The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge awards have been presented annually since 1996 to recognize businesses and individuals who have discovered innovative ways to significantly reduce pollution at its sources. Nominations for the awards are judged by an independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, on behalf of a group of stakeholders from government, industry, academia and the non-profit sector.
This year's winners have developed innovative processes that solve problems in the pharmaceutical, semiconductor, agriculture and construction industries -- some with the potential to improve earnings as well as the environment.
The 2002 award recipients and their achievements follow:
Chemical Specialties, Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.) -- developed an arsenic-free preservative for wood used in outdoor playground equipment, decks, picnic tables and fences. More than 95 percent of the 7 billion board feet of pressure-treated wood used each year is preserved with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), which contains arsenic and hexavalent chromium -- both known carcinogens. Chemical Specialties, Inc. (CSI), has developed a formulation, called ACQ Preserve®, made from recycled copper scrap, that is as effective against fungi, termites and other pests as CCA-treated wood but without hazardous chemicals.
Cargill Dow LLC (Minnetonka, Minn.) -- developed a process to use renewable sources, namely corn, to manufacture an array of products traditionally made from petroleum, including clothing, food packaging and home furnishings. Cargill Dow uses carbon naturally stored in the corn -- which is extracted through fermentation and distillation -- to build its NatureWorks™ PLA products. Product performance and cost compare with conventional products and can be recycled or composted after use. The manufacturing process uses 20 to 50 percent less fossil fuel and generates 15 to 60 percent less greenhouse gases than conventional plastics.
Pfizer, Inc. (New York) -- improved the manufacturing process for Sertraline, the active ingredient in Zoloft®, the most prescribed anti-depression medication of its class. Pfizer's new process, which streamlines a three-step sequence into a single step, has improved worker safety, reduced energy and water use, eliminated more than 830 metric tons of chemicals and chemical waste annually, and doubled overall production.
SC Fluids, Inc. (Nashua, N.H.) -- developed a technology to improve the chemically intensive and environmentally wasteful process for making semiconductor "chips," which are found in everything from our cars, telephones, and microwave ovens to our televisions, stereos, and air conditioners. Semiconductor manufacturers use enormous amounts of hazardous chemicals and water (100,000 gallons of chemicals and 4 million gallons of wastewater daily) to define the shape and function of the chip's components. SC Fluids' new process, called SCORR, is more efficient and decreases the use of chemicals and wastewater by 95 to 99 percent.
Professor Eric Beckman (University of Pittsburgh, Pa.) -- developed new materials that can be used with CO2 to create an inexpensive, sustainable solvent. Used by industries and individuals for cleaning, degreasing, stripping and thinning, many solvents -- such as acetone, kerosene and naphtha -- can be hazardous and polluting.