Green Chemistry Catalysis And Waste Minimization

Roger A. Sheldon

Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

INTRODUCTION

A growing environmental awareness and increasingly stringent environmental legislation have focused the attention of chemical manufacturers on what has become known as sustainable development or green chemistry. A working definition of green chemistry is: Technologies that efficiently utilize energy and (preferably renewable) raw materials and reduce, or preferably, eliminate, the generation of waste and avoid the use of toxic and/or hazardous reagents and solvents. This is actually very close to and has the same meaning as the definition given by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry's (IUPAC's) working party on green chemistry. The emphasis is placed clearly on the reduction (elimination) of waste at the source, that is, primary pollution prevention rather than incremental, end-of-pipe solutions (waste remediation). A direct consequence of this trend toward green chemistry is that traditional concepts of process efficiency, based exclusively on chemical yield, are being replaced by a new paradigm that assigns economic value to eliminating waste and avoiding the use of toxic and/or hazardous chemicals.1-4

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