Skip to main content
28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

2021 GC&E Highlights

25th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference Highlights

June 14 – 18, 2021

The 25th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering (GC&E) Conference was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sustainable Production to Advance the Circular Economy

Conference Chairs

Jillian Goldfarb

Assistant Professor
Biological & Environmental Engineering
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University

Guy Humphrey

Guy Humphrey

Scientific AVP
Process Research & Development


Eunice Heath

Eunice Heath, M.B.A.

Global Director Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability

Keynote: Monday, June 14
“What’s your legacy? Building purpose at the
intersection of inclusion and sustainability”


Gregg Beckham

Gregg Beckham, Ph.D.

Senior Research Fellow & Group Leader
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Keynote: Tuesday, June 15
“The critical role of economic and environmental analysis to
guide research in lignin valorization and plastics upcycling”

NREL Profile

B Frank Gupton

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.

Professor & Floyd D. Gottwald Junior Chair
in Pharmaceutical Engineering
Department of Chemical & Life Science Engineering
Virginia Commonwealth University

Keynote: Thursday, June 17
“Searching for Greenness in a Post-Pandemic World”

VCU Profile

Amy Prieto

Amy Prieto, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Chemistry
Colorado State University;
Prieto Battery

Keynote: Friday, June 18
Sustainable manufacturing for next generation rechargeable batteries

Prieto Group

Keynote Speakers – Lectureship Awardees

Jun Huang

Jun Huang, Ph.D.

Professor, SOAR Fellowship
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Director of the Laboratory for Catalysis Engineering
The University of Sydney

Keynote: Wednesday, June 16
“Optimising the sustainability of the catalytic process in producing fuels and chemicals”

Huang Group

Jeremy Luterbacher

Jeremy Luterbacher, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Sustainable & Catalytic Processing
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)

Keynote: Wednesday, June 16
“Direct production of bulk chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass by acetal functionalization”

LPDC (Research)

Meagan Mauter

Meagan Mauter, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Stanford University

Keynote: Wednesday, June 16
“Desalination for a Circular Water Economy”

WE3 Lab

Technical Sessions

Bio-Based Materials and Processes for the Energy & Petrochemical Industry

Organizers: Amir Mahmoudkhani, Locus Bio-Energy; Isamir Martinez, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Sponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Oilfield Chemistry Roundtable

The oil and gas industry is facing increasing demands to clarify the implications of energy transitions for their operations and business models, and to explain the contributions that they can make to minimize the environmental impact.  The challenge for the oil and gas industry is to both engage and adapt to a changing policy and investment landscape, but also to evolve in ways which don’t simply support but contribute and perhaps even lead efforts to decarbonize the energy system. For about two decades, there have been significant efforts to develop new commercial processes to bio-based and renewable as platform molecules.  These offer a rich source of novel molecules, which can serve as alternative building blocks in the synthesis of raw materials and intermediates that are currently sourced through petrochemical supply chains.

This session aims to introduce the current advancements in bio-based materials and processes, especially petroleum replacement chemicals from renewable feedstocks or wastes, and identify the challenges in developing these new conversion technologies via biological and/or chemical pathways.

The following topics will be covered in this session:

1) Innovative concepts and solutions for beneficial reuse of carbon dioxide
2) Production of new and advanced bio-based cleaner fuels
3) Novel bio-based processes for production of alternative energy sources
4) Bio-based materials with superior performance to petroleum-derived products
5) Bio-based processes for treatment of oilfield produced water and waste streams
6) Bio-based materials and processes for remediation of oil spills in land and offshore
7) Bio-based materials and processes to reduce or prevent methane emission from oil & gas wells
8) Applications of bio-based materials in exploration and production of oil & gas
9) Bio-based materials to minimize the environmental impacts of oil & gas production and operation
10) Low toxicity, and biodegradable compositions based on renewable materials for drilling and completion applications

Bioprocessing Separations: Advancing a Research Agenda

Organizers: Jennifer Dunn, Lauren Valentino & Gregg Beckham

Overall, industrial separations constitute up to 15% of total energy consumption in the United States. In the bio-based economy, bioprocessing separations are significantly less mature than industrial separations that are common in the established petrochemical industry. Bioprocess-relevant separations are universally costly and complex, regardless of the conversion pathway (biochemical, thermochemical, hybrid) used because products are dilute and often in aqueous environments, and the mixtures that result from biomass deconstruction are chemically complex. Accordingly, bioprocessing separations are often a key driver of process costs and suffer from a lack of selectivity. In many cases, separations approaches are inspired by unoptimized bench-scale procedures; therefore, a technology baseline, or definition of the state of technology (SOT), is often lacking. Overall, as we continue to advance the bioeconomy, breakthroughs in bioprocessing separations will be necessary. This symposium will assemble experts in the following areas of bioprocessing separations: extraction and adsorption, membrane-based separations, solid-liquid based separations, novel materials for bioprocessing separations, integrated separations in bioprocessing, and development of thermophysical property data for bioprocessing separations. These experts will lay the groundwork for understanding the current state of the science in bioprocessing separations as well as highlight research and development needs for the broader community to address. This symposium will frame a research agenda for bioprocessing separations that will help guide future work.

Carbon Dioxide Pivot Point: Advancing the Circular Economy

Organizers: Joseph Sabol & Anna Klinkova


This symposium holds presentations around viable industrial processes that capture, use, or transform carbon dioxide into value-added chemicals and materials or otherwise remove from the atmosphere. Sustainable production and a circular economy utilize raw materials that are inexpensive or considered a nuisance byproduct. Carbon dioxide is the largest example and unfettered release contributes greatly to atmospheric trapping of heat and subsequent climate change. Speakers will present topics such as scalable chemical manufacturing using carbon dioxide as a raw material; renewable hydrocarbon production, including use of algae to produce lipids, and processes that utilize sunlight, directly or by splitting water.

Careers in Green Chemistry & Engineering that Advance the Circular Economy

Organizers: Mevan Dissanayake, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Rochester & Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists & Engineers (NESSE); Natalie J. O’Neil, Higher Education Program Manager, Beyond Benign & Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists & Engineers (NESSE)

This symposium is a dedicated informative session focused on the numerous career paths available to students under the general umbrella of green chemistry and engineering. Simultaneously, this symposium aims to demonstrate the benefits that a background knowledge in green chemistry and engineering has in the eyes of an employer. It is not uncommon for students involved in this community (and STEM fields in general) to be unaware of the value of their transferable experience, and the breadth of career options that are available to them after graduation. By assembling a series of career path examples, this symposium will directly address students’ ubiquitous question of what career options are available to them, and how they might go about pursuing them.

This careers symposium will provides attendees with an opportunity to learn about marketing their existing skills, particularly those that are unique to the green chemistry and engineering community as compared to their peers, and to discover the breadth of career options available to them. In addition, this careers-focused symposium will be intentionally composed of speakers that are willing to speak to students about careers, providing an additional networking opportunity for both the student attendees and the speakers themselves, especially from the perspective of potential employers. It is worth noting that although students are the target audience for this symposium, all audiences are welcome as this symposium could be similarly valuable to those further in their career paths who may find themselves unemployed or otherwise facing a change in employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chemistry Curricula Designed to Achieve Responsible Consumption and Production – Rapid-Fire

Organizers: David A. Laviska, Assistant Professor, Seton Hall University; Michael Wentzel, Associate Professor, Augsburg University; Natalie J. O’Neil, Higher Education Program Manager, Beyond Benign

Chemists and engineers have important roles to play in helping to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Highlighting this connection through curricula that integrate Green Chemistry and Engineering concepts is vital to the process of training the next generation of scientists to tackle society’s global challenges. In the absence of specific curricular guidance, Green Chemistry and Engineering advocates (both individuals and organizations) have been working independently to create curricular materials that integrate sustainable practices and make connections to the U.N. SDGs.

This fast-paced and engaging symposium will provide educators of all levels (K-12, undergraduate, and graduate) with the opportunity to share their innovations and initiatives for incorporating Green Chemistry and Engineering content in lecture, laboratory, and outreach. Those modeling the inclusion of Green and Sustainable chemistry metrics which illustrate a life cycle thinking approach to designing a chemical product and/or chemical process toward advancing the circular economy are welcomed. Other representative topics include the use of renewable feedstocks, greener synthetic methods, function-based design, and intended use and end-of-life considerations. Contributions of these methods to improving safety or understanding toxicology would also be welcome. The rapid-fire session format will allow presenters seven minutes (with optional use of three minutes for content or questions) to engage the audience with a snapshot of their work and prompt audience participation. During presentations, each speaker will be asked to include at least one established or aspirational method of assessment for their initiatives. More than one submission by an author will be allowed in order to encourage a broad spectrum of topics.

Data-Rich Experimentation in Flow Chemistry

Organizers: Michael Di Maso & Jonathan McMullen, Merck

Cosponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

Advancements in continuous processing technologies in parallel with the expansion of complex organic reactions enabled by flow chemistry lead to widespread application of flow reactions in academic and industrial settings. The small internal volume, the ability to tune reaction conditions precisely, and the geometry of flow reactors renders them ideal tools for scaling reactions that are challenging or prohibitive in batch, such as highly exothermic, electrochemical, and photochemical reactions. While this technology enables seamless scale up of these reactions, development and optimization of flow reactions in the lab can be slow and resource intensive. This session will highlight the use of automation and new tools and methodologies to minimize the resources and time required to optimize reactions either in flow or in other systems with results that are easily transferrable to a flow reactor.

Decreasing the environmental footprint by decreasing agriculture waste

Organizers: Amie Norton; Deanna Scheff   

By 2050 the world’s population is expected to increase by 30%.  One pressing issue that comes with increasing population is food security. It is estimate that food production will need to increase by 60-110% by 2050 in order to feed to growing world populations One way to increase food security is by reducing food waste and to reduce environmental impacts of humans. The USDA has a goal to reduce food waste 50% by 2050.  This leads us to evaluate current agriculture methods for development sustainable practices. Food waste can be decrease by the development of value-added products from byproducts that otherwise would have been throw away, greener storage methods at affordable costs, and better and more targeted pesticides. In this symposium we will focus on the application of chemical innovations in food security through the development of green methods for valued added products, reduction in agriculture waste and green technology in storage methods.

Design of Chemicals, novel chemistries, synthetic pathways and processes that enable a circular, more sustainable economy

Organizers: Samy Ponnusamy, PhD, Fellow & Global Manager – Green Chemistry, MilliporeSigma, St Louis, MO; Srinivasan Ambatipati, PhD, Assistant Professor & Coordinator of Chemical Engineering, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA

This session will highlight the processes that are inspired by novel design strategies to enable a circular-sustainable economy. Case studies that include novel chemistries and design of synthetic pathways will be presented to illustrate how industry/academia/NGO have successfully implemented sustainability as a basic design criterion to achieve a closed-loop economy. The examples from the session will describe the design and approaches taken, the challenges faced and how a solution for the challenge was achieved. The topics chosen will be from diverse group of industrial applications and backgrounds.

Earth-Abundant Metal Catalysis

Organizers: Matthew Winston, Senior Scientist, Merck & Co., Rahway, NJ; Steven Wisniewski, Senior Research Investigator II, Bristol Myers Squibb, New Brunswick, NJ

Cosponsor: Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

Despite the significant impact of heavy metal catalysts in advancing science across industries (including pharma, materials, and energy), the need for less toxic and more sustainable processes has pushed Earth-abundant metal catalysis into the forefront of chemical research. Distinguished from their heavy metal congeners in their redox chemistry and coordination behavior, Earth-abundant metals can access different mechanistic pathways to catalyze known transformations, or effect new ones. Understanding these mechanisms for catalyst design can often be complicated by competing processes involving single and two-electron chemistry, multiple oxidation and spin states, and the need for analytical tools complementary to those used for studying traditional heavy metal catalysis. Nevertheless, mechanistically-rooted studies have led to advancements in Earth-abundant chemistry, leading to new catalyst systems that not only supplant less abundant metals with sustainable alternatives, but push the boundaries of chemical space by exploiting novel reactivity.

This symposium will bring together experts in academia, industry and government in the areas of:

1. Homogeneous and heterogeneous Earth-abundant metal catalyst development for applications in pharmaceuticals, energy, and other industries.
2. Mechanistic studies of Earth-abundant metal chemistry, including kinetics and spectroscopy.
3. Industrial scale production using Earth-abundant metal catalysis.

Electrosynthesis of Chemicals & Fuels

Organizers: Joe Sagues, NC State University; Matteo Grattieri, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy

The topic of “Electrosynthesis of Chemicals & Fuels” will be a forward thinking session for scientists and engineers to disseminate and critique innovative technologies that convert CO2 & other sustainable carbon resources into chemicals and fuels via electrochemical means. This session will bring together experts from two distinct, yet highly related fields: 1) microbial electrosynthesis and 2) catalytic electrosynthesis. The intention of this session is to exploit exciting synergies that exist between these two research areas, and to foster collaborations and future research directions in this highly multidisciplinary field,

The session will address multiple challenges present in the field of electrosynthesis. These challenges include, but are not limited to, 1) C-C bond formation for C2+ compounds, 2) electrochemical wiring of bacteria and high product selectivity, 3) energy efficient processes with low overpotentials, 4) improved mass transfer of gaseous substrates, and 4) techno-economic viability & commercialization. A diverse group of researchers will be invited to speak with backgrounds ranging from synthetic biology, electrochemistry, catalysis, and process engineering.

EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Awards – Past and Present

Organizers: Chen Wen, Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program, US Environmental Protection Agency; David Chichester-Constable, Science Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are now in their 25th year and continue to recognize leading green chemistry innovations. With over 1800 nominations and 123 award winners, there is a compelling case to be made that innovations benefitting from the application of green chemistry and engineering have achieved sufficient commercial success to justify implementation in all chemical processing sectors. The goals of the is panel are to describe the prestigious EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Awards – co-sponsored by ACS, and showcase award winners from the current and past years. The winners will describe the innovative technology they were recognized for, share lessons learned from participation, and describe the benefits of being recognized by the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program.

Finding parallels: Sharing approaches toward sustainability and product stewardship

Organizers: Paul Thornton; Saskia van Bergen

Many of the big challenges of achieving sustainability in manufacturing and implementing green chemistry in industry are transferrable across diverse sectors. Despite the commonality of these challenges and frequent similarity of the underlying systems involved, many organizations set out to address these issues by looking inward in a sector-specific fashion. The goal of this session is to highlight how the approaches of diverse industries and sectors toward achieving sustainability have commonalities that have potential to be implemented across sectors and in vastly different contexts. Exploring how specific approaches in one sector can be adopted and more widely deployed across multiple industries has great potential to improve our understanding of system-wide challenges and to spur the development of innovative best practices.

In this session, innovators, industry and academic scientists, entrepreneurs, and regulators will share their perspectives in working toward collaborative solutions that could be applicable to other sectors and the wider green chemistry community. Specific topics to be explored may include:

  • Incorporating circularity into manufacturing design: Designing products for end-of-life and the circular economy has been advanced more in some fields than others. What system-based approaches can be transferred to those that are struggling to incorporate end-of-life in design?
  • Moving towards carbon neutral or carbon negative manufacturing and improved efficiency: The ambition to achieve carbon neutral (or negative) manufacturing has become prominent in some industries. New systems thinking approaches to manufacturing (3D printing, rapid prototyping, material sourcing) allow for greater efficiency in making new materials and products. What technologies have been critical to achieving carbon neutrality, and what sectors could benefit most from integrating these approaches?
  • Hazard reduction: Industry initiatives toward creating safer products and manufacturing processes are increasingly important. What specific programs and/or collaborations have been most significant and how could they find implementation in different sectors of manufacturing?
  • Minimizing risk in bringing innovations to market: The last decade has seen an increasing number of collaborations to help scale up innovations such as partnerships arising from industry-sponsored open-innovation challenges, and collaborations between industry and academia. These partnerships minimize risk to individual companies searching for solutions that can compete in the marketplace, while furthering the development goals of startups and other innovative companies. Where can such relationships have the greatest impact on sustainability, and what lessons can we take away from case-studies of successful scale up projects?

Presenters will share insights in how their approaches could be leveraged in other contexts. Further, we will be engaging session participants in an interactive discussion around emerging parallels in approaches to driving sustainability. This session will be an opportunity to discover and advance approaches toward sustainability that can be implemented across different industries.

Flow Chemistry & Continuous Processing Enabling Sustainable Chemical Development and Manufacturing

Organizers: Nick Uhlig, Gilead; Eric Moschetta, AbbVie; Benjamin Rizkin, AbbVie

Cosponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

This symposium will examine the use of flow chemistry and continuous processing as a tool for process intensification and enhancing sustainability in chemical research and manufacturing. A mix of invited and submitted presentations from academia and industry will discuss new technologies, materials, and methodologies for enhancing the sustainability and circularity of chemical synthesis–through recycling of materials or waste streams, novel materials, alternative energy sources, process analytic techniques, miniaturized or robotic systems, and high-throughput screening.

Food and the Circular Economy: Improving the Sustainability of Waste Stream Valorization Products

Organizer: Nicole Burke, Ph.D., Lead Scientist, Kalsec, Kalamazoo, MI

This symposium will focus on the use of green chemistry and engineering approaches to generate novel food and beverage ingredients via valorization of waste streams. Particular areas of interest include technological and/or economic assessments for the demonstration of commercial feasibility and industrial impact.

Green and Sustainable Chemistry in Manufacturing for More Sustainable Household and Personal Care Products

Organizer: David Chichester-Constable, Science Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Cosponsor: ACS GCI Formulators’ Roundtable

Producing high-performance consumer products using green and sustainable chemistry approaches requires the development of innovative, effective approaches that lead to an improved sustainability profile throughout the value chain. This session is intended to provide a forum to share case studies and success stories of green and sustainable chemistry approaches to more sustainable production processes for formulated household and personal care products.

Green Chemistry & Engineering Poster Session

Organizer: David Chichester-Constable, Science Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Join us for an exciting poster session! Abstracts submitted to the poster session meet the following criteria:

  • Meets the definition of green chemistry or green engineering
  • Potential impact on the field
  • Development of idea
  • Originality
  • Conclusions supported by data
Greener peptide and oligonucleotide synthesis

Organizer: Mike Kopach   

Peptide and Oligonucleotide products are an area of  significant growth within the biopharma industry. However, the  current state of the art in peptide and oligonucleotide syntheses utilize primarily legacy technologies, with little focus on green chemistry and engineering. Waste generated  from current peptide and oligonucleotide processes can range  from 3,000-15,000 kg/kg API  with multiple usages of highly hazardous reagents and solvents. Contributing to the poor environmental profile is the pervasive and extensive use of chromatography to produce peptide and oligonucleotide products with required quality attributes. This session will explore how improved synthetic methodologies, safer coupling reagents, solvent selection, and minimization of  chromatography play a vital role in improving the environmental footprint for peptide and oligonucleotide processes.

Greening Classrooms: Lessons Learned From Adapting Chemistry Curricula and Teaching Delivery Methods During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Organizers: Miranda J. Gallagher, Rice University; Jane Wissinger, University of Minnesota

Due to public health needs, chemistry courses this past year were delivered with pandemic safety guidelines in place. Many classrooms and laboratories were shifted to HyFlex models of instruction or taught entirely through synchronous or asynchronous online modalities. This temporary, yet fundamental shift, in teaching delivery provided an opportunity for educators to develop professionally, show their creativity, learn new technologies and try new course content. This symposium will feature best practices that used or expanded green and/or sustainable chemistry content in K-12, undergraduate, graduate, or outreach learning environments. Teaching methods adopted to remote and in-person classrooms will be shared as well as reflections on what can yet be improved. During their presentations, participants will be encouraged to share pedagogical tools employed, such as backward design and active learning, with the audience.

Influencing Green Chemistry in Pharma and Beyond

Organizers: Isamir Martinez; Paul Richardson; Louis Diorazio

For over 15 years the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable (ACS GCI PR), has been a leading voice for GC&E, bridging the gap between academics & industry, enabling better decisions about chemical selection process design, inspiring and educating the next generation that will impact the advance of the circular economy.

Learn about:

  • Novel innovations that has been incentivized through our grants program.
  • Industrial case studies demonstrating the use of Green Chemistry Tools both in a proactive and retroactive manner.
  • Industrial processes that have shown green and sustainable chemistry accomplishments at meaningful scale, considering reduction in process mass intensity, waste reduction, robustness, environmental, health and safety impact reduction or elimination, reduction in the use of toxic and/or hazardous chemicals, solvents, reagents, etc.).
  • Implementation and application of emerging Greener Chemistry technologies both in academia and pharma and developing partnerships to encourage a seamless approach to the uptake of these.
Integrating and Scaffolding Green Chemistry & Engineering, Systems Thinking and the UN Sustainable Development Goals Through an Equitable and Inclusive Chemistry Curriculum

Organizers: Edward Brush, Department of Chemistry, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA; Grace Lasker, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Washington-Bothell, Bothell, WA; Jane E. Wissinger, Department of Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Cosponsors: CHED, CEI, D&I

The integration and scaffolding of Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Systems Thinking and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals into an equitable and inclusive undergraduate curriculum can inspire students to take ownership of their education, and graduate with the satisfaction that their classroom knowledge allows them to understand and contribute to solving big global problems. Green chemistry provides the technical and practical knowledge, Systems Thinking addresses the interconnectedness of local and global systems, and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals the appropriate context to identify, understand and propose solutions to big global challenges. Furthermore, it is now crystal clear that diversity, equity, inclusion and respect will be an integral part of this paradigm change in chemistry education. Besides providing essential content knowledge, chemistry students must be trained to recognize and appreciate how collaboration with others from a range of disciplines and with diverse perspectives and life experiences will help to identify, understand and effectively address the complex challenges facing the world in the 21st century.

Integrating Sustainable Production Practices Into Teaching and Research Laboratories

Organizers: Natalie J. O’Neil, Higher Education Program Manager, Beyond Benign; Ettigounder Ponnusamy, Fellow & Global Manager, Green Chemistry, MilliporeSigma; James Connelly, Chief Executive Officer, My Green Lab

For the health of our planet and our people, it is vital to train the next generation to think critically about their chemistry and explore ways to reduce the health and environmental impacts of the molecules they are designing. Designing innovative solutions to our global challenges in the safest way possible is pivotal to creating safe working conditions within the chemical industry and in the development and use of more environmentally friendly consumer products. In short, if we train scientists to use Green Chemistry Principles and practices, we can achieve U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and work towards advancing the circular economy.

Laboratory safety is often considered the task of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) professionals through educational trainings and resources. However, integrating Green Chemistry and systems thinking into lab practices can shift the focus of laboratory safety culture from compliance to empowering better decisions at the lab bench. Putting Green Chemistry information in the hands of scientists gives them ownership and control of their safety. Additionally, through actively engaging and communicating effectively with EH&S and other safety stakeholders we can build partnerships to advance the Green Chemistry and the Green Labs movement, overall.

Through presentations and interactive discussions this symposium will highlight the design and development of curricula and initiatives that infuse Green and Sustainable Chemistry concepts into teaching and research. We cannot advance to a circular economy if the next generation of scientist are not equipped with the principles and practices of Green Chemistry to ensure sustainable production during their training and beyond. This symposium aims to spotlight sustainable production practices and how stakeholders can work together to ensure a culture of safety and sustainability in order to achieve a sustainable future.

Integration of Greener, Process-Friendly Approaches for Monitoring Reactions for Pharmaceutical End-Game Chemistry

Organizers: William P. Farrell, Assoc. Research Fellow, Pfizer, Inc., San Diego, CA; Michael B. Hicks, ARD, Merck, Kenilworth, NJ; Christine Aurigemma, Sr. Principal Scientist, Pfizer, Inc., San Diego, CA

Process chemistries intended for scaling up to line-of-site manufacturing can benefit from improved analytical approaches that eliminate the need for reaction sampling. A variety of progressive tools and techniques, such as in-line, at-line readings; high-throughput miniaturized measurements; or in-process and real-time results, all aim to improve process control while reducing waste. This session provides examples of successful applications of in-line analysis, as well as the potential for miniaturization technologies to transform impractical techniques into viable, green manufacture-ready approaches.

Leaving Organic Solvents Behind: Chemistry in Aqueous Media

Organizers: Richard Fox, BMS and Paul Richardson, Pfizer

Traditionally, chemists have relied on the use of organic solvents as the primary reaction medium for both academic research and the development of industrial processes. While offering desirable attributes with respect to solubilizing organic compounds and promoting reactivity, organic solvents contribute heavily to overall waste generation, have negative implications for the environment and often derive from finite resources. This session will highlight the advantages chemistry in water can provide with respect to reactivity, cost efficiency and waste generation, as well as tackle common misconceptions of this methodology.  Successful strategies which overcome the commonly perceived challenges of this methodology will be discussed and the exciting opportunities arising from the use of enzymes, catalysts ideally suited to an aqueous environment, in organic synthesis will be highlighted.

Making Organic Chemistry More Sustainable: Special Student Session

Organizer: Dan Bailey, Takeda

Cosponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

The development of new synthetic methodologies and strategies has been the cornerstone upon which sustainable industrial processes are built. The pure research advances arising from academia fuel the world’s industrial innovation, while also training the scientific leaders of tomorrow. This special session highlights the research of undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows across the broader organic chemistry community which has the potential to impact sustainable industrial chemistry.

From abstracts submitted to this session, eight students will give 20-minute oral presentations. Each presenter receives up to $1000 in travel reimbursement*

*The 2021 GC&E Conference will be virtual. Accepted student presenters can reimburse registration for this conference ($25). In addition, students may choose to use the remaining travel funds to attend a different in-person ACS chemistry conference later in 2021, or can defer travel to attend the 26th Annual GC&E Conference in Reston, Virginia in 2022. No reimbursements will be accepted after the 2022 GC&E Conference.


New Strategies in Biocatalysis for Sustainable Chemical Production

Organizers: Chris Prier, Associate Principal Scientist, Merck & Co. Inc; Luke Humphreys, Gilead

Cosponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

Advances in enzyme discovery, bioinformatics, protein engineering, and pathway engineering have enabled a broader reach of biocatalysis in sustainable synthesis than ever before. This session will aim to highlight the diversity of research underway in the biocatalysis field in both academic and industrial laboratories, as well as the diversity of impacts being made by enzymatic synthesis. Emphasis will be placed on novel mechanisms of catalysis, new approaches to enzyme design and engineering, novel strategies for performing enzymatic processes, and emerging opportunities for green synthesis using enzymes.

Novel Developments for Bio-based and Renewable Chemicals to Advance the Circular Economy

Organizer: Isamir Martinez, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Bio-based and renewable chemicals offer considerable potential for more sustainable manufacturing systems for raw materials and intermediates that are currently sourced through petrochemical supply chains. Significant efforts have been made to develop new commercial processes using bio-based and renewable platform molecules and these offer a rich source of novel moieties and new molecules that can serve as alternative synthesis building blocks. This symposium will feature the novel science and technology used to develop these novel platform chemicals and the well-known high-performance products made from these chemicals. Opportunities and challenges of commercializing these molecules will also be discussed.

Rethinking the Plastic Problem: Plastic Waste as a Valuable Resource

Organizers: Dr. Christopher Parlett, University of Manchester and Diamond Light Source, Manchester, UK; Dr. Xiaolei Fan, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; Professor Arthur Garforth, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Cosponsor: American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Environmental Division (ED) and Sustainable Engineering Forum (SEF)

Plastic waste and its pollution of the environment has led to a downturn in public perception of plastics leading to them being perceived as one of the most severe environmental issues today. However, plastic waste streams have the potential to be a highly valuable resource, which if realized, would lead to a shift in the public’s opinion. This symposium will provide a platform to discuss the latest research in the field of plastics, plastic wastes, and plastic reuse/recycling. This holistic approach to the plastic problem will encompass feedstocks, design and production, end of life processing and recycling, and complementary process evaluation and policy. It will therefore highlight current developments and future opportunities which will be critical to the realization of a circular economy for plastic manufacture. The symposium will cover;

  • Sustainable feedstocks/monomers, life cycle assessment and policymaking
  • Polymers/composite materials and fibers designed for recyclability
  • Waste stream separation, including automation
  • Chemical (including catalytic and enzymatic) and mechanical depolymerization and decomposition
Sustainable Chemical End-of-Life Management to Advance the Circular Economy

Organizers: Gerardo Ruiz-Mercado, Ph.D. Chemical Engineer. Office of Research & Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA); Lindsay Soh, PhDAssociate Professor, Kate and Walter A. Scott ’59 Scholar in Engineering Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Lafayette College

One important but often overlooked part of a circular economy is the role of chemicals and their supply chains, particularly those that are hazardous or used in large volumes. Increasing the recycling, recovery, and reuse rates of these materials will allow for the mitigation or elimination impacts such as environmental pollution and exhaustion of our planet resources. This symposium seeks to highlight novel green chemistry and engineering developments within regulatory, technical, logistics, and economic areas that seek to address chemical end-of-life (EoL). These efforts include creating, adapting, and designing technologies processes, and supply chains to enhance recycling, recovery, and/or minimizing environmental and human health risks of chemicals at EoL. Also, efforts to fill current data pertaining to the releases and environmental impacts of chemicals at EoL will be prioritized. Finally, the symposium seeks developments on identifying current and potential links between industry sectors at the EoL stage (e.g., recycling and recovery facilities) and industry sectors at upstream chemical life cycle stages (e.g., manufacturing). From the circular economy point of view, this industry sector linkage may be beneficial to close the recycling loop, considering potential risks and regulatory constraints.

Sustainable Manufacturing Powered by Synthetic Biology

Organizers: Lisa A. Anderson, Scientist II, Screening and Analytics, Amyris, Inc., Emeryville, CA; Paul Hill, Vice President, Process Development and Engineering, Amyris, Inc., Emeryville, CA; Manuela Pintado, Associate Professor, Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Porto, Portugal

Chemical products are critical components of consumer goods and are found in everything from automobiles to plastics to electronics. In the past 10 years, fermentation-based production of bioproducts has skyrocketed largely driven by the demand for sustainable products in the fuels, food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and flavors and fragrance markets.

The increase in the breadth of targets has been driven by breakthroughs in metabolic engineering, microbial strain construction, analytics, data science, automation, and process development, thus enabling cost-effective production1. Sustainability improvements touch all parts of the R&D to scale-up pipeline. Compared to the petrochemical derivation, chemicals derived from fermentation are in many ways more sustainable – this is backed up by carbon accounting. That said, for a more circular economy, there are opportunities to better understand the sustainability of other aspects of the production process, including raw materials/feedstock processing, downstream processing, and supply chain logistics.

This symposium will bring together experts in the below areas that incorporate sustainability practices in the theme of circular economy for fermentation-based products:

  • Microbial production of small molecules, polymers, proteins
  • Methods of fermentation, process development, manufacturing, distribution
  • Applications in the scale up of pharmaceuticals, fuels, cosmetics, flavors, fragrances, textiles, materials, and ingredients
  • Next generation integrated biorefineries for sustainable biomanufacturingUtilization of fermentation by-products

This symposium well-aligns with the mission of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and the 2021 conference theme of Sustainable Production to Advance the Circular Economy. The presentations and discussions will highlight what it means to do clean and sustainable fermentation and manufacturing and where we need to go to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production. Science- and synthetic biology- based consumer goods are not just a trend – consumers are demanding for non-toxic and sustainably-derived products for better health and for a better planet. This is the future.

To showcase the technical and implications, some presenters will share in-depth analysis of research or products while others will focus on real world applications and future innovation. To promote an interactive environment, the session will culminate with a panel discussion from invited speakers.

Gaps to be addressed and highlighted in the symposium:

  • Clean Fermentation – fermentation production can create products in a carbon neutral or negative way. What is missed in the carbon footprint accounting?
  • Clean Manufacturing – how can principles from clean manufacturing bring along other industries to realize a more sustainable society? According to a report from the US DOE, the chemical sector is the largest consumer of primary energy in US manufacturing as manufacturing is complex and energy intensive2. In 2006, the chemicals sector used 4,513 trillion BTU of primary energy which resulted in 275 MMT CO2e emissions. What are the tradeoffs in scaling up? How do the product to product requirements for subsequent purification vary and thus impact carbon neutrality?
  • Integrated Biorefineries – from cradle-to-cradle or cradle-to-grave, how is waste handled?
  • Responsibility & Globalization – what can we learn from different regulatory and manufacturing processes from across the world. What standards and certifications will help met the UN Sustainable Development Goal on responsible consumption and production to drive sustainable manufacturing?
Sustainable Production and Circularity in the Electronics Supply Chain

Organizers: Michael Kirschner; Leo Kenny, PhD; Holly Elwood

Invited and open call for oral presentations on green and sustainable chemistry focused on the production phase of semiconductors and electronic component/systems.

Sustainable Production of Biobased Polymers

Organizers: Melissa Gordon; Assistant Professor; Lafayette College, Easton, PA; Lindsay Soh; Associate Professor; Lafayette College, Easton, PA; Joseph Stanzione; Associate Professor; Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

This symposium will highlight the contributions made towards fundamentally understanding, developing, and commercializing biobased polymers via sustainable production processes as well as identify challenges to overcome. Presentations will address various challenges in this field by: (1) designing complex polymers and polymer composites from a combination of biobased monomers and other biomass constituents, (2) understanding the fundamental processing-structure-property-toxicity relationships of the chemicals, monomers, and resins utilized to produce biobased polymers and polymer composites, (3) applying the principles of green chemistry and engineering towards biobased polymer production as effectively and economically as possible and (4) conducting quantitative techno-economic and life-cycle assessments of biobased polymers and polymer composites. Presenters will participate in a panel to share their perspectives on the growth, challenges, and potential of the field at the conclusion of the session.

Symposium in Memory of Dr. Nina McClelland

Organizer: Mark R. Mason, Professor, University of Toledo

This symposium will honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Nina McClelland and her impact on green chemistry, green engineering, and water quality in her roles as president and CEO of NSF International, Chair of the Board of the American Chemical Society, and a member of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Advisory Board. Symposium speakers will be invited friends and colleagues from academia, industry, and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute.

The Circular Economy in Action: Industrial Ecosystems Implementing Circularity at Commercial Scale

Organizers: Arlan Peters, Novozymes; Tom Burns, Novozymes

A growing number of scientists, policy makers, designers and corporations recognize that in order to have more sustainable production and consumption, we need to move from conventional linear systems of “take, make, waste” to a circular system of production and consumption.

Discussions about circular economy can seem abstract and disconnected from current reality or refer to examples that have limited scale and impact. There are however many examples of industrial ecosystems, developed over decades and operating at commercial scale that are currently realizing significant benefits for the environment and society. These systems can be centrally planned or develop organically. They optimize biological and technical nutrients and provide numerous examples of how chemistry and engineering can be applied to utilize waste streams from one entity as feedstocks for another.

In this symposium we will delve into the details of these examples starting with Kalundborg, Denmark, one of the most developed industrial ecosystems in the world. Through a spectrum of speaker presentations, we will explore the history, details of the partnerships, results, learnings, and future plans of the Kalundborg Industrial Symbiosis. We will survey other large-scale models of industrial symbiosis, looking for similarities and differences in origins and management. We will examine how elements of ecosystem thinking are being implemented via nascent bilateral and multilateral agreements between companies and what challenges may exist in a B2B vs B2C context.

Attendees to this symposium will gain a better understanding of existing industrial ecosystems and a better sense of how these models can be replicated and expanded to create more circular and sustainable production.

The PFAS-Free Future: Greener Solutions for a Circular Economy

Organizers: Thomas A. McKeag, Executive Director, Berkeley Center for GC, College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Kimberly Hazard, PhD candidate, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

This session will highlight opportunities and constraints for greener alternatives to poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in product and material design, manufacturing, use and disposal/reuse. Presenters may comprise representatives of government, academia, business or non-for-profit organizations.

Towards Sustainable and Complete Life Cycle Processes in Industry

Organizers: Se Ryeon Lee, Energy Research Team Leader, PPG, Allison Park, PA; Kristin Nuzzio, Formulation Sciences Group Leader, PPG, Allison Park, PA; Chad Landis, Formulation Sciences Research Associate, PPG, Allison Park, PA

This session aims to highlight the successes and challenges of implementing closed loop systems within industrial manufacturing applications. “Closing the loop” in product manufacturing and commercialization requires innovation in many areas, from sustainable raw material sourcing and efficient manufacturing and/or application processes, to disposal and/or adaptation of recycled materials into another product cycle. Examples of efficient and sustainable material sourcing and manufacturing could include energy savings, water reduction, solvent reduction, and lowering CO2 emissions. Examples can also include processes to recycle or repurpose end of lifecycle products.

Toxicology for Chemists: Preparing Chemists to Design More Sustainable Products Through Smarter Molecular Design

Organizer: Amy S. Cannon and Nimrat Obhi, Beyond Benign

A key sustainability challenge today remains that molecular designers (chemists) are not trained how to address hazards at the very beginning, design stage of a product lifecycle. Chemists lack training in toxicology and the understanding of what makes a molecule hazardous to human health and the environment. Beyond Benign, a non-profit dedicated to Green Chemistry education, has launched a new curriculum project – Toxicology for Chemists – that is aiming to address this knowledge gap. The project involves the development of curriculum and resources that support current and future chemists to better understand molecular hazard and how to include the information within their design criteria as molecular designers. A suite of curriculum materials and on-line resources are being created that will remain open access for instructors, students and scientists to design chemical products that are safer and healthier for humans and the environment. The curriculum units are designed in modular format to allow for the flexible implementation of the content in multiple courses and formats.

The goal of this interactive workshop is to provide a space for chemistry educators to discuss incorporating toxicology principles into their curricula. In addition, participants will be provided with the support, knowledge, and resources necessary to begin this implementation. Beyond Benign and faculty experts have designed a Toxicology for Chemists curriculum that comprises several modules, aimed at weaving together toxicological and chemistry learning outcomes for holistic green chemistry knowledge.

In the first part of the workshop, Marie Bourgeois (University of South Florida) and Nimrat Obhi (Beyond Benign) will introduce the modules. Julian Silverman (Manhattan College), Douglas Raynie (South Dakota State University), and Barb Morra (University of Toronto) will provide examples of how to integrate the modules into existing chemistry curricula.

In the second part of the workshop, participants are invited to engage with the speakers in an interactive discussion. The conversation will be driven by participants’ needs, and will center around the logistics of actively including and integrating toxicology principles into chemistry curricula. Continued support and opportunities beyond this workshop will be made available for participants through pilot testing the Toxicology for Chemists modules.

Toxicology for Chemists: Preparing Chemists to design more sustainable products through smarter molecular design workshop

Toxicology for Chemists: Preparing Chemists to design more sustainable products through smarter molecular design workshop.

Undergraduate Context Session

Organizers: Reuben Hudson; Julian Silverman

This session offers the opportunity for undergraduate students to contextualize their conference experience by direct engagement with a broad-topic panel discussion. Panelists will kick off the session with short talks designed to provide background and perspective in hopes of addressing general questions that students have gathered throughout the conference. This session is designed to provide a space for undergraduate students (or anyone else) to debrief their conference experience by interfacing with researchers from disciplines spanning catalysis, biomass conversion, systems thinking, solid phase chemistry, and more.

Using Computers to Deliver Green Chemistry: In Silico Techniques for Designing and Developing Chemical Reactions

Organizers: Jared L. Piper, Director of Process Chemistry, Pfizer, Groton, CT; Jason M. Stevens, Senior Research Investigator II, Bristol Myers Squibb, Summit, NJ

Cosponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

Many tools are being created that augment human decision making and focus on large sets of data to determine trends. These techniques have the potential to minimize the number of experiments to arrive at an ideal synthesis, hypothesis, or process. In addition, models and in silico techniques can probe hypothetical situations that could prove challenging to set-up in a laboratory due to cost or safety considerations. Papers describing recent advances in computer-assisted chemistry methods are encouraged.

Receive Updates & News About the Conference

The American Chemical society respects your privacy. ACS utilizes your information to contact you regarding services, news, and opportunities. At any time, you may unsubscribe from any communications. For more information, see the ACS privacy policy.