Since 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn climate change and other environmental problems into innovative business opportunities.
Known as the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge, each year the EPA honors winners whose chemical technologies incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use. EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention sponsors the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® and other members of the chemical community including industry, trade associations, academic institutions, and other government agencies.
Biotechnology companies Verdezyne, Newlight Technologies, and Dow AgroSciences, LLC received awards in the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge for industrial biotechnology applications that produce carbon negative biobased products and sustainable agricultural practices.
Verdezyne of Carlsbad, California is being recognized for developing a yeast that produces a chemical used to make high performance nylon 6,12 for hairbrushes toothbrushes, adhesives, coatings, fragrances, and automotive and aviation oils. In addition to using a plant-based feedstock and having lower greenhouse gas emissions, this process is also safer because it does not use high temperatures or concentrated nitric acid.
Verdezyne’s proprietary method for producing renewable BIOLON™ DDDA has been successfully demonstrated on a larger scale, enabling the production of over 70,000 pounds thus far. The product has met all industry quality specifications and has also earned the USDA Certified Biobased product label. The company’s first commercial production facility is scheduled to open in 2017.
Newlight Technologies of Costa Mesa, California is being recognized for developing a plastic made from methane-based greenhouse gas. It is now used to make bags, cell phone cases, containers, furniture and other products, and has been adopted by Dell, Hewlett Packard, KI, Sprint, Virgin, the Body Shop and other companies. This plastic is net carbon negative. It is less expensive and has equal or greater performance than traditional petroleum-based plastic products. It is commercially successful, with contracts for almost 30 billion pounds of product and a 50 million pounds per year expansion plant that is already sold out.
Dow AgroSciences, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana is being recognized for developing and commercializing Instinct®, an additive that reduces fertilizer nitrate leaching ground and surface waters. It also reduces atmospheric nitrous oxide emissions. Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems. Reducing nutrient run-off from agricultural operations is a high priority for EPA. Retaining applied nitrogen longer in the plants’ root zones is optimal for crop utilization and yield, and for reducing run-off. In 2014 alone, the Dow AgroSciences technology added about 50 million bushels of additional corn – equating to about $205,500,000 additional production revenue for U.S. corn growers – and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by about 664,000 metric tons.
The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards have been issued by the Environmental Protection Agency each year since 1996. Of the 109 annual awards given, 40 have been given to biotechnology and biobased applications. For more information, visit BIO.org