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Published: Kem. Ind. 53 (5) (2004) 217–224
Paper reference number: KUI-46/2002
Paper type: Review
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Green Chemistry Opens the Way for Clean, Ecologically Acceptable Chemical Processes

M. Jukić, S. Djaković, Ž. Filipović-Kovačević and J. Vorkapić-Furač


Chemical industry is generally responsible for an array of environmental and health related problems, contamination and bioaccumulation of toxic and nonbiodegradable materials. Organic waste products, harmful to the human health and environment, are produced in the synthesis stage of manufacturing processes. Synthetic unit processes such as halogenation, alkylation, nitration, oxydation and sulfonation are common to large number of organic chemical manufactures in several different industrial sectors. Most of these reactions are dirty on account of unwelcome by-products, and waste products that can not be reused. Incorporating cleaner unit processes can reduce the environmental impact of these processes. Green chemistry is science-based, nonregulatory, economically driven approach toward sustainable development that has grown substantially, since the concept fully emerged a decade ago. Green chemistry begins as a program of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency in the early 1990s. with the goal of achieving pollution prevention. Green chemistry is defined as the design, development, and implementation of chemical products or processes, which reduce or eliminate the use of generation of hazardous and toxic substances, as well as replace non-renewable feedstocks with renewable materials. This program utilises a set of principles which were developed by EPA’s organic chemist Paul T. Anastas, and chemistry prof. John C. Warmer, entitled “The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry”. These principles identify catalysis as one of the most important tools for implementing green chemistry. New enivronmentally benign catalysts such as clays and zeolites may replace more hazardous catalysts currently in use. In the center of green chemistry are alternative reaction media such as: supercritical carbon dioxide, and supercritical water which enable large degree of control over product selectivity and yield by adjusting the temperature and pressure. Ionic liquids, as another alternative reaction media, have been found useful for a wide range of chemical reactions and processes. Green technologies can be approached by use of alternative feedstocks, solvents, reagents, new catalysts etc. being a pathway to reduced hazard impact on human health and environment. Their adoption will improve the future of industrial science and technology. This paper focuses on the examples of the synthetic unit processes, which demonstrate the procedures that have been effectively implemented to accomplish several of green chemistry principles simultaneously. Wastes and by-products can be minimised or avoided by developing these cleaner synthesis routes. These examples encompass the full range of green chemistry trends such as catalysis, biocatalysis, microwave assisted organic synthesis, and photocatalytic reactions from scientific research to full industrial commercialization. The adoption of green chemistry by industry uses basic science and engineering to redesign chemical processes and products in the manner that enhances, both, the environmental and economic performance, being the connection that motivates the implementation of green chemistry technologies.

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“green“ chemistry, organic synthesis reactions, pollutants, environmental protection, industrial application