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Chemical Society announces EPA awards for environmentally friendly technology

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized five research projects for creative chemistry that show promise for improving the environment. The award winners include scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Jeneil Biosurfactant Company, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Buckman Laboratories and Engelhard Corporation.

Since 1996, the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards have annually honored scientists who develop innovative chemistry to lower pollution. An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society judges the awards on behalf of stakeholders from government, industry, academia and the nonprofit sector.

The 2004 awards go to:

Charles A. Eckert, Ph.D., and Charles L. Liotta, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Ga.) By varying temperature and pressure, these researchers create tunable benign solvents from water and carbon dioxide (CO2), which host chemical reactions more cleanly and efficiently than typical solvents. The research team exploits the chemical properties of several solvents, including supercritical CO2, which is dense and compressible; nearcritical water with operating temperatures between 250-300 degrees Celsius; and CO2-expanded liquids, which can be easily separated. Each solvent offers unique advantages for chemistry-intensive industries, such as pharmaceuticals. Using very hot or nearcritical water, for instance, the researchers have catalyzed reactions without adding the usual base or acid catalysts and thus avoided the pounds of salt waste normally left over from such reactions.

Jeneil Biosurfactant Company (Saukville, Wis.) This small business developed a commercial process to cost-effectively produce rhamnolipid biosurfactants, which have applications in agriculture, cleaning and soil remediation. Surfactants reduce the surface tension of wa
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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society
29-Jun-2004


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