Twenty-seventh Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Author: Updates

Incorporating Sustainable Components into Existing Manufacturing Systems

Symposium Organizers: Chad Landis, Research Associate, PPG; Kristin Nuzzio, Group Leader, PPG, and; Se Ryeon Lee, Group Leader, PPG

This session aims to showcase the implementation and challenges of realizing sustainable components into existing industrial manufacturing systems. There is a strong pull from consumers as well as governments to implement sustainable materials and processes into manufacturing. This is not as simple as substituting sustainable raw materials or changing to more energy effective processes. Thorough understanding of risks in changing industrial processes need to be understood, including the use of sustainable raw materials on product specifications and potential disruptions due to changes in the supply chain. Also of interest is determining effects of sustainable raw material changes on life cycle analysis and any potential new or future regulatory risks.

Examples of implementing efficient and sustainable material sourcing and manufacturing in this session could demonstrate new material incorporation, cost-benefit analysis, and business cases for the implementation of the changes. Examples can also include risk assessments, supply chain robustness, consumer reception, and business cases for extracting value from improved processes. Presentations describing all or some aspects of implementing sustainability in the life cycle process are welcomed.

Sustainable Chemistry in Electronics

Symposium Organizers: Michael Kirschner, President, Design Chain Associates, LLC, and Leo T. Kenny, Founder and Principal Technologist, Planet Singular

The electronics industry and its supply chain continue to labor under government, environmental NGO, investor and customer pressure to reduce the presence of toxic substances in products and manufacturing processes. While the industry has generally had a degree of success replacing some of these substances, growing pressure and awareness of continued use of toxic and non-sustainable substances in parts and materials in electronic products, and in their manufacture, continues to raise concern and result in additional—and not always harmonized—regulation worldwide. Honed for efficiency and cost-effectiveness over decades, chemistry and toxicity has not been a focus area. Today it must be. The extraordinary potential and opportunities (maybe for a new Moore’s Law of toxicity reduction?) for creativity and improvement in this area result from the lack of optimization. This session will demonstrate the creativity and leadership up and down the electronics industry supply chain. Presentations on green chemistry in electronic products and throughout the electronics supply chain are welcome from academia, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, and industry are of interest for this session.

Harnessing the Power of Biocatalysis to Access the Molecules of Life

Symposium Organizers: Mengbin Chen, Senior Scientist, Merck & Co.; Brenden Derstine, Chemical Development, Neurocrine Biosciences; Kevin Maloney, Director, Merck & Co.

Co-Sponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

The pressing need to develop green and sustainable processes for pharmaceuticals and commodity chemicals requires unconventional approaches. Leveraging on their unparalleled chemo-, regio-, and stereoselectivity, biocatalysts are powerful tools to access pharmaceutically relevant molecules. The broad synthetic utility of enzymes is manifested in their capabilities to transform molecules of divergent sizes and structures, ranging from amino acids to proteins of tens of kilodaltons. These molecules can serve as building blocks for advanced Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) or trigger desired immune response. The session will cover how computational design and enzyme discovery accelerates the development of novel transformations. In addition, the session will highlight the emerging integration of biocatalysis with photocatalysis and electrocatalysis that capitalizes on the best of both worlds.

The Safety-Sustainability Continuum from University to Industry: What Industry Expects of New Ph.D. Chemistry Hires

Symposium Organizers: Marta Gmurczyk, Portfolio Manager, ACS Safety Programs; Kirck Hunter, 2021 Chair Committee on Chemical Safety, American Chemical Society

Co-Sponsor: ACS Office of Safety Programs

One of the most transformative and significant contributions to chemical safety education has been integrating the risk management concept into laboratory safety practices. The key American Chemical Society (ACS) recommendation has been that all laboratory activities should begin by identifying hazards and risks, considering the methods needed to control those risks, and preparing for emergencies. This seemingly simple concept has profoundly changed the way we think about safety in laboratory and outreach activities. A rigid, rule-based safety culture is being transformed into an empowering, risk-based safety culture. The result is that chemistry practitioners are engaged in critically considering and researching hazards and then implementing the most effective safety controls. In many cases, environmental sustainability and chemical safety and health are impacted by the same chemical hazards. Integrating risk-based safety into undergraduate education and risk management practices in graduate education will then serve as a starting point toward nurturing a commitment to the safe, ethical, responsible, and sustainable practice of chemistry and recognition of a responsibility to safeguard the health of the planet and the people who live on it through chemical stewardship. Most chemistry and chemical engineering graduate students are employed by industry. Industrial representatives have reported that as new hires come on board many companies spend weeks on remedial safety training before new hires can work in the laboratory. Industrial representatives are advocating for ACS to provide greater chemical safety preparation of Ph.D. graduates.

The proposed symposium will inform the ACS discussions focused on safety preparation of Ph.D. chemists for industrial careers and explore the following context:

  1. “Safe–Sustainability Continuum” where safety serves as a starting point toward commitment to sustainability.
  2. Specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA) related to safety and sustainability required to be successful in R&D industrial careers.
  3. Examples of programs effectively developing safety and sustainability knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Technological Innovations on the Design of New Refrigerants, Energy-Efficient Cooling Systems, and Refrigerant Recovery Processes

Symposium Organizers: Mark Shiflett, University of Kansas; Edward Maginn, University of Notre Dame; Ichiro Takeuchi, University of Maryland; David Vicic, Lehigh University; Haoran Sun, University of South Dakota, and; Ralf Kaiser, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Refrigeration and air-conditioning systems are widespread throughout modern society, from the refrigerated cold chain that provides fresh foods and storage of medicines to the air conditioning of homes and buildings. In 1987, the Montreal Protocol phased out chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants because of their high ozone depletion potential (ODP). The replacements, typically mixtures of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), are safe for the Earth’s ozone layer, but most have high global warming potentials (GWPs). HFCs account for 7.8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, with 63% of that from “indirect” emissions (i.e., energy for running the system). As a result, 197 countries signed the Kigali agreement in 2016 to phase out high-GWP HFCs and more recently the the AIM Act, which was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, directs EPA to phase down production and consumption of HFCs in the United States by 85 percent over the next 15 years. A global HFC phasedown is expected to avoid up to 0.5° Celsius of global warming by 2100. The symposium will focus on technological innovations for the design of new refrigerants, cooling technologies, and refrigerant recovery processes to shift the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) industry towards a more circular economy with lower environmental impact.

Chemo-Catalytic Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass into Marketable Products

Symposium Organizers: Mark Mascal, University of California Davis;

This symposium will focus on direct chemical and catalytic conversions of biomass into products that have a realistic path to market. The subject matter of these sessions will differentiate themselves from those that involve fermentative, biocatalytic, and thermochemical approaches to feedstock valorization. It will also emphasize alternatives to petroleum that contribute to sustainability in a practical way, i.e. the development of technologies and products that have real commercial potential and hence the capacity to displace meaningful volumes of petroleum. A mix of symposium speakers from industry, academe, the military, government, environmental advocacy groups, and sustainable technology outreach platforms will be included.

Careers in Green Chemistry and Engineering Designed for Sustainable Use

Symposium Organizers: Madushanka Mevan Dissanayake, Technology Development Engineer, Intel Corporation, Natalie O’Neil, Director of Higher Education, Beyond Benign, and Juliana Vidal, Postdoctoral Researcher, McGill University

This symposium aims to fulfill an unmet need for 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 would aim 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 would directly address students’ ubiquitous question of what career options are available to them, and how they might go about pursuing them. In addition, this careers-focused symposium would 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. We would also welcome anyone in established careers with a curiosity to learn about the career paths that their colleagues have pursued, or mentors to students seeking resources.

Innovations for Sustainable Computing and Infrastructure

Symposium Organizers: Bichlien H Nguyen, Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research; Jake A Smith, Senior Applied Scientist, Microsoft Research, and; Karin Strauss, Senior Principal Research Manager, Microsoft Research

In the past decade, there has been a tremendous amount of research and development directed towards building sustainable IT infrastructure. While early efforts focused primarily on procuring green electricity for datacenter sustainability, life cycle assessment approaches have revealed significant environmental debts from physical infrastructure accrued during end-of-life. Alternative materials engineered with end-of-life in mind for use in datacenter construction, energy storage, electronics development, and data storage are therefore of great interest to the IT community.

We aim to bring researchers and practitioners from the IT and materials worlds together to consider the issue of sustainable computing infrastructure on the system scale. The IT sector has substantial need for materials designed from square one to minimize life cycle footprint to meet industry leaders’ commitments to eliminate atmospheric carbon emissions, reduce water consumption and waste generation, and maintain healthy ecosystems. IT offers powerful capabilities but requires domain expertise to achieve substantive impacts. We invite collaborators across chemistry, biology, material science, computer science, and engineering disciplines to help us envision a future where computing and infrastructure are truly sustainable and develop the materials and methods to achieve it.

This symposium will create a dialog about the design of environmentally benign materials on the life cycle scale using the latest advances in chemistry and synthetic biology for incorporation into the IT industry. Closing the circle, it will generate discussion on the role advanced molecular modeling and simulations can play in accelerating the development of those green materials critical for a sustainable future.

New Technologies for Sustainable Oligonucleotide Manufacture

Symposium Organizer: Ben Andrews, Investigator, GSK
Co-Sponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

Oligonucleotides are gaining traction as a new therapeutic modality with 12 products approved for use and many more following on. However, these compounds face significant sustainability issues, the chief of which is the large amount of waste generated during manufacture (4300 kg waste per kg of drug substance produced). Several new technologies are in development to address these issues such as solution phase chemistry, P(V) chemistry, solvent recovery, enzyme catalysed synthesis and alternative purification techniques to name but a few. The aim of this session is to highlight some of the recent developments in these areas and the potential benefits they bring to oligonucleotide sustainability. We invite abstracts on the topic of improving oligonucleotide sustainability from interested parties in academia and industry.

System Design for Electrosynthesis of Renewable Fuels

Symposium Organizers: Anna Klinkova, Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo; Joseph Sabol, Chemical Consultant

Co-Sponsor: ACS Division of Small Chemical Businesses (SCHB)

Electrosynthesis of renewable fuels from abundant sources (e.g., water, air) and waste (e.g., CO2, wastewater) powered by sustainable electricity sources has been attracting increasing attention as one of the key technologies for combating energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century. Major research efforts have been focused on developing electrode materials and electrolytes for efficient and selective electrochemical transformations, such as CO2 reduction to synthesis gas, hydrocarbons and ethanol, water reduction to hydrogen gas, and nitrogen reduction to ammonia, which is becoming an emerging alternative fuel. However, systems approach to designing synergistic electrolyzers with overall net performance and input energy requirements that could accelerate (or justify, in some processes) their industrial implementation is currently less widespread.

Thinking in systems for these electrosynthesis technologies necessitates interdisciplinary efforts between chemistry, chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering, environmental science, and economics and policy. To this end, in the past few years international research efforts have led to shifting paradigms in designing electrolyzer devises, including co-electrolysis employing both electrodes of the cell in useful or complementary reactions, conceptually new cell configurations tailored to unusual combinations of materials, reactions and conditions, and decoupled electrolysis which enables cell operation with no membrane, thereby minimizing operational costs (including by minimizing reliance on technology-critical elements) and enabling scalability of the process. These research advancements resulted in new large-scale technology startups with promising implications for achieving sustainable development goals. Various advancements in electrosynthesis technologies have been facilitated by early stage technoeconomic and life cycle assessment approach for targeting products and process performance metrics from both perspectives of feasibility and environmental benefits associated with the technology transition. Further technological developments in this extremely important area will rely on combining complementary solutions capable of offsetting cost requirements greater than the sum of the parts and a feedback loop between multiple aspects of the system design efforts.

This symposium proposes to put these new developments in the spotlight and highlight the importance of system thinking in this particular domain of green chemistry and engineering research. Speakers are thought to highlight new conceptual approaches to scalable and sustainable electrolysis for fuel production beyond a single component (electrocatalyst, electrolyte, membrane, additive) development.

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