EPA Presents Green Chemistry Challenge Award to Chemistry Professor

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded one of five Green Chemistry Challenge Awards to Mark Mascal, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Davis, together with Origin Materials Inc. and its co-CEO John Bissel.

Mascal’s laboratory and Origin Materials are being recognized for developing and implementing a novel technology to replace chemicals commonly made from petroleum with products from biomass, such as forestry, agricultural and municipal wastes. This technology could have positive environmental impacts, particularly in the plastics industry, as the chemicals produced can be used to make materials that are both net zero-carbon and recyclable. 

Mark Mascal headshot
Mark Mascal

Mascal’s laboratory at UC Davis developed a new process to digest carbohydrates (for example, from plant waste) to produce a chemical called 5-(chloromethyl) furfural, or CMF, which can be used to make products otherwise made from petroleum.

Origin Materials, based in West Sacramento, has scaled up the technology for producing CMF and developed a commercial process to generate biobased, net zero-carbon polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic and associated products starting from CMF.

Bissel earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UC Davis.

The award winners were honored at a ceremony at the annual American Chemical Society Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Reston, Virginia, June 6-8.

The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are co-sponsored by EPA and the American Chemical Society. Established in 1996, the annual awards promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry that reduces pollution at its source by minimizing or eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals, feedstocks, reagents, solvents and products. The 2022 awards also recognize a green chemical technology that reduces or eliminates greenhouse gas emissions.

Media Resources

Origin Materials Wins EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Award for 2022 in Partnership with University of California, Davis (News release)

EPA Green Chemistry

Media Contacts:

  • Mark Mascal, Chemistry, mjmascal@ucdavis.edu
  • Andy Fell, News and Media Relations, 530-304-8888, ahfell@ucdavis.edu

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