The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.

On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference.  The award recognizes landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn potential environmental issues into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.  The American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute convened an independent panel of technical experts to judge the 2017 submissions and make recommendations to EPA regarding the winners. 
 
This year's winners and technologies are:

Over the course of the Green Chemistry Challenge’s 22 year history, EPA estimates that winning technologies are responsible for annually reducing the use or generation of more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent releases to air.  While we are saddened that this very successful voluntary program is slated to be defunded in the President's FY2018 budget, we applaud this year’s winners.  Those who value the green chemistry program should consider contacting their Senators and Representatives to encourage continued support of this program.  It has had outsized benefits for such a modestly funded program. 

 
More information on the winners is available on EPA’s website.

 

On June 9, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Award (GCCA).  We applaud this year’s winners.   This is EPA’s 22nd year of using the GCCA to honor green chemistry technologies that spur economic growth, reduce costs, and decrease waste.  We are saddened that this very successful voluntary program is slated to be defunded in the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget, which, of course, must be approved by Congress and is unlikely to be in its current form.  Those who value the green chemistry program may wish to consider contacting their Senators and Representatives to encourage continued support of this highly successful and important program.  It has had outsized benefits for such a modestly funded program. 
 
This year's winners and technologies are:

  • Merck & Co., Inc. in Greener Synthetic Pathways - Letermovir: A Case Study in State-of-the-Art Approaches to Sustainable Commercial Manufacturing Processes in the Pharmaceutical Industry

    Merck’s approach was to design an efficient synthesis as early as possible in the drug Letermovir’s process development. Using “high-throughput” techniques, Merck was able to find a low-cost, stable, and easily recyclable catalyst along with other process improvements that increase the yield, and reduce the raw material costs by 93 percent, the water usage by 90 percent, and the carbon footprint by 89 percent.

     

  • Amgen Inc. and Bachem in Greener Reaction Conditions - Green Process for Commercial Manufacture of Etelcalcetide Enabled by Improved Technology for Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis

    Amgen Inc. worked with Bachem to improve the manufacturing process for the active ingredient in ParsabivTM, a drug that treats secondary hyperparathyroidism in adult patients with chronic kidney disease. By redesigning the peptide manufacturing process to use four optimized stages rather than the original five stages, Amgen and Bachem were able to achieve a 500 percent increase in manufacturing capacity while reducing chemical solvent use by 71 percent, manufacturing operating time by 56 percent, and manufacturing cost by 76 percent.

     

  • The Dow Chemical Company and Papierfabrik August Koehler SE in Designing Greener Chemicals - Breakthrough Sustainable Imaging Technology for Thermal Paper

    While there is still not a definitive answer as to whether the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper may present risk, Dow and Koehler sought an innovative alternative that not only avoids the need for BPA (or analogs that have similar toxicological properties), but also eliminates some of the drawbacks of thermal paper, notably that exposure to sunlight or other heat sources often destroys the image. Together they developed a three-layer paper. The top layer is an opaque, light-color.When heat is applied in the printing head, the hollow particles that make up that opaque layer collapse and become transparent, showing an underlying dark layer only at those points. The paper is designed to work in existing equipment, so there is no need for retailers to replace equipment.

     

  • UniEnergy Technologies LLC in Small Business - The UniSystemTM: An Advanced Vanadium Redox Flow Battery for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

    UniEnergy Technologies, LLC (UET) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) developed and commercialized an advanced vanadium redox flow battery that allows cities and businesses more access to stored energy. The vanadium electrolyte has double the energy density of prior chemistries, and a much broader operating temperature, allowing for a longer lasting battery that can be deployed in nearly any ambient environment on earth. Additionally, the electrolyte, with a chloride-based chemistry complex, is more stable than traditional sulfate-based chemistries, and because it is water-based and does not degrade, the batteries are non-flammable and recyclable.

     

  • Professor Eric J. Schelter of the University of Pennsylvania in Academic - Simple and Efficient Recycling of Rare Earth Elements from Consumer Materials Using Tailored Metal Complexes 

    Professor Eric Schelter developed a simple, fast, and low-cost technology to help recycle mixtures of rare earth elements (La-Lu, Sc, and Y). These elements are integral to modern technologies, but have a highly energy intensive and waste generating mining, refining, and purification process. Currently, only one percent of these materials are recycled, but Professor Schelter’s group has developed tailored organic compounds that can simply and effectively separate mixtures of these metals. A recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant will support further development of this technology to turn these into industrial viable recycling processes.

The GCCA winners were honored on June 12, 2017, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the 21st Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference


 

As previously reported in the BRAG Biobased and Renewable Products Update of October 21, 2016, EPA announced that it has opened nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA).  EPA’s strong support for the adoption of green chemistry has helped strengthen the development and commercialization of green chemistry products, leading to significant environmental benefits alongside economic benefits.  Previous PGCCA winners annually eliminate 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents and 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases, and save over 21 billion gallons of water.  There are six award categories for  2017:  


 
Focus Area 1:  Greener Synthetic Pathways;  
 

 
Focus Area 2:  Greener Reaction Conditions; 
 

 
Focus Area 3:  The Design of Greener Chemicals;  
 

 
Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business);  
 

 
Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher); and 
 

 
Specific Environmental Benefit:  Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions).
 
More information about the PGCCA is available in the BRAG blog post EPA Opens Nominations For The 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards . Nominations for these awards are due to EPA by December 31, 2016.

 

On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has opened nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA).  Since 1996, these awards have honored companies and institutions that develop processes and products to help protect public health and the environment.  EPA’s strong support for the adoption of green chemistry has helped strengthen the development and commercialization of green chemistry products, leading to significant environmental benefits alongside economic benefits.  Previous PGCCA winners annually eliminate 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents and 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases, and save over 21 billion gallons of water.  There are six award categories for 2017:
 


 
Focus Area 1:  Greener Synthetic Pathways; 
 

 
Focus Area 2:  Greener Reaction Conditions;
 

 
Focus Area 3:  The Design of Greener Chemicals;
 

 
Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business);
 

 
Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher); and
 
Specific Environmental Benefit:  Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions).


Nominations for these awards are due to EPA by December 31, 2016, with more information about the selection criteria and how to enter on the EPA PGCCA website.


 

On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA). The PGCCA honors green chemistry technologies that solve climate and environmental problems through creating business opportunities. Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) stated, "these innovations reduce the use of energy, hazardous chemicals and water, while cutting manufacturing costs and sparking investments. They even turn pollution into useful products. Ultimately, these manufacturing processes and products are safer for people's health and the environment. We will continue to work with the 2016 winners as their technologies are adopted in the marketplace."

This year's winners and technologies are:

These awards were presented during the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon. Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor of the conference.


 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called for nominations for the 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA), and companies engaging in green chemistry innovations will want to act quickly as the deadline for nominations is December 31, 2015.

Winning, or even just being nominated for a PGCCA, confers concrete benefits, including increased brand awareness, public relations opportunity, and validation of your product or process by green chemistry stakeholders.

To be eligible for an award, a technology must:

  • Be a green chemistry technology with a significant chemistry component;
     
  • Include source reduction (i.e., pollution prevention at the source);
     
  • Have an eligible sponsor (e.g., be a company or non-government organization);
     
  • Have a significant U.S. component;
     
  • Have a significant milestone in its development in the past five years; and
     
  • Fit within one of the three focus areas:
     
    • Greener Synthesis, including greener feedstocks and reagents, more efficient syntheses, and greener catalysts;
       
    • Greener Reaction Conditions, including greener solvents, solvent-free reactions, and greener analytic methods; or
       
    • Designing Greener Chemicals, where the product itself is less hazardous than the incumbent technology.

In addition to awards in each of the focus areas, there are three special award categories:

  • Academic;
     
  • Small business; and
     
  • Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change.

Awards in these categories may be in any of the three focus areas as long as they also meet the criteria for the specific category.

Nominating your process or product is an opportunity to tell the story of your technology. You probably already have documents that can form the basis for a nomination, so you will not need to start from scratch. Even if you do not win, EPA typically publicizes the non-winning technologies.

If you have been nominated in the past and not won, as long as your technology is still within five years of a significant milestone, EPA actually encourages you to re-nominate it for an award. If re-nominating, it is advisable to take the opportunity to strengthen your nomination.

If you are considering submitting a nomination for the first time, or re-nominating a previous submission, BRAG affiliate The Acta Group (Acta®) is thoroughly engaged in the science, policy, and business of green chemistry and can assist with preparation or revisions of PGCCA submissions, as well as global chemical regulatory submissions or notifications. Acta is honored to have worked with a number of the PGCCA winners in commercializing their products. Resources available on Acta's website include articles and memoranda regarding green and biobased chemicals and chemical products, and descriptions of  services for biobased and green chemical companies. Contact Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Senior Chemist, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 202-266-5039 for more information.


 

On November 4, 2015, EPA announced a request for nominations for the 21st Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (PGCCA). The PGCCA is sponsored by EPA and the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute®. Over the 21 years of the challenge, EPA has recognized 104 new technologies that have saved water, reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and reduced the use of many hazardous chemicals and solvents. There are seven award areas covering greener synthetic pathways, greener reaction conditions, greener chemical products, the design of greener chemicals, small business, academic, and specific environmental benefit: climate change. Nominations are due to EPA by December 31, 2015, and will be awarded in June of 2016. Read BRAG's coverage of the 20th PGCCA winners.


 

With the 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA) ceremony drawing near, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group's (BRAG®) Biobased News and Policy Report decided to go back and revisit some early winners to see what has become of the award-winning product or technology. We will be running a new story each week as we approach this year's awards ceremony, occurring July 13, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. (EDT), at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Read previous stories on BRAG's website.

The 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was won by three scientists -- Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs, and Richard Shrock -- for the "development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis." Olefin metathesis, a chemical reaction where the groups on the end of two double bonds are exchanged, was originally discovered in the 1950s, but the true scope of metathesis's abilities were not realized until much later. The three Laureates separately focused on metathesis reactions and built upon each other's work to determine not only what metal compounds act as catalysts for metathesis reactions, but created efficient, simple, and environmentally friendly synthesis methods to create many different chemicals. Elevance won the 2012 Small Business Award for using the metathesis catalysts "to produce high-performing, green specialty chemicals at advantageous costs."

Using metathesis catalysts, Elevance began producing specialty chemicals from vegetable oils. Making these chemicals uses significantly less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions when compared to traditional petroleum-based chemicals. The high-value, functional chemicals products combine the benefits of a traditional petrochemical and those of biobased chemicals in a process far more streamlined than was previously possible. This met a commercial demand that was previously unsatisfied, as these metathesis products include multiple desirable qualities such as higher stability in lubricating oils and higher solvency in surfactants. The specialty chemicals that Elevance produces are more effective and sustainable than traditional petrochemicals, while reducing reliance on environmentally hazardous and finite petrochemicals.

When Elevance won the Green Chemistry Award in 2012, the Company was already in the process of building a commercial biorefinery in Indonesia with the ability to produce between 400 million and 800 million pounds of metathesized biobased chemicals. In 2013, Elevance announced that a biodiesel facility in Natchez, Mississippi, would be converted into a second biorefinery with a capacity of 680 million pounds of Inherent™ renewable building blocks being produced by 2016. After winning the Green Chemistry Award, Elevance has continued to expand commercialization and produce biobased chemicals using metathesis catalysts. The Company was a 2015 WBM Bio Business Award Winner, winning Bio-Based Product Innovation of the Year for Elevance Clean™ 1200, a volatile organic compound (VOC)-exempt degreasing solvent. Elevance also won a Bloomberg New Energy Finance: 2015 New Energy Pioneer Award and has been listed on multiple rankings of hot and innovative biobased companies.


 

With the 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA) ceremony drawing near, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group's (BRAG®) Biobased News and Policy Report decided to go back and revisit some early winners to see what has become of the award-winning product or technology. We will be running a new story each week as we approach this year's awards ceremony, occurring July 13, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. (EDT), at the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention sponsors the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® and other members of the chemical community including industry, trade associations, academic institutions, and other government agencies.

The very first Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the Designing Greener Chemicals category was awarded in 1996 to Sea-Nine™ marine antifoulant, developed by Rohm and Haas, now a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. Sea-Nine™ was created as a novel antifoulant coating to replace tin-based antifoulants that are environmentally persistent and toxic. After the Organotin Antifoulant Paint Control Act of 1988 was enacted, restricting the use of tin in the United States, Rohm and Haas began to research environmentally safe alternatives to organotin. This search lead to the discovery of the active ingredient in Sea-Nine™: 4,5-dichloro-2-n-octyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one (DCOIT). DCOIT was tested against the then-standard tin-based antifoulant tributyl tin oxide (TBTO), and was found to have the same effectiveness of TBTO when protecting ships' hulls in addition to being significantly less persistent than TBTO once it was in seawater.

Sea-Nine™ received the first new EPA registration for antifoulant use in over a decade, and has continued to be widely recognized in the industry for its effectiveness and environmental benefits when compared to tin-based antifoulants. In August 2014, the European Commission approved DCOIT for use in antifouling products that fall under Biocidal Product Regulation (BPR), the European Union's legislation that approves active substances and biocidal products while ensuring the safety of humans and the environment. Marine Antifoulant coatings are a very difficult category to make environmentally friendly due to the need for high toxicity on ships, combined with the requirement for low toxicity when the product is dispersed in seawater. Even now, nearly 20 years later, Sea-Nine™ is the only marine antifoulant that The Dow Company currently produces due to its high effectiveness and low human and marine health risk.