The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the winners of the 2022 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation and use of hazardous substances. This year’s winners reportedly developed new and innovative green chemistry technologies that provide solutions to significant environmental challenges and spur innovation and economic development. In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis, EPA added a new award category this year that recognizes technology that reduces or eliminates greenhouse gas emissions.
“Tackling environmental challenges like climate change and the disproportionate impact of pollution in communities with environmental justice concerns is going to take creative and innovation solutions – and sustainable, green chemistry is a critical part of that,” says EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator Jennie Romer in a press release from the agency. “Preventing waste, reducing energy use and avoiding hazardous chemicals, all of which we’re recognizing with our awards today, demonstrate the power and potential green chemistry has to protect human health and the environment while providing benefits to businesses and our economy.”
The 2022 winners are:
- Professor Song Lin of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, for developing a new, more efficient process to create large and complicated molecules that are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. The new technology avoids using hazardous materials and has the potential to reduce both energy use and wasteful byproducts.
- Merck, Rahway, New Jersey, for developing a greener way to make LAGEVRIO (molnupiravir), an antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Merck significantly improved the manufacturing process for this antiviral drug in a short time, producing ingredients more efficiently and greatly reducing solvent waste and energy use.
- Amgen, Thousand Oaks, California, for an improved manufacturing process for LUMAKRAS (sotorasib), a novel drug for the treatment of certain non-small cell lung cancers. Amgen’s innovation decreased manufacturing time, the amount of solvent waste generated and established a recycling process for a high-value waste stream.
- Provivi, Santa Monica, California, for creating ProviviFAW, a biological pheromone-based product that controls the fall armyworm, a destructive pest of corn. The product’s pheromone active ingredients are produced through innovative green chemistry using renewable plant oils. ProviviFAW can reduce the need for conventional pesticides, which can be harmful to beneficial insects, such as pollinators.
- Professor Mark Mascal of the University of California, Davis, California, in partnership with Origin Materials, for a technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by producing chemicals for making polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic from biomass rather than petroleum. This novel chemistry could have significant climate impacts by replacing fossil-based products with carbon-neutral, bio-based products, especially when the technology is scaled to an entire industry.
EPA recognized the winners during the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. Since 1996, EPA and the American Chemical Society, which co-sponsor the awards, have received more than 1,800 nominations and presented awards to 133 technologies that decrease hazardous chemicals and resources, reduce costs, protect public health and spur economic growth. Winning technologies are responsible for reducing the use or generation of nearly one billion pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving over 20 billion gallons of water and eliminating nearly eight billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents released to the air, according to the EPA.
An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2022 submissions and made recommendations to EPA for the 2022 winners.
For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/greenchemistry