BCGC Executive Director Tom McKeag was a featured speaker at the October 29, 30, 2019 workshop, “Roadmapping a Future for Stereolithography, Inkjet and Beyond“, hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), US Dept. of Commerce, in Boulder, Colorado, and Radtech International, North America. The event convened a representative gathering of stakeholders from academia, suppliers, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), government regulatory agencies, end-users, and government research agencies from across the United States. Mr. McKeag moderated the Health, Safety and Regulatory panel and spoke about BCGC’s current investigation of safer SLA resins as part of the US EPA funded Pollution Prevention project.
The fall, 2019, Greener Solutions graduate course took on two difficult challenges in the last semester: replacing or reducing the use of two very common and effective chemicals used in manufacturing. The first, dimethylformamide (DMF) is used as a solvent in the production of polyurethane-based synthetic leather used in footwear. Partner Nike was seeking to explore drop-in replacements as well as other manufacturing line interventions. The second, the (meth)acrylate group of chemicals are used often as effective and reliable cross-linkers in photo-polymerized stereolithography (SLA) resins. The US EPA Region 9 was seeking innovative alternatives as part of a Pollution Prevention (P2) project being pursued by BCGC, the non-profit Northwest Green Chemistry, and individual partners Dr. Justin Bours of Cradle2Cradle and Professor Jeremy Faludi of TU Delft. The teams presented their final recommendations to partners and the public on December 10. Their presentations, slide decks and final reports can be viewed in the Greener Solutions 2019 tab on this website.
In 2019, BCGC renewed its commitment to the principles of the circular economy by signing a new partnership agreement with the CE100 University program of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The partnership agreement will allow the continued exchange of ideas and expertise and BCGC’s participation in international events sponsored by CE100.
Green Chemistry has an important role to play in the promotion of circular economy principles like recycling and reuse, and the Circular Economy 100 program of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is the recognized global nexus for organized industry action in this field.
BCGC has participated in two of the MacArthur Foundation’s Disruptive Innovation Festivals, and videos of these 2014 and 2015 programs can be found on our Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry Youtube video channel.
BCGC Executive Director Tom McKeag was invited to join the launch of the Environmentally Responsible Engineering (ERE) education initiative, sponsored by VentureWell, the Lemelson Foundation and the Academy for Systems Change, held in Washington, DC, in March, 2019 .
The two-day event brought academics, professional engineers, non-profit and government officials together to craft a foundational document reflecting a new sustainable engineering education paradigm, and to discuss how best to form a network to develop and disseminate these ideas. The Green Chemistry community was well represented at this event, with Drs. Paul Anastas of Yale University and John Warner of the firm Warner Babcock in attendance.
Subsequent to this meeting, BCGC teamed up with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Berkeley and Professor Hayden Taylor to submit an NSF grant to co-host with Venturewell a summer, 2020 workshop here on campus.
The goals for the ERE initiative are to:
● Develop, grow and mobilize a community of engaged, committed, and
inspired stakeholders who care deeply about the future of engineering
education and its impact on the planet.
● Strengthen our community of stakeholders by ensuring every member feels
they have the opportunity to share and contribute to the ERE vision and
● Co-develop a common definition for ERE and critical student learning
outcomes via an ERE Definition and Framework — a tool to be widely
disseminated into engineering schools, departments, programs and courses.
● Identify and implement approaches and partners to accelerate the
integration of the ERE Framework in higher education.
For more details and background on this initiative, please see the 2019 paper
Physician Meg Schwarzman, BCGC Board member and founder and co-teacher of the Greener Solutions graduate course (PH271H), and Dr. Heather Buckley, former postdoc researcher at BCGC and assistant professor at Victoria University, have recently published an article in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical Education.
The article, “Not Just an Academic Exercise: Systems Thinking Applied to Designing Safer Alternatives”, recounts seven years of interdisciplinary education through Greener Solutions and the pedagogical concepts behind it, including systems and design thinking.
Additive Manufacturing (AM), as a fast growing and disruptive technology, offers many exciting opportunities for sustainability achievements as well as design innovation: just-in-time production, decentralized manufacturing, and the capability of making complex shapes more efficiently. AM also presents potential hazards from the chemicals used. Some SLA resins, for instance, are aquatic toxicants, skin sensitizers and eye and skin irritants.
BCGC is currently partnering with Millipore Sigma, Northwest Green Chemistry, and researchers from Cradle2Cradle and the Technical University of Delft on a US EPA Pollution Prevention project “Developing and performance testing a safer formulation for stereolithography printing resin”. Executive Director Tom McKeag and researcher Nicole Panditi shared our preliminary results and project goals in the first-ever 3D Printing Conference at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire In August, 2019.
Our participation in the conference gave us a chance to learn of other groundbreaking research in additive manufacturing and to garner partners for our later resin testing . Mr. McKeag presented a talk entitled “Partnerships for Safer Chemicals in Additive Manufacturing.” Nicole Panditi presented a poster entitled “3D Printing as Source and Sink”.