October 23, 2014, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
LSU School of the Coast & Environment



Sustainability in the Chemical Industry: Challenges & Opportunities

Date: October 23, 2014

Location: School of the Coast & Environment

Organizers: Dr. Ralph Portier, Dr. Mahmood Sabahi, and Dr. Michael Benton 

The chemistry enterprise in the US is a $760 billion business, and chemical companies invest more in R&D than any other business sector according to American Chemical Society.  Louisiana has the largest concentration of crude oil refineries, natural gas processing plants, and petrochemical production facilities in the western hemisphere, according to the Louisiana State Department of Administration.   The Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) has about 63 member companies and is committed to investing in education and research in Louisiana.

Louisiana also enjoys an amazing natural beauty and abundant renewable resources, contributing to a vibrant agriculture economy that reached a record high of $11.8 billion in 2013.  This gives Louisiana the opportunity to also be the cradle for renewable feedstocks and a major player in the infant bio-manufacturing industry.  Sustainable industrial practices utilizing these resources will likely be a major contributor to Louisiana’s economy in the coming years.  Myriant Corporation’s bio-manufacturing operation started in 2013 in Louisiana is an excellent example.  Using the abundant renewable resources of Louisiana they manufacture bio-succinic acid and their new product pipeline includes a group of basic chemicals like acrylic and lactic acids.

In 2005, The National Research Council of the National Academes published a report titled “Sustainability in the Chemical Industry, Grand Challenges and Research Needs”.  They identified a set of overarching Grand Challenges for sustainability in chemistry and chemical engineering and made recommendations about areas of research and education.

Sustainability and sustainable development is at the core of chemical industry’s long-term plans.  Environmental and sustainability challenges facing Louisiana and the Southeastern United States are significant and require education, research, and planning for the future.  LSU and other universities in Louisiana are the major supplier of the educated workforce for these industries in Louisiana.  Increasing collaboration between LSU and Louisiana industries is crucial in maximizing the state’s potential as a leader in sustainable chemistry.  This conference will bring experts from industry and academia together to identify short term and long term challenges, discuss opportunities, and explore pathways to closer collaboration between industry and Louisiana academia.

The speakers are selected from the leading experts in chemical and pharmaceutical industries, academia, and the Green Chemistry Institute of the American Chemical Society.  BASF is the leader in chemical industry in implementing sustainability principles and Albemarle has been successful in implementing some key green metrics in R&D and manufacturing.  GlaxoSmithKline’s sustainability efforts began about 20 years ago and they have succeeded in bringing sustainable chemistry and engineering principles into their own manufacturing as well as their chemical suppliers.  The Brook Byer Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology is a leading sustainability institute, and the Green Chemistry Institute of American Chemical Society is the leader in promoting Sustainable and Green Chemistry in U.S. and overseas.  Conference presentations will:

  • Introduce key concepts and challenges pertinent to key Louisiana Chemical Industries
  • Discuss materials chemistry and technology for a sustainable future
  • Examine sustainability programs at key representative corporations at the national level
  • Present strategies and implementation tools developed by the Green Chemistry Institute, American Chemical Society
  • Demonstrate the use of mitigation strategies for sustainable site restoration and re-development
  • Discuss the role universities play in sustainable industry development and maintenance 



(Click on speaker name for bio & abstract)

  8:00 - 8:45


  8:45 - 9:00

Welcoming address

Prof. Ralph Portier

  9:00 - 9:30

Sustainable Chemistry and the Eight Grand Challenges

Speaker: Dr. Mahmood Sabahi

  9:30 - 10:00

Sustainability at BASF

Speaker: Dr. Bruce Uhlman

10:00 - 10:30


10:30 - 11:00 

Materials Chemistry and Technology for a Sustainable Future

Speaker:  Prof. Elsa Reichmanis

11:00 - 11:30 

Sustainable Chemistry at Albemarle Corporation

Speaker: Dr. Dave Clary

11:30 - 12:00 

Case studies in life cycle inventory assessment for the chemical industry

Speaker: Prof. Matthew Realff

12:00 - 1:00


  1:00 - 1:30 

Sustainability at LSU

Speaker:   Prof. Kalliat.T. Valsaraj, Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development, Louisiana State University

  1:30 - 2:00 

Innovating Towards Sustainability in the Chemical Enterprise

Speaker: Dr. David Constable

  2:00 - 2:30 

Green Chemistry and Engineering at GlaxoSmithKline

Speaker: Dr. Anikó Redman

  2:30 - 3:00 

Sustainable Mitigation For Addressing Legacy Issues at Industrial Sites

Speaker: Prof. Ralph J. Portier

  3:00 - 4:00 

Panel Discussion: Expanding the relationship between Louisiana’s Chemical industry and LSU

Moderators: Prof. Mike Benton, Prof. Ralph Portier, and Dr. Mahmood Sabahi

  4:00 - 5:00