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


 

The 2017 Biobased and Renewable Chemicals Conference, organized by the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA) and supported by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, is a two-day event that will focus on the emerging landscape of technologies that are replacing fossil fuel-based raw materials and the major challenges and opportunities facing the industry.  The event features interactive panel discussions, keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities with industry experts and thought leaders, including:​

  • Mike Gudgeon, Technical Manager, PBF Energy;
  • Dr. Seetha Kammula-Coleman, President, STRIDE;
  • Dr. Stanley Merritt, Sustainability Leader, The Chemours Company;
  • Dr. Tim Mueller, North American Research Director, DuPont Science & Engineering Operations;
  • Dr. Erica Nemser, CEO, Compact Membrane Systems;
  • Lori Palmer, Chief Business Ventures Officer, Trellist Marketing & Technologies; and
  • Dr. Bryan Tracy, CEO & Co-Founder, White Dog Labs.

Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D., Manager of BRAG, will be attending the conference and will be pleased to discuss questions that attendees may have about the regulatory issues facing biobased and renewable chemicals.  Registration is available online.  We look forward to seeing you there.


 

By Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.

On April 5, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Industrial Microbes, Inc. (Industrial Microbes) has been awarded $300,000 in funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program to develop a green fermentation platform to replace carbon-emitting petrochemical production with newer methods that use methane and carbon dioxide to produce chemicals.  The project aims to improve the efficiency of chemical manufacturing while limiting pollution using a fermentation process based on engineered enzyme pathways within living cells, similar to the chemical conversion process used to brew beer.  Well-to-gate life cycle analysis of the process demonstrated that carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by six-fold compared to the current production process, due to carbon dioxide fixation and more efficient unit operations.  Industrial Microbes is one of nine small businesses that received a total of nearly $2.7 million in funding through the SBIR Program to develop and commercialize new environmental technologies.


 

The 21st Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E), hosted by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, will be held in Reston, Virginia on June 13-15, 2017.  GC&E is a gathering opportunity for over 500 academic, industrial, and government stakeholders to network and learn about the developments in sustainable approaches to chemistry, chemicals, processes, and products.  The event features over 40 technical sessions, a robust poster session, keynote lectures, workshops, social events, and a Green Expo.  BRAG affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor.  Register online.


 
The 2017 Biobased and Renewable Chemicals Conference, which has been organized by the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA) and supported by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, is a two-day event that will focus on the emerging landscape of technologies that are replacing fossil fuel-based raw materials and the major challenges and opportunities facing the industry.  The event features interactive panel discussions, keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities with industry experts and thought leaders, including:
 
Mike Gudgeon, Technical Manager, PBF Energy;
 
Dr. Seetha Kammula-Coleman, President, STRIDE;
 
Dr. Stanley Merritt, Sustainability Leader, The Chemours Company;
 
■  Dr. Tim Mueller, North American Research Director, DuPont Science & Engineering Operations;
 
■   Dr. Erica Nemser, CEO, Compact Membrane Systems;
 
■  Lori Palmer, Chief Business Ventures Officer at Trellist Marketing & Technologies; and
 
■  Dr. Bryan Tracy, CEO & Co-Founder, White Dog Labs.

Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D., Manager of BRAG®, will be attending the conference and will be pleased to discuss questions attendees may have about the regulatory issues facing biobased and renewable chemicals.  Registration is available online.  We look forward to seeing you there.

 

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.

 

During the Safer Choice Partner and Stakeholder Summit on November 15- 16, 2016, EPA announced that new product categories were under consideration for the Safer Choice chemical program, including arts and crafts, home improvements, food grade and marine lubricants, and paints and coatings. EPA invited suggestions from participants regarding additional product categories to consider; Summit participants were supportive of an increase to the number of chemicals, products, and product categories in the program.  A stakeholder noted that many paint manufacturers already sell paints with low volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions but the Safer Choice label could help retailers recognize the safer chemistries.
 
Other Summit participants urged chemical manufacturers to create new molecules that adhere to the Safer Choice Standard to replace chemicals in their current products, specifically preservatives. More information on the discussion regarding product category additions can be found in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Environmental Report (subscription required).


 

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 July 15, 2016, Environmental Leader published "What Does the Loss of 'Green Chemistry' Provision from Amended TSCA Mean for Biochemicals?," featuring comments by Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®). Ms. Bergeson expanded on a previous blog post titled "Inside EPA Reports On Loss Of Green Chemistry Provision From TSCA Reform," stating:

"While regrettable, the absence of the green chemistry provisions in the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is a setback, not a deal breaker," Bergeson told Environmental Leader. "The green chemistry provisions in Section 24 of H.R. 2576 were taken from Senator Chris Coons' (D-DE) Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act. Section 24 was eliminated reportedly because its inclusion would have been subject to review by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, a different House Committee from the House Energy and Commerce Committee that had primary jurisdiction over TSCA reform, potentially complicating and delaying an already complicated and time-sensitive Congressional review process. The decision to forego this review and eliminate the green chemistry provisions is disappointing, but a failed TSCA reform effort would have been more so."

Bergeson notes that the provision's absence in the updated chemical safety law eliminates -- for now -- the development of and funding for a green chemistry strategy at the federal level. Senator Coons is expected to introduce a similar bill next year.

Senators Coons, Susan Collins (R-ME), and Ed Markey (D-MA) have asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for a technology review of sustainable chemistry. "The report, expected to be complete in the spring of 2017, can help illuminate the options available to the federal government to promote green chemistry whether by instigating new legislation or by serving as a resource which existing legal authorities can use to support this field that is so vital to economic competitiveness and/or use to diminish the less positive impacts of chemistry throughout our economy," Bergeson stated.


 
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