Sustainability Science

Winners selected for Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

Scientists receive €50,000 (1st prize) and €25,000 (2nd prize) to support their green chemistry projects in the developing world

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Nearly 500 submissions from around the world were received for the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. After an extensive review, the scientific jury selected five finalists, and a member of each team presented their proposals to the jury at the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference April 4 in Berlin.

Last night, the two winning projects were announced at a festive conference dinner at the historic Wasserwerk building.

First Prize: Sustainable Textile Dyeing Using Nanocellulosic Fibers

Yunsang Kim, PhD, displays the winner's check, surrounded by Conference Chair Prof. Klaus Kümmerer, PhD (left), and Elsevier Senior Publisher Rob van Daalen.

The proposal presented by Dr. Yunsang Kim’s won first prize because of the innovative green chemistry aspect and the large positive impact on the environment: he will use innovative textile dyeing technology using nanocellulosic (NC) fibers to reduce the generation of wastewater and release of toxic chemicals

"I am really very happy and overwhelmed in winning this prize," he said. "I feel responsible in developing this project to the next stage and for the actual implementation of the project, and I will do my very best for that."

The textile industry is considered as one of the most ecologically harmful in the world. Yunsang’s project aims to develop an innovative textile dyeing technology using nanocellulosic fibers to reduce the generation of wastewater and release of toxic chemicals in dyeing process. The proposed technology is expected to reduce more than 80 percent of water consumption and help diminish environmental footprint of textile industries around the globe. The NC fibers are a naturally produced raw material that is abundant, biodegradable, and renewable in nature.

His team will use the prize money for further research on the dyeing technology using NC fibers and the production of prototype fabric and evaluation of its dyeing performance.

Dr. Kim is a research associate in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Interiors at the University of Georgia. Dr. Kim received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. His doctoral thesis developed efficient and high-energy-density capacitors using ferroelectric nanocomposite and hybrid sol-gel materials. Dr. Kim’s current work revolves around the development and processing of nanocellulose as a coating platform for smart textile applications.

Runner-up: Biopesticide for Improvement of Paddy Yield

Second prize winners Prof. Suzana Yusup, PhD, and Daniel Joe Dailin, PhD, pose with pose with Conference Chair Prof. Klaus Kümmerer, PhD, (left) and Elsevier Senior Publisher Rob van Daalen.

This proposal, presented by Prof. Suzana Yusup, was selected as runner up because of the innovative sustainable agricultural aspect: using natural products to develop a water-based bio-pesticide.

"I am so exited and thrilled in winning this award," Dr. Yusup said. "The prize will help us to implement our project in the local communities of our country, and we will our best to make this a successful project."

Dr. Yusup’s team proposed to use a unique combination of different plant extracts to develop a water-based bio-pesticide. He will start his project with the formulation and development of synthesized bio-pesticide at laboratory scale. The bio-pesticide will be formulated using different plant extracts such as ginger, garlic, red chili and Neem. The formulated product will be tested on paddy plants and should improve the productivity of paddy fields.

They will use the prize money for further research on the bio-pesticide and its bio-efficacy and a field trial.

Associate Professor Yusup is a pioneer in developing and setting up biomass research areas at the Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS in Malaysia. Previously she was the university's Research Director of Mission Oriented Research in the area of Green Technology and the departmental Head of Chemical Engineering Department. She graduated in 1992 from University of Leeds, UK, in the field of Chemical Engineering, then received an MSc in Chemical Engineering (Adsorption) from the University of Wales Swansea in 1995 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering (Powder Technology) in 1998 from University of Bradford. She has published in numerous journals, articles and conferences at both national and international levels and lead several research grants at national and international levels. Her research interest is in the area of biomass conversion to fuel and biochemicals, material development and green processes.

'No sustainable future without chemistry'

Prof. Klaus Kümmerer, PhDConference chair Prof. Klaus Kümmerer, Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s journals Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry and Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy and chair of the scientific jury, said:

I was pleased to see that for the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge, we had a mixture of people and institutions from developing and other countries as well as a nice mixture of sustainable chemistry approaches. The high-tech and low-tech approaches all addressed issues where funding and practical implementation may be less favourable as no real big business opportunities can be expected. Nearly all facets of green and sustainable chemistry have been addressed by various high quality proposals. Therefore it was very challenging for the jury to select the top five first and the two winners finally.

By chance it turned out that the selected proposals have a focus on water quality and food issues. Both awarded proposals demonstrate that there will be no sustainable future without chemistry.  However they also demonstrate that we need a different and broader knowledge on how chemists and chemistry can work on a sustainable future, in order to avoid the well know problems caused by chemistry in the past. Having this in mind, chemistry will for sure contribute to the sustainable development goals of the UN that came into force at the beginning of this year. The proposals that are awarded demonstrate this nicely.

I am grateful that Elsevier helped to bring people together here at this meeting, to sponsor the awards, and that Elsevier was open to launch two new journals that encompass the broad variety of topics related to green and sustainable chemistry and pharmacy.

The Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

Chemists play major role in ensuring a continued supply of the fertilizer, medicines and other chemicals needed to support the world’s population. They also design processes and products that reduce or eliminate the production of unwanted or hazardous chemicals that can potentially damage the environment and thus contribute to sustainability.

To encourage researchers to come up with new solutions, Elsevier organized this Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. At Elsevier, it’s our vision is to create information solutions that improve outcomes for our customers and also benefit society. This challenge will enable us to work with the research community to make a positive impact on society.

Because of the interest in the challenge, it will be held again next year, this time organized by the Elsevier Foundation with the participation of Elsevier's STM Journals group.

There will be a call for entries on June 1, 2016.

Elsevier Connect Contributors

Rob van DaalenRob van DaalenAileen Christensen is a Senior Publisher at Elsevier, responsible for a portfolio of journals in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry. He studied Analytical Chemistry and is based in Amsterdam. He has held various positions within Elsevier and has been working as a publisher for eight years now. Rob is an Elsevier volunteer for the IMC Weekendschool, which offers extracurricular motivating education to children aged 10 to 14 from low-income socioeconomic areas.

Aileen Christensen is a Marketing Communications Manager for Elsevier’s Chemistry journals. She is responsible for the promotion the Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. She is based in Amsterdam.

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