Metrics for the Closed-Loop Chemistry Enterprise

Organizer: David J. C. Constable, Science Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute, Washington, DC, USA

One of the major goals of green and sustainable chemistry is to promote the sustainable use of chemicals, the design and development of more efficient and less risky ways of effecting chemical transformations (new chemistries) and new chemical synthetic processes, and safer products.

In order to design more sustainable chemistries and synthetic routes, systematic, multivariate, and regular assessments of green and sustainable chemistry performance should be established throughout the development cycle of a new chemical or product. To do this, key green and sustainable chemistry measures must be agreed and tools to facilitate chemical, chemistry and process assessment must be developed.

Life cycle environmental impacts should also be included as part of a continuing assessment of any product and the process used to make them. The inclusion of life cycle metrics is especially important for supply chain management in light of the growing trend to outsource manufacturing and the desire to ensure that sustainability impacts are not exported outside of the company. Systems thinking and life cycle thinking are critical departure points for metrics that enable the circular economy.

This symposium intends to highlight approaches to systemically and systematically measuring, comparing and evaluating products and processes using key green and sustainable chemistry and engineering metrics. It will also explore the opportunities and challenges encountered in implementing green and sustainable chemistry and engineering concepts within a research and development framework and in the context of a circular economy.

Life Cycle Analysis of Conventional and Emerging Transportation Fuels and Chemicals

Organizers: Jennifer B. Dunn, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA; David T. Allen, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA

As new feedstocks and processes for conversion to liquid fuels emerge and evolve, the research community needs to be aware of them and life cycle analysis (LCA) techniques that evaluate their environmental effects relative to baseline petroleum fuels. This session will present new research in this area, covering developments in LCA methodology applied to emerging and existing transportation fuels and research results and conclusions that are research-and-development-guiding.

Two prominent examples of emerging and evolving fossil-fuel-based routes to transportation fuels are the conversion of natural gas liquids, which are co-produced along with shale gas, to transportation fuels and approaches to carbon capture and utilization-based production of liquid transportation fuels. In the first case, key LCA issues that the session could address are the upstream emissions associated with shale gas extraction which have been newly evaluated as well as examining processes that can convert natural gas liquids to transportation fuels. In the second case, LCA issues range from treatment of the waste gaseous carbon stream as either burden-free or burdened with a portion of upstream emissions, treatment of the system boundary for the carbon-capture-based system and a reference system. Indeed the reference system against which these emerging and developing technologies should be compared shifts with characterization of petroleum produced from fields world-wide, how these petroleum sources are incorporated into refineries including shares from different sources, and with the influence of regulation.

Transportation fuel LCA remains a critical topic as the production and use of transportation fuels are a significant contributor to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. This session will enable attendees of the Green Chemistry and Engineering conference to stay abreast of the latest research techniques and conclusions.