Issue Date: October 12, 2009
A Week Of Green Chemistry In Colorado
Sixty-nine graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from the U.S., Canada, and Latin America participated in the seventh annual ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy, which was held the week of July 22–29, in Golden, Colo. The conference, which received generous support from the Ciba Foundation, the Colorado School of Mines, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Petroleum Research Fund, the New Belgium Brewery, and Sigma-Aldrich, was organized by ACS education staffers Tina Norris and Mary Kirchhoff. ACS Board member Kent A. Voorhees hosted the event at Colorado School of Mines, where he is on the chemistry faculty.
John C. Warner of the Warner-Babcock Institute opened the summer school by outlining the principles of green chemistry. Eric J. Beckman of the University of Pittsburgh and Philip Jessop of Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario, followed Warner, emphasizing the importance of metrics in evaluating the “greenness” of chemical products and processes.
Students learned about the application of green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry from Berkeley W. (Buzz) Cue, principal at BWC Pharma Consulting, and about a green approach to self-assembled soft materials from George John of the City College of New York. Faculty from the Colorado School of Mines who made presentations included Kim R. Williams, who focused her talk on greener separations; Reuben Collins, who discussed photovoltaics; Andrew Herring, who talked about fuel cells; and Ryan Richards, who presented research on nanostructured materials for green catalysis. Roger McFadden of Staples and Katie Wallace of New Belgium Brewery provided industrial perspectives on sustainability, and the University of Oregon’s Jim Huchinson lectured on green nanoscience and green chemistry education.
Lectures were only one aspect of the summer school, and Scott Cowley of the Colorado School of Mines made sure that students got plenty of laboratory experience during the week. He guided students through several experiments that illustrated the green chemistry concepts described in the lectures. The experiments included extracting limonene from orange peel using liquid carbon dioxide and running a set of Diels-Alder reactions in greener solvents.
ACS was well represented at the summer school. ACS President Thomas H. Lane, who recently retired from Dow Corning, highlighted some of that company’s efforts to apply biological pathways to the development of novel silicon-based products. Board member and past-president William F. Carroll closed the summer school by asking students to ponder the future of green chemistry in industry and to play an active role in determining whether green chemistry’s future will be driven by science or mandated through government and state regulations.
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