EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry. These prestigious annual awards recognize chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use. Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) member Elevance Renewable Sciences was a Presidential Green Chemistry Award Winner in 2012. While applications for 2014 are due on April 30, 2014, it is not too soon to begin thinking and preparing for a 2015 submission. EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) sponsors the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute® and other members of the chemical community, including industry, trade associations, academic institutions, and other government agencies.
Throughout the 18 years of the awards program, EPA has presented awards to 93 winners. Since its inception in 1996 through 2012, EPA has received 1,490 nominations. By recognizing groundbreaking scientific solutions to real-world environmental problems, the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge has significantly reduced the hazards associated with designing, manufacturing, and using chemicals.
According to EPA, through 2013, 93 winning technologies have made billions of pounds of green chemistry progress, including:
* 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents eliminated each year -- enough to fill almost 3,800 railroad tank cars or a train nearly 47 miles long.
* 21 billion gallons of water saved each year -- the amount used by 820,000 people annually.
* 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents released to air eliminated each year -- equal to taking 810,000 automobiles off the road.
More information is available online.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released its document "OECD Guidance for Characterising Oleochemical Substances for Assessment Purposes," which is available online. The document seeks to present a "harmonised approach" for characterizing UVCB (substances of unknown or variable composition, complex reaction products or biological materials) oleochemical substances that are derivatives from animal and vegetable oils and fats.
In June 2012, the OECD Task Force on Hazard Assessment endorsed a pilot project to develop guidance on identifying UVCB using oleochemicals/oleoproducts as the pilot chemicals. The development of this guidance was, in part, in response to questions and concerns related to UVCB nomenclature that had been raised by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in response to some UVCB chemical registrations under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.
Industry stakeholders, including U.S. chemical manufacturers, have expressed concern that if adopted under current regulatory regimes, the newly released OECD nomenclature guidance will require companies to obtain new chemical names for materials that they have used for many years. This, in turn, could trigger the need for new chemical review under EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
All stakeholders within the biobased chemical space -- even those not directly engaged in oleo-based products -- should carefully review the existing guidance and monitor future OECD work in this arena as it will have widespread ramifications. OECD has already indicated that it will focus on biofuels in upcoming UVCB nomenclature guidance, a development that will have significant implications for the biochemical industry.
A newly released analysis on the global chemical industry is predicting strong growth for the biobased sector. Consistent with findings released recently from Lux Research and RnR Market Research, Frost & Sullivan's analysis from "Scorecard for the Global Chemicals Industry" reports that the share of biobased chemicals is expected to grow to about 15 to 18 percent of global chemical sales by 2025. As new feedstock supplies and greener processes begin to shape the new chemicals ecosystem, chemical manufacturers are focused on various strategies such as the development of integrated value chains, innovation and technology management, and chemical recycling to name a few, to ensure growth and sustainability.
Awards recognizing innovative applications and markets in the European biobased chemicals and materials industry were handed out at the 7th International Conference on Biobased Materials in Cologne, Germany, on April 10, 2014. First prize went to Qmilch Deutschland GmbH (DE) for Qmilk, a biopolymer fiber made from milk protein. The full list of winners is available online.
On April 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it would provide up to $10 million to promote the production of "advanced biofuels, substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks, and bioproducts made from renewable, non-food-based biomass, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass." For more information, and to apply for this opportunity, please visit DOE's Funding Opportunity Exchange website. A copy of the press release is available online.
On April 11, 2014, Barnhardt Manufacturing Company (Barnhardt) announced that its HyDri™ Cotton product has earned a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product label under the Department's BioPreferred Program. Barnhardt's press release on the announcement is available online. USDA's description of the meaning of a USDA Certified Biobased Product label is available online.
On April 9, 2014, Montana-based renewable chemicals producer Rivertop Renewables (Rivertop) announced that it has raised $26 million from Cargill, First Green Partners, and existing investors. The Company explains in its press release that it "will leverage these funds and an existing manufacturing relationship to produce market development quantities of salts of glucaric acid for select customers. In addition, it will complete construction and begin operations at a semi-works facility at its headquarters in Missoula, where it will optimize its process for world-scale deployment. Rivertop plans to hire more than 20 employees in the next 12 months to support commercial development, effectively doubling the size of its workforce." A copy of the Company's press release is available online.
On April 1, 2014, the University of Delaware announced that the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI), a U.S. Department of Energy-Energy Frontier Research Center, has entered a two-year program with ExxonMobil. The research initiative will focus on converting lignocellulosic biomass to polymers that are identical to existing petrochemical products. A copy of the press release is available online.
On March 31, 2014, Amyris, a chemical company headquartered in California, announced that it was expanding its collaboration with Kuraray to develop and commercialize high performance materials from Biofene®, Amyris' brand of renewable farnesene. Amyris CEO John Melo stated that he expects Biofene® to play a critical role in the sustainability of the tire industry. A copy of Amyris' press release is available online.
We are very pleased to announce some of the speakers who are scheduled to participate in the session the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG™) is hosting May 13, 2014, at BIO World Congress, titled "Commercializing Renewable Chemicals and Biobased Products: The Importance of Successfully and Efficiently Navigating the Regulatory Process":
* Tracy Williamson, Ph.D., Chief, Industrial Chemistry Branch, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, EPA;
* David Widawsky, Ph.D., Director -- Economics, Exposure, and Technology Division of EPA and Manager of the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards; and
* Frank Pacholec, Ph.D., Vice President, R&D/Corporate Sustainability Officer, Stepan Company (Stepan).
Through presentations and panel discussion, this session will fully inform, equip, and assist renewable chemical producers in finding the path of least resistance on the road to commercialization. Topics to be discussed include:
* Overview of the 90-day EPA new chemical notification review process;
* Filling out the Pre-manufacture Notification (PMN) form -- Top Ten Mistakes and How to Avoid Them;
* Challenges posed by chemical identity/nomenclature under U.S. and European Union (EU) law; and
* Leveraging successfully pollution prevention benefits.
The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology is the world's largest industrial biotechnology event for business leaders, investors, and policy makers in biofuels, biobased products, and renewable chemicals. The congress takes place May 12 - 15, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Early bird registration ends March 31, 2014. Information and registration is available online.