BCGC-Sponsored Research Plays Role in World Bank Decision Not to Back Kosovo Coal Plant

Pristina, Kosovo, Oct. 10 – Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank announced on Wednesday that the organization will not be funding a new 500-megawatt (MW) power plant in Kosovo because analysis by the World Bank found that renewable energy sources provide electricity at a lower cost than coal. The decision was informed by reports and analysis led by former SAGE fellow Dr. Noah Kittner, under the direction of Professor Dan Kammen of the Energy and Resources Group and the Renewable & Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL). BCGC helped fund Dr. Kittner’s work to update models for Kosovo’s energy strategy, and to travel to meet with the European Climate Foundation in Brussels, the Kosovar Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID) in Pristiana, and the European Energy Commission in Brussels to evaluate alternative and renewable energy options.

Our Kosovo project engaged several members of the BCGC community: Heather Buckley oversaw the chemical analysis of the lignite coal samples, relying on Raj Fadadu and Zac Mathe to do the experimental work to quantify the metal contents of the samples. Once the data had been collected, Megan Schwarzman was then able to provide insight on the human health consequences of exposure lignite coal emissions. Noah then worked with Dan Kammen to contextualize the health outcome data within their models of energy generation in the region and generate the series of reports that contributed to the World Bank’s decision. In response to the news, Professor Kammen remarked: “Rarely does a thesis contribute so directly and so immediately to such an event.”

BCGC Wins Cash Award for Role in Developing Novel Preservative for GC3/InnoCentive Challenge

Berkeley – On August 6th the Berkeley College of Chemistry reported that the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) would be sharing a $35,000 cash award for its entry in the “Developing New Preservatives for Personal Care & Household Products” challenge held by the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) and InnoCentive.  BCGC was part of an academic/industry/government team comprising researchers from the Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA) of the USDA, University of Victoria, the household products manufacturer Method Products, and the green chemistry venture capital fund Safer Made. The challenge required teams to develop, test, and present a preservative compound that prevented bacterial and fungal growth in cleaning and personal care products. Nearly 50 teams entered the contest, which launched April, 2017, and offered a first place prize of $150,000.

The BCGC team was one of four first place finalists who split the top prize. Their winning entry was a “reversible” preservative compound, which was active in higher concentrations, as a product, but inactive once it was diluted, causing its two subunits to split apart harmlessly in wastewater and or the environment. The research and development of this novel preservative built on research and collaborations that started with the Greener Solutions class of 2014, and have grown through a series of internships, research projects and industrial partnerships.

The work required an interdisciplinary team of chemists, microbiologists, toxicologists, and product formulators. Several members of the winning research team are associates of BCGC: Heather Buckley (former board member of BCGC and Greener Solutions Student, now Assistant Professor at University of Victoria), William Hart-Cooper (current associate director and co-instructor of the Greener Solutions course, now Research Chemist at the USDA), Kaj Johnson (Green Chef at Method Products and Greener Solutions partner), and Marty Mulvihill (former Executive Director of BCGC and  Greener Solutions instructor, current BCGC board member and co-founder of Safer Made). All have been a part of the BCGC preservatives work from the very beginning, and carried the project through its many phases as their careers have progressed. David Faulkner (former SAGE student and current BCGC postdoc) joined the research project in 2015. In 2017, the team published a report of some of their initial findings in the search for safer preservatives, and the article was selected for inclusion in the ACS Virtual Special Issue on Promoting the Development and Use of Quantitative Sustainability Metrics in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.

The BCGC is proud of its role in the work on this award-winning project, and we are excited to continue it, developing safer preservative compounds and advancing the role of green chemistry in personal care products.

The formal announcement can be found here.

BCGC at the 22nd Annual ACS Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference

Portland, OR – The annual meeting of green chemistry researchers, educators, and industrial actors commenced from June 18-20, and BCGC was again present and presenting. BCGC Executive Director Tom McKeag and Berkeley graduate student researcher Emily Cook gave a platform presentation: “Finding nature-inspired alternatives to PFASs in durable water repellency (DWR): an academic/industry approach,” which summarized the investigation undertaken by students in our Greener Solutions course in partnership with W.L. Gore & Associates. The challenge was to identify safer alternatives to PFASs  for durable water repellency (DWR) in high performance outerwear.

“Working with the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry provides industry the valuable opportunity to get a fresh scientific perspective from multi-disciplinary teams on a complex issue that would benefit from an improved environmental profile,” said Barb Henry, PhD Toxicologist at W. L. Gore & Associates. “We found the teams to be eager to fully understand our challenge and were unconstrained in their approach to proposing alternative solutions. As we continuously strive to reduce our environmental footprint through innovation we are excited about the potential to work with BCGC in the future.”

Dr. Henry also presented on this collaboration in a subsequent talk: “‘Greener solutions’ and ‘PFCs of environmental concern.’” Together, the presentations gave complementary views of a successful public-private collaboration to solve a thorny materials challenge. A helpful summary of the collaboration as well as the full report can be found here.

BCGC Board Member Publishes Report on Green Chemistry Innovations in the Textile and Apparel Industries

Marty Mulvihill, co-founder of Safer Made and current board member of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, recently co-authored the publication of an analysis of coming trends in the textile and apparel industry. This report details changes in five key “Innovation Areas” where advances in chemical performance and safety are anticipated to radically alter the textile and apparel industries over the next ten years. The five innovation areas are:

  • New Materials – Synthetic Fibers, Cellulosic Fibers, Leather Alternatives
  • New Safer Chemistries – Safer Finishing Chemistries, Bio-based Dyes
  • Waterless Processing – Waterless Dyeing Processes, Waterless Finishing Processes
  • Fiber Recycling – Cotton, Polyester, Blends, Nylon
  • Supply Chain Information Management Systems – Chemicals Management Information Systems, Traceability systems

The report includes market research and information gathered from brands, suppliers, and start-ups in the textile manufacturing space to provide a comprehensive and thoughtful overview of the coming innovations in this sector.

Copies of the report are available for download at

BCGC Welcomes Amanda Cattermole as its Newest Board Member!

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Amanda Cattermole

The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry is excited to welcome Amanda Cattermole of Cattermole Consulting to its executive board. Ms. Cattermole is a sustainability consultant with over twenty years of Green Chemistry experience. She has been a friend to the BCGC for over five years, beginning with her support with the collaboration between Levi Strauss and the Greener Solutions course. Most recently, she joined us at the SAGE Sunset Celebration, partnering with Marty Mulvihill to discuss how hazardous chemicals have spurred green chemistry innovations in the apparel industry. Now the BCGC is fortunate to have her bring her expertise and insight to our board.

Amanda has provided a short bio:

“In 2014, after a 25 year career at Levi Strauss and Company (LS&Co.), Amanda Cattermole founded Cattermole Consulting, a consultancy that helps organizations develop chemical management strategies that result in safer products made in cleaner supply chains.

Through her work, education and experience, she has significant expertise about hazardous chemicals and how they are used in consumer products, especially in the textile and leather industries.

Her services include business development and strategic advice, education and training, communication and developing innovation strategies to drive profitable growth.

Amanda was the technical point person for LS&Co. during the Greenpeace Detox campaign. She was involved in the initial “Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals” multi-stakeholder group and led one of the work-streams, which was tasked with developing and implementing a prioritization framework to phase out hazardous chemicals used in the apparel and footwear supply chains.

Amanda graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Colour Chemistry from Leeds University in 1987 and a Masters degree in Textile Chemistry from UC Davis in 1989.”