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Dow Chemical: Green Chemistry Innovation


When the EPA awarded The Dow Chemical Company with a U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award honor in 2013, it marked the ninth time in 18 years that Dow and its affiliates have received such recognition. The award was established in 1996 to recognize organizations that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use. Selections are made each year by a panel of experts from the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute

The 2013 award recognized Dow technology, called EVOQUE pre-composite polymer technology, that is reducing the environmental impact of coatings such as paint. The technology improves rust resistance, while cutting the paint’s carbon footprint by more than 22 percent and water consumption by 30 percent. It is an example of innovation that benefits the environment while improving performance, reducing waste, and making good business sense.

Dow manufactures more than 5,000 different products at 188 factories in 36 countries. Its global workforce exceeds 54,000 people. The company believes that product and process innovation go hand-in-hand with sustainable business.

Rohm and Haas, which is now a division of Dow, received a Green Chemistry honor in 1996 for a product called Sea-Nine that controls the growth of plants and animals on ship hulls, which at the time was imposing $3 billion per year in extra fuel costs. Sea-Nine, which is applied like paint, replaced less effective products with toxic tin-containing materials.

In 2000, Dow won for a product called Sentricon that eliminates termites. Until 1995, the common approach to subterranean termite control involved placing insecticides into the soil surrounding a building to create a chemical barrier. Sentricon is a highly specific bait used only where termites are active. It has been used on hundreds of thousands of homes.

Dow and BASF jointly developed a better process for making propylene oxide, a chemical that is ubiquitous in industrial processes, such as the manufacture of detergents, food additives, and polyurethanes. The new process uses less water and substantially reduces the generation of waste in the production of propylene oxide, leading to a Sustainable Chemistry award in 2010.

More information about the Presidential Green Chemistry Award program can be found here.