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Chemistry made greener

Chemists have created complex molecules using new, environmentally friendly catalysts that make chemical reactions more efficient and reduce pollution and waste.
Chemistry made greener
Catalysts speed up chemical reactions by lowering the energy required to activate or break chemical bonds. They play a key role in green chemistry, which aims to prevent pollution and reduce non-renewable resource consumption during chemical synthesis.

To create new materials and complex biologically active molecules using green chemistry, the EU-funded ICSMAGC (Innovative catalysis and small molecule activation: Toward 'green' chemistry) initiative developed new, high-performance catalysts with unique properties.

Researchers invented new ways for these catalysts to selectively break strong bonds in small molecules. They also developed dual catalysts that work together to significantly speed up reactions.

To further develop the green concept, researchers tested their reactions in water or other non-toxic, non-polluting solvents. Since many catalysts contain a toxic metal ion that is central to the reaction, the team also developed catalysts containing low-toxicity metals and even non-metals.

By the end of the project, ICSMAGC had developed several new types of catalyst that can make and break very challenging bonds. Using these innovative reactions, researchers made chemical compounds called alkenes and indoles, which form the basis of many industrially important products.

The uniquely green chemistry developed by ICSMAGC should benefit chemical researchers, chemical industries and society in general by saving resources and reducing waste.

Related information

Keywords

Environmentally friendly catalysts, green chemistry, ICSMAGC, non-polluting solvents, low-toxicity metals
Record Number: 174950 / Last updated on: 2017-03-15
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