Message from the Director

Honored Contributor
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Contributed by David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

The Fall is always such a busy time of year as everyone rushes madly about to complete year-long objectives while teeing up plans for next year.  It’s also the time when we do a majority of planning for our annual green chemistry and engineering conference.   We are especially excited that we will be in Portland, OR, June 14 – 16, 2016, for our 20th Anniversary and looking forward to partnering with a variety of our West Coast colleagues to make this our most memorable conference yet!

Save the date 2016-banner-400.jpgOur Program Chairs, Dr. Jim Hutchison and Dr. Adelina Voutchkova have been working with their Advisory Committee to solicit, review and select symposium and workshop proposals for the technical program. We are extremely appreciative of the number and quality of proposals that were received, and equally excited as we anticipate a great technical program.

This year’s theme is “Advancing Sustainable Solutions by Design,” and it is the first in a five year conference cycle that we are hoping propels the green chemistry and engineering community forward. We are also working very hard to attract noteworthy keynote speakers that might push our thinking about design and how to link that back to how we think about the chemistry we do. Please continue to visit our Conference web site and plan on joining us in Portland. If you are a part of a company that is seeking to support and commercialize green chemistry-inspired innovations, please do consider sponsoring and/or exhibiting at the Conference. You can find out more about that here.

I’d also like to shamelessly plug the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA): 'Tis the season to be jolly, but also to submit your nominations—please do so before December 31st!

If you have a green chemistry innovation that has been commercialized or is in the process of being commercialized, please do consider submitting. What I would ask, however, is that you clearly articulate the scientific innovation, the commercial benefit, and the environmental benefits associated with that innovation – the nomination is not a sales pitch or a marketing opportunity. If you have any questions about what kinds of companies have won, or what grabs the EPA’s attention, just spend a little time looking at the past winners. Remember that there have been well over a thousand nominations over the course of the Awards program, and this is a stunning record of innovation and achievement. I’ve never understood why there continues to be so many people lamenting that they need to see a business case for green chemistry. What more evidence do you need?  The last thing I would say about the PGCCA program at this point in time is that we are looking forward to the Awards ceremony to be held in Portland on June 13, 2016.  We hope that many of you can join us on the west coast as the EPA recognizes and celebrates the premier green chemistry innovations in the world!

There is also a lot going on with a few of the Industrial Roundtables that is worth mentioning. We have been extremely fortunate this year to see the Chemical Manufacturers roundtable obtain a NIST planning grant for Less Energy-Intensive Alternative Separations: Creating a Roadmap to Accelerate Industrial Adoption. The project team, led by Robert Giraud of Chemours and Amit Sehgal of Solvay has put an incredible amount of effort into getting  this work moving.  We are looking forward to a workshop in February where we will be inviting a small group of key innovators to think about what needs to be done to develop new molecular property-driven alternative separations processes. It’s fascinating, as is the case with much of science, how much more fundamental science is needed to better understand what is happening at the molecular level. We look forward to this work unfolding over the next year.

The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable is always extremely active and it would be difficult to catalog all of the activities in which they are involved, so I’ll just mention a few. The first is the grant program. In their Fall meeting the Roundtable selected the grant finalists from their Spring grant solicitation and agreed to another grant for Greener Biologics Purification. The second activity of note is the development of their web-based reagent guide. This guide is so impressive that I personally can’t wait for it to be made public, which should happen sometime next year. There are currently nine guides for some of the most used transformations used by the Pharmaceutical Industry, and there are others to be uploaded next year. The guide will be transformative for the industry, but especially if it is used in academia, and I desperately hope that it will be widely used once it is released.

As always, there is so much to talk about and never enough time to highlight all the amazing work that is being done in green chemistry. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, please do enjoy the holiday with family and friends; there is always so much for which to be thankful.

Please do let me know what you think.


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