What is „Green Chemistry“ in simple words?
It is the way of carrying out chemical processes when thinking about the environment. So, using alternatives to hazardous substances, reducing waste and reducing demand on non-renewable resources and energy is the key point.
The term „Green Chemistry“ was proposed in the 1990s by Paul Anastas and John Warner (Anastas, P. T.; Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press: New York, 1998, p.30. By permission of Oxford University Press). They defined the Green Chemistry as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Moreover, they proposed 12 basic principles of Green Chemistry that cover a broad range of possible improvements in chemical processes that will positively affect the environment.
Currently, over 85% of the industrial chemical processes include at least one catalytic step. That is why catalysis plays a fundamental role in implementing Green Chemistry principles.
In terms of Green Chemistry principles, then catalysts may help a) to increase reaction selectivity, b) to minimize the waste, c) to reduce the energy demands, d) to increase reaction rates. Besides the environmental benefits, the economic benefits will be simultaneously realized in many different applications. So, the future developments in catalysis and catalyst design are the driving force for the Green Chemistry.
Our major scientific focus is the development of the new catalysts that can replace the currently used catalysts that either require more energy to carry out or contain hazardous metals. The vision is to develop the catalysts that are based on available and affordable non-noble metals and are active under mild reaction conditions.
Of course, there is still a lot of challenges on the way to the „green“ industrial process. But challenges are meant to be met and overcome, aren't they?
- Sustainable Development Goals https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300
- European Green Deal https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/european-green-deal-communication_en.pdf