Sustainable Solutions: Scientists Honored for Greener Solvents Research
• Israeli Researchers Receive Glycerine Innovation Award for Studies on Glycerol and its Derivatives as Sustainable Solvents
• Award, Sponsored by American Cleaning Institute and National Biodiesel Board, Presented at AOCS Annual Meeting
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Research that shows how glycerol – a syrupy and sweet-tasting chemical by-product – can be used as a sustainable solvent in industrial cleaning applications is being honored with the 2012 Glycerine Innovation Award.
The yearly honor is sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI, formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and is presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS).
The 2012 Award recipients are Professors Dorith Tavor and Adi Wolfson from the Green Processes Center at Israel’s Sami Shamoon College of Engineering. The ACI/NBB Glycerine Innovation Award recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine, with particular emphasis on commercial viability.
Professor Wolfson said he and his colleagues have been researching how glycerol and its derivatives can be used as sustainable solvents in industrial applications.
“The sustainability of a chemical process is derived from its materials and energy consumption, reaction performance, and separation procedures,” said Professor Wolfson. “As organic chemistry is traditionally carried out in solution, and as solvents are responsible for a large part of the waste and pollution generated by chemical processes, a key factor to enabling a sustainable chemical process is solvent selection.”
Professor Wolfson noted that glycerol is known to be a non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-volatile, biodegradable, and recyclable liquid produced as a by-product in the transesterification of oil from renewable sources.
“Glycerol has been successfully employed as a sustainable solvent in a wide variety of organic reactions and synthesis methodologies, showing its versatility as a solvent for organic synthesis,” said Wolfson. “Success in utilizing glycerol as a solvent for industrial process – such as production of fine chemicals for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, and a variety of additional industrial processes – can lead to processes that are environmentally sustainable yet economically efficient.
“Our research may lead to cleaner industrial processes and reduced pollution. Use of glycerol based solvents can reduce the environmental footprint of chemical processes and may replace solvents that are not manufactured from renewable sources, and which are not sufficiently cost effective, green, or simple to use.”
The award includes a plaque and a $5,000 honorarium. It was presented at the AOCS Industrial Oil Products Division luncheon during the 2012 AOCS Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California.
The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI - formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.
Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel used across the U.S. to meet the Environmental Protection Agency''s definition as an Advanced Biofuel. It is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines and meets a strict ASTM fuel specification. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, it is produced in nearly every state in the country. The biodiesel industry supports 39,000 American jobs. The National Biodiesel Board is the industry trade association.