Green Chemistry Awards announced

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2009 –– The 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards winners were announced today. The awards are given to recognize research that can make significant contributions to pollution prevention. The awards will be presented this evening at an awards ceremony at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards program is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Judging is by an independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society and its ACS Green Chemistry Institute®.

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The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are given in five categories. The 2009 Award winners and their categories are:

• Academic Award — Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.

• Small Business Award — Virent Energy Systems, Inc., Madison, Wis.

• Greener Synthetic Pathways — Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport, Tenn.

• Greener Reaction Conditions — CEM Corporation, Matthews, N.C.

• Designing Greener Chemicals — Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio; jointly with Cook Composites and Polymers Company, North Kansas City, Mo.

Academic Award: Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization: Low-impact Polymerization Using a Copper Catalyst and Environmentally Friendly Reducing Agents. Hazardous chemicals are often required in the manufacture of important polymers such as lubricants, adhesives, and coatings. Matyjaszewski developed an alternative process called "Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP)" for manufacturing polymers. The process uses chemicals that are environmentally friendly, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) as a reducing agent, and requires less catalyst. ATRP has been licensed to manufacturers throughout the world, reducing risks from hazardous chemicals.

Small Business Award: BioForming® Process: Catalytic Conversion of Plant Sugars into Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuel. Virent's process is a water-based, catalytic method to make gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel from the sugar, starch, or cellulose of plants that requires little external energy other than the plant biomass.

The process is flexible and can be modified to generate different fuels based on current market conditions. It can compete economically with current prices for conventionally produced petroleum-based fuels. Using plants as a renewable resource helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Greener Synthetic Pathways: A Solvent-Free Biocatalytic Process for Cosmetic and Personal Care Ingredients. Esters are an important class of ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. Usually, they are manufactured by harsh chemical methods that use strong acids and potentially hazardous solvents; these methods also require a great deal of energy. Eastman’s new method uses immobilized enzymes to make esters, saving energy and avoiding both strong acids and organic solvents. This method is so gentle that Eastman can use delicate, natural raw materials to make esters never before available.

Greener Reaction Conditions: Innovative Analyzer Tags Proteins for Fast, Accurate

Results without Hazardous Chemicals or High Temperatures. Each year, laboratories test millions of samples of food for the presence of protein. Such tests generally use a large amount of hazardous substances and energy. CEM has developed a fast, automated process that uses less toxic reagents and less energy. The new system can eliminate 5.5 million pounds of hazardous waste generated by traditional testing in the United States each year. What’s more, it differentiates between protein and other chemicals used to adulterate food, such as melamine.

Designing Greener Chemicals: Chempol® MPS Resins and Sefose® Sucrose Esters Enable High-Performance Low-VOC Alkyd Paints and Coatings. Conventional oil-based “alkyd” paints provide durable, high-gloss coatings but use hazardous solvents. Procter & Gamble and Cook Composites and Polymers are developing innovative Chempol® MPS paint formulations using biobased Sefose® oils to replace petroleum-based solvents. Sefose® oils, made from sugar and vegetable oil, enable new high-performance alkyd paints with less than half the solvent. Paints with less hazardous solvent will help improve worker safety, reduce fumes indoors as the paint dries, and improve air quality.

More information on the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards is available at http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/greenchemistry/pubs/pgcc/past.html.