Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
LAUNCH Seeking Chemistry Innovations to Advance Sustainable Materials, Manufacturing

Calling all chemistry innovators! LAUNCH — the open innovation platform aimed at identifying and fostering breakthrough ideas for a more sustainable world — this week announced its newest System Challenge: Green Chemistry.

Founded in 2013 by NASA, NIKE, The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and The US Department of State, LAUNCH is currently focused on positively transforming our system of materials and manufacturing, particularly around textiles (the focus of its LAUNCH Nordic Challenge, announced in March), which can have dramatic social, environmental and economic impacts globally.

In order to harness the innovation needed to advance this system, LAUNCH has issued a series of global challenges to address key barriers: The current challenge seeks innovations in chemistry, a crucial component in a sustainable materials and manufacturing system. A portfolio of up to 10 innovators will be selected for support, networking and mentoring from influential business and government leaders.

With this Challenge, LAUNCH seeks innovations that leverage or advance ‘green chemistry’ (as defined by the EPA’s 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, below) to transform the system of materials and manufacturing to one that advances global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet’s resources:

  • Prevention
  • Atom Economy
  • Less Hazardous Chemical Synthesis
  • Designing Safer Chemicals
  • Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries
  • Design for Energy Efficiency
  • Use of Renewable Feedstocks
  • Reduce Derivatives
  • Catalysis
  • Design for Degradation
  • Real-Time Analysis for Pollution Prevention
  • Inherently Safter Chemistry for Accident Prevention

The LAUNCH SYSTEM CHALLENGE: Green Chemistry gives preference for projects that support local, micro, small and medium enterprise inclusion and create equitable, empowered workforces. Innovations can be technical, processes, business models, enabling platforms, relevant data capture and assessment, and capability building, in any one (or more) of the following areas:

  • Solutions that reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in materials and processes (Ex: Eliminate the use of solvents in materials, green solvent replacement for precision cleaning)
  • Solutions that enable the use of low-impact, renewable feedstocks (Ex: Drop-in chemicals or materials from biological input vs. constrained resources such as petroleum)
  • Chemistry that enables end-of-life recycling or maximizes the potential for closed-loop systems while minimizing hazard (Ex: De-bondable adhesives, technologies that allow for disassembly after consumer use, self-healing wires)
  • Solutions that increase energy, water and raw material efficiency, minimizing the use of constrained resources (Ex: Replacement for antimony, new techniques for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) cleanup)
  • Solutions that maximize community, worker, consumer and environmental safety from hazardous chemicals (Ex: Cost-effective effluent technologies that remove chemistries from wastewater; technologies that eliminate the use or discharge of hazardous chemistries or that consume large amounts of water, Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) use in groundwater remediation.
  • Enabling models, education and tools to help industry and consumers select more sustainable chemistry alternatives (Ex: Education, business processes, and business models that identify and drive the use of greener chemistry alternatives within the supply chain while protecting chemical formulator confidential business information)

LAUNCH says it is interested in proven technologies, prototypes and innovations that align with its Challenge statement and have the potential to scale in two years. Innovations can include but are not limited to business models, technologies, processes, programs and products that help transform the system of materials and manufacturing.

Responses from companies (small to large), entrepreneurs, inventors, non-profit organizations with strong program implementation capacity, academics and research institutions, national laboratories, government agencies, social enterprises and venture capitalists are welcome. Applicants poised to go to market and/or scale up their innovations will receive the most benefit from the LAUNCH experience.

LAUNCH will choose the best proposals (up to 10) based on their alignment with the Challenge; their potential environmental and/or social impacts, and transformative potential; and their technical viability, market fit, potential for scale and management capability.

While no cash prize will be awarded, those selected as LAUNCH innovators will become part of the growing LAUNCH Network, receive visibility for their work, and access to key experts and stakeholders across the materials and manufacturing sectors that can accelerate the trajectory of their innovation into the marketplace.

Deadline for submissions is September 24th, 2014.

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