Chemical Society announces EPA awards for environmentally friendly technologies

WASHINGTON, June 20 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will recognize six research projects today for creative chemistry that show promise for improving the environment. The award winners include scientists at Metabolix, Inc., BASF Corp., Archer Daniels Midland Company, Merck & Co., Inc., the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and Novozymes North America, Inc.

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. More than 50 awards have been presented over the past ten years.

The 2005 awards will be presented during ceremonies at the National Academies of Science:

Bacteria-based plastic process -- Researchers at Metabolix, Inc.,developed a remarkable process that uses bacteria to turn sugar and vegetable oil into plastic, and that consumes less fossil energy than traditional processes based on petroleum. Metabolix can precisely control proportions of building blocks the bacteria use to produce plastics from rigid to flexible. Although it's not the first process to coax microbes into making novel products -- most insulin for diabetics now comes from a human gene inserted into bacteria, for example -- but it may be the most ambitious. Simple as it may now sound, Metabolix with its 30 employees worked for 13 years to carry the concept to commercial reality. The company expects to start up a market-development plant later this year, aimed at industries that make plastic kitchenware, disposable items and packaging film. James Barber and Oliver Peoples of Metabolix, Inc., which is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., will accept the award.

Environmentally friendly auto paint A research team

Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society

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