Green Chemistry: The Missing Elements and Innovations

Held on May 17, 2017, and led by Dr. John Warner, President and CTO, Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC 

  • Green Chemistry: The Missing ElementsImagine a world where all segments of society demanded environmentally benign products! Imagine if all consumers, all retailers, and all manufacturers insisted on buying and selling only non-toxic materials! The unfortunate reality is that, even if this situation were to occur, our knowledge of materials science and chemistry would allow us to provide only a small fraction of the products and materials that our economy is based upon. The way we learn and teach chemistry and materials science is for the most part void of any information regarding mechanisms of toxicity and environmental harm. Green Chemistry is a philosophy that seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous materials at the design stage of a materials process. It has been demonstrated that materials and products CAN be designed with negligible impact on human health and the environment while still being economically competitive and successful in the marketplace. This presentation will describe the history and background of Green Chemistry and discuss examples and the opportunities for the next generation of materials designers to create a safer and more sustainable future. 

  • Green Chemistry: Innovations through the lens of Thermodynamics Nature creates materials of such exquisite structural complexity and diversity that humans may never be able to mimic them. Nature’s elegance is even more astounding when one considers the fact that most chemistry in the biological world is carried out at ambient temperature and pressure using water, for the most part, as its reaction medium.  For society to become truly sustainable, the way we manufacture, use and repurpose materials must change dramatically. This presentation will describe John Warner’s entropic considerations of materials design and illustrate their application through recent R&D examples from the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. Examples of pharmaceuticals, personal care, construction materials and textiles will be included. 

  • Green Chemistry and the Elements of InnovationChemists design new molecules and new molecular processes to accomplish tasks in all aspects of human society. Medicines to cure the sick, agricultural agents to feed the hungry, textiles to clothe the cold, the scope is unlimited. The breadth and diversity of information in chemistry is so large and expansive that no individual or group of individuals can possibly master a significant portion. Education in chemistry must, therefore, focus its attention on selected components of the “whole” as illustrative samplings of the general methodologies of chemistry to equip the practicing chemist with at least some fundamental tools that enable success. Over the past several decades the curriculum of chemistry has certainly made great progress towards achieving this goal. This presentation will discuss the author’s “5 Elements of Innovation” as a reflection of how chemists can be more introspective of the innovative process and avoid some subconscious roadblocks to creative success.

More about John Warner 

Dr. John Warner is the recipient of the 2014 Perkin Medal, widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American Industrial Chemistry, and was named a 2016 AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador. In 2007 he founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC (A research organization developing green chemistry technologies), where he serves as President and Chief Technology Officer, and Beyond Benign (a non-profit dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education). He is one of the founders of the field of Green Chemistry, and his recent work in the fields of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, solar energy and construction and paving materials are examples of how green chemistry principles can be immediately incorporated into commercially relevant applications. This presentation will describe the history and background of Green Chemistry and discuss examples and the opportunities for the next generation of materials designers to create a safer and more sustainable future.


  • This workshop is hosted in partnership between: