Twenty-seventh Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Data-Driven Insights and Collaboration for Further Adoption of Green and Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering Practices

Symposium Organizers: Stephen DeVito, Branch Chief, Data Analysis and Dissemination Branch, Data Gathering and Analysis Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Charlie Snyder, Environmental Protection Specialist, Data Analysis and Dissemination Branch, Data Gathering and Analysis Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Many industries are implementing product design practices that minimize negative environmental, economic, and societal impacts during the production, use, and decommissioning of products. There remains, however, profound and unrealized opportunities at the local, regional, and national level to identify, develop, and adopt these practices. These opportunities to advance sustainable production and circular economy are intrinsically cross-disciplinary. This session is intended to bring together experts from government, academia, industry and nonprofit organizations who can provide insight on success stories, barriers impeding implementation, and resources and strategies to further green/sustainable chemistry and engineering practices, and sustainable design and production of products.

The organizers encourage submission of abstracts for oral presentation in any of the following areas:

  1. Examples of successful substitution in products or green chemistry implementation in sectors, particularly through the use of analytical tools or data-driven approaches;
  2. Chemical selection strategies or tools that consider a variety of sustainable design goals (e.g., sustainable plastics work) and non-technical drivers and barriers in designing from a value chain perspective;
  3. Engineering challenges and barriers to designing products for sustainability or implementing green chemistry in manufacturing;
  4. Sustainable production practices within disadvantaged communities;
  5. Methods to amplify outreach about the above.

The session will conclude with a panel discussion focused on strategies (e.g., communication/feedback mechanisms/analytical tools) developed or needed to overcome value chain barriers and strategies for ensuring sustainable practices at each production stage. Speakers will also provide recommendations for how to systematically translate knowledge from academia to business; how to expand shared knowledge base; and how best practices could be more widely incorporated globally.

Chemical Methods for the Upcycling of Waste Plastics

Symposium Organizers: James Dorman, Associate Professor, LSU, and Francisco Hung, Associate Professor, Northeastern University

Over the past few years there have been significant advances in the breakdown of plastic waste into commercial materials without cracking/pyrolysis processing. This session will focus on the upcycling of waste plastics for the production of value-added products. Specifically, this session will focus on a comparison between traditional (thermal) and non-traditional (mechanical, electrochemical, electromagnetic, etc.) routes to depolymerize waste plastics. Additionally, this session will include theoretical aspects with highlight polymer degradation mechanisms and the polymer-catalyst dynamics.

Advancing Sustainable Processes in Pharma and Allied Industries Utilizing Green Chemistry and Engineering Innovations

Symposium Organizers: Isamir Martinez, Scientific Alliances & Business Engagement Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute; Louis Diorazio, Senior Principal Scientist, Chemical Development, Pharmaceutical Technology & Development, Operations, AstraZeneca, and; Philippa Payne, Sr. Research Scientist I, Gilead Sciences

Co-Sponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable (ACS GCIPR), has been a global leading voice for green chemistry and engineering by influencing the research agenda, bridging the gap between academics and industry, enabling better decisions about chemical selection process design, and inspiring and educating future leaders to impact the design of systems for sustainable use.

In this symposium, we will highlight:

  • The award symposium for the Peter J. Dunn Award for Green Chemistry & Engineering Impact in the Pharmaceutical Industry and the CMO Excellence in Green Chemistry Award. Announcements of the recipients and their presentations highlighting their green chemistry innovations will be given.
  • Industrial case studies demonstrating the use of green chemistry tools in both 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.
  • Novel innovations that have been developed with support from the ACS GCIPR grants program.

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.

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.

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.

Solvent Selection to Enable Holistic Process Design

Symposium Organizer: Alan Steven, Senior Principal Scientist, CatSci

Co-Sponsor: ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable

Whilst the most sustainable solvent is the solvent that is not used, the use of a solvating medium is typically necessary as part of chemical processing. Savvy solvent choice offers the biggest opportunity to reduce the amount of waste generated by chemical processing and to contribute to Net Zero ambitions. Working backwards from the target attributes of a manufacturing process offers the opportunity to choose the solvent or solvents that work best in a holistic sense. The symposium will feature a mixture of submitted and invited talks to examine how solvent selection can empower holistic process design. For submitted talks, the organizers are particularly interested in:

  • Stories where the impact on the overall manufacturing profile of a product, rather than the performance in any one operation, influences the choice of solvent
  • Sharing data-rich approaches to selecting solvents
  • Raising awareness of the risks and opportunities associated with solvents with respect to equipment cleaning and solvent disposal
  • Highlighting where the use of solvent mixtures and engineering solutions can bring advantages.

We hope to attract contributions from pharmaceutical, agrochemical, flavors and fragrances, fine and specialty chemicals, metal processing, pigments and other industries. We also aim to schedule a panel discussion with thought leaders on the subject. Attendees will leave the session with an improved appreciation of opportunities to streamline solvent use across an entire manufacturing process without compromising product quality, tools that can help with solvent selection, and where challenges remain.

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