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BIO Members Receive 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

October 17, 2014

Today, BIO announced that two of its member companies, Amyris and Solazyme, Inc., have received awards in the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge for industrial biotechnology applications that produce farnesene and algae oils.


Green Chemistry or sustainable chemistry aims to design and produce cost-competitive chemical products and processes that reduce pollution at the source.  Specifically, it minimizes or eliminates the hazards of chemical feedstocks, reagents, solvents, and products.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes that industrial biotechnology meets these criteria of green chemistry.


The annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards recognize novel technologies that provide significant environmental and economic benefits through chemical design, manufacture, and use.

EPA presents awards in five categories:

  • Focus Area 1: Greener Synthetic Pathways

  • Focus Area 2: Greener Reaction Conditions

  • Focus Area 3: The Design of Greener Chemicals

  • Small Business* (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business)

  • Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcherss


Amyris received the Small Business Award for its design of farnesene, a hydrocarbon building block that can be converted into a renewable, drop-in diesel or jet fuel.  Amyris engineered yeast to make the chemical called farnesene instead of ethanol. Farnesene is a building block hydrocarbon that can be converted into a renewable, drop-in replacement for petroleum diesel without certain drawbacks of first-generation biofuels.

Solazyme received the Greener Synthetic Pathways Award for oils produced through microalgae fermentation. These oils can be tailored to replace or improve upon traditional vegetable oils and petrochemicals.Vegetable oils derived from plants can replace petroleum as building blocks for many industrial chemicals. Solazyme has engineered microalgae to produce oils tailored to customers’ needs that can mimic or enhance properties of traditional vegetable oils These micro-algae-derived oils are consistent regardless of season, geographic origin, and feedstock source.

Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards have been issued by the Environmental Protection Agency each year since 1996. Of the 98 annual awards given, 33 have been given to biotechnology and biobased applications. For more information, click here.