October 12, 2021
AIChE SmartBrief
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Business Update
Carbios last month kicked off a demonstration plant in France where it will use enzymes to break down polyethylene terephthalate and study the feasibility of scaling the technology. The resulting monomers can be used to create virgin-like plastics that have a smaller greenhouse gas emissions footprint than producing virgin PET.
Full Story: MIT Technology Review (tiered subscription model) (10/6) 
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Moderna will spend up to $500 million to construct a vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa that can produce up to 500 million mRNA vaccine doses each year, including its COVID-19 vaccine. The possible choices for the plant's site include Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.
Full Story: Reuters (10/7) 
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Chemical Technology News
Scientists at Louisiana State University and the University of Delaware are collaborating on a project funded by the National Science Foundation to improve the durability and efficiency of electrolyzers that convert carbon dioxide into ethanol, ethylene and other chemicals. Representatives from Dow, Shell and ExxonMobil are supporting the research to boost the energy efficiency of the carbon dioxide conversion.
Full Story: Greater Baton Rouge Business Report (La.) (9/29) 
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The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Benjamin List and David MacMillan for their work on asymmetric organocatalysis, which "initiated a totally new way of thinking for how to put together chemical molecules," said Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede of the prize-awarding committee. Their work has enabled advances in many technologies, including energy storage and the way solar cells capture light.
Full Story: CNN (10/6),  BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (10/6) 
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Energy, Sustainability & Safety
Electric steam cracking, or e-cracking, is coming along, but the technology's implementation is still a decade away and the US could help incentivize the development of low-carbon projects in the US by enacting an emissions-trading system like Canada has in place, said Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling. Separately, oil and gas prices are climbing faster in Europe and Asia and the Americas, helping chemical makers in the latter retain their competitive advantage.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (10/6),  BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (10/6),  BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (10/6) 
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Clariant has teamed up with Linde Engineering to develop catalysts for the oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane, paving the way for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions associated with the ethylene production process.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (10/5) 
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Reactive Hazard Identification - A Scale Dependent Approach
Reactive hazards can be present whether the reaction is intended or not, and the results can have catastrophic consequences such as an explosion, fire, or harmful chemical release. Download this free guide to help identify and evaluate reactive hazards in order to prevent, mitigate, or eliminate them.
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Biological Engineering & Pharmaceuticals
A new gene-editing system is the smallest yet -- which may make it ideal for tweaking the genome of living organisms. The system, derived from the defenses of single-cell organisms called archaea, is similar to the famous CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool but much smaller, making it compatible with proven delivery vessels such as lipid nanoparticles and adeno-associated viruses.
Full Story: CEP Magazine (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) (10/2021) 
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A supply and purchase deal was signed by Merck and the government of Singapore for its investigational antiviral drug molnupiravir as a treatment for COVID-19. The drug is the first oral medication developed for COVID-19, and Merck has filed for regulatory approval with the FDA for the antiviral drug.
Full Story: CNBC (10/6) 
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Johnson & Johnson has filed a request with the FDA to authorize emergency use of a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 and older who previously received the firm's single-dose vaccine. The filing was based on late-stage trial data that showed a booster dose administered 56 days after the first shot offered 94% protection against symptomatic COVID-19, and 100% protection against severe illness.
Full Story: The Associated Press (10/5),  The Hill (10/5) 
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Materials & Nanotechnology
Stretchy tech leads the charge for battery innovation
(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Power-source needs for electronic devices are driving battery innovation, such as a waterproof, elastic energy harvester that transforms human movement into electricity for wearables. Other solutions include a nano-silicon battery and advanced rechargeable lithium metal batteries.
Full Story: Lifewire (10/6) 
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Give out to Celebrate PRIDE and Allyship
In honor of LGBTQ+ History Month in October, AIChE®'s LGBTQ+ & Allies Initiative steering committee has underwritten a $10,000 matching gift challenge, Celebrating PRIDE and Allyship. Join us in being the change with your generous gift.
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Education & Government Update
More chemical regulations are on the way at the European Commission and overseas competitors will be expected to comply, said Diederik Samsom of the European Commission during the European Petrochemical Association's annual conference. The EU industry is losing its market share and additional regulations may further hinder competitiveness, said BASF CEO and Cefic President Martin Brudermuller during a roundtable with Samsom.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (10/6) 
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When you share your chemical and process safety engineering industry expertise, you'll be contributing to build relevant, critical programming for the AIChE® Spring Meeting & 18th Global Congress on Process Safety. Abstracts are now open for you to submit your latest research. Learn more!
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SmartPulse
POLL QUESTION:
Do you feel that chemical engineering students today are receiving adequate process safety education?
VoteYes
VoteNo
VoteI don't know
Results from our previous poll
Do you feel that your chemical engineering (ChE) undergraduate instructors had the competencies necessary to train students in industrial process safety?
Yes
 31.50%
No
 49.50%
I don't know
 17.50%
I did not receive ChE education
 1.50%
Institute News
Experts from a breadth of engineering disciplines and groups will share ideas for accelerating the development of alternative plastics and mitigating the effects of traditional plastics in the environment at the 3rd Global Symposium on Waste Plastic. Organized by AIChE's Institute for Sustainability, the symposium will examine waste plastics across the supply chain, including discussion of technology, policy considerations, creation of new materials, recycling and reuse, and more. Reduced registration rates are in effect through October 22. Review the program and plan your attendance.
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To mark LGBTQ+ History Month in October, members of AIChE's LGBTQ+ & Allies steering committee have underwritten a $10,000 matching gift challenge. The campaign, "Celebrating Pride and Allyship," will support the AIChE Foundation's funding of programs such as safe-zone ally training workshops and community-building events at major meetings. Gifts totaling up to $10,000 will be matched dollar for dollar. Read more.
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