By Mary M. Kirchhoff, Ph.D., Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®; Executive Vice President of Scientific Advancement, ACS
My colleagues and I at the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (GCI) are very excited that the 2017 Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference is less than three weeks away! The conference will be held in Reston, Virginia from June 13-15, 2017. The theme of “Making Our Way to a Sustainable Tomorrow” has attracted 345 oral and poster presentations. The onsite registration fee is higher than the standard registration fee (available through June 10), and I encourage you to register today at http://www.gcande.org.
The ACS GCI works with the GCI Roundtables to advance the implementation of green chemistry across a number of industrial sectors. The newest of the GCI Roundtables is the Biochemical Technology Leadership Roundtable (BTLR), which recently helped organize a Bio-based and Renewable Chemicals Conference in conjunction with the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA). Dr. Bryan Tracy, Chair of DESCA, and Dr. David Constable, Science Director of the ACS GCI, served as conference co-chairs.
The conference, which was held May 10-11 in Wilmington, Delaware, attracted an audience with broad interests in renewable chemistry research and manufacturing. Many of the participants were current or former employees of DuPont, which has a strong emphasis on developing sustainable products. Speakers reviewed the landscape today with respect to biomass utilization and explored the future of sustainable alternatives. Panel discussions addressed the business and technical aspects of bio-based and renewable chemicals.
Several speakers highlighted entrepreneurial opportunities available in Delaware. The Delaware Innovation Space, for example, offers an “innovation ecosystem” to support start-up companies. DESCA, the conference co-organizer, embraces its mission to “foster sustainable innovation among key stakeholders in the public and private sectors.” The ability of the bio-based and renewables market to positively impact Delaware’s economy was evident in remarks delivered by Delaware Governor John Carney and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. We should all be so lucky to have our elected officials take such an interest in chemistry!
The conference demonstrated the importance of convening scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and financial backers to address the challenges and opportunities – some of which are unique to the local area – of bio-based and renewable chemicals. Such collaborations can help accelerate the development and implementation of greener technologies.