Elevance wins EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

By Erin Voegele | June 19, 2012

On June 18, the U.S. EPA announced winners of the 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. The initiative recognizes innovative chemical technologies that have the potential to prevent pollution in the U.S., including those developed by researchers and industrial innovators who create safer, more sustainable chemical designs, processes and products. Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. has been recognized in the small business category for the production of high-performing green specialty chemicals at advantageous costs. The awardees were honored during the 17th Annual Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony.

According to information provided by the EPA, Elevance technology feature a Nobel-prize-winning  metathesis catalyst process that breaks down natural oils and recombines the fragments into novel, high-performance biobased chemicals. Compared to petrochemical technologies, Elevance’s process uses significantly less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emission by 50 percent.

The EPA also noted that the high-value, difunctional chemicals produced via Elevance’s technology feature a combination of functional attributes of an olefin and a monofunctional ester or acid into a single molecule. Examples offered by the agency include lubricant oils that feature improved stability or surfactants with improved solvency.

In addition, the EPA specifies that the company’s low-pressure, low-temperature processes can take in a variety of renewable feedstocks, and yield products and byproducts with low toxicity levels. Elevance’s production processes also result in lower source pollution, production costs, and capital expenditures when compared to petrochemical refineries.

“Elevance is producing specialty chemicals for many uses, such as highly concentrated cold-water detergents that provide better cleaning with reduced energy costs,” said Richard Engler of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.

Elevance has partnered with Wilmar International to build an 180,000 metric ton (400 million pound) biorefinery in Indonesia. The company has also purchased a biodiesel plant near Natchez, Miss. to repurpose it as a biorefinery with annual production capacity of 280,000 metric tons (600 million pounds).

“Elevance is honored to be recognized by the EPA for our work in bringing innovation in the renewable chemical industry,” said K’Lynne Johnson, CEO of Elevance. “Our development team has enabled cost-effective, renewable solutions for our customers. I am pleased to accept this award on their behalf.”