Global sustainability technology breakthroughs featured at ACS meeting

SAN FRANCISCO, March 21, 2010 — Chemistry’s often-overlooked role in fostering sustainability goes on parade this week with one of the largest and most comprehensive series of scientific reports on advances toward that goal and the challenges lying ahead. The 1,600 reports and other presentations are part of the theme — “Chemistry for a Sustainable World” — of the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, which opens here today.

“Theme presentations account for more than 10 percent of the 13,000 technical papers scheduled for the meeting,” said Robert Peoples, Ph.D., Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) and organizer of the sustainability plenary symposium. “This unique event is designed to shepherd scientists’ and engineers’ collective knowledge, interests, and passion to address the world’s sustainability challenges. I cannot imagine a more-timely topic. It is abundantly evident that we cannot meet the needs of an expanding global population with traditional technology. We need innovations, enabled by the application of green chemistry, for instance, and other fresh approaches.”

Green chemistry ? sustainable chemistry ? is the development and application of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of potentially hazardous substances.

“The sustainability theme highlights one of the most essential, long-term issues the world faces today,” said Laura E. Pence, Ph.D., Thematic Program Chair, and a chemistry professor at the University of Hartford, West Hartford, Conn. “Sustainability often is defined as meeting the needs of people today without depleting natural resources, damaging the environment or otherwise compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The presentations this week document advances toward the goal of developing a sustainable society. They also point out the hurdles and hard work that lie ahead.”

Pence noted that San Francisco is an ideal host for the sessions, since the city in 1996 launched its own plan for sustainable development.

Here are selected highlights of the sustainability events:

  • Plenary Symposium: Big Picture Concerns and Real Green Chemistry Solutions, Sunday, March 21, 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Moscone Center, Gateway Ballroom 103 Organizer: Robert Peoples, Ph.D., Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute.


    Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ph.D., (Ocean Futures Society): The Call of the Killer Whale

    Robert Grubbs, Ph.D., (Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of
    Technology, Nobel Laureate): Green Chemistry and Catalysis

    Carlo Montemagno, Ph.D., (University of Cincinnati, Dean – College of Engineering and Applied
    Science): Green Chemistry — — Innovations and Applications

    Len Sauers, Ph.D., (Vice President of Global Sustainability, Procter & Gamble): Sustainability at Procter & Gamble

  • Chemistry and the Environment Film Series: One Water, Sunday, March 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Moscone Center, Esplanade Room. Organizer: Ean Warren, Ph.D., U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.

    This award-winning documentary film produced by the University of Miami and directed and written by Sanjeev Chatterjee, highlights problems associated with the spatial variability of water availability on our planet. With original music performed by The Russian National Orchestra, the film emphasizes the myriad of ways humans use water around the world through scenes of drinking water from and bathing in the Ganges River, collecting water across deserts in India, baptizing infants in Kenya, bathing in public baths in Budapest, harvesting glacial ice for drinks in Ecuador and many others.

  • The Kavli Foundation Sustainable Energy Symposium, Monday, March 22; (Time TBD) Organizer: Josef Michl (University of Colorado).

    Topics discussed will include solar energy, batteries, fuel cells and high energy fuel storage.


    Alan Heeger, Ph.D., (University of California at Santa Barbara):

    Thomas Meyer, Ph.D., (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill):

    Michael Graetzel, Ph.D., (Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne):

    Austen Angell, Ph.D., (Arizona State University):

    Hector Abruna, Ph.D., (Cornell University):

    Ferdi Schueth, Ph.D., (Max Planck Institute):

  • Global Water Sustainability, Monday, March 22, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Moscone Center, Esplanade Ballroom 307. Organizer: Ean Warren, Ph.D.

    This symposium is a featured part of the celebration of the United Nations’ World Water


    Staffan Michelson, Ph.D., (Hellström Law Firm, Stockholm): Water and Civilization

    Satinder Sut Ahuja, Ph.D., (Ahuja Consulting): Sustainability of Water Quality

    James G. Workman, Ph.D., (Smart Markets): Nature Abhors a Monopoly

    Robert Glennon, Ph.D., (University of Arizona, James. E. Rogers College of Law): Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of U.S. Waters

  • Keynote: Green Chemistry: Chemical Solutions for a Sustainable World, Monday
    March 22; 5 – 6 p.m., Moscone Center, Gateway Ballroom 102.


    Paul Anastas, Ph.D., Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research & Development (ORD) and Science Advisor to the Agency: Green Chemistry: Chemical Solutions for a Sustainable World

  • Town Hall Conversation on the California Green Chemistry Initiative, Monday, March 22, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Moscone Center, Gateway Ballroom 103.

    John Warner, Ph.D., one of the founders of green chemistry and President, Chief Technology Officer, and Chairman of the Board of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, and Maziar Movassaghi, Acting Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control will engage in a moderated discussion on the California Green Chemistry Initiative. This event will feature a dialogue with members of California’s Department of Toxic Substance Control and with ACS members of California’s Green Ribbon Panel.

  • Green Chemistry, Tuesday, March 23, 8 a.m. to noon, Moscone Center, Room 226 East Organizer: Robin Rogers, Ph.D. (Center for Green Manufacturing Department of Chemistry/ The University of Alabama).

  • Seven talks will highlight state-of-the-art contributions to Green Chemistry in the fields of synthesis, separations, materials, funding, renewables, engineering, energy, education, and entrepreneurship


    Chao-jun Li, PhD., (McGill University): Explore New Reactivities for Synthetic Efficiency

    Joan Brennecke, Ph.D., (University of Notre Dame): Energy Applications of Ionic Liquids:

    Julie Haack, Ph.D., (University of Oregon): Understanding knowledge diffusion in green chemistry education: Lessons for moving green chemistry from the university to market

    Karen Goldberg, Ph.D., (University of Washington): Molecular oxygen as a green oxidant in the production of fuels and chemicals

    Douglas MacFarlane, Ph.D., (Monash University): Ionic Liquids for “Green” Approaches to Semiconductor Synthesis

    Richard Engler, Ph.D., (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency): Government Programs Supporting Green Chemistry

    Dan Daly, Ph.D., (University of Alabama): The use of Feasibility Analysis and the writing of a Business Plan to increasing the probability of success for a green technology-based company.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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