Flexible batteries get safe aqueous electrolytes

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Most batteries that power wearable and implantable medical devices are rigid and don’t move with the body. Researchers are developing flexible batteries and energy-storing supercapacitors to overcome that limitation. However, current ones use electrolytes containing strong acids and bases or toxic and flammable organic solutions. If these materials leaked in or on the body, they could cause harm.

Researchers in China have now created bendable sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) with biologically friendly aqueous electrolytes (Chem 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2017.05.004).

Improving algal extraction for chemical components

Read the full story in Algae Industry Magazine.

Gen3Bio Inc., a Purdue Foundry-affiliated company, is developing a unique process that they claim can more effectively and affordably transform microalgae into bio-based chemicals to maximize the value of biofeedstock and reduce landfill waste.

Assessment of Safer and Effective Alternatives to Methylene Chloride for Paint Stripping Products

Download the document.

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) undertook a research effort to identify and evaluate safer alternatives to methylene chloride in paint stripping products. This report details their results.

Toxics Use Reduction Institute 2017-2018 Webinar Series

Beyond the MSDS
Tue, Sep 12, 2017 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/5884047855169530625

Find out about databases and other resources for gathering chemical safety information from TURI’s Research and Reference Specialist, Mary Butow.

Finding hazard information about new or obscure substances can be difficult, but TURI has numerous resources to help researchers, industrial engineers, product designers, and anyone else who needs authoritative chemical information. Ms. Butow will show you how to access these extensive knowledge bases to make better choices for safer chemical alternatives.

Upgrade and Relaunch of P2OASys
Thu, Sep 21, 201711:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/6748085873717688321

TURI created the original Pollution Prevention Options Assessment System in the mid 1990s to analyze chemical and equipment alternatives. P2OASys is one of the first hazard analysis tools to help small and mid-size businesses compare several chemicals and hazards. This webinar will provide an overview of the benefits of using P2OASys and a primer on its use.

Nanotechnology
Tue, Dec 5, 201711:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST
Register at https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/4064790418293267201

Nanotechnology promises a wide range of opportunities for innovation in areas like biomedical devices, improved electronic devices, clean energy technology and materials engineering. TURI’s research program looks at two aspects of nanotechnology: its possibilities for producing safer alternatives to traditional materials, and its potential impacts on environmental and occupational health. This webinar will provide the latest findings on EH&S issues related to nanotechnology.

Artificial Turf 
Tue, Feb 27, 201811:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST
Register at https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/2217124899490158081

When municipalities, universities, schools and other institutions consider what type of athletic playing fields to install, they need to decide between natural grass, artificial turf with crumb rubber infill and artificial turf with other forms of infill. TURI has received requests for information about artificial turf fields as an alternative to natural grass fields. In response, we have developed an alternatives assessment for sports turf. This webinar will provide information on the ingredients of artificial turf infills.

Safer Solutions for Methylene Chloride
Tue, Jun 5, 201811:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/4416188836972412929

TURI has been working with the U.S. EPA, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, paint stripper product manufacturers, and furniture refinishers to identify and evaluate solvent blends with equal or better paint stripping performance, comparable ingredient costs, and a safer environmental, health, and safety profile as compared to methylene chloride. This webinar will describe why methylene chloride is a higher hazard substance as designated by TURA and findings from the research into safer formulations.

EPA Honors Winners of the 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn potential environmental issues into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.

“We congratulate those who bring innovative solutions that will help solve problems and help American businesses,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These innovations encourage smart and safe practices, while cutting manufacturing costs and sparking investments. Ultimately, these manufacturing processes and products spur economic growth and are safer for health and the environment.”

The Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners will be honored on June 12 at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The winners and their innovative technologies are:

  • Professor Eric Schelter, University of Pennsylvania, for developing a simple, fast, and low-cost technology to help recycle mixtures of rare earth elements. Reducing the costs to recover these materials creates economic opportunity by turning a waste stream, currently only recycled at a rate of 1%, into a potential revenue stream. About 17,000 metric tons of rare earth oxides are used in the U.S. annually in materials such as wind turbines, catalysts, lighting phosphors, electric motors, batteries, cell phones, and many others. Mining, refining, and purification of rare earths are extraordinarily energy and waste intensive and carry a significant environmental burden.
  • Dow Chemical Company, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, in partnership with Papierfabrik August Koehler SE, Germany, for developing a thermal printing paper that eliminates the need for chemicals used to create an image, such as bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS). Thermal paper is used broadly throughout the world for cash register receipts, tickets, tags, and labels. This technology reduces costs by creating records that do not fade, even under severe sunlight, allowing the original document to be preserved for long term storage. The paper is compatible with thermal printers currently in commercial use around the world.
  • Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey, for successfully applying green chemistry design principles to Letermovir, an antiviral drug candidate, that is currently in phase III clinical trials. The improvements to the way the drug is made, including use of a better chemical catalyst, increases the overall yield by more than 60%, reduces raw material costs by 93%, and reduces water usage by 90%.
  • Amgen Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, in partnership with Bachem, Switzerland, for improving the process used to manufacture the active ingredient in ParsabivTM, a drug for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in adult patients with chronic kidney disease. This improved peptide manufacturing process reduces chemical solvent use by 71%, manufacturing operating time by 56%, and manufacturing cost by 76%. These innovations could increase profits and eliminate 1,440 cubic meters of waste or more, including over 750 cubic meters of aqueous waste annually.
  • UniEnergy Technologies, LLC (UET), Mukilteo, Washington, in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), for an advanced vanadium redox flow battery, originally developed at the PNNL and commercialized by UET. The battery, when used by utility, commercial and industrial customers, allows cities and businesses more access to stored energy. It also lasts longer and works in a broad temperature range with one-fifth the footprint of previous flow battery technologies. The electrolyte is water-based and does not degrade, and the batteries are non-flammable and recyclable, thus helping meet the increasing demand of electrical energy storage in the electrical power market, from generation, transmission, and distribution to the end users of electricity.

During the 22 years of the program, EPA has received more than 1600 nominations and presented awards to 114 technologies that spur economic growth, reduce costs, and decrease waste. The agency estimates 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 2017 submissions from among scores of nominated technologies and made recommendations to EPA for the 2017 winners. The 2017 awards event will be held in conjunction with the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference.

More information: www.epa.gov/greenchemistry

Regulatory Developments: New Approaches to EPA in Managing New Chemical Polymers

Read the full story in the National Law Journal.

One of the consequences of the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the need for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review and make determinations under Section 5(a)(3)(B) on premanufacture notification (PMN) chemicals submitted to EPA, and then to take required actions.  These requirements raise particular and sometimes challenging issues for new chemical polymers because the way polymers are identified allows for multiple different forms of the polymer to be manufactured.  Thus, while the chemical notifier may intend to manufacture a polymer that does not present hazard or risk concerns, because the same cannot be said of other forms of the polymer that could be made (e.g., at a lower molecular weight or with a higher content of reactive functional groups), EPA saw the need to regulate the new polymer to meet the new law’s requirements, including regulating “to the extent necessary” to protect against unreasonable risk.

This is an important issue under Section 5 given that approximately 60 percent of the PMN chemicals submitted under old TSCA were polymers; historically, EPA saw the need to regulate relatively few new polymers based on the polymer intended to be manufactured.  Using Section 5(e) consent orders and/or Significant New Use Rules (SNUR) to regulate so many polymers would have numerous drawbacks, including the significant burden required in developing, enforcing, and complying with the new regulations as well as slowing down the introduction of polymers that are of low regulatory concern when manufactured as intended.  Recognizing that over-regulating “safe” polymers will be a problem for many stakeholders, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) Charles M. Auer, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D., all former Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) employees with decades of EPA experience in reviewing and regulating new chemicals, developed and shared with EPA flexible approaches to getting at and resolving the issues that were presented by new polymer cases.

EPA ‘Safer Choice’ Label Program, Criteria Under Fire

Read the full story in BNA’s Daily Environment Report.

Does a detergent that Procter & Gamble Co. makes merit a ‘safer’ label designation? The issue has re-ignited a debate among trade association executives over the type of analysis needed to justify such labels.