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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Honors Two Southern California Firms with Green Chemistry Award

Five companies were recognized nationwide

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Verdezyne located in Carlsbad and Newlight Technologies in Costa Mesa, Calif., with the Presidential Green Chemistry Award for turning climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities. The companies are among five organizations nationwide honored for developing safer chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances.

“Every year, companies develop innovative green chemistry technologies that will result in safer chemical use where we work and live," said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "EPA congratulates Verdezyne and Newlight Technologies for creating sustainable solutions which spur innovation and economic development in Southern California.”

The 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards were presented today at a ceremony in Portland, Oregon. The event was held in conjunction with the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference. The California winners and their innovative technologies are:

  • Verdezyne, Inc., an industrial biotechnology company that produces renewable organic chemicals, is being recognized for developing a yeast that produces dodecanedioic acid, a chemical used to make high performance nylons for paintbrushes, hairbrushes, and toothbrushes, as well as adhesives, coatings, fragrances, and automotive and aviation oils. In addition to using a plant-based feedstock and having lower greenhouse gas emissions, this process is also safer because it does not use high temperatures or concentrated nitric acid. The product has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture Certified Biobased label, which assures consumers that the federal government stands behind the accuracy of the percent biobased claim stated on the label.
  • Newlight Technologies, LLC, is being recognized for developing a carbon capture technology that combines air with methane emissions to produce a plastic material called AirCarbon. This new material is now used to make bags, cell phone cases, containers, and furniture, among other products. AirCarbon plastic is net carbon negative, is cheaper than traditional petroleum-based plastic products, and has equal or greater performance. The company has contracts in place in 2015 for almost 30 billion pounds of product and a 50 million pounds per year expansion plant already sold out. The product has been adopted by Dell, Hewlett Packard, KI, Sprint, Virgin, the Body Shop and other firms.

The additional recipients of this year’s awards were:

  • Professor Paul Chirik of Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., is being recognized for discovering a new class of catalysts used to produce silicones, ingredients in a wide range of consumer goods such as silicone rubber, tires, shampoos, furniture fibers and paper coatings, without using hard-to-obtain platinum.
  • CB&I and Albemarle, located in The Woodlands, Texas, are being recognized for developing and commercializing an inherently safer technology to produce alkylate, a clean gasoline component produced at about 30 billion gallons per year, 60 percent of which is produced in North America.
  • Dow AgroSciences, LLC, located in Indianapolis, Ind., is being recognized for developing and commercializing Instinct®, a technology that reduces fertilizer nitrate leaching to ground and surface waters and atmospheric nitrous oxide emissions.

During the 21 years of the program, EPA has received more than 1600 nominations and presented awards to 109 technologies. Winning technologies are responsible for annually reducing the use or generation of more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent releases to air.

An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2016 submissions from among scores of nominated technologies and made recommendations to EPA for the 2016 winners.

For more information on this year’s winners, please visit: www.epa.gov/greenchemistry

For more information on the USDA Biobased label, please visit: http://www.biopreferred.gov/BioPreferred/faces/news/FiveYears.xhtml

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