Green Business Plan Competition: Start your engines

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute will be hosting a business plan competition on June 18, 2014 at the 18th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, which will be held outside of Washington D.C. The competition is for early stage ideas – but not ideas for renewable energy production or biofuels (there are no shortage of competitions for those). If you have an idea for a green innovation that only chemists would truly...

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Help Solve a Water Problem

With blogs, twitter, and e-mail, it’s pretty rare these days that I get a phone call from a reader. But yesterday I heard from an ACS member who has a sort of meta-problem. That is, he hopes to get some outside thinking to help him define his problem, as well as to point him in new directions for possible solutions. Here’s the problem: Fresh water is a scarce commodity in many places on the planet. Several dry-arid...

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Harnessing Entropy
Aug22

Harnessing Entropy

In Solar, a novel by acclaimed author Ian McEwan, the protagonist, a physicist named Michael Beard, has been tasked to evaluate submissions from the public sent to a UK panel looking for new ideas for clean energy. He divides them into piles: those that violate the first law of thermodynamics, those that violate the second law, and those that violate both. This cleantech reporter could relate. That’s why ideas that start with...

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MPGs, HEVs, PHEVs Oh My!
Nov02

MPGs, HEVs, PHEVs Oh My!

It appears that recent efforts to raise miles per gallon on the nation’s auto fleet – spurred by government regulations – have hit an interesting tipping point. As this guest post by my colleague Jeff Johnson points out, both consumers and automakers have learned to love running lean. ———————————————— Despite the recent...

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iPad: Pushing the Limits of Materials

In addition to the famed design sense and technological know-how that make the iPad possible, Apple also must call in some key material innovations to fit all that fun into such a small package. In this week’s issue of C&EN, I talk to the companies that make materials for today’s hot mobile devices and their sleek touch screens. Like Corning’s Gorilla Glass. And I show how surface chemistry‘s contributions...

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Spring Themes: Composting

[you can skip my musings and go straight to Alex’s compostable plastics story!] Today’s forecasted high temperature where I live in the Northeast is 78 degrees. That just doesn’t seem right. This time last year, we still had an impressive layer of snow which didn’t melt until sometime in April. [insert random thoughts of global warming, La Nina, and how yesterday was almost 20 degrees warmer than the forecast...

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