Toward a more water-based chemicals industry

Oct 17, 2013
Towards a more water-based chemicals industry
Credit: Shutterstock

While all areas of human activity have an impact on the environment, the chemicals industry is often singled out as a particularly poor environmental performer, associated with high energy consumption and the generation of large quantities of toxic waste products.

Thus, as chemical production continues to increase, the global industry faces both economic and environmental pressures, and growing regulatory constraints. Much of the concern revolves around the widespread use of powerful and dangerous solvents.

EU project AQUACHEM ('Transition metal chemistry and catalysis in aqueous media') was established to examine the substitution of dangerous solvents with chemical catalytic processes compatible with water-based media - and also to provide young scientists with more experience in the field.

The network, led by Italy's National Research Council, allowing scientists, including those just starting their careers, to conduct research at some of Europe's top laboratories. The project also included labs in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Hungary and Israel.

Together, labs in the network provided training facilities and allowed researchers to study and exchange knowledge in a wide range of areas, from analyses of substrate activation and stoichiometric reactivity to physico-chemical studies of complex-solvent interactions, and the development or improvement of analytical instrumentation.

The results included more than 150 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, along with several books and dissertations. The project also resulted in the filing of five patent applications.

AQUACHEM partners say chemical reactions in aqueous media - where water is used as the solvent - are of particular interest for 'green chemistry'. Water is safe, harmless, and environmentally benign, and it's cheap, making it attractive economically.

The network's researchers advanced the development of water-based chemicals, helping the EU chemical industry become more competitive, and reduce potential impacts to the environment and people's exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

The AQUACHEM network received about EUR 1.9 million in EU funding and completed its work in December 2007.

Explore further: Na-ion batteries get closer to replacing Li-ion batteries

More information:

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research demonstrates why going green is good chemistry

Apr 08, 2013

Shaken, not stirred, is the essence of new research that's showing promise in creating the chemical reactions necessary for industries such as pharmaceutical companies, but eliminating the resulting waste from traditional ...

Pulp friction cleans up 'Brockovich' chemical

Oct 10, 2013

A byproduct of the manufacture of pulp using the sulfite process for making paper, sodium lignosulfonate, can be used to immobilize and soak up toxic chromium compounds from soil and water, according to research published ...

Bid to clean up the world

Sep 17, 2013

An international scientific initiative aimed at reducing the impact of human-made pollution on the health and wellbeing of the whole world was launched in Melbourne, Australia, today.

Recommended for you

Caging nuclear waste

44 minutes ago

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) of metal ions and organic molecules have the potential to grant batteries a longer life and bring sustainable energy technologies to the developing world. Now in the highly ...

Smart crystallization

Mar 02, 2015

A novel nucleating agent that builds on the concept of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) could allow crystallographers access to proteins and other biological macromolecules that are usually reluctant ...

Supersonic electrons could produce future solar fuel

Mar 02, 2015

Researchers from institutions including Lund University have taken a step closer to producing solar fuel using artificial photosynthesis. In a new study, they have successfully tracked the electrons' rapid transit through ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.