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”.
The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry and the EMD Millipore Corporation signed a Confidential Disclosure Agreement in February, 2018, marking the first step toward collaboration on a variety of projects. Chief among them will be the testing and review of Millipore’s DOZN software program, a chemical procedure assessment tool based on the principles of green chemistry, and continuation of BCGC’s work in improving the safety of materials and processes in additive manufacturing (AM).
Green Chemistry Fellow at Millipore Samy Ponnusamy and Executive Director of BCGC Tom McKeag are current participants in Northwest Green Chemistry’s Sustainable Materials Roundtable for Additive Manufacturing Members, an outgrowth, in part, of BCGC consulting work with Autodesk starting in 2015.
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.
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.