Innovating with intent: How science and sustainability can combine to develop a safer, novel solvent

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 8, 2017
Authors: 
Carol Perkins

Abstract

This article describes how a chemical company identified, developed and marketed a new solvent using EPA standards.

It's not every day that a chemical company identifies, develops, and markets a new solvent – even within existing technology platforms. The time, expense, and resources required can exceed seven figures for a normal product development project. But when you place “green chemistry” and safety at the very top of the critical parameters, the endeavor can seem both overwhelming and highly risky.

Despite the challenges, Eastman Chemical Company dedicated itself to developing, testing, and commercializing a safer solvent for cleaning products [1]. Top scientists were assigned to the project, which included a team of synthetic and organic chemists, toxicologists, analytical chemists, and chemical engineers. Marketing was involved early in the process to help identify and articulate customer needs, while the regulatory team detailed the types of testing needed to accomplish our goals. Throughout the project, Eastman learned a great deal about how to navigate the challenges of bringing a safer solvent to the market. And even though “green chemistry” is still not mainstream, with the right product, the right price, a lot of perseverance, an exceptional amount of patience, and a little bit of luck, companies can overcome the challenges and successfully bring safer chemicals to the market.