Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing in a Resource-Limited World

Saturday, February 16, 2013: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 201 (Hynes Convention Center)
The chemical industry has long been one of the strongest and most valuable components of the U.S. economy, producing chemicals and materials for both domestic consumption and export. In the last decade, the changing global landscape for manufacturing has reshaped this industry dramatically; most new chemical manufacturing now occurs overseas. The revitalization of U.S. chemical manufacturing hinges on the creation of new sustainable value chains. Research in the chemical sciences must be aligned with considerations of environmental impact, economic feasibility, and societal acceptance. At present, virtually all organic chemicals have their origin in petroleum, and many are made using precious metal–based catalysts. Sustainable chemical manufacturing could involve the use of feedstocks derived from renewable rather than fossil fuel-based resources, catalysts made from Earth-abundant elements rather than rare elements, processes that minimize the use of fresh water and energy, and chemical intermediates/products with low toxicity and environmental persistence. Redesigning existing chemical routes and creating new ones requires new fundamental insights into chemical reactivity, process design innovations to make chemical transformations more efficient, and a systems-level understanding of the interdependence of steps involved in transforming raw materials into finished products. The symposium will explore recent advances in academia and industry to make chemistry more sustainable.
Susannah Scott, University of California
Stephen A. Miller, University of Florida
Redesigning Petroleum-Based Plastics with Renewable Feedstocks