Chemists need to understand that adding an environmental or sustainability layer over research is not a constraint on creativity but rather is a challenge to creativity … Forward-thinking companies are beginning to realize this point. The economic advantages need to be understood.

John B. Carberry, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company


Important green chemistry and engineering needs and capabilities are provided below.4 In some cases the status of these capabilities may be closer to the ideal state than indicated. For these situations, the most important task is educating chemists and engineers to inform them about the availability and utility of these tools. In order to design the least wasteful process possible, it is essential that the chemist and chemical engineers know the fates and effects of all chemical inputs in the bond forming steps. This will require that they be informed by adequate life cycle analysis and toxicological data, which are discussed later in this chapter.

Efficient Chemical Bonding

Too often, a large excess of the nonlimiting reagent is used to convert the limiting reactant to product in the highest yield possible. The concept that the limiting reagent defines chemical yield encourages waste in chemical processing by focusing more attention on the end product than on how it is produced. One principle of green chemistry is that catalytic processes are preferred to stoichiometric ones. Catalysis is often used in petrochemical and bulk chemical industries where semicontinuous and continuous processing is commonplace, but less so in the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries where batch processing is the rule. A rapidly growing area of catalysis use for these latter industries is in the area of biotransformations. This is driven, in part, by the need for chiral molecules as building blocks for drugs which have very specific stereochemical (or three-dimensional spatial) relationships with the enzymes and re-


It should also be noted that there are many excellent examples of green chemistry and engineering successes in industry and academe that could not be highlighted in this report. The U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge web site is an excellent source for such examples:

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