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‘Green’ chemistry award winners

| By Dorothy Lozowski

Now in its 27th year, the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards recognize and promote chemical technologies that reduce hazards to people and the environment by incorporating the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture and use. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA; Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS;, along with other members of the chemical community. Since 1996 there have been a total of 139 winners, including the following six outstanding achievements that are the recently announced 2023 winners (Source: EPA):

Greener Synthetic PathwaysSolugen ( was recognized for its novel bio-based manufacturing platform, Bioforge. This first-of-its-kind chemoenzymatic manufacturing process has three primary steps comprising a cell-free enzymatic reactor, a metal reactor and an evaporator, which uses mechanical vapor recompression technology powered by wind energy. The process is said to be able to handle complex syntheses such as those in fermentation, but is not limited to the conditions required by living microbes.

Greener Reaction Conditions — This award went to Captis Aire LLC ( for its patent-pending CAIRE technology that converts terpenes into useful products. Terpenes are a waste product from wood manufacturing processes that are typically burned for fuel value. The award-winning technology captures the terpenes and converts them into a useable form for further processing, such as for biofuels, flavors and fragrances. The process was successfully demonstrated at three commercial wood-product manufacturing facilities.

Design of Greener ChemicalsThe Clorox Company ( received this award for developing a disinfecting cleaner that can be used without personal protective equipment, does not bleach surfaces and contains no alcohol. Clorox EcoClean uses lactic acid as the active ingredient. The patented formula overcomes previous limitations in the use of lactic acid as a disinfectant.

Small Business — This award recognizes Modern Meadow ( for its textile dyeing process that is said to use 95% less water, 75% less energy and 80% fewer dyes and chemicals compared to traditional dyeing methods. The process, called Bio-FREED (Fast Resource Efficient Enhanced Dyeing) does not require a separate step to fix the dye and requires one or no washes at the end of the process, compared to 4–7 washes for traditional dyeing processes.

Academic Category — This honor was awarded to Professor Richard Laine from the University of Michigan ( for developing a method to process rice hull ash — ash that results from burning the agricultural waste material rice hulls — into spirosiloxane that can be used to produce products, such as lithium-ion conducting polymers with potential use in solid-state batteries.

Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate ChangeAir Company ( was recognized for its carbon dioxide removal technology that reacts CO2 captured from industrial plants with “green” hydrogen produced by electrolysis, to manufacture numerous products, including methanol, ethanol and other compounds for fuels.

More details about the award process and the winners can be found on the EPA’s website, as well as the individual company websites.■

Dorothy Lozowski, Editorial Director