On June 22, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored Eastman Chemical Company of Kingsport, Tenn., in Washington, D.C., as one of five winners nationally to receive the 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. For the 14th year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized chemical technologies developed by leading researchers and industrial innovators who are making significant contributions to pollution prevention through source reduction in the United States.
The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are given in five categories: Academic, Small Business, Greener Synthetic Pathways, Greener Reaction Conditions and Designing Greener Chemicals. Eastman Chemical Company won the Greener Synthetic Pathways Award for A Solvent-Free Biocatalytic Process for Cosmetic and Personal Care Ingredients.
Eastman’s new process uses immobilized enzymes to make esters, saving energy and avoiding both strong acids and organic solvents. Esters are an important class of ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. Usually, they are manufactured by harsh chemical methods that use strong acids and potentially hazardous solvents; these methods also require a great deal of energy. This new method is so gentle that Eastman can use delicate, natural raw materials to make esters never before available.
EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge promotes research and development of less-hazardous alternatives to existing technologies that reduce or eliminate waste, particularly hazardous waste, in industrial production. An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society selected the winners from nearly 100 nominated technologies. Over the past 14 years, awardees' work has led to the elimination of more than 1.3 billion pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents, nearly 43 billion gallons of water, and over 450 million pounds of carbon dioxide. These benefits are in addition to significant energy and cost savings by the winners and their customers.
The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge 2009 Awards: http://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/pubs/pgcc/past.html.