AIR COMPANY Wins EPA’s Green Chemistry Award
AIR COMPANY Wins EPA’s Green Chemistry Award
At AIR COMPANY, our goal is to combat climate change by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating the environmental impact of industries such as transportation.
As a testament to the work we have put into this effort, we are thrilled to announce that we have been honored with the prestigious Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the EPA. This award acknowledges the maturity of our technology and our commitment to environmental stewardship.
I sat down with Dr. Mahlet Garedew, Innovation Program Manager here at AIR COMPANY, to share what this means for industrial-scale sustainability and the planet.
Can you tell me a little about the EPA's Green Chemistry Challenge Award?
The award was established in 1996 and is sponsored by the EPA in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute to recognize and showcase technologies leveraging green chemistry in practical ways.
Green chemistry reimagines and redefines the way we make and use chemicals ubiquitous in everyday life - from cosmetics to fuels etc. At its core, green chemistry is all about the design of chemicals and processes to reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances. For the past 27 years, this award has recognized technologies that emulate this core value.
Technologies are evaluated based on three major criteria: science and innovation, human health and environmental benefits, and applicability and impact. These technologies come from various sectors ranging from small business to academia to industry.
The Green Chemistry Challenge Award is recognized by industry professionals and academics as a way to stay updated on the latest innovations and advancements in the field of green chemistry. It is an honor for us to be recognized this year alongside the five other winning organizations. It is also very special for me to be a part of this winning team at AIR COMPANY.
What specific achievement earned AIR COMPANY this award?
This award effectively validates our core AIRMADE™ technology, which is inspired by photosynthesis and converts CO2 into sustainable aviation fuels and chemicals.
We won in the Climate Change category because we turn a ubiquitous feed stock (CO2) into sustainable chemicals and fuels with O2 and water as the only byproducts, mimicking the process of photosynthesis.
This unique process drastically reduces GHG emissions via a single step process and has the potential to displace around 10.8% of global emissions across all applicable industries.
What does this award mean for the environment and our customers?
Winning the EPA's Green Chemistry Challenge Award signifies that we are at the forefront of environmentally conscious production for consumer and industrial sectors. For the environment, it translates into a significant reduction in carbon emissions and a step toward a more sustainable future. For our customers, it means they can enjoy the benefits of greener products without using fossil fuel alternatives or compromising on quality.
This award highlights the importance of purpose-driven innovation, the kinds that take inspiration from nature and are rooted in the principles of green chemistry. Such innovation is crucial in addressing one of the most pressing environmental challenges we currently confront.
In your daily work, how have you seen the principles of green chemistry applied beyond just this award?
Our commitment to industrial-scale sustainability through applied green chemistry practices is at the core of our DNA. We continually invest in research and development to advance cleaner, more efficient technologies. We also actively seek partnerships with like-minded organizations and promote responsible practices throughout the industries we’re actively trying to decarbonize.
Many - if not all - of us at AIR COMPANY have a value system tied to sustainability and the responsibility we all have to be stewards of our environment and our planet. Green chemistry embodies this commitment and provides us with the tools and a roadmap to achieve these sustainability goals. It is wonderful for the entire team to be recognized for developing this award winning green technology.
Lastly, why is this an important milestone for AIR COMPANY?
According to the EPA, out of the 1,800 nominations submitted, there have been only 133 winners since the inception of the program. Winning puts us in an elite cohort of groundbreaking technologies recognized by a panel of experts from various sectors in the field of green chemistry. Because this award is bestowed after a considerable amount of diligent review from experts in academia, industry, and government, this validates what we have been building, and it is a very special milestone for us and the industry.
Further, the winners of this award have collectively made significant impact through innovative and groundbreaking technology by removing 830 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, 21 billion gallons of water saved each year, and 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents released to air eliminated each year. It is a great honor for AIR COMPANY to now be contributing to this legacy towards realizing a greener and more sustainable future.
Not only is this a momentous accomplishment for our team, but it’s also a personal joy of my own. Myself, Dr. Chi Chen (Director of Innovations), and Dr. Stafford Sheehan (AIR COMPANY co-founder and CTO) all have worked alongside Professor Paul Anastas and his group at the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale.
Paul Anastas and John Warner are the two scientists who pioneered the field of Green Chemistry. Paul’s invaluable mentorship has guided all of us towards this significant achievement. It is meaningful and inspiring for us to be recognized for something that has played such a significant role in the development of my career and countless others in this field.