Green Chemistry awardees 2010

Also forgot to post this from last week!

Congratulations to Dow Chemical, BASF, Merck, Codexis and LS9 for winning this year’s Presidential Green Chemistry awards given by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)!

Dow and BASF won EPA’s Greener Synthetic Pathways Award for their joint development of Hydrogen Peroxide to Propylene Oxide (HPPO) process. The HPPO process is said to be more economical and has environmental benefits when compared to conventional propylene oxide process technologies.

The new HPPO process reduces wastewater by 70% to 80% and energy use by approximately 35%. There are no by-products produced besides water and PO plants using the HPPO technology require up to 25% less capital to build than conventional technologies.

Both Merck and Codexis received the Greener Reaction Conditions Award for their second-generation green synthesis of sitagliptin, the active ingredient in Januvia, a treatment for type 2 diabetes. The collaboration has lead to an enzymatic process that reduces waste, improves yield and safety, and eliminates the need for a metal catalyst. Early research suggests that the new biocatalysts will be useful in manufacturing other drugs as well.

LS9, meanwhile, won the Small Business Award for successfully scaling up its technology to produce UltraClean diesel at the pilot-plant level. LS9 has developed a platform technology to produce a wide variety of advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals cost-effectively by a simple, efficient, one-step fermentation process.

LS9 is actively developing the technology for the production of alkanes (diesel, jet fuel, gasoline), alcohols (surfactants), esters (biodiesel, chemical intermediates), olefins (lubricants, polymers), aldehydes (insulation, resins), and fatty acids (soaps, chemical intermediates). Specific product performance is enabled through the genetic control of each product’s chain length, extent of saturation, and degree of branching. Unlike the competing biofuel processes, LS9′s process does not require any metal catalysts.

Another awardee that are now in my radar is Clarke, a global environmental products and services company, who won the Designing Greener Chemicals Award. Clarke has developed a way to encapsulate spinosad in a plaster matrix, allowing it to be released slowly in water and provide effective control of mosquito larvae. This pesticide, NatularTM, replaces organophosphates and other traditional, toxic pesticides and is approved for use in certified organic farming.

3 Responses to Green Chemistry awardees 2010

  1. Donna Smith 6 July, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    I’m a lowly chemical engineer, not a research chemist, but even I know that one cannot create propylene oxide from hydrogen peroxide – since there is no carbon in H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide), and there are three in CH3CHCH2O (propylene oxide). Either the article is incorrect or incomplete in describing the process, or someone is selling snake oil here.

  2. Andrea Taylor 8 July, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    @Donna Smith, no snake oil here, they have been utilizing the HPPO (hydrogen-peroxide-to-propylene-oxide) process at BASF’s Antwerp, Belgium site for about two years now. In the new process, hydrogen peroxide is used to oxidize proplyene, producing only proplyene oxide and water.

  3. Aeric Arreguin 9 July, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    The article is incomplete in describing the process. Traditionally, four commercial-scale PO processes have been used globally, the chlorohydrin (CHPO) route and three hydroperoxidation processes: propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA), styrene monomer/propylene oxide (SMPO) and cumene hydroperoxide (CPO).

    In the HPPO process developed by Dow and BASF, the organic peroxides or chlorinated oxidants used in the hydroperoxidation processes are replaced by hydrogen peroxide – a clean, versatile, environmentally benign oxidant. The reaction of H2O2 with propylene produces only water as a co-product, as well as minor amounts of PO derivatives, such as propylene glycol.

    The key to the HPPO process is the patented catalyst – a shaped body titanium-containing MFI-type zeolite with channels of about 0.5 nm in dia., which was developed and is produced by BASF. The catalyst is used in a fixed-bed reactor, and the reaction of H2O2 and C3H6 takes place in the liquid phase (methanol as solvent) under mild conditions. A patented reaction sequence with a main and finishing reactor and an intermediate separation tower allows high H2O2 conversion at high selectivity by preventing PO-consuming reactions that lead to the formation of by-products.

    In 2008, Dow and BASF successfully started up the first commercial-scale PO production plant with a capacity of 300,000 m.t./yr based on the BASF/Dow-developed HPPO technology at BASF’s Antwerp, Belgium, facility. In fact, they won the 2009 Kirkpatrick Chemical Engineering Achievement Award that recognizes the most noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized anywhere in the world during 2007 or 2008 (it is a biennial prize).

    Probably more than one wanted to know, but from one chemical engineer to another.

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