'Switchable' solvents are discovered

Aug 24, 2005

Researchers from Canada and the United States have discovered a new environmentally-friendly way to make chemicals for pharmaceuticals.

The researchers from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said they developed new solvents that are both cleaner and cheaper when used in the production of many chemicals.

The team, led by Queen's University chemist Philip Jessop, said because each step in a chemical process often requires a different solvent, there can be a great deal of waste that is both costly and damaging to the environment.

"We all want the products of the plastics and pharmaceutical industries, but we don't want the pollution," said Jessop. "Our research is seeking ways to decrease the amount of solvent waste generated by these companies."

The new "switchable" solvents change their properties when alternately exposed to carbon dioxide and nitrogen. That, said Jessop, makes it possible to re-use the same solvent for multiple steps in a chemical process, rather than discarding and replacing the solvent after each stage.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Professor takes madness out of the month

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Planck' puts Einstein to the test

1 hour ago

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analysing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European ...

Professor takes madness out of the month

1 hour ago

With the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketballl Tournaments tipping off soon, brackets and bubble-busters are reaching a fever pitch. Dr. Jay Coleman, the Richard deRaismes Kip Professor of Operations Management and Quantitative ...

New detector sniffs out origins of methane

1 hour ago

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth's atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea ...

Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens

1 hour ago

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes.

Recommended for you

Thomas Edison's 'lost' idea: A device to hear the dead

6 hours ago

One of Thomas Edison's little-known ambitions was to build a device to hear the voices of the dead, according to a nearly lost chapter of the inventor's memoirs which is being republished in France this week.

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.