By Lynn L. Bergeson
On April 20, 2018, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) announced the opening of the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The announcement states that EPA “supports the continuation of the awards program for 2018 under the sponsorship of the ACS GCI,” and “[t]o ensure continuity, the awards categories and guidelines are remaining the same, only the timing of the awards cycle is changing, and the ACS GCI will be managing the awards program and making final decisions about award winners.” The award guidelines and nomination package will be posted on the ACS GCI website by April 30, 2018; Submissions will be accepted from April 30, 2018, through July 2, 2018; award winners will be notified no later than August 31, 2018; and the awards ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C. in October 2018.
More information is available in our memorandum “ACS GCI Announces Opening of 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards; EPA Announces Opening of 2018 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.”
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.
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.
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. Read previous stories on BRAG's website.
Buckman International, Inc. (Buckman) won the 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge "Designing Greener Chemicals" award for its Maximyze® enzymes that transform how high-quality paper products are made. This was the second time Buckman was awarded the PGCCA in this category; the first was in 2004 when Buckman won for its Optimyze® technology, an enzyme that removes sticky contaminates from recycled paper.
Optimyze® technology uses a novel enzyme to remove stickies from paper products prior to recycling, increasing the percentage of paper that can be recycled. Each paper mill that switches to Optimyze® can reduce its hazardous solvent use by 200 gallons daily, reduce its chemical use by approximately 600,000 pounds yearly, increase its production by more than 6 percent, and save up to $1 million per year.
The Maximyze® enzymes increase the natural cross-linking between cellulose fibers. The increase in cross-linking means that lower quality raw materials can be used without sacrificing quality of the final paper. Normally, increasing cross-linking requires additional refining (crushing) energy or chemicals that cross-link the fibers. With Maximyze®, a paper mill can produce a similar quality product while replacing relatively expensive wood pulp with recycled paper and inorganic filler. An added benefit is that the paper produced by Maximyze® enzymes drains faster, requiring less drying energy, which leads to faster throughput. Overall, the process saves energy, reduces chemical use, increases recycled paper use, and saves paper mills approximately $1 million each year. The Maximyze® technology is used on 150 or more paper machines around the globe.
Buckman, based in Memphis, Tennessee, has been working with paper since 1945, when it was founded, to solve microbial problems in the pulp and paper industry. Since winning its first PGCCA in 2004, the innovative company:
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.
Nominations for the 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Awards are now being accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nominations for the awards are due December 31, 2014, and the final awardees are expected to be announced in July 2015. The Awards cover six categories: academic; small business; greener synthetic pathways; greener reaction conditions; designing greener chemicals; and climate change. EPA allows companies to re-submit past nomination packets as long as the technology milestone was within the last five years. EPA reassures submitters that it is definitely worth considering another bite at the apple and past winners have, in fact, been based on re-submissions. The Nomination Package for the 2015 Awards is available on the EPA website.
While it may seem like it was just last week that the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards were announced, the deadline for the 2015 awards is fast approaching -- December 31, 2014. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reverting back to its original end-of-calendar-year deadline after having a Spring deadline in recent years, and the 2015 awards will be presented in Summer 2015.
The 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.
EPA's 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.
More information is available in the 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Nomination Package.
EPA allows companies to re-submit past nomination packets as long as the technology milestone was within the last five years. EPA reassures submitters that it is definitely worth considering another bite at the apple and past winners have, in fact, been based on re-submissions.
October 16, 2014, was a banner day for green chemistry in the nation's capital with the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge awards ceremony, and the Green Chemistry Market Roundtable preceding it. The roundtable included representatives from industry, including the 2014 award winners; EPA and other federal agency officials; and others involved with green chemistry and biobased chemicals and products. BRAG Executive Director, Kathleen Roberts, and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.'s (B&C®) Lynn Bergeson were invited guests and participated in the roundtable discussion on green chemistry innovations and strategies for realizing the environmental market potential for these innovations.
The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge awards were presented at a ceremony later in the day. There were five categories within the challenge: academic; small business; greener synthetic pathways; greener reaction conditions; and designing greener chemicals. The 2014 winners include Professor Shannon Stahl of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as Amyris, Inc., Solazyme, Inc., QD Vision, Inc., and the Solberg Company. In EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) Assistant Administrator Jim Jones' blog post about the awards and this year's winners, he stated "[t]hese scientists are helping to crack the code and solve some of the most challenging problems facing our modern society. They are turning climate risk and other problems into a business opportunity, spurring innovation and investment. They are reducing waste -- energy, chemicals and water waste -- while cutting manufacturing costs, and sparking investments." EPA has received more than 1,500 nominations in the 19 years of the challenge program. More information on the program and a copy of the EPA press release detailing the technologies of the award recipients are available on the EPA Green Chemistry website.
2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Presidential Green Chemistry Award and EPA can be expected to make the awards ceremony a major event. BRAG members and others should start now to think about competing for this prestigious award.