DOE-Sponsored Technology Receives "Green Chemistry" Award
June 28, 1999OIT MEDIA CONTACT:
Mike Terwilliger, 202/586-5806
Washington, DC - An innovative energy-saving project co-sponsored by the Department of Energy today received the Environmental Protection Agency's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. The project converts wastes like paper sludge into a valuable industrial chemical used to make a range of everyday products, including petrochemicals. The Green Chemistry Award acknowledged the new process as an "outstanding chemical technology incorporating green chemistry principles into chemical design, manufacture and use."
"The success of this project highlights the benefits of public/private partnerships," said Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. "Through the combined effort of state and federal government, universities, our national labs and the U.S. chemical industry, we can continue to achieve remarkable results like those recognized today."
Concerns about the impact of burning fossil fuels sparked research into developing a process for manufacturing carbon-based products using alternative energy sources, such as feedstocks. Stemming from this scientific work, this year's award-winning technology utilizes levulinic acid, a new feedstock derived inexpensively from biomass, in the manufacture of industrial chemicals.
Researchers are optimistic about the success of the project because levulinic acid is economical (unlike most alternative feedstocks) and can be converted to a large number of other chemicals, including substitutes for petrochemicals. Levulinic acid is made with low-cost and abundant waste feedstocks such as paper mill sludge, municipal solid waste, unrecyclable waste paper, waste wood and agricultural residues. The process also offers a welcome alternative to landfills, because feedstocks can be converted from these "wastes."
The Department of Energy partially funded the project along with Biofine, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Chemical Industry Services, Merichem and Pencor Environmental Ventures.