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Chapter 5. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.

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Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards began in 1995 as an effort to recognize individuals and businesses for innovations in green chemistry. Typically five awards are given each year, one in each of five categories:


Small Business,

Greener Synthetic Pathways,

Greener Reaction Conditions,

Designing Greener Chemicals.


Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Nominations are accepted the prior year, and evaluated by an independent panel of chemists convened by the American Chemical Society. Through 2006, a total of 57 technologies have been recognized for the award, and over 1000 nominations have been submitted.


2010 Winners

Academic Award:

James C. Liao, Ph.D., Easel Biotechnologies, LLC University of California, Los Angeles

Small Business Award:

LS9, Inc.

Greener Synthetic Pathways Award:

The Dow Chemical CompanyBASF

Greener Reaction Conditions Award:

Merck & Co., Inc.Codexis, Inc

Designing Greener Chemicals Award:



James C. Liao, Ph.D.,

Easel Biotechnologies, LLC and University of California, Los Angeles

Recycling Carbon Dioxide to Biosynthesize Higher Alcohols.

Ethanol made by fermentation can be used as a fuel additive, but its use is limited by its low energy content. “Higher” alcohols (those with more than two carbons in the molecule) have higher energy content, but naturally occurring microorganisms do not produce them. Dr. James Liao has genetically engineered microorganisms to make higher alcohols from glucose or directly from carbon dioxide. His work makes renewable.


LS9, Inc.

  • Microbial Production of Renewable Petroleum™ Fuels and Chemicals
  • Industrial microbes usually make single substances, such as triglycerides like those in vegetable oil. Each single substance is then purified and converted into other chemicals, such as biodiesel fuel. LS9, Inc. has genetically engineered a variety of microorganisms to act like refineries. Each microbe makes a specific, final chemical product. Among these products is UltraClean™ diesel. This fuel, produced from biomass, eliminates the benzene, sulfur, and heavy metals found in petroleum-based diesel.

The Dow Chemical Company BASF

  • Innovative, Environmentally Benign Production of Propylene Oxide via Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Propylene oxide is one of the biggest volume industrial chemicals in the world. It is a chemical building block for a vast array of products including detergents, polyurethanes, de-icers, food additives, and personal care items. Its manufacture creates byproducts, including a significant amount of waste. Dow and BASF have jointly developed a new route to make propylene oxide with hydrogen peroxide that eliminates most of the waste and greatly reduces water and energy use.

Merck & Co., Inc.Codexis, Inc.

  • Greener Manufacturing of Sitagliptin Enabled by an Evolved Transaminase
  • Merck and Codexis have developed a second-generation green synthesis of sitagliptin, the active ingredient in Januvia™, a treatment for type 2 diabetes. This collaboration has lead to an enzymatic process that reduces waste, improves yield and safety, and eliminates the need for a metal catalyst. Early research suggests that the new biocatalysts will be useful in manufacturing other drugs as well.


  • Natular™ Larvicide: Adapting Spinosad for Next-Generation Mosquito Control
  • Spinosad is an environmentally safe pesticide but is not stable in water and so therefore cannot be used to control mosquito larvae. Clarke has developed a way to encapsulate spinosad in a plaster matrix, allowing it to be released slowly in water and provide effective control of mosquito larvae. This pesticide, Natular™, replaces organophosphates and other traditional, toxic pesticides and is approved for use in certified organic farming.

Other awards

  • The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) presents Australia’s Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. This awards program is similar to that of the United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA), although the RACI has included a category for green chemistry education as well as small business and academic or government.

The Canadian Green Chemistry Medal is an annual award given to an individual or group for promotion and development of green chemistry in Canada and internationally.

The winner is presented with a citation recognizing the achievements together with a sculpture.

Green Chemistry activities in Italy center around an inter-university consortium known as INCA. Beginning in 1999, the INCA has given three awards annually to industry for applications of green chemistry. The winners receive a plaque at the annual INCA meeting.
In Japan, The Green & Sustainable Chemistry Network(GSCN), formed in 1999, is an organization consisting of representatives from chemical manufacturers and researchers.
  • In 2001, the organization began an awards program. GSC Awards are to be granted to individuals, groups or companies who greatly contributed to green chemistry through their research, development and their industrialization. The achievements are awarded by Ministers of related government agencies.
In the United Kingdom, the Crystal Faraday Partnership, a non-profit group founded in 2001, awards businesses annually for incorporation of green chemistry. The Green Chemical Technology Awards have been given by Crystal Faraday since 2004; the awards were presented by the Royal Society of Chemistry prior to that time. The award is given only to a single researcher or business, while other notable entries are given recognition as well.
The Nobel Prize Committee recognized the importance of green chemistry in 2005 by awarding Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs, and Richard R. Schrock the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for "the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis." The Nobel Prize Committee states, "this represents a great step forward for \'green chemistry\', reducing potentially hazardous waste through smarter production. Metathesis is an example of how important basic science has been applied for the benefit of man, society and the environment."