- Category: Business
21 Jun 2011
- Published on Tuesday, 21 June 2011 05:45
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Green chemistry’s most promising technologies have been chosen and honored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the 16th year of the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.
The industry of green chemistry is a fast growing one with billions of dollars in potential revenue. According to a recent report by Colorado-based consultancy Pike Research, the green chemistry industry will grow from $2.8 billion in 2011 to $98.5 billion by 2020.
Green chemistry, as defined by the E.P.A. “reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances from chemical products and processes... [and] improves upon all types of chemical products and processes by reducing impacts on human health and the environment.”
The Green Chemistry Challenge awards are held every year by the E.P.A. under the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Program which promotes research and development of less-hazardous, low-impact, and cost-effective alternatives to existing chemical technologies.
The awards recognize technologies in five categories: academic, small business, greener synthetic pathways, greener reaction conditions and designing greener chemicals.
Past winners of the presidential green chemistry honors include BASF, Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company, Bayer and Procter & Gamble.
All five winners in from the five categories met the sustainability and safety standards of the presidential citation.
The Academic Award went to Professor Bruce H. Lipshutz of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Professor Lipshutz’ designed a second-generation surfactant called TPGS-750-M. It forms tiny droplets in water, through which organic chemicals can dissolve and react efficiently. The technology allows water to replace organic solvents which are volatile, toxic and produce too much waste.
BioAmber, Inc. won the Small Business Award for developing succinic acid from a Department of Energy-licensed E. coli biocatalyst instead of from petroleum-based feedstocks.
Succinic acid is used in the manufacture of food, drugs and cosmetics. BioAmber’s process uses 60 percent less energy and offers a smaller carbon footprint at a cost that is 40 percent less than processes using fossil fuels.
Genomatica bagged the Greener Synthetic Pathways Award for its development of Bio-BDO, a variant of 1,4-Butanediol or BDO, a high-volume chemical building block used in making common polymers such as spandex.
Genomatica has come up with a microbe that makes BDO through fermenting sugars, instead of using natural gas. The resulting process requires 60 percent less energy and generates 70 percent less carbon dioxide emissions.
The NEXAR polymer membrane technology by Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc. earned the Greener Reaction Conditions Award. The technology, which can purify hundreds of times more water compared with traditional membranes, can save 70 percent in membrane costs and 50 percent in energy costs.
The Sherwin-Williams Company earned the Designing Greener Chemicals Award for water-based acrylic alkyd paints. The paints can be made from recycled soda bottle plastic, acrylics and soybean oil for lower levels of volatile organic compounds which contribute to air pollution. (Jen Balboa)