An environmentally-friendly solvent developed in our green chemistry laboratories has won a top US industry award.

Test tube set in lab.

The bio-based solvent Cyrene is designed to replace toxic solvents like Dimethylformamide (DMF) and N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). The solvent was created in response to the need for chemicals to meet stricter regulation requirements for both employee safety and environmental sustainability. Initial studies and testing have found Cyrene to be a more sustainable, safer option when compared with DMF and NMP. It can also outperform these traditional products in some applications notably in the synthesis of some advanced materials.

The product launched last month and has won the prestigious Top Product 2019 at the Environmental Leader (EL) and Energy Manager Today (EMT) Awards. The awards recognise the most innovative and successful environment, sustainability and energy products and projects. The judges said that Cyrene“replaces an otherwise toxic substance with a natural, gentler alternative without compromising quality or function. This product has the potential to change the solvent landscape for the better.”   

Cyrene was also recognised by the 2017 European Bio-Based Innovation Awards as the Bio-Based Chemical Innovation of the Year for its superior performance against toxic solvents.

Cyrene was developed as a result of a partnership between the University of York’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) and Circa Group. Utilising its expertise in green chemistry, researchers in GCCE worked to determine potential applications for the solvent.

Professor James Clark, director of York’s GCCE said:  “We are delighted to see the continued success of Cyrene which has moved from discovery to commercialisation in a remarkably short time.  This can be largely attributed to the excellent collaboration between the GCCE team and Circa.”