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Now enrolling: Fall 2021 Greener Solutions Course

DeCal Course in Green Chemistry

Beginning this week (2/03/20): our DeCal Course in green chemistry “Making Green: the Chemistry of Consumer Products”, thanks to Kailey Marcus and Kelly Chou, undergraduates in Naomi Ginsburg’s Introduction to Research in Chemistry (Chem96) course. DeCal courses, or student facilitated courses, are run entirely by students for students with supervision by faculty. Dr. John Arnold, our academic director, will sponsor the course, and executive director Tom McKeag will coordinate.
Etcheverry 3109, Wednesdays 5-6:30 (First class 2/5/2020), Prerequisites: General chemistry or basic chemistry knowledge recommended but not required. Students may add the class on CalCentral using the course number 12591. 

BCGC at photopolymer additive manufacturing workshop at NIST

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.

Safer Solvents and 3D Printing Resins for Nike and the US EPA Region 9.

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.

BCGC “Re-ups” to the CE100 University program

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 joins the brainstorm for Environmentally Responsible Engineering Education

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

Engineering for One Planet: Launching a Collaborative Effort to Proliferate

Principles of Environmentally Responsible Engineering in Higher Education

Institutions .


BCGC Board Member publishes article in ACS Special Issue.

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.


BCGC brings safety message to 3D Printing Symposium

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”.


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 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.