Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (GCCA) 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.

The American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) is sponsoring the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in 2018. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the continuation of the awards in 2018 under the sponsorship of the ACS GCI.

Nominations for the 2018 award are now closed. 

Green Chemistry
Challenge Awards
Nominations Open

  • Introduction

    Throughout the 22 years of the awards program, the EPA has presented awards to 114 winners. Since its inception, in 1996, the EPA has received over 1,600 nominations.

    By recognizing groundbreaking scientific solutions to real-world environmental problems, the Green Chemistry Challenge has significantly reduced the hazards associated with designing, manufacturing, and using chemicals. Through 2017, the 114 winning technologies have made billions of pounds of progress, including:

    • 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents eliminated each year—enough to fill almost 3,800 railroad tank cars or a train nearly 47 miles long.
    • 21 billion gallons of water saved each year—the amount used by 820,000 people annually.
    • 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents released to air eliminated each year—equal to taking 810,000 automobiles off the road. 

    These data are from award-winning nominations for the Green Chemistry Challenge. Adding the benefits from the nominated technologies would greatly increase the program’s total benefits.

    More information about the award and the EPA's Green Chemistry program can be found at


  • Award Categories

    There is usually one Green Chemistry Challenge Award selected for each award category. For the 2018 competition, there are six award categories:

    • 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)
    • Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions) 

    *A small business for purposes of this award must have annual sales of less than $40 million, including all domestic and foreign sales by the company, its subsidiaries, and its parent company.

  • Eligibility & Scope

    To be eligible for an award, a nominated technology must meet the scope of the Green Chemistry Challenge program by meeting each of these six criteria:

    1. It must be a green chemistry technology with a significant chemistry component
    2. It must include source reduction
    3. It must be submitted by an eligible organization or its representative(s)
    4. It must have a significant milestone in its development within the past five years (i.e., it must been researched, demonstrated, implemented, applied, patented, etc.).
    5. It must have a significant U.S. component
    6. It must fit within at least one of the three focus areas of the program

    A full explanation of the above eligibility criteria can be found within the nomination package.

    If you have a question about whether your technology meets the scope of the program, please email us at or call (202) 872-6102.

  • Selection Criteria

    Nominated chemistry technologies that meet the scope of the program will be judged on how well they meet the following three selection criteria:

    1. Science and innovation
      The nominated chemistry technology should be innovative and of scientific merit.

    2. Human health and environmental benefits
      The nominated chemistry technology should offer human health and/or environmental benefits at some point in its lifecycle from resource extraction to ultimate disposal. Quantitative statements of benefits are more useful to the judges than are qualitative ones.

    3. Applicability and impact
      The nominated chemistry technology should have a significant impact. The technology may be broadly applicable to many chemical processes or industries; alternatively, it may have a large impact on a narrow area of chemistry. Commercial implementation can support the applicability and impact of a technology. Nominations for pre-commercial technologies should discuss the economic feasibility of the technology.
  • Selection Process

    A. How to enter:

    • The deadline for nominations for the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge was July 2, 2018. Awards for 2018 will be presented in October 2018.
    • Self-nominations are typical.
    • There is no entry fee.
    • There is no standard entry form, but nominations must meet certain requirements or ACS GCI may reject them.
    • You may nominate more than one technology, but you must submit a separate, stand-alone nomination for each one. Multiple applications of the same general technology are most likely to win an award if you combine them in a single nomination.

    Please see the nomination package for complete nomination requirements and guidelines.

    B. Receipt of nominations

    • ACS GCI will consider all entries as public information.
    • ACS GCI will not return any material.
    • ACS GCI is not responsible for lost or damaged entries.
    • ACS GCI acknowledges receipt of nominations by email to the Contact Person identified in the nomination. If ACS GCI does not acknowledge your nomination within two weeks after you submit it, please contact us at or (202) 872-6103.

    C. Judging entries

    A panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® will judge nominations. These anonymous experts might include members of the scientific, industrial, governmental, educational, and environmental communities. The ACS GCI may ask the designated contact person to verify any chemistry described or claims made in nominations on behalf of the judges. The judges will select as award recipients those green chemistry technologies that best meet the selection criteria. The judges may use their discretion, however, to make more than one award (or no award) in any one category.

    D. Notification of winners

    The ACS GCI will notify winners prior to the official public announcement, by August 31, 2018. The award ceremony and reception will be held in Washington DC in October 2018.

Contact Us

If you have questions about your nomination for the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, please email ACS GCI at or call (202) 872-6102.