Green chemistry and the design and development of green chemical products and processes follow the same tradition of scientific discovery and understanding that has characterized chemistry from its origins. Green chemistry simply utilizes the information that is now available to the scientific community about the toxicity and other hazards posed by certain chemicals in order to fully evaluate the negative as well as positive impact of the chemistry being designed. Database of information on the hazardous properties of chemicals have only recently become available. In the previous years the absence of these data meant that chemists could not effectively evaluate the consequences of the chemical substances that were being designed and synthesized. Since this is no longer the case, it is the responsibility of the chemists and chemical community to use this information.
Achievement of Green Chemistry
Since the inception of green chemistry, chemists from all over the world are using their creative and innovative skills to develop new processes, synthetic methods, analytical tools, reaction conditions, catalysts, etc. A lot of success has been achieved on this front. The processes developed include among others.
- Development of a new method of synthesizing ibuprofen in 99% yield, avoiding the usage of large quantities of solvents and wastes associated with the traditional stoichiometric use of auxillary chemicals when effecting chemical conversions.
- Development of a method for 'catalytic dehydrogenation of diethanolamine' in which a new technique allows the production of an environmentally friendly herbicide in a less dangerous way. This technology represents a major breakthrough because it avoids the use of cyanide and formaldehyde. It is safer to operate, produces high overall yield and has fewer process steps.
- Development of processes using carbon dioxide as the blowing agent, for manufacture of polystyrene foam sheet packaging material. This technology allows elimination of chlorofluorocarbon blowing agents, chemicals that contribute to ozone depletion, global warming and ground level smog.
- Designing of a safer marine antifouling compound 'Sea-nine' that degrades far more rapidly than organotins that persist in the marine environment and cause pollution problems.