The winners of the 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards have been announced. The awards, presented by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Chemical Society (ACS), recognize technology that provides substantial environmental and economic benefits using green chemistry. The program aims to reduce the hazards associated with designing, manufacturing, and using chemicals.
The awards will be presented at the 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Bethesda, MD, USA, on July 14–16, 2015.
Professor Eugene Y.-X. Chen of Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA, is the recipient of this year’s Academic Award for developing greener condensation reactions for renewable chemicals, liquid fuels, and biodegradable polymers. Professor Chen’s group has developed a new condensation technology that uses an N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) catalyst to reverse the polarity of the biomass platform chemical 5-hydroxymethylfurfural’s (HMF) carbonyl. This umpolung enables a solvent-free direct coupling of HMF into 5,5′-dihydroxymethylfuroin (DHMF) with quantitative yield and 100% atom-economy. DHMF is a building block that can be catalytically transformed into renewable fine chemicals, polymeric materials, and oxygenated biodiesel or premium alkane jet fuels.
LanzaTech, Skokie, IL, USA, is the winner of the Award for Greener Synthetic Pathways. The company is recognized for the development of a process which uses waste gas to produce fuels and chemicals. The process utilizes gas streams with a range of CO and H2 compositions to produce fuels such as ethanol, as well as chemicals such as 2,3-butanediol with high selectivities and yields.
The Award for Greener Reaction Conditions goes to Soltex, Houston, TX, USA, for an efficient process for the manufacture of highly reactive polyisobutylene using a fixed bed solid state catalyst reactor system. The procedure eliminates the use of water and reduces hazardous chemicals in the production of additives for lubricants and gasoline.
Nanotech Industries International/Hybrid Coating Technologies, Daly City, CA, USA, receives the Award for Designing Greener Chemicals, for their safer, plant-based polyurethane for use on floors, in furniture and in foam insulation. The technology eliminates the use of isocyanates, a leading cause of workplace asthma. Their polyurethane is formed in a reaction between a mixture of mono/polycyclic carbonate and epoxy oligomers and aliphatic or cycloaliphatic polyamines with primary amino groups.
The recipient of the Small Business Award is Renmatix, King of Prussia, PA, USA. They are recognized for developing a cost-efficient process using supercritical water to break down plant material into sugars, which can be used as building blocks for renewable chemicals and fuels.
Algenol, Fort Myers, FL, USA, is the winner in this year’s new award category “Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change“. The company receives the award for developing a blue-green algae which produces ethanol and other fuels.The algae uses CO2 from air or industrial emitters, sunlight, and saltwater to create fuel without reliance on food crops.
- Chen Research Group, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
- LanzaTech Inc., Skokie, IL, USA
- Soltex Inc., Houston, TX, USA
- Nanotech Industries International Inc./Hybrid Coating Technologies, Daly City, CA, USA
- Renmatix Inc., King of Prussia, PA, USA
- Algenol LLC, Fort Myers, FL, USA