Green Chemistry & Engineering Internship
Summer 2020 project underway. Sasya, a renewable chemicals company in St. Paul, Minn., has hired an intern for the summer and carrying out its project work plan.
The project is to develop a sustainable, fermentation-based process for producing nutritional supplements to replace incumbent processes which use petroleum derivatives and energy-intensive catalysis. The process anticipated uses sustainable resources, less energy, and generates no byproducts and is therefore expected to cost less to run than incumbent processes.
Colin Pierce is a PhD candidate in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota. “I am interested in uncovering how biomolecules, especially enzymes, change over time. If we can understand the mechanisms by which enzymes change in nature, we can design new enzymes to help solve important problems like environmental contamination and to further sustainability efforts around the world.”
Through these grants, both the host organization and an intern gain experience in advancing the practice of green chemistry and engineering, applied to one or more products or components in any way that supports improved, safer product chemistry.
Grant projects may include work like this:
- Life cycle comparison of candidate materials
- Support safety and/or performance testing of alternative materials or designs
- Work with design, manufacturing, and cross-functional teams to assess the supply and cost of new materials
- Catalog supplier safety data sheets and certifications as part of green/sustainable purchasing initiatives
- Update inventories of chemical regulations and support audits of internal and supply chain compliance
- Learn and perform hazard and alternatives assessment processes
- Support sales and marketing of reformulated products
MPCA staff work with partners across North America to recruit students or recent graduates from scientific/technical programs at universities and colleges, creating a pool of candidates from which the company awarded a grant may select for interviews and an eventual offer for their position. Organizations may also recruit independently. The intern works with a mentor within the organization for 10-12 weeks during the summer—or beyond that, if the host and intern agree.
MPCA awarded the 2019 Green Chemistry & Engineering Summer Internship Grant to Healthy Building Network for a project expanding their Pharos and Data Commons tools.
MPCA awarded the 2018 Green Chemistry & Engineering Summer Internship Grant to remooble, a 2017 start-up company based in Maple Grove that develops safe and effective paint, ink and adhesive removers for retail sale.
MPCA awarded a $9,500 grant to Ecolab to support a green chemistry and engineering intern project at the company’s Eagan facility in 2017.