Archive for December, 2013

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency publishes green chemistry case studies

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 by

This post originally appeared on Environmental News Bits.

For the last several years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, through a U.S. EPA grant, has funded projects in the state that promote the use of green chemistry in industry and encourage the teaching of green chemistry and design principles in Minnesota’s colleges and universities. The case studies from these projects were recently published on the MPCA web site. Details of the project and links to the associated case studies are included below.

Green Chemistry and Design Demonstration Project

Background

Demonstration projects tested whether grants of around $50,000 can provide threshold funding to businesses to undertake green chemistry and design changes to their products, or to the components of products they deliver to customers or supply chains.

Grants co-funded basic chemistry research, moved research or development already in progress closer to completion, or adapted off-the-shelf green chemistry technology. Actual implementation of product changes through retooled production were the ideal end-result, but product design or redesign and testing with a commitment to carry the new design through to production sufficed.

Funds were awarded in the form of a grant to a company that controlled the design of a product or component and committed to a green chemistry and design improvement of such a product or component. Internal teams and external partnerships were vital and could include the company designing the product or component, their customer(s), their production supply chain, and either internal or third-party (external) technical resource providers such as consultants, graduate research students, labs or testing facilities, mentoring companies, or others.

Demonstration projects were designed to support the research and development side of the product design process. Grant funds could not be used for purchasing the equipment necessary to produce the newly designed or redesigned product. Equipment purchases could be made through state low-interest loan programs, either MPCA environmental loans or those available through other state agencies.

More information is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topics/preventing-waste-and-pollution/p2-pollution-prevention/reducing-toxicity/green-chemistry-and-design/green-chemistry-and-design-demonstration-project.html.

Case Studies

Green Chemistry and Design College Curriculum Grant Projects

Background

The MPCA has been exploring the most effective means for state government to promote wider use of Green Chemistry and Design. The MPCA has pursued this exploration as part of its 22-year-old Pollution Prevention program, to arrive at both life-cycle environmental improvement and a more profitable and sustainable economy.

The MPCA is researching and evaluating a number of mechanisms for supporting broader use of Green Chemistry:

  • Grants to Minnesota companies in various sectors to pursue Green Chemistry, Engineering and Design improvements in products;
  • Improved multi-stakeholder networks to facilitate awareness and information exchange (including the Minnesota Green Chemistry Forum, annual Minnesota Green Chemistry conferences, and the Environmental Initiative’s Chemicals Policy stakeholder process);
  • Integration of Green Chemistry information and best practices into existing State-funded assistance services;
  • Broadening markets for Green Chemistry and overall greener products through State purchasing, facilitation of greener private-sector supply chains, and use of existing or new tax incentives;
  • High-level State Green Chemistry initiatives and policy proposals;
  • Grants and networking to strengthen Green Chemistry education.

Learning from this exploration of potential state government programs supporting Green Chemistry will be reported to the Governor and Minnesota Legislature periodically to inform future policy decisions.

These grants supported the development of Green Chemistry and Design curricula at more post-secondary institutions in Minnesota and strengthen the Minnesota and national network of post-secondary faculty teaching aspects of Green Chemistry and Design. More information is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topics/preventing-waste-and-pollution/p2-pollution-prevention/reducing-toxicity/green-chemistry-and-design/green-chemistry-and-design-college-curriculum-grant-projects.html.

Case Studies

 

U.S. EPA Region 5 hosts one-day green chemistry/green engineering training

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 by

On December 9, U.S. EPA Region 5 held a one-day training session that provided an introduction to green chemistry and engineering basics for pollution prevention technical assistance providers. The event was also broadcast as a webinar.

Speakers and topics included:

Online modules are also being developed using this training material. They will be available in early 2014. Training materials are available from the following links:

Agenda and Overview

Presentation Slides

Module Resources

Pictured (L-R): Jeri-Lyn Garl, USEPA Region 5; Kathy Davey, USEPA HQ; Laura Barnes; Dan Marsch; Laura Babcock, MNTAP; Daniel Tietelbaum, USEPA HQ; Christine Anderson, USEPA Region 5

Pictured (L-R): Jerri-Anne Garl, USEPA Region 5; Kathy Davey, USEPA HQ; Laura Barnes, GLRPPR; Dan Marsch, ISTC; Laura Babcock, MNTAP; Daniel Teitelbaum, USEPA HQ; Christine Anderson, USEPA Region 5

GLRPPR is hiring

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 by

POSITION:  Academic Hourly – Information Specialist (20 hours/week)

LOCATION: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, 1 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign, Illinois

JOB DESCRIPTION:  The Information Specialist, under the direction of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) Executive director, will support GLRPPR activities as outlined in the project work plan.

Major Duties and Responsibilities (detailed duties):

Primary responsibilities will include assisting with the development of content for and redesign of the GLRPPR web site; writing and design of fact sheets, case studies and other publications; development and curation of information products and services; and representing the organization at trade shows and conferences.  Other duties include assisting with: conference/meeting planning; web site redesign; and development of training/informational programs and webinars.

Education:  Required: Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, English, environmental science, or an allied field. Preferred: A Master’s degree in an applicable field may substitute for the required two years of experience.

Experience:  Required: Two years of applicable experience, including identifying and curating content related to environmental sustainability/green business; marketing and promotional activities, including social media and content development for the web.  The successful candidate will demonstrate effective communication and customer service skills and the ability to work under minimal supervision and effectively on a team.  Preferred: Experience with event coordination and planning; web site design and maintenance; experience with developing web-based information guides; familiarity with developing infographics and data visualizations for the web; prior experience working with government, industry and/or trade groups.

Knowledge Requirements: Required: Experience with Microsoft Office products. Understanding of and appreciation for environmental sustainability and green business concepts and practices.  Preferred: Familiarity with WordPress or other blogging software; Adobe Creative Suite; social media tools such as HootSuite.

RATE OF PAY:  $17 to $20 per hour, commensurate with experience. No medical or leave benefits associated with this position.

TO APPLY: To apply, please send resume, cover letter, and names, email addresses, and phone numbers of three professional references to Erica Hanson at elhanson@illinois.edu. Reference “Information Specialist” in subject line. Closing date is December 20, 2013.

Students Honored for Fresh Ideas in Sustainable Electronics

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 by

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s Sustainable Electronics Initiative has announced the winners of the International Sustainable Electronics Competition.

The winners in the Product Category (items intended for sale) were:

  • E-waste Meets Farming, smart phones remanufactured as cow collars (Platinum, $3,000) Michael Van Dord, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia;
  • Mion, a multi-purpose dynamo lighting system (Gold, $2,000) Mikenna Tansley, Jiayi Li, Fren Mah, Russell Davidson, and Kapil Vachhar from the University of Alberta, Canada;
  • Cellscreen, a large scale display system made from old phone displays (Silver, $1,000) Sam Johnston, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.

One platinum level ($3,000) winner was named in the Non-product Category (concepts valuable for artistic, educational, policy, or similar content):

  • ENERGENCIA, a children’s’ game encouraging the use of recycled materials and renewable energy concepts by Stephanie Vázquez and Pedro Baños of Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey Campus Puebla, Mexico.

The videos of the winning entries are featured on the competition site, ewaste.illinois.edu, the SEI site, sustainelectronics.illinois.edu, and SEI’s You Tube channel, youtube.com/seiatistc.

O’Brien Appointed Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Director

Monday, December 2nd, 2013 by

Kevin O’Brien, Ph.D., has been appointed Director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, effective Dec. 2, 2013. Most recently Dr. O’Brien served as president of Energy Commercialization, LLC, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A technology expert and project manager with more than 20 years of experience, O’Brien has managed multi-million-dollar programs related to renewable and sustainable technologies and practices in the U.S. and abroad. His international project experience includes Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Among his professional awards are R&D Magazine’s R&D 100 award and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Technology Transfer.

He will lead an organization which for nearly 30 years has advocated and helped enable sustainable practices in industry and other organizations in Illinois. Effective strategies have included applied research, industry and government partnerships, technical assistance, technology demonstrations, and information dissemination.

O’Brien’s energy expertise encompasses both the supply side and demand side. He is experienced with projects involving both renewable energy as well as traditional fossil based fuels. His focus in renewables has been on the development of utility scale solar projects. As a project developer, he has brought together the necessary technical, regulatory, and financial considerations in order to move solar projects forward. He has also been involved with advisory services to the state of California and utility companies on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

O’Brien received his B.S. in Polymer Engineering, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Macromolecular Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

“Dr. O’Brien’s record of effectiveness at bringing together diverse stakeholders for the development and deployment of renewable and sustainable technologies and practices is an excellent fit for ISTC,” said Institute Executive Director William W. Shilts. “His experience in senior management and as a technology innovator will provide leadership to meet the range of sustainable technology challenges our society faces.”

“ISTC is well positioned to be a leader in building collaborative networks between business, government and academia,” O’Brien said. “Today sustainable technology is a growing cultural force which we can move forward to maximize economic and environmental benefits.”

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The Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois is the home of the State Scientific Surveys: Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. For over 160 years the Surveys have applied cutting-edge science and expertise to keep Illinois’ economy, environment and people prosperous and secure. www.prairie.illinois.edu

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) was established in 1985 and joined the Prairie Research Institute with the other surveys in 2008.  Its mission is to encourage and assist citizens, businesses, and government agencies to prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, and reduce waste to protect human health and the environment of Illinois and beyond.  www.istc.illinois.edu