Green Chemistry applies to and impacts many fields – from pharmaceuticals to household items. Some examples of Green Chemistry successes follow. Click on the links for more information on these and other international success stories.
“Everything we do is for industry; to really bring forward inclusive and sustainable development. We believe that chemicals play an extremely important role in the performance of industry, not just the production, but in our every-day lives – in the application. We therefore must work together with industry.” - Petra Schwager, UNIDO Global Project Coordinator
The discovery of a catalytic chemical process, called metathesis, earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005. Using much less energy, it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions for many key processes. The process is stable at normal temperatures and pressures, can be used in combination with greener solvents, and is likely to produce less hazardous waste. Further progress in the development of this process led to the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2012, when metathesis was demonstrated to break down natural oils and recombine the fragments into high-performance chemicals. Metathesis has implications for the manufacture of, among others, detergents.
Many chemicals, and much water and energy are needed to manufacture computer chips. A 2003 study estimated a ratio of 630:1 in terms of chemicals and fossil fuels required to make one computer chip – i.e. it takes 630 times the weight of the chip in source materials to make one chip (in comparison, the ratio for manufacturing a vehicle is 2:1).
Advances in Green Chemistry include:
Pharmaceutical research, besides investigating new medical solutions, also focuses on ways to reduce harmful side-effects and processes that produce less toxic waste. Some Green Chemistry successes include:
Many companies are developing plastics made from renewable, biodegradable sources. Successes include:
Oil-based paints containing synthetic resin made from dicarboxylic acid (known as alkyd paints), give off organic compounds. These volatile compounds evaporate from the paint as it dries and have environmental impacts. Improvements in this area include:
Governments and scientific communities throughout the world recognise that the practice of green chemistry and engineering not only leads to a cleaner and more sustainable earth, but also is economically beneficial with many positive social impacts. These benefits encourage businesses and governments to support the development of sustainable products and processes. - https://www.acs.org