Design principles for a green chemistry future

MPI CEC scientists publish article in Science

CEC Director Walter Leitner together with a team of scientists from Yale University around Prof. Paul Anastas illustrate necessary paradigm shifts towards a sustainable chemistry in a joint article in the special issue "Chemistry for Tomorrow's Earth" of the Science journal.

A sustainable society is largely dependent on chemical products and processes that are eco-friendly and embrace principles of green chemistry and engineering, the scientists state.

Science and innovation need therefore be coupled with a new systems design: For example, a future chemical sector should employ circular instead of linear processes, it should use “waste” instead of dispose of it, it should rely on renewable feedstocks instead of fossil ones, or prefer abundant metals over rare ones as catalysts. Details on these characteristics and ideas for practical applications are depicted in the article which illustrates in particular that the change in raw materials and the restructuring of the energy system offer a great opportunity for product and process design in the sense of "Green Chemistry".

The Mülheim researchers are working on this aspect as part of the BMBF-funded Germany-wide Copernicus project "Power-To-X".

Original Publication: Zimmerman, J. B., Anastas, P. T., Erythropel, H. C., & Leitner, W. (2020). Designing for a green chemistry future. Science, 367(6476), 397-400. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3060