Green Chemistry Awards Dominated by Biobased


Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized this year’s winners of the Presidential Green Chemistry Award. Green chemistry (also known as sustainable chemistry) means designing processes and research in a way that minimizes the use and generation of hazardous substances. In other words, is there a way to make this without using hazardous chemicals and generating hazardous waste?

It’s no surprise that several of the winners this year are biobased manufacturers, including:

Renmatix (Pennsylvania) – developed an innovative, low-cost process to break down plant material into sugars, which are the building blocks for making renewable chemicals and fuels.

Algenol (Florida) – developed a blue-green algae to produce ethanol and other fuels. The algae eats carbon dioxide (a potential greenhouse gas and byproduct of industry) and converts it to fuel using only sunlight and saltwater. This reduces carbon emissions, cuts costs, and does not rely on food crops to make fuel.

Professor Eugene Chen (Colorado State University) – developed a process using plant-based materials in the production of renewable chemicals and fuels. Professor Chen’s process is waste-free and metal-free.

Congratulations to these pioneers of green chemistry and biobased technology.