Twenty-seventh Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Accelerating Development of Sustainable Products and Processes through Start-Ups and SMEs

Session Organizers: Paul Thornton, Technology Development Manager, GreenCentre Canada; Laura Reyes, Career Development Leader, Chemical Institute of Canada

Entrepreneurship in chemistry offers the opportunity to bring new sustainable products and processes to the marketplace. Start-up companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have some advantages over larger corporations when it comes to creating and marketing a product or technology (e.g. greater agility in a rapidly changing market, narrower focus on a single product or market, etc.). However, entrepreneurship also presents many diverse challenges and risks to stakeholders.

This symposium, through a mix of invited and contributed talks as well as an interactive component, aims to discuss the various stages of commercialization for green chemistry technologies. Entrepreneurial leaders and stakeholders of chemistry-based start-ups and SMEs will provide their perspectives on the challenges, opportunities, and rewards that arise in advancing sustainable chemistry products and processes. Speakers will come from diverse backgrounds contributing to entrepreneurship and commercialization, such as company founders, intellectual property lawyers and patent specialists, and venture capitalists and funding experts.

Abstract submissions are encouraged from anyone involved in the commercialization of chemistry, academics and business professionals alike. Topics covered by talks may include but are not limited to:

  • Technical challenges and solutions (performance validation, product testing, process scale-up, manufacturing)
  • Funding (securing investment, leveraging grants)
  • Team and leadership (business leadership and advisors, non-technical skills required, collaborations and partnerships)
  • Intellectual property (protecting technologies with patents or trade secrets)
  • Value proposition, marketing, and pivoting (market validation, disruptive vs incremental technologies, risk mitigation, changes in company vision, marketing of “green” products)
  • Path to market and exit strategies (preparing a commercial launch, company vision and potential growth)

The interactive component of this symposium will build on the invited and submitted talks, leveraging expertise of speakers and conference participants, leading to an exchange of ideas and approaches that will highlight what resources and solutions are available to the entrepreneur with a sustainable technology who aims to succeed in the rapidly changing chemical enterprise.

Real-World Sustainability Challenges: Incentives and Barriers to the Use of Green Chemistry in Products

Session Organizers: Anthony Noce, Vice President, EHS Management Systems, Tetra Tech; Lauren Heine, Ph.D., Executive Director, Northwest Green Chemistry

Many chemists are inspired to use their skills to address real world challenges to human health and sustainability. To work on basic and/or applied research challenges that are linked to such challenges is very different from bringing products to the marketplace that actually become sufficiently successful to provide the desired benefits. The benefits may be novel or they may be designed to replace other products because of their impacts on natural resources, due to the generation or use of toxic substances, or because they generate poorly managed waste in a linear “take, make, waste” system of industrial production.

In this session, we will explore both the drivers and barriers for new green chemistry and engineering technology development in products, as well as strategies to enhance the drivers while overcoming the barriers. Drivers are diverse and may or may not be in alignment. Examples include environmentally preferable procurement, regulation, research support, scale up support, voluntary supply chain initiatives, technical standards and/or ecolabels, awards and prizes, preferential government purchasing, and so much more. In contrast, there are many obstacles, including lack of funding, lack of access to entrepreneurial or business expertise, limited market awareness, entrenched products with dominant market share, procurement experts with limited understanding of alternative technologies, standards that prefer older technologies driving incremental improvements rather than real innovation, regulatory requirements, lack of access to scale up resources, cultural inertia, and more.

Providing Guidance for a Wide Distribution and Implementation of Green Chemistry to Developing Countries and Economies in Transition (Invited Presenters Only)

Session Organizers: Paul Anastas, Yale University, Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering; Karolina Mellor, Yale University, Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering; Philip Coish, Yale University, Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering

Sustainable design has touched virtually all sectors of society and industry ranging from agriculture to energy to building materials to pharmaceuticals and personal care products and cleaners. Unfortunately, these accomplishments have taken place largely in the industrialized nations of the world. There are only nascent efforts to advance Green Chemistry in a small number of developing and transitioning countries and the lack of awareness of the mechanisms to ensure a broad-based adoption of Green Chemistry is evident. The Center for Green Chemistry & Engineering at Yale has entered into a 3-year collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development Organization [UNIDO] to raise awareness on Green Chemistry and build capacity on approaches to reduce the generation and use of hazardous chemicals throughout the industrial life cycle in developing countries. This session will allow workshop participants to learn about the Yale-UNIDO initiative, and critically, engage in a discussion of the approaches and strategies of the Yale-UNIDO initiative for the dissemination of the Principles of Green Chemistry to a wide range of stakeholders who wish to pursue sustainable development within their countries. In addition, the workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas on how to implement green chemistry in developing and transitioning countries, and will hopefully inspire participants to engage in the global dissemination of green chemistry principles in an effort to create economic, environmental, and societal benefits. Finally, the session will also engage students by presenting an award for the best video which will be used for green chemistry dissemination purposes.

Bidirectional Communication in the Electronics Supply Chain to Drive Green Chemistry

Session Organizers: Michael Kirschner, President, Design Chain Associates, LLC; Leo Kenny, President, PLANET SINGULAR

The products of the electronics industry are rarely developed with the application of green chemistry principles, but the amount of chemistry that goes into a given product is, of course, enormous. While the vast majority of chemical innovation occurs far upstream of the brand of the product on the shelf, the demand and enforcement of green chemistry ideals in the form of product material content requirements occurs at the finished good level. The awareness of chemical substances actually used in their product – and available options –at the brand level is generally quite limited. The general lack of chemistry and chemical engineering expertise in the downstream electronics industry means finished goods manufacturers and brand owners are simply unprepared to know when and where green chemistry can and should be driven back upstream. Only the largest manufacturers have resources (often quite limited) to address these issues, while everyone else simply ignores them due to lack of resources and expertise.

Given the severe challenges and impacts in many lifecycle stages including manufacturing, use and end-of-life, as well as the opportunities presented, existing systems and approaches to improve awareness are clearly inadequate to address these issues. In this symposium we will explore the value of strategies and tools that can enable more effective decision making about materials selection choices across the technology life cycle. These include technology roadmap planning, systems engineering, standards development, business processes and proactive approaches (such as “Design for Environment”, or DfE). The value to manufacturers, will be to get the information they need as well as examples of how they can use that information to drive the application of green chemistry to improve the environmental and human-health performance of their products during all phases of the product lifecycle. Moreover, with a proactive, holistic strategy across the lifecycle we can also apply alternative assessment to enable a “greener” selection of materials replacements when needed.

Our goal is to start by focusing on how to get the information needed by the brand owners from their upstream suppliers so they can begin the process of identifying opportunities and prioritizing them. We will present examples of how this works in real life, as well as areas for improvement, including related Grand Challenges to the electronics industry. We will further demonstrate how to think about green chemistry in the supply chain and how and why to bring it into downstream manufacturing companies.

Manufacturers in or along the supply chain of the electronics industry (especially in the semiconductor industry, where materials and equipment design and selection have greater impact downstream), are welcome to submit abstracts. Particular preference will be given to compelling success or failure stories in any of these areas, especially examples where green chemistry concepts have been implemented in manufacturing process or product content.

Biobased Chemicals: Beyond Drop-In Replacements (Invited Presenters Only)

Session Organizers: Nicole Fitzgerald, Technology Manager, Bioenergy Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy; Jeffrey Cafmeyer, Senior Research Scientist, Battelle

For biobased chemicals to successfully move beyond the drop-in replacement model, discovery and utilization of the inherent properties of biomass is necessary.  For the most effective implementation, a new understanding or expanded set of structure-property relationships representing these complex structures would be desirable to predict and tailor properties.  In practicality, however, discovery of a unique feature or slight property improvement may be all that is necessary to provide a compelling differentiation from an incumbent product. Researchers, both academic and industrial, wrestle with the challenges to identify these features and commercialize novel biobased chemicals. This symposium will focus on the challenge of identifying novel, biobased chemicals from multiple perspectives, including academic, national lab, and industrial researchers.

Green Design in the Pharmaceutical Industry: From Discovery to Commercial Processes

Session Organizer: Juan Colberg, Green Chemistry Program Leader and Senior Director, API Technology, Pfizer

The pharmaceutical industry is under continuous pressure to discover, develop and commercialize new life-saving drugs for patients, mostly under accelerated timelines. In addition, customers and stakeholders are demanding more and more the use of greener and environmentally sustainable processes to manufacture these products. These two approaches are not opposed to each other but very much aligned, and Green Chemistry is a venue to connect both.

This Symposium will feature speakers who are active in developing and using novel green technologies across all stages of drug discovery and development to help achieve these to important goals. Presenters will include researchers from both, academia and industry.

Developing Products for a More Sustainable Future (Invited Presenters Only)

Session Organizers: Kristina M. Knesting, SC Johnson; Kaj Johnson, Method/Ecover

Formulating high performance consumer products using green chemistry approaches requires the development of innovative, effective constituents that possess reduced toxicity, the potential for ready degradability after use, no potential for bioaccumulation, and an overall increased sustainability profile. This session is intended to provide a forum to share case studies and success stories of how green chemistry approaches resulted in the commercialization of more sustainable ingredients used in formulated products.

A few of the ideas to be addressed include:

  • Descriptions of raw material innovations and how these are formulated into products
  • Compelling examples of creating value through innovation that enables you to bring sustainability performance along with it
  • Examples of how trends in ingredient disclosure, e.g., P&G and Unilever fragrances, is driving product development
  • Examples of how life cycle thinking can be used in product development to enhance positive benefits passed on to consumers
  • Examples of how changing regulations in the EU and other countries chemicals legislation worldwide positively influences product formulation choices

Innovation for Bio-based and Renewable Chemicals (Invited Presenters Only)

Session Organizer: David J. C. Constable, Science Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®; Amit Sehgal, Solvay

This symposium will create a dialog about molecules that have been targeted for further market development. At issue is the development of bio-based and renewable chemicals of known and significant EHS hazards (i.e., butadiene, isoprene, p-xylene) vs. the development of bio-based and renewable chemicals with significantly better EHS hazard profiles. Some of the areas to be discussed include:

  • Compelling examples of creating value through innovation that enables you to bring sustainability performance along with it.
  • Examples of how life cycle thinking can be used in chemical development to enhance positive benefits passed on to businesses and consumers.
  • Where is the bio-refinery in terms of its development/delivery?
  • Implications of using oxygenated molecules as are routinely found in nature as building blocks vs. the use of reduced molecules
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