Leading Scientists Will Discuss Green Chemistry at UMass Amherst June 11-12

AMHERST, Mass. - Environmentally friendly chemistry, with an emphasis on polymers, will be the focus of a two-day workshop at the University of Massachusetts, June 11-12. The meeting is expected to draw participants from academia, industry, and government laboratories, and will be hosted by two UMass groups: the National Environmental Technology for Waste Prevention Institute (NETI) and the Center for UMass Industry Research on Polymers (CUMIRP), said Joseph Larson, director of the Environmental Institute at UMass, and chair of the NETI advisory board.

While on the UMass campus, scientists and engineers will work toward developing a comprehensive research agenda related to polymers. The emphasis is on "green" chemistry - environmentally friendly, energy efficient, but nonetheless productive chemistry for U.S. industry, said Larson, a professor of natural resources conservation. While at UMass, scientists will participate in brainstorming sessions to discuss polymer research in three areas: computer modeling and simulation, synthesis and use of catalysts, and processing to promote green chemistry, he said.

The group’s findings will be presented to a large gathering of industry, government, and research leaders at the second National Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Washington, D.C., June 30-July 2. The ideas produced at the workshop will be used as one "roadmap" to accomplish some of the goals set out in Vision 2020, a document released about a year ago by a coalition of groups involved in the chemical industry on how the U.S. chemical industry can meet its competitive challenges through the year 2020.

NETI researchers, working with industry partners, are studying ways to prevent or minimize pollution in industry by making changes in the materials that are used, and the ways in which those materials are processed. The institute funds projects that involve UMass Amherst faculty and students from diverse disciplines such as chemical engineering, polymer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, public health and health sciences, and industry partners from large and small companies in Massachusetts and nationwide. Sponsors for the two-day workshop include the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the American Chemical Society, and the Green Chemistry Institute of Rockville, Md.