With over 400 registrants, Monday was a big kick off for the GC&E conference. The morning began with a keynote presentation by Dr. Richard Wool, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He spoke to the theme of the conference—innovation, jobs, and sustainability—and did so by touching on some of the research his team and students are working on which have several potential industrial applications. Included in the presentation was synthetic leather that they developed, which, with the help of the design school, has been fashioned into designer shoes, bags, and clothing.
After a quick coffee break, participants broke up into the morning technical sessions, which covered GC education, global GC, waste valorization, GC innovation, and the business of GC. There were many options to choose! We'll be posting pictures of the presentations, so please check out the conference photo album.
Between these sessions, one can go through the sponsor exhibits full of interesting information and samples like soy-based foam, mats, plastic, and paint or green chemistry textbooks, or find out about “labinars” being pioneered by ACS’s SciMind.
Then, of course, it was back into technical sessions in the afternoon. Some of the tracks continued on such as GC education and Global GC. And then there were new tracks on safer chemicals, GC metrics for driving sustainability, and social science perspectives. By the time the afternoon technical sessions were over, a break in the schedule gave participants enough time to recoup before the opening reception.
Dr. Peoples lead the evening, with Dr. Rich Engler from the EPA announcing the PGCCA awards.
Professor Robert M. Waymouth of Stanford University and Dr. James L. Hedrick of the IBM Almaden Research Center in the Academic Category for developing a broad class of highly active, environmentally benign organic catalysts for synthesizing biodegradable and biocompatible plastics.
Professor Geoffrey W. Coates of Cornell University in the Academic Category for developing a new family of catalysts that can effectively and economically turn carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into valuable polymers.
Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc., of Bolingbrook, Ill., in the Small Business category for their groundbreaking work in producing high-performance, cost-effective green chemicals from renewable oils.
Codexis, Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., and Professor Yi Tang of the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Greener Synthetic Pathways Category. Simvastatin is an important drug for treating high cholesterol. Professor Tang discovered a new way to greatly streamline the process of manufacturing simvastatin, thereby reducing waste. His approach also uses a low-cost feedstock. Codexis optimized the process, and to date has manufactured more than 10 metric tons of simvastatin.
Cytec Industries, Inc., of Woodland Park, N.J., in the Greener Reaction Conditions Category. The electrochemical production of alumina requires enormous amounts of energy, further compromised by scale buildup that depletes production efficiency. Cytec has developed a scale inhibitor that permits continued production and reduced need for sulfuric acid cleaning.
Buckman International Inc., of Memphis, Tenn., in the Design of Greener Chemicals Category for developing new enzymes that allow for the production of paper and paperboard with improved strength and quality.
Then Dr. Rolf Schlake of Applied Seperations in Allentown, PA presented a educational grant his company generously offered, worth more than $30,000, for teaching supercritical fluids in the classroom. The grant covers a Supercritical Fluid Extraction System, Syllabus, and supporting educational materials.
It was a successful day! Please check back for more updates!