Chen awarded 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

Posted: July 20th, 2015

Landmark clean chemistry technology

To recognize the discovery of a landmark clean chemistry technology, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a Presidential Green Chemistry Award to Colorado State University Professor of Chemistry Eugene Chen this week.


Chen, the only award winner recognized in the Academic category, was honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., for developing green condensation reactions for renewable chemicals, liquid fuels, and biodegradable polymers. Chen’s co-workers, post-doctoral fellow Miao Hong and graduate student D.J. Liu, who developed the nominated technology, also received the award and were recognized at the ceremony. This new technology is waste-free and metal-free. It offers significant potential for the production of renewable chemicals, fuels and bioplastics that can be used in a wide range of safer industrial and consumer products.

“This Presidential Award recognizes the exceptional research of Dr. Chen in sustainable chemistry,” said Chuck Henry, chair of CSU’s Department of Chemistry. “Dr. Chen’s work is in converting common renewable materials into functional molecules to create liquid fuels and useful or biodegradable materials by developing novel atom-economical green pathways. This is an important contribution to moving beyond fossil fuels and purely petroleum-based plastics and polymers.”

‘Research Rockstar’

Chen also was recognized in 2012 as a “Research Rockstar” by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association for developing chemical processes that could create sustainable bioplastics, biofuels and other value-added chemicals from biomass.

In CSU’s Chemistry department, Chen has developed a platform of processes to convert small molecules derived from nonedible plant biomass into bioplastics. The material can be used for everything from optical fibers and contact lenses to furniture and automobile parts. He has also developed catalytic processes that refine biomass into a platform chemical that can then be converted into biofuels and other value-added chemicals.

‘A great asset to CSU’

“Researchers like Eugene Chen whose commitment to improving upon processes and ways of thinking to a more green and sustainable end are invaluable at CSU,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research at CSU. “Not only does he contribute to advancements in his field, but also to CSU’s commitment to our future as a research institution and a green institution. In this way, to recognize his accomplishments in chemistry is to also recognize him as a great asset to CSU.”

Along with Chen’s honor, the EPA recognized breakthrough green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.

Read more at SOURCE.