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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Greener Solutions teams visit partners WLGore and MycoWorks

During October, our interdisciplinary graduate student teams in our Greener Solutions course visited our challenge partners, WLGore and MycoWorks. The two partners could not be more different in scale, with WLGore of Delaware a $3B revenue per year company of more than 10,000 employees, and MycoWorks a small startup with a lab in San Francisco. Both companies were interested in getting some fresh ideas on how to make apparel or accessories perform better without toxic ingredients. How do we make safer water and oil repellant clothing, and leather-like products more supple and strong? Our teams got to learn first-hand how some of these products might be made; at the lab in San Francisco, and at the WLGore Innovation Center in Santa Clara, California. The teams will present their final recommendations to our partners on December 5. Stay tuned for more details about this public event!



New Book Chapters about Additive Manufacturing, Sustainability, Bio-inspired Design and Green Chemistry

Executive Director Tom McKeag and former SAGE fellow Jeremy Faludi have just published separate book chapters about developing safer and more sustainable additive manufacturing (AM).

Writing in volume 10, of the Handbook of Green Chemistry: Tools for Green Chemistry, ed. Beach, Kundu and Anastas (Wiley)McKeag proposes twelve themes from bio-inspired design to guide additive manufacturing to safer materials and processes. “Shaping the Future of Additive Manufacturing: Twelve Themes from Bio-inspired Design and Green Chemistry” reviews the current trends in AM, cautions about present practices and outlines how themes like self-organization and hierarchy across linear scales could be applied to the industry.

In The Next Production Revolution: Implications for Government and Business by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Faludi compares the environmental impact of today’s typical 3D printing with two classic manufacturing methods, machining and injection molding, citing life-cycle assessments, scoring greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants, material toxicity, resource depletion, and other factors. He and co-authors Cline-Thomas and Agrawala argue for incentives to bring certain 3D manufacturing techniques to the mainstream in order to promote greater sustainability.




Making Additive Manufacturing Safer

In early 2015, the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry initiated a joint project with Autodesk (Project Nido) to assess the resin formulae currently used in their stereolithography (SLA) demonstration printer, the Ember. As an extension of this consulting effort, BCGC and Autodesk agreed to partner in the Greener Solutions course later that fall. An interdisciplinary graduate student team investigated bio-inspired solutions and offered a range of solutions to address the environmental and human health hazard implications of additive manufacturing (AM). Concurrently, Justin Bours, part of the initial consulting team and now funded through a joint BCGC and Northwest Green Chemistry internship program, developed a framework to combine a life cycle assessment with hazard and green design metrics, and tested the framework on different AM materials including a bio-sourced polymer. This work created the foundation for Northwest Green Chemistry to launch a Sustainable Materials Framework Roundtable for Additive Manufacturing initiative in May, 2017.

The Sustainable Materials Framework for Additive Manufacturing Roundtable is sponsored by Northwest Green Chemistry, Autodesk, Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute, and Washington Department of Ecology. Participants include NGOs, academia, government agencies, material suppliers, material designers, printer manufacturers, end-users, and consulting firms. Now in our second year of focus on additive manufacturing, BCGC is proud to be participating in this industry roundtable as an extension of our original research and consulting work.

The goal of the project is to develop a flexible framework that will aid everyone in the additive manufacturing industry including innovators, developers, product designers, print operators, and end-users to create and select safe AM materials for their needs. The framework is to be used as an assessment tool and aims to adapt to the AM industry as it continues to evolve in order to highlight key decision making issues. In order to generate a comprehensive picture of materials in AM, diverse metrics such as LCA, risk assessment and chemical hazard assessment are important factors that the roundtable is targeting to include during the development of the framework.

Bringing together the diverse participants in one roundtable will help shape the development of the flexible framework model. Participants will share their expertise and insights and learn from other AM professionals. This knowledge base will help the participants further the development of more sustainable products.

_______________________________________________________________Northwest Green Chemistry is a non-profit organization that aims to enhances human and environmental health by fostering innovation and economic opportunities through sustainable and green chemistry and engineering solutions (Northwest Green Chemistry).

A Pioneering Partnership with Costco

We are pleased to announce that the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) have agreed to a long-term collaborative relationship to assess the current and future chemical management program at Costco. BCGC will be studying and evaluating Costco’s current chemical assessment program and wider chemical policy planning. We will assist Costco in developing a strategic plan for restricting and assessing chemicals of concern within their global supply chain and guiding company procurement now and in the future. We are excited to help the further adoption of green chemistry in the retail sector!

Executive Director Tom McKeag will oversee the overall project planning for the Berkeley research team led by BCGC Associate Director Dr. Ann Blake and Dr. Sally Edwards of  the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachuesetts, Lowell. Dr. Tala Daya, formerly of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability (LMAS) at UC Berkeley will be assisting in the research and analysis as part of her new postdoc appointment at BCGC. The Berkeley team will work with a high-power, cross-company team at Costco.

This partnership will serve for a regular assessment, refinement and implementation of chemical policy at Costco. The intent of BCGC is to first perform a comprehensive review of relevant factors affecting chemicals management at Costco for three product areas: textiles, furniture, and personal care and household products. BCGC will then review and compare Costco’s current chemical restrictions in relation to a larger list of chemicals of concern as well as to sector restricted substances lists (RSL) and best practices in assessing safer alternatives for each of the three identified product categories. Actionable recommendations for the short, mid and longer term will be provided.

Costco Wholesale has a commitment to provide great products and value to its over 85 million international members and helping them achieve their chemicals management program goals will have a big impact for a safer retail sector.


Mushrooms and Lotus Leaves: Greener Solutions course, fall, 2017


This fall interdisciplinary graduate student teams in our Greener Solutions course are partnering with WLGore, the manufacturer and maker of Goretex, and MycoWorks, a San Francisco startup that makes a mycelium based leather substitute. For Gore a team will look at alternatives to perfluorinated compounds (PFC’s) to impart durable water repellency (DWR) to their technical clothing line. Many of their ideas will come from nature, such as the hydrophobic and self-cleaning characteristics of the lotus leaf. For MycoWorks, a team will look to imparting strength, durability and flexibility to the company’s material without using the harsh chemicals typically associated with the leather apparel industry.