Day: January 6, 2015

Webinar: Bio-Based Methodologies for the Production of Environmentally Sustainable Materials

Thursday, January 22, 2015, 11 am CST
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Isocyanate-Free Solid Rocket Motor Propellant Binders Inspired by Nature by Dr. Andrew Guenthner

A new SERDP SEED project is currently demonstrating the feasibility of new isocyanate-free solid rocket motor propellant binder formulations for DoD rocket and missile systems by utilizing chemical functionalities and solidification mechanisms found in safe, environmentally-friendly natural products to replace isocyanate cure. The ultimate aim of the effort is to develop an effective means of cure using a selected chemical functionality and mechanism in an energetic binder formulation with no significant loss in performance and insensitivity compared to state-of-the-art formulations, but with significant reductions in environmental, safety and occupational health risks. The main focus of the SEED project is to mitigate the major technical risks associated with the effort by screening candidate functionalities and validating key aspects of performance. To date, the SEED program has made significant progress in screening candidates, with promising results demonstrated in inert formulations. Preparations for testing in energetic formulations are now underway. If successful, this effort will eliminate a significant source of manufacturing risk for solid rocket motor propellants based on ammonium perchlorate, and may also significantly reduce concerns related to process variability and propellant ageing.

Cyanate Ester Composite Resins Derived from Renewable Polyphenol Sources by Dr. Benjamin Harvey

Composite materials consisting of an organic resin and fiber support are widely used throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). Composites provide a number of performance advantages over conventional materials including a significant reduction in weight which results in reduced fuel usage and/or greater range for military platforms. Unfortunately, these environmental benefits are offset by the non-sustainable derivation of polymer composites from petroleum. This presentation will describe recent efforts to develop full performance thermosetting resins from renewable and sustainable polyphenols that can be prepared from biomass sources including lignin, essential oils, natural turpentine and grape skins. In many cases, the structural diversity of the source materials allows for atom-economic routes to new bisphenols that can be used as precursors to both thermosets and thermoplastics. A variety of new resins have been prepared with performance characteristics (e.g., glass transition temperature, water uptake and thermal stability) comparable to and in some cases exceeding those of conventional petroleum-derived resins. Renewable resins have been synthesized on scales of up to one pound and are currently being formulated into bulk molding compounds that can be used for the fabrication of composite parts to replace heavier metal components.

Environmentally Friendly High Performance Bio-Based Polymers for DoD Applications by Dr. John La Scala 

Polymer composite materials are derived from non-renewable petroleum sources, making their use unsustainable and causing their cost to be highly volatile. Furthermore, polymer composite materials often contain toxic components or produce toxic emissions. To address these issues, we have used plant-derived renewable resources to develop a number of polymer composite materials technologies with properties and performance similar to that of petroleum-derived composites. We formulated and developed fatty acid-based vinyl ester resins derived from plant oils and successfully demonstrated and validated them on weapons platforms across the DoD. We chemically modified lignin to produce lignin-based carbon fiber with the highest reported strength and modulus. We have been addressing toxicity issues associated with bisphenol, a component used in the production of many high performance polymers. Through use of polymers from lignin-derived chemicals, such as guaiacol, and carbohydrate-derived isosorbide and furans, we have created a number of polymers with properties similar or superior to that of commercial polymers. Furthermore, we have shown that these bio-based chemicals and polymers have reduced toxicity relative to the baseline commercial polymers. As a result, we are currently preparing diamines derived from carbohydrates and lignin to reduce the toxicity and improve the sustainability of polyimides and epoxies.

The Seven Unexpected Republicans to Watch If You Care About Climate Change

Read the full story in The National Journal.

Several Republicans who aren’t the usual suspects could play important roles in the next battles over global warming.

At the highest-profile posts, the GOP climate positions are basically set in stone. The famously climate change-denying James Inhofe is taking control of the Senate’s environment panel. And new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing fresh legislative attacks on President Obama’s climate agenda.

But other Republicans contain more mysteries—or at least have more complicated histories—when it comes to addressing climate change. And as 2015’s climate fight plays out, the decisions they make will provide clues into the Republican Party’s future. Here are seven Republicans to watch.

What will drive retail sustainability in 2015?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Business-model innovation has been identified as a top priority for retail sustainability professionals in 2015.

The circular economy is coming — who’s leading the charge?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The Circular Economy Awards — or the Circulars, as they have been affectionately monikered, like the “Oscars” — will recognize the pioneers taking circular economy principles and making them a reality.

Backed by the Forum of Young Global Leaders, in collaboration with Accenture, awards organizers have spent the last few months inviting organizations and people from the worlds of business, civil society and academia to enter initiatives that prove moving beyond a traditional linear economy is achievable and profitable.

Murky waters: the hidden environmental impacts of your cruise

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Disney and other cruise holiday operators are trying to clean up their acts and make cruising a greener holiday choice. But why aren’t they being more transparent about it?

Is corporate sustainability reporting a great waste of time?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

As corporate sustainability reporting grows, the question remains – does it make a difference? A new report indicates that the practice needs a massive overhaul if it’s going to be of any use.

Introducing the Sharing Cities Toolkit

Read the full post at Shareable.

Shareable has been expanding its organizing program to support the creation of sharing cities for over a year. We’ve offered seed funding for new sharing projects, coordinated global events like the #MapJam and ShareFests, sponsored a fellowship program, hosted numerous trainings, and facilitated the international Sharing Cities Network (SCN). Beginning last Summer, we responded to the calls from SCN organizers who voiced a need for a cohesive repository of resources to support their work.

To meet this need we’ve created the Sharing Cities Toolkit; an evolving compilation of resources with a mix of how-to’s, project guides, sample policies, advice and more. While a lot of these resources have been created by Shareable over the last five years, we’re curating the best content from many organizations including the Sustainable Economies Law Center, Aorta Collective, Center for a New American Dream, OuiShare and others.

WaterSmart Innovations 2015 Call for Abstracts

Submit a paper for consideration as a professional or panel session at the 8th WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition, October 7-9, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center.

Professionals, scientists, government employees, organizations, public and private institutions, policy makers, students and all others working in an industry dealing with water conservation or urban water efficiency may submit an abstract for an oral presentation, panel discussion or workshop at this event. A complete list of potential topics is available on the Abstract Guidelines page.

Presenters must pay their own travel expenses. Complimentary conference registration will be provided to all accepted participants for the day of their presentation only.

Abstracts are due by Monday, February 2, 2015.

2014-2015 EPA Environmental Education (EE) Grants

Under the Environmental Education Grants Program, EPA seeks grant proposals from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. This grant program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques. Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 and $3.5 million in grant funding per year, supporting more than 3,600 grants.

The 2014-2015 EE Grants Program includes two Requests for Proposals (RFPs), also known as Solicitation Notices. Proposals under the EE Model Grants RFP are being accepted through February 2, 2015. Proposals under the EE Local Grants RFP are being accepted through March 6, 2015.

EPA’s Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit

This free toolkit includes a guide (pdf) and a spreadsheet tracking tool (.xsl) to help food service facilities identify and implement opportunities to reduce food and packaging waste, which saves money and reduces environmental impacts.

EPA is also hosting a series of training webinars related to the toolkit. Times are all noon-2 pm CST.


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