Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Switchable' Solvents Make Chemical Manufacturing More Environmentally-friendly

Date:
August 25, 2005
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Researchers from Queen's University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered a new environmentally-friendly way to make chemicals for pharmaceutical and other industries, such as plastics, pesticides, dyes and fragrances.

Charles Eckert (left) and Charles Liotta were part of team of researchers that recently reported the development of "switchable solvents" whose properties can be rapidly changed. (Georgia Tech Photo: Nicole Cappello)

Researchers from Queen’s University and the Georgia Instituteof Technology have discovered a new environmentally-friendly way tomake chemicals for pharmaceutical and other industries, such asplastics, pesticides, dyes and fragrances.

The team, led byQueen’s chemist Dr. Philip Jessop, has developed new solvents (liquidsthat dissolve other substances) that are both cleaner and cheaper whenused in the production of many chemicals. Because each step in achemical process often requires a different solvent, there can be agreat deal of waste which is both costly and damaging to theenvironment.

“We all want the products of the plastics andpharmaceutical industries, but we don’t want the pollution,” says Dr.Jessop, Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry. “Our research isseeking ways to decrease the amount of solvent waste generated by thesecompanies.” In the ratio of waste-to-product, pharmaceutical and other“fine chemical” industries are far dirtier than the oil industry, henotes.

These new “switchable” solvents discovered by Dr. Jessop’steam change their properties when alternately exposed to carbon doxideand nitrogen, making it possible to re-use the same solvent formultiple steps in a chemical process, rather than discarding andreplacing the solvent after each stage.

Also on the team from theQueen’s Chemistry Department are graduate students David Heldebrandtand Xiaowang Li, and from the Georgia Institute of Technology Drs.Charles Eckert and Charles Liotta, both winners of 2004 PresidentialGreen Chemistry Challenge Awards.

The organic solvents tested bythis research group are known as ionic liquids: a salt that is moltenat room temperature, or near-room temperature. “They have been widelyhailed as environmentally benign because they have no vapor pressure,and they also have some unusual properties,” says Dr. Eckert, aprofessor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering atGeorgia Tech.

However, the new ionic liquids are differentbecause exposure to nitrogen gas causes them to change back intoregular (non-ionic) liquids. “It’s a potential tool for benign andeconomical processing in the manufacture of high-value-added specialtychemicals, such as pharmaceuticals,” Dr. Eckert adds.

Greenchemistry refers to the development of chemical products and processesthat reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardoussubstances. Rather than focusing on the natural environment andpollutant chemicals in nature, this type of chemistry seeks to reduceand prevent pollution at its source. “We’re concerned with pollutionprevention rather than treatment,” says Dr. Jessop. “That’s a much moreeconomical way to approach the problem.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "'Switchable' Solvents Make Chemical Manufacturing More Environmentally-friendly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050825072308.htm>.
Queen's University. (2005, August 25). 'Switchable' Solvents Make Chemical Manufacturing More Environmentally-friendly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050825072308.htm
Queen's University. "'Switchable' Solvents Make Chemical Manufacturing More Environmentally-friendly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050825072308.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins