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What is Green Chemistry?
Green chemistry is defined as a way of thinking and using existing knowledge and theories of chemistry and other sciences to minimize adverse effects on the environment. Green chemistry can be called a production process that will bring minimal pollution or degradation to the environment. Byproducts that arise during a process, if they add to environmental pollution, are not taken advantage of. Such processes are not only environmentally friendly, but also cost-ineffective. Waste production and its disposal are both economically effective. Using the existing knowledge base to reduce chemical hazards along with developmental activities is the foundation of green chemistry.
Why is it important?
It is necessary to discover ways of green chemistry, which will help reduce environmental degradation. In a chemical reaction, if the reactants are converted into fully useful eco-friendly products using an eco-friendly medium, there will be no chemical pollutants present in the environment. During a synthesis, care must be taken to choose the starting materials, which can be converted into final products with yield up to about 100 percent. This can be achieved by arriving at optimal conditions of synthesis. It may be worthwhile to perform synthetic reactions in aqueous medium because water has some of the most useful properties required for this process such as high specific heat and low volatility. And water is also cost-effective, noninflammable, and devoid of any carcinogenic effects.
Green chemist who received Nobel Prize
Yves chauvin, Institute Francis du Petrole, Rueil-Malmison France, Robert H. Grubs, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA and Richard R. Shrok Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA are 3 chemists who won 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry For work that reduces hazardous waste in creating new chemicals. The trio won the Nobel Prize for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis. This suggests a way to rearrange the groups of atoms within the molecules.
Green Chemistry in our daily life
- Dry cleaning of clothes – For decades, tetra chloroethene (Cl2C = CCl2) was used for dry cleaning. This compound contaminates ground water. It is suspected to be well as a carcinogen. The use of this compound is now being replaced by a process where liquefied carbon dioxide with a permanent detergent is used. Substitution of halogenated solvent by liquid CO2 will cause less damage to groundwater. These days H2O2 is also used for this purpose, which can cause less damage to water and also use less amount of water.
- Paper Bleaching – Chlorine gas was previously used for bleaching paper. These days, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is used, along with a suitable catalyst that promotes the bleaching action of hydrogen peroxide.
- Synthesis of Chemicals – Ethanol (CH3CHO) is now commercially prepared by one-step oxidation of ethene in the presence of ionic catalysts in an aqueous medium with a yield of 90%.