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Golden, Colo., July 14, 1999 Two Colorado scientists will share a major national award for their part in developing a process that can help turn common waste from city landfills and the paper mill industry into environmentally friendly products, such as biodegradable pesticides and gasoline additives.
Dr. Joseph Bozell and Dr. Luc Moens at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) won this year's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) President Clinton started the awards in 1995 to "promote pollution prevention and industrial ecology through a new partnership with the chemical industry."
The NREL process converts almost any biomass feedstock into levulinic acid, a chemical building block that can then be used to manufacture biodegradable herbicides and pesticides and an oxygenate for cleaner burning gasoline. Biomass feedstocks include municipal solid waste and waste from paper mill and agricultural industries.
The new biomass conversion process can help reduce the tons of trash clogging the nation's landfills and replace petrochemicals made from imported oil. NREL scientists think that commercially produced levulinic acid derivatives could become the basis for a new chemical industry based on biomass waste.
NREL shares the Green Chemistry Challenge Award with industry partners Biofine of Waltham, Mass., Chemical Industry Services of West Lafayette, Ind., the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.