Green chemistry innovations honored by American Chemical Society and EPA

In conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Chemical Society (ACS) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Award. This program honors innovations that promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing novel green chemistry. The 2020 awardees are being recognized for their contributions in reducing waste and energy usage, as well as enhancing safety across industries.

“ACS is proud to cosponsor the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, which, as this year’s winners illustrate, highlight the vital role of chemistry in building both a healthy environment and robust global economy,” says ACS CEO Thomas Connelly Jr., Ph.D. “I applaud the awardees for their creative solutions in developing products and processes that are safer for consumers and the planet.”

The 2020 winners are as follows:

  • Genomatica, San Diego, for creating Brontide™, a new brand of 1,3-butylene glycol, commonly used in cosmetics for moisture retention and as a carrier for plant extracts. Butylene glycol is traditionally produced from fossil fuels. However, Brontide™ is produced by fermenting E. coli using renewable sugars in a one-step production process. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the use of hazardous chemicals in the production process.
  • Merck, Rahway, N.J., for improving the process used to produce certain antiviral drugs used for the treatment of diseases, including hepatitis C and HIV. The new process improved manufacturing efficiency and sustainability of one important antiviral by more than 85%. This reduces waste and hazards associated with the existing process and results in substantial cost savings.
  • Johns Manville, Littleton, Colo., for developing a biobased, formaldehyde-free thermoset binder for fiberglass reinforcement applications. Thermoset binders are used to bind glass fibers of fiberglass mats used in carpet tile backing. This technology eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals, reduces water and energy use, and produces a product with a longer shelf life.
  • Steven Skerlos, Ph.D., University of Michigan and Fusion Coolant Systems, for creating Pure-Cut™, an alternative to traditional metalworking fluids that uses high-pressure carbon dioxide instead of oil-based lubricants. Pure-Cut™ can improve performance and machining tool lifespan compared to traditional metalworking fluids, while greatly reducing hazards to the environment and worker health.
  • Vestaron, Kalamazoo, Mich., for producing a new biopesticide called Spear®. This pesticide is based on a naturally occurring component inspired by spider venom that can effectively control target pests while showing no adverse effects on people, the environment, and non-target wildlife like fish and bees. Spear® should provide growers with a new pest management tool that also lessens environmental impacts.
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