The Nexus Newsletter is a bi-monthly newsletter designed to connect the global green chemistry community, share information, and support the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® in its mission: to catalyze and enable the implementation of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering throughout the global chemical enterprise and across the Society.
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By David A. Laviska, Ph.D., ACS Green Chemistry Institute
I have been strongly committed to quality education, the environment, diversity, and improving our world throughout my career. Therefore, it is with profound gratitude (and excitement!) that I step into the role of Portfolio Manager for Green Chemistry and Sustainability in Education here at the ACS Green Chemistry Institute. I started my career as an Environmental Scientist at the U.S. EPA (Region II), working for a bit more than a decade with a team of chemists, biologists, atmospheric scientists, geologists, and engineers to address polluted ecosystems that resulted from what we might call “poor decisions” made throughout the history of the chemical enterprise. Cleaning up after a mess has already been made can be tricky and sometimes, impossible. I then made a big change, returning to graduate school and earning my Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry and catalysis. Along the way, I developed a passion for teaching and green chemistry and decided to direct my energy toward carving out a niche in academia. Now, after a decade of teaching, researching, and innovating in higher education while advocating for green chemistry throughout, I have the privilege of focusing my energy on the development and propagation of educational initiatives at the ACSGCI.more
The ACS Office of Research Grants will be accepting proposals for Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) grants to support fundamental research in the petroleum field from noon September 19 to 5 p.m. EDT on October 14, 2022. Proposals must be directed to fundamental petroleum research including fundamental research related to petroleum-derived materials in one of ten specified subject matter areas. However, please note that while the PRF Trust imposes certain restrictions, PRF currently funds many topics of current interest in sustainability and green chemistry. These include, for example, new catalysts and upgrading/utilization of methane and carbon dioxide. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact a PRF program officer or email@example.com for more information regarding areas of supported research.more
Contributed by Dr. Mahlet Garedew & Dr. Hanno Erythropel, Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale University
“I’m pregnant!” After receiving the big news, one of the next questions for those working in chemical laboratories is, “Is it safe for me to continue to work in a lab environment?” These were the same questions that Ph.D. candidate Mary Kate Lane and Postdoc Dr. Mahlet Garedew from the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale had when they learned they were expecting. In a broader context, these questions are also relevant in the context of gender equality, as studies show that women scientists leave full-time STEM employment positions much more frequently after the birth of their first child than men.more
By EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator Jennie Romer
As a sustainability expert, author, and the first-ever Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention at EPA, I’m thrilled to announce the opening of nominations for the 2023 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are a way for EPA to bring attention to groundbreaking scientific solutions that are making a positive impact on human health and the environment.more
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) will be at ACS Fall 2022 in Chicago—please stop by our booth (533) in the Expo to chat, test your knowledge and win green chemistry swag! The Expo is open Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. While you are in the Expo, be sure to also stop by the Recharge & Social Media Lounge to tell us how your chemistry connects to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will be posting short videos to Instagram. More information about the campaign and virtual participation options will be forthcoming!
By Matthew Deinhardt, ACS Green Chemistry Institute
Returning to an in-person, hybrid meeting this year, we were thrilled to have an in-person Student Poster Award Competition again. While presenting at the Poster Session, students’ research was reviewed by judges for outstanding and superior research and effort in green and sustainable chemistry and engineering. Many thanks to our poster judges: Prof. Tova Williams of NC State, Prof. Alan Allgeier of the University of Kansas, and Dr. Daniela Blanco, who is the CEO of Sunthetics. The poster session and reception was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim with prizes generously provided by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and DeGruyter.
By Adelina Voutchkova, Director of Sustainable Development, ACS
I had the privilege to join the ACS in the role of Director of Sustainable Development in early June, just as the GC&E Conference was getting underway. During my academic career at George Washington University, I built a robust research program focused on catalysis for a circular economy and helped launch a graduate program in Environmental and Green Chemistry, with a keen eye on developing technologies relevant to greener industrial processes and preparing the future workforce in green chemistry. I am incredibly proud of the patents, publications, research output, and startup spun from our work, but also deeply aware of the obstacles that slow academics’ ability to fuel the needed growth of industrial green chemical processes. Key obstacles include identifying research gaps in industry relevant to different fields, navigating the landscape to commercialize research products, and quantitatively evaluating the relative environmental impact of technologies deemed as “greener”. With the launch of the ACS Office of Sustainability and the Campaign for a Sustainable Future—a $15 million investment from ACS—I saw a compelling opportunity to help address these obstacles and contribute to both the ACS mission and the green chemistry community that has nurtured my career thus far.more
Over the last decade, a steady shift towards a more global pharmaceutical supply chain has occurred. Today, a significant portion of API manufacturing is carried out by contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs), many located in Asian countries.
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable (GCIPR), established in 2005, is a leading partnership between the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and over 40 pharmaceutical and allied companies committed to catalyzing green chemistry and engineering in the industry.more
A team from Merck in Rahway, NJ is the recipient of the 2022 Peter J. Dunn Award for Green Chemistry and Engineering Impact in the Pharmaceutical Industry for their work, “From wood pulp to a candidate medicine: Green manufacturing technologies enable the production of investigational leukemia drug nemtabrutinib from a biorenewable commodity material.”more
Electricity has existed naturally since the beginning of time. Over centuries, humans have devised ways to capture electricity and eventually create it.
Once being able to generate electricity, there has been no shortage of ingenious ways to use it – lighting, kitchen appliances, communications and electronics of all kinds, automobiles – to name a few.
The first 19th-century use for electricity was the incandescent light bulb, devised by the great and prodigious inventor, Thomas Alva Edison. He obtained a U.S. Patent for his lightbulb in 1880. His light bulbs, attached to small generators, started to illuminate the homes of the very wealthy and heralded the ultimate demise of gas-fueled lighting.more
Contributed by Jane Murray, Ph.D., Global Head of Green Chemistry, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (MilliporeSigma)
Biomass feedstocks offer several advantages over conventional fossil-based starting materials. In addition to providing an abundant source of renewable organic carbon, its oxygenated nature, chemical diversity, and inherent chirality render biomass a highly suitable raw material to manufacture a multitude of high-added-value compounds. Furthermore, structural resemblance to nature-derived or -inspired target molecules reduces the synthetic steps required compared to their petrochemical counterparts.
By Christiana Briddell, Sr. Communications Manager, ACS GCI
Acrylamide-based polymers are the most common friction reducer used in hydraulic fracturing. In a horizontal well, friction reducers, such as polyacrylamides, reduce the energy and pressure requi... more
By Jitesh Soares, Ph.D., Director, Scientific Advancement
It’s been less than a week since I began serving as the Director of Scientific Advancement at ACS. The first thing that struck me is how Mary Kirchhoff molded this role into a force by building an achievement-based Division with a singular, deep-rooted commitment to its philanthropic mission. I am standing on the shoulders of a giant and look forward to the challenge of living up to lofty expectations with an eye on the ultimate prize – a sustainable planet!more
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute is pleased to announce the winners of the Heh-Won Chang, PhD Fellowship in Green Chemistry. This award provides international recognition for outstanding graduate student contributions to advancing the goals of green chem... more
Kimberly Hazard, Greener Solutions instructor, University of California, Berkeley
The Greener Solutions program at UC Berkeley is a unique and successful program that teaches students applied skills in green chemistry. As a former Greener Solutions student and current co-instructor, I can attest to the program’s pedagogical efficacy and the immense value it provides for students and partners.
Through the program, students have a unique opportunity to work on interdisciplinary teams and partner with companies in a variety of industries trying to identify and evaluate safer alternatives to concerning materials or less sustainable processes. Students who go through this program learn how to apply their academic skills to real sustainability challenges, and often leave inspired to shift their careers in this direction. In addition to providing students with valuable experience, the program also helps build a leadership pipeline for the next generation of sustainability.more
Glenn Ruskin, ACS GCI Contributor
Ever since humans harnessed fire over 1.5 million years ago, combustion has been at the heart of our energy creation. Fire from wood was first used by humans to cook meat, provide warmth and protection from wild animals. It wasn’t until the early 19th century, that fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) replaced wood as the primary source of energy generation. Today the vast majority, over 80%, of energy is still generated by fossil fuels, with nuclear comprising 10% and other renewable sources making up the rest.more
Dr. Jonathon Moir, Program Manager, GCTLC, Beyond Benign
Beyond Benign and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (GCI) are excited to announce that after a year of planning, strategy work, and scoping, the technical development of the new Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community (GCTLC) platform is underway! The GCTLC is set to launch in 2023 and will serve as an online clearinghouse of green chemistry education materials, including a searchable library of greener lab experiments, in-class activities, lecture slides, and tutorial videos, among others. The GCTLC will also be a central networking hub where members of the community (including teachers and faculty educators, students, industry stakeholders, and EH&S experts) can collaborate, create and contribute to discussion forums, share resources, give and receive mentorship, post green chemistry jobs and opportunities, and so much more.more
By Christiana Briddell, Sr. Communications Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute
A growing number of institutions are incorporating green chemistry into classes and labs, but very few currently offer an undergraduate degree in Green Chemistry. The University of Michigan-Flint launched a Green Chemistry major in 2018. Now Widener University in Chester, PA has become the first institution on the east coast to offer a B.S. in Green Chemistry.more
By Megan Arnett, Ph.D., Executive Director, Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
This past year was marked by transitions for all of us, and this was no less true for the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC). Many of you will be aware of BCGC—a home to green chemistry education, research, and outreach for more than a decade. After six years of exciting and dedicated work, my predecessor Tom McKeag stepped down last year, and in October 2021, I was warmly welcomed as the new Executive Director for the center. It is my honor to be introducing myself to all of you—many of whom have supported and partnered with the BCGC throughout the years. As a scientist, educator and concerned citizen, becoming a part of the BCGC work feels like a homecoming in many ways, and I look forward to guiding it through this next part of the journey.more
By Christiana Briddell, Sr. Communications Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®
The next generation of researchers is inspired and motivated to weave sustainable design into both fundamental research approaches and applied chemistry and engineering processes. The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (GCI) offers several awards to provide recognition for outstanding student research efforts and to provide travel support so that they can gain valuable experience presenting their green chemistry research at scientific meetings.
The seven students below—two undergraduate and five graduate level—are the recipients of the 2021–2022 Hancock, Breen, and Ciba Awards. The winners were selected by a panel of voluntary judges assembled by ACS GCI.more
Many members of our community will warmly remember Dr. Nina McClelland, who was a champion of green chemistry, a life-long advocate for environmental standards to improve the health and safety of our environment, and a true believer in the value of pro... more
By Aurora Ginzburg, Ph.D., Education Program Specialist, ACS Green Chemistry Institute
As the year draws to a close we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the significant green chemistry research, educational initiatives, and innovations from 2021. This list is not in any particular order and is limited to 15 entries. Awards recognizing individual scientists—of which there are many in 2021—were not included. We welcome your addition of other significant achievements in the comments on this post!more
The green chemistry community lost a leader in the Pacific Northwest last month with the sudden passing of Ken Zarker—manager of Washington State Department of Ecology’s pollution prevention and toxic reduction activities. Ken was a champion of green chem... more
By Mary Kirchhoff, Ph.D., Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute
For those of you old enough to remember Bob Hope, “Thanks for the Memories” was his signature song, and the title seems appropriate as I write my last column as GCI Director. I began my 20-year career at ACS with the Green Chemistry Institute and am pleased to wrap up my time at ACS with GCI as I prepare to retire at the end of the year.more
20 Years of Scientific Breakthroughs That Both Change Patients’ Lives and Sustain a Healthy Planet
By Juan Colberg, Seda Arat, Maria Gonzalez Esguevillas, Scott France, Kailey Huot, Rajesh Kumar, Daniel Laity, Manjinder Lall, Johnny Lee, Javier Magano, Jared Piper, Paul Richardson, Philipp Roosen, Rebecca Watson.
One definition for Green Chemistry (GC) is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Pfizer has embraced this concept and applied it across the life cycle of its products, facilitating process design, manufacturing, and utilization. Green chemistry principles provide a unique framework to guide process development, which ultimately leads to an optimal chemical process from both an environmental and economic perspective.more
By Frank Roschangar, Boehringer Ingelheim
More than ever before, pharmaceutical companies are expected to assess the impact of their sustainable development achievements. However, the lack of a consistent metric system impedes the objective quantification and comparability of key sustainability indicators. One of those indicators is Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturing waste, which aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12—Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.more
Eight research groups received a total of $300,000 in green chemistry funding from the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable (GCIPR) this fall. The 2021 funded research projects cover a variety of areas, including flow chemistry, greener peptide synthesis, medicinal chemistry, biocatalysis and others. New Request for Proposals in research areas that are important to the pharmaceutical industry are issued each spring. In total, the ACS GCIPR grant program has distributed over $3 million in green chemistry research funding since its inception. To find out more about the program, please visit: https://www.acsgcipr.org/advancing-research/
The 2021 awardees, who each receive $50,000 in research support, are:more
A recording of the September 22, 2021, webinar hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to educate stakeholders on the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards and the nomination process is now available. The webinar reviewed the history of the awards, the categories within the awards, eligibility requirements, and what is needed to submit a nomination.more