The Chemical industry supports 25% of U.S. GDP, but simultaneously, it is responsible for 40% of U.S. industrial waste. Clean chemicals, also known as green chemicals, promise to keep the same products on the market while dramatically lowering the environmental impact and decreasing the reliance on fossil fuels. Drawing from recent learnings of biochemistry and synthetic biology such as CRISPR, new companies attempt to disrupt the industry where leading players have not changed since the beginning of the 20th century.

The Clean Chemicals seminar will start with a brief overview of forces shaping the chemical industry at large and a review of the 12 principles of green chemistry, especially the atom economy. We will then focus on the aspect of competitiveness, and how to use technological innovation and economy of scale to survive on the commodity-based market full of multibillion-dollar incumbents. You will leave the seminar knowing: What are clean chemicals? What has shaped and defined the chemical industry at large? Can the chemical industry, where the main players have not changed since World War 2, be actually disrupted? Why now may be a good time? Which companies are challenging the status quo right now? How can you get involved in clean chemicals as an investor or an entrepreneur?

The seminar will be taught by Wojciech Osowiecki, a PhD candidate in chemistry at UC Berkeley. Wojciech researches electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels as a method of renewable energy storage and emission-neutral clean chemicals production. He’s the 2018 Siebel Scholar in Energy Science and participated in the “Cleantech to Market” program at Berkeley HAAS Business School. He holds a joint bachelor and master degree in chemistry from Yale University.

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We are gathering a new cohort for this seminar. Tell us here if you’re interested in attending.