The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Honors JM with a 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Award

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Johns Manville (JM) has received a 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). JM was awarded this honor for designing, developing and commercializing Alpha Binder, a novel formaldehyde-free, bio-based binder for fiberglass reinforcement applications mainly used in the carpet industry. 

The award was announced during the June 16 American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Conference, which was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are given to companies or institutions that have developed a new process or product that helps protect public health and the environment. This is the first time JM has won this award.

“I am extremely proud of our innovative team that developed Alpha Binder chemistry,” said Tim Swales, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Johns Manville. “Winning this award recognizes JM as a leader in sustainable, green chemistry solutions.” 

Alpha Binder:

  • Is non-toxic 
  • Contains over 90% bio-based carbon 
  • Eliminates the steps for monomer and polymer synthesis
  • Uses a bio-degradable catalyst 
  • Requires 70% less water 
  • Reduces energy consumption during manufacturing of the glass mat by over 70% compared to alternative petroleum-based binders

Alpha Binder and glass mats made with it ― called Evalith® 1000 ― have been commercialized in North America since 2017. 

The research and development and pilot trials for Alpha Binder were done at Johns Manville Technical Center in Littleton, Colorado. Production trials and commercialization of the final product was conducted at JM Engineered Products plants in Etowah, Tennessee, and Waterville, Ohio. 

An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute judged the 2020 nominations and made recommendations to EPA for the 2020 winners. Other companies that won awards this year include Genomatica, Merck & Co. and Vestaron Corporation. EPA plans to recognize the winners at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.

Since the start of the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in 1996, EPA has presented awards to more than 115 technologies that have reduced the use or generation of hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals and saved billions of gallons of water and trillions of BTUs in energy. Past winners have included green chemistry solutions developed by companies such as The Dow Chemical Company, BASF, Cargill, S.C. Johnson & Son and DuPont.

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