Quill was founded in April 1999 as an industrial consortium, with members from all sectors of the chemical industry.78 It is based on the well-proven industry/university cooperative research center (IUCRC) concept developed by the U.S. National Science Foundation and is only the second IUCRC in Europe. There were 17 founding industrial members of the Quill consortium, and the current membership includes (listed alphabetically) bp, Chevron, Cytec, DuPont, Eastman Chemicals, ICI, Invista, Merck, Novartis, Procter and Gamble, SACHEM, SASOL, Shell, Strata, and UOP. Research carried out between QUB and individual companies, or by QUILL itself, has generated more than 20 patent applications, many of which have now been published, from as diverse a range of industries as BNFL, BP Chemicals, Cytec, ICI, Quest International, and Uni-chema Chemie BV. In a recent report in Nature7 the need for collaboration between government, industry, and academic institutions to form sustainable chemistry centers was stressed as vital in order to rethink traditional chemistry processes to be not only beneficial to the environment but also to make economic sense for industry. Quill, under the codirection of Professors Kenneth R. Seddon and Jim Swindall OBE, is one of these chemistry centers, and is the first (and only) in the world to focus on ionic liquids. It also has been recently awarded Marie Curie status by the European Union (EU), as a training center for ionic liquid technology, and received the 2006 Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
One of the important spin-offs of QUILL is that there are now many commercial sources of ionic liquids, up to and including the 50-ton scale, including Dupont (dupont.com/fluorointermediates/pdf/K15303.pdf), BASF (http: // www2.basf.de/en/intermed / nbd / products / ionic_liquids / products / ?id= Ce3wVA 2tgbw2.1-) Cytec (cytec.com), Merck (ionicliquids-merck.de), and SACHEM (sacheminc.com/othermarkets/group/ionicliquids.php). In addition, Acros Organics (fisher.co.uk/whats-new/newprods/chems/ionic.htm) markets ionic liquids supplied by QUILL, and Strata Technology (stratatec.co.uk/) Accelergy (accelergy.com) manufacture engineering equipment, including autoclaves and high-speed mixers, for use with ionic liquids. It is our belief that the commercial availability of these fluids and engineering equipment is a key contributor to the rapid (greater than exponential) increase in articles concerning ionic liquids being published in the open literature, and their high citation impact.80 Other indicators of the growth in this field are the number of international meetings primarily concerned with ionic liquids, including a NATO Advanced Workshop,20 three symposia, each of 10 sessions, concerning the green applications of ionic liquids at the ACS National Meetings in spring 2001 in in 18 22
San Diego, 9 autumn 2002 in Boston, and autumn 2003 in New York. DeChema hosted a meeting on green solvents for catalysis in Bruchsal, Germany, in October 2002, and the articles were published in Green Chemistry.81 In addition there was a special issue dedicated to ionic liquids,82 a second meeting on green solvents for synthesis, held two years later,83 and a meeting on green solvents for processing was held in 2006.
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