Promoting American innovation and the development of sustainable chemical processes and products, the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will honor the winners of the 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
For 18 years, ACS has partnered with EPA, reviewing thousands of nominations by companies, entrepreneurs and academic researchers of pioneering new discoveries that advance the chemical sciences and technology in a green and sustainable way, and selected the top candidates to receive the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.
“I believe the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards represent the most important progress in chemistry today precisely because they pair ingenious discovery with responsible application,” said Kent J. Voorhees, Ph.D., chairman of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute’s Governing Board. “It is not enough for us to be just scientists; we have a responsibility to be citizens — to use our skills for the benefit of Earth and its people.”
An independent panel of technical experts organized by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute selected the 2013 winners. Five individuals and companies will be honored. They are:
- Richard P. Wool, Ph.D., University of Delaware, Newark, Del., who has created several high-performance materials using bio-based feedstocks, including vegetable oils, chicken feathers and flax to produce a range of products such as adhesives, composites, foams, a leather substitute and even computer circuit boards.
- Faraday Technology, Inc., Clayton, Ohio, for their innovations in chrome plating for high-performance uses such as in aircraft parts. Previous chrome plating methods required hexavalent chromium, which is a carcinogen. Faraday has developed a plating process that still meets high-performance tests, but uses the less toxic, trivalent chromium.
- Life Technologies Corporation, Austin, Texas, for its work in improving genetic testing processes, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Manufacturing the key chemicals required for PCR often produced thousands of times more waste than product. Life Technologies discovered a three-step, one-pot synthesis which is much more efficient, preventing 1.5 million pounds of hazardous waste a year.
- The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Mich., for improving the production of white paint, which historically required large quantities of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment, a costly and energy-consuming pigment to produce. Dow’s innovation wraps a polymer “shell” around the TiO2 particles so they can be better dispersed in the paint — requiring less pigment per volume to cover a surface.
- Cargill, Inc., Brookfield, Wis., for developing a soybean oil product for use in high-voltage electric transformers, which is less toxic than formerly used PCBs, less flammable than mineral oil-based transformer fluids, and uses a lower carbon footprint across the entire life cycle of the transformer, including raw materials, manufacturing and transportation.
“By prioritizing our duty to sustainable chemistry, we can create a world that values both prosperity and a clean environment,” said Voorhees.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.