atlantic, LLC, is commercializing a safe, environmentally friendly, low energy-demanding and overall less costly process to produce chitin from seafood waste. Chitin is used in a variety of applications, such as food processing, biodegradable plastics and biomedical applications. This zero-discharge process produces a very high-grade and pure chitin, making use of and monetizing this seafood processing waste.


Dr. Connelly with Corteva's Jaime Zambrano, Nneka Breaux, and Dennis Wujek.
Photo credit: Peter Cutts Photography

The Design of Greener Chemicals – Corteva Agriscience™ Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™: Rinskor™ Active – Improving Rice Production While Reducing Environmental Impact. This herbicide uses a unique new chemistry that allows farmers to apply it in lower doses than prior herbicides, eliminating an expected 750,000 pounds of active herbicide ingredients in 2018. In addition, nearly the same amount of hydrocarbon solvents will be eliminated because the herbicide makes use of predominantly plant-derived and renewable solvents. In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted Rinskor™ the Reduced Risk Pesticide Designation in rice and aquatics.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!  These award-winning technologies 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.

We were also pleased to have Dr. Leah Rubin Shen, Energy and Environment Policy Advisor for the Office of Senator Chris Coons give the congratulatory address, as well as Dr. Bill Carroll, ACS GCI Advisory Board Chair presiding and Dr. Tom Connelly, Jr., ACS Executive Director and CEO giving the science address. The U.S. Military District of Washington presented colors while Paula Christopher of the ACS performed the National Anthem.

8th IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry

I had the pleasure of participating in the 8th IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry in Bangkok, Thailand on September 9-14.  Professor Supawan Tantayanon organized the conference in collaboration with Professor Pietro Tundo, chair of IUPAC’s Interdivisional Committee on Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development. The conference attracted an international audience that shared research in tracks on green chemicals, polymers, and materials; green synthesis, manufacturing, and engineering processes; green fossil energy, biomass, and future fuels; and green chemistry education.  This is the first time this conference was held in Asia and it proved a wonderful venue for highlighting advances in and establishing collaborations on green chemistry research and education.



Dr. Mary M. Kirchhoff, Ph.D.

Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Director, Scientific Advancement Division