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Student Discovers that being Sustainable is Attainable at Green Chemistry Conference

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Faisal Baksh, graduate student at the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC), won a travel scholarship to the 13th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Maryland this past June, 2009.

This conference highlights advances to make the chemical industry environmentally sustainable.  Baksh said, “It was a remarkable event.”  He was especially excited to hear presentations from leaders in the field, including John Warner and Paul Anastas.    

As part of Baksh’s travel scholarship, he participated in a full-day professional development workshop.  One of the sessions inspired him to think more about the toxic effects of the chemicals he uses and creates.  He even posted a magnet on the break room refrigerator as a reminder to replace hazardous chemical solvents, such as chloroform, with safer solvents like water or ethanol.

Baksh discovered that he can do more to promote greener approaches to research at the University of Kansas.  As president for a new student group called, “Students for Green Chemistry and Engineering,” he is doing just that [link].  He has also found ways to make his own research at CEBC safer and less toxic.  With his mentor, Prof. RV Chaudhari, Baksh is developing new catalysts for making biofuels from renewable plant resources.  He uses water instead of toxic solvents to make these catalysts.

This year’s winners for the Presidential Green Chemistry Award were announced at the conference.  Two CEBC member companies, Eastman Chemical Company and Procter & Gamble, won awards for their new innovations in environmentally beneficial chemical technologies [link]. 

Overall, Baksh found the conference inspiring. He said, “It helped me self-critique the greenness of my research and evaluate the overall long-term sustainability of current research in my field.”

--Story by Claudia Bode

CEBC Calendar

March 4, Thursday - Industry Colloquium 
9:00 a.m., via Zoom
Allyn Kaufmann, US Whitespace & Innovation Lead
"Serial Innovation in Consumer Heathcare - Intersection of Chemistry and the Consumer"

March 10, Wednesday - Mandatory Safety Meeting 
9:00 a.m., via Zoom
Mandatory for all CEBC researchers working at 1501 Wakarusa

March 25, Thursday - Industry Colloquium 
9:00 a.m., via Zoom
Nikola Juhasz, Global Technical Director, Sustainability
Sun Chemical Corporation, Carlstadt, NJ
"Sustainability of Packaging Industry"

April 1, Thursday - Industry Colloquium 
9:00 a.m., via Zoom
Sagar Sarsani, Project Leader
Sabic, Sugarland, TX
"Chemical Industry R&D Career Pathways"

April 12 & 13, Monday & Tuesday - Spring Advisory Boards Meeting
& Project Evaluations

1:00-3:00 p.m. each day, via Zoom
Click here to register

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