DC Event Hosts ‘Green Chemistry’ Awards

Posted June 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

WSI recently was named as one of four winners of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for the company’s TRUpath™ wash process. The June 10 awards program took place at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

“These awards tonight are a great opportunity to celebrate the environmental success and spirit of innovation,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn of the EPA during the agency’s 23rd annual Green Chemistry Challenge Awards program. “Creativity, ingenuity and innovation have always played an important role in our country’s leadership in the world. And this year’s awardees are no exceptions to that.”

Dunn, who serves as the EPA’s assistant administrator, office of chemical safety and pollution prevention, added that this year’s winners are similar to the roughly 100 past honorees of the Green Chemistry Challenge Award in that their work benefits both the U.S. public and the private sector.

The awards ceremony, co-sponsored by the American Chemical Society, was held in the “Map Room” at 1201 Constitution Ave., a building that once housed the Interstate Commerce Commission. The event kicked off with a color guard comprised of service members from various branches of the military. They marched in, clad in dress uniforms, bearing the U.S. flag. Among them was a soloist who sang the national anthem a cappella in a rich baritone voice. This opening set the tone for a feeling of good will between the EPA and the private sector, with both organizations focused on achieving sustainability, while at the same time benefiting the economy. “Our awardees add to the mounting evidence that we can innovate toward a robust economy and remain competitive in the marketplace,” Dunn said.

In a brief interview before the ceremony, WSI President and CEO John Walroth said he and his team are pleased and a bit awed by their success with TRUpath after a lengthy development process. Walroth, who attended the awards ceremony with several colleagues, described a five-year process of trying to find a workable formula that was hygienically clean, alkali-free and cost-effective. “It was a team effort. Our goal was to help the industry and the environment.” He added that he’s delighted with the positive effects of the wash process, including clean textiles and reduced fabric wear – along with the removal of alkali to benefit the environment.

The four winners recognized during the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony included:

  • An “Academic Award” for Sanjoy Banerjee, Ph.D., a professor at the City University of New York—Energy Institute. Professor Banerjee and several colleagues were acknowledged for developing “Rechargeable Alkaline Zn-MnO2 Batteries for Grid Storage Applications.”
  • A “Small Business Award” for Kalion Inc., for “Microbially Produced High-Purity Glucaric Acid for Diverse Uses.”
  • A “Greener Synthetic Pathways Award for Merck & Co. for “Innovating for a Greener Future: Development of a Green & Sustainable Manufacturing Process for Zerbaxa™”
  • WSI, Loveland, OH, which was recognized in the “Greener Reaction Conditions” category for its TRUpath wash process.

The awards program judged each applicant based on three criteria:

  1. Originality and scientific validity of the process in terms of chemical technology
  2. Human health and environmental benefits relevant to existing chemical technology
  3. The broad applicability and impact of the technology, including its practicality

The Green Chemistry Challenge Award recipients excelled in each of these areas, Dunn said. “Some technologies met some but not all the criteria,” Dunn said. “But the winners tonight, we just have to say were the best of the best.”