The Environmental Genome Initiative’s executive director Michael Overcash, Ph.D., is a chemical engineer and an environmental specialist who has researched industrial pollution prevention since 1980.
Dr. Overcash has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Distinguished Scientist Award, its National Wastewater Management Excellence Award and he served as the director of the first EPA Research Center aimed at Waste Minimization and Management. He also served on scientific advisory committees for several offices of the EPA, on seven National Academy of Science committees, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Air Force, and numerous corporate pollution research and planning groups.
Dr. Overcash founded the nonprofit Environmental Genome Initiative in 2017 and was joined by scientists specializing in chemical engineering, industrial engineering, environmental health and human health who have focused their work on green energy, process and sustainable systems engineering, chemical circularity, as well as life cycle impact and risk modeling.
To date, they have mapped 2,000 detailed chemical manufacturing processes with a wide variety of molecular structures, elemental compositions, and commercial uses.
A Message From Dr. Overcash
“My life’s work has been developing ways to reduce industrial environmental impacts. I am excited to provide the information companies need to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our climate, fueling increasingly unpredictable and dangerous events, and harming human health. Importantly, these same Environmental Genome data are central to protecting national and corporate security while enabling product designers to develop innovative products while lower the environmental impact.
Here’s the problem that the Environmental Genome Initiative is working to solve: One of the leading ways in which life cycle professionals use to calculate these emissions today utilizes an imprecise method called economic input/output analysis. The method determines the level of greenhouse gas emissions based on two variables – average industry transactions and the average emissions for the sector. The results are highly variable, inappropriate for environmental impact statements, and insufficient to support credible Scope 3 reporting of the indirect emissions of a company’s manufactured products and the upstream and downstream activities in its supply chain that investors, regulators, and other stakeholders want.
Instead, we are mapping the carbon and other environmental footprints of the 100,000 chemicals-in-commerce used to make virtually all materials and products worldwide. These data will enable the next generation of life cycle inventory analyses that will rapidly and much more accurately estimate the emissions and greenhouse gas intensity data needed for credible climate-risk disclosures. These chemicals are the core of product environmental footprints that can also track national cybersecurity threats while assuring better environmental footprints of new consumer, industrial, and military products.
Current databases offered by Ecoinvent, SimaPro and Sphera, owner of GaBi software, have only about 500 separate CAS-numbered chemicals while the Environmental Genome already has over 2,000, thus enabling broader coverage and a platform for analytics and the development of for-profit applications. Additionally, our database provides some of the most detailed, transparent process evaluations that are foundational for improvement at the manufacturing plant level as well as whole supply chain impacts.”
——————————–– Environmental Genome Initiative Founder and Executive Director Michael Overcash Ph.D.