CSA PAKISTAN

Green chemistry: Trends and innovations

Qudrat Ullah, Fatima Batool, Muhammad Qasim

Departmental of Environmental Sciences

Government College University Faisalabad

Introduction

Green chemistry refers to the development of chemical goods and procedures that lessen or do away with the use or production of hazardous materials. It is a fast-expanding field that aims to encourage sustainable development by reducing the negative effects of chemical processes and products on the environment (P. T. Anastas, Bartlett, Kirchhoff, & Williamson, 2000; Clark & Macquarrie, 2008; Kirchhoff, 2005).

In this blog, we will explore the trends and innovations in green chemistry.

Trends in Green Chemistry

Renewable Energy: In the chemical sector, the utilization of renewable energy sources including solar, wind, and hydropower is growing in popularity. Chemical processes can be powered by renewable energy sources, reducing the industry’s dependency on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions (Bazmi & Zahedi, 2011; Demirbas, 2005).

Biodegradable Materials: Biodegradable materials are materials that can be broken down by natural processes such as microbes or sunlight. The development of biodegradable plastics and other materials has the potential to reduce waste and pollution (Kolybaba et al., 2006; Shen et al., 2020).

Water-based Processes: Water-based processes are becoming more popular in the chemical industry because they are more environmentally friendly than traditional solvent-based processes. Water-based processes reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated and are less harmful to workers (Hazra, Karmakar, Poi, Bhattacharya, & Mondal, 2017; Weyershausen & Lehmann, 2005).

Green Solvents: Green solvents are solvents that are safer for the environment and less toxic than conventional solvents. Ionic liquids, supercritical fluids, and deep eutectic solvents are a few examples of green solvents (Cvjetko Bubalo, Vidović, Radojčić Redovniković, & Jokić, 2015; Krishnan et al., 2020; Paiva et al., 2014; Sekharan, Chandira, Tamilvanan, Rajesh, & Venkateswarlu, 2022).

Waste Reduction: The reduction of waste is a key goal of green chemistry. The industry is focusing on developing processes that produce less waste and finding ways to recycle and reuse waste materials (P. T. Anastas, Kirchhoff, & Williamson, 2001; Chen et al., 2020; Jenck, Agterberg, & Droescher, 2004).

Innovations in Green Chemistry

Carbon Capture: Technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from industrial operations is currently being developed. With the usage of this technology, greenhouse gas emissions might be decreased and climate change could be mitigated (Benson & Orr, 2008; Benson & Surles, 2006; Blunt, 2010).

Bio-based Chemicals: Bio-based chemicals are chemicals that are derived from renewable sources such as biomass. These chemicals can replace traditional petrochemicals, which are derived from fossil fuels, and reduce the industry’s reliance on non-renewable resources (Fiorentino, Ripa, & Ulgiati, 2017; Hatti-Kaul, Törnvall, Gustafsson, & Börjesson, 2007; Nikolau, Perera, Brachova, & Shanks, 2008).

3D Printing: 3D printing is being used to produce products with minimal waste and energy consumption (Kreiger, Mulder, Glover, & Pearce, 2014; Nyika, Mwema, Mahamood, Akinlabi, & Jen, 2022). This technology allows for the production of complex shapes and structures with high precision, reducing the need for machining and other manufacturing processes (Espalin, Muse, MacDonald, & Wicker, 2014; Low et al., 2017; MacDonald & Wicker, 2016).

Nanotechnology: Nanotechnology is being used in green chemistry to develop new materials and processes. Nanomaterials can be used to catalyze chemical reactions, reduce the amount of energy required for a reaction, and improve the efficiency of chemical processes (Gilbertson, Zimmerman, Plata, Hutchison, & Anastas, 2015; Kalidindi & Jagirdar, 2012; Sarina, Waclawik, & Zhu, 2013).

Green Chemistry Education: Green chemistry education is becoming more widespread in universities and research institutions. This education focuses on the principles of green chemistry and how to apply them to chemical processes and product design (P. Anastas & Eghbali, 2010; Clark & Macquarrie, 2008; Hurst et al., 2019; Tundo et al., 2000).

Green Chemistry Principles:

The goal of green chemistry is to reduce the negative effects that chemical processes and products have on the environment. Green chemistry’s guiding principles offer a framework for creating chemicals and chemical processes that are more environmentally friendly. The main principles of green chemistry are:

Atom economy: This principle aims to maximize the use of atoms and minimize waste in chemical reactions. It encourages the design of chemical reactions that generate minimal waste and utilize all of the reactants (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Waste reduction: The necessity to reduce the quantity of waste produced by chemical processes is emphasized by the waste reduction principle. This can be accomplished by creating procedures that produce less waste or by figuring out how to reuse or recycle waste products (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Design for sustainability: The principle of design for sustainability encourages the development of products and processes that have a minimal environmental impact throughout their life cycle. This includes consideration of the raw materials, production processes, and end-of-life disposal or recycling (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Reduced toxicity: Green chemistry aims to reduce the toxicity of chemical products and processes. This can be achieved through the use of safer chemicals, the development of non-toxic solvents and reagents, and the elimination of hazardous waste (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Energy efficiency: The development of chemical processes that minimize energy usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions is encouraged by the energy efficiency concept. This can be accomplished through utilising renewable energy sources, streamlining processes, and creating more efficient technology (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Renewable feedstocks: The use of renewable feedstocks is another important principle of green chemistry. This involves the use of sustainable and renewable raw materials as a basis for chemical production (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Catalyst efficiency: Green chemistry emphasizes the use of catalytic processes to minimize the use of hazardous chemicals and reduce waste. This principle encourages the use of efficient and recyclable catalysts (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Quality control: The principle of quality control emphasizes the need for rigorous testing and quality assurance procedures to ensure that chemical products and processes are safe and effective (Ivanković et al., 2017).

Safety control: Safety is given top priority in the development and manufacture of chemicals. In order to prevent accidents and reduce dangers to human health and the environment, this principle emphasizes the importance of handling and storing chemicals safely (Ivanković et al., 2017).

(Ivanković, Dronjić, Bevanda, & Talić, 2017; Saleh & Koller, 2018)

Conclusion

With the goal of reducing the negative effects that chemical processes and products have on the environment, green chemistry is a fast-expanding profession. Reducing waste, using renewable resources, and creating new technologies that are less detrimental to the environment are the main goals of green chemistry trends and developments. Adopting green chemistry concepts is crucial for the chemical industry’s future, and it’s clear that progress has been made in this field.

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