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Meet our Authors – Andrew Abbott

Andrew Abbott is a Professor of Physical Chemistry and Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester, UK.  His research is based on the design, fundamental studies and applications of ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents.  Andy took a few moments to chat to Green Chemistry

Who or what initially inspired you to become a chemist?

As with most chemists, I can trace my career in Chemistry to my chemistry teacher at school, Mr David Peacock at Abbotsfield School, West London. He used to take us to all kinds of demonstration lectures and he was a great inspiration.

What has been the motivation behind your recent research?

My own research is in the area of sustainable solvents, particularly ionic liquids. I am interested in developing sustainable materials and we are focussing on metal deposition and dissolution which I feel are some of the most pressing issues in green chemistry. Reducing aqueous effluents of heavy metals are some of the most pressing issues because of the acute toxicity and large volumes of the processes. These are ubiquitous problems and all of the solutions tend to be end of pipe. Our approach is to use ionic media to avoid aqueous effluent. This also allows us to build in more energy efficient deposition processes. We have take a number of these to commercial scale. We produce our liquid systems with the catch phrase “benign by design”. We ensure that rather than looking for the perfect chemical system we start with the perfect environmental system and then tailor it to the application. Our work is also investigating novel starch based plastics building biodegradation in from the outset and attempting to modify to material to obtain the optimum mechanical properties.

What do you see as the main challenges facing research in this area?

The main challenge facing Green Chemistry is the conservative tendency in manufacturing which leads to small incremental change. The challenge from an academic point of view is retaining credibility for new technologies. We still tend to go in fads such as supercritical fluids or ionic liquids and see them as a panacea. Process design tends to be lacking from many approaches. There is also a tendency to claim that something is Green as if it is an absolute that can be achieved. We need to focus on relative improvements in green metrics.

Where do you see the field of Green Chemistry being in 5 or 10 years time?

One of the challenges in Green Chemistry over the next 10 years is retaining credibility and building successful case studies. It should be seen as a goal in all processes to improve the green metrics and it should be a key goal to develop simple criteria that are non-quantitative but are highly indicative of the relative improvements that a process makes over existing technology. A simple scale or traffic light scheme which quantified changes in key indicators such as the scale of the process, the relative change in the hazard, environmental impact, and the practicality of the methodology.

And finally…

If you could not be a scientist, but could be anything else, what would you be?

Chemistry was always my fallback position. I always wanted to be an artist and had it not been for my lack of talent I would have surely made it. Recently I fulfilled a personal challenge to combine both areas and I devised a public lecture on the chemists role in art entitled “From Test Tube to Turner” which I gave at Burlington House. Even in this lecture there is still some Green Chemistry where I discuss the chemists desire to remove toxic heavy metals from the artists palette.

A couple of Andy’s recent Green Chemistry articles are currently free to access until the 18th July 2012:

Salt modified starch: sustainable, recyclable plastics, Andrew P. Abbott, Andrew D. Ballantyne, Jesus Palenzuela Conde, Karl S. Ryder and William R. Wise, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1302-1307

Processing of metals and metal oxides using ionic liquids, Andrew P. Abbott, Gero Frisch, Jennifer Hartley and Karl S. Ryder, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 471-481

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Elimination of the negative effect of nitrogen compounds by CO2–water in the hydrocracking of anthracene

Chinese scientists have developed an effective was to remove the negative effects of nitrogen compounds in the hydrocracking of anthracene.

Although there are moves towards utilizing oils from renewable resources, petroleum-based hydrocarbon fuels will still be used in the immediate future.  Hydrocracking of heavy oils is an important way to produce high-value liquid fuels due to the low H/C atomic ratio of the initial feedstock.  However, heavy oils contact considerable amounts of nitrogen compounds which have significant negative effects on the reaction, primarily due to poisoning of the catalysts.

In this work, scientists led by Buxing Han from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, present an effect method to overcome the effects of nitrogen compounds on the hydrocracking reaction.  By investigating the effects of water and CO2 on the hydrocracking of anthracene, the team found that a water-CO2 mixture could eliminate the negative effects induced by the presence of nitrogen compounds and even enhance the efficiency of the reaction.  The authors believe this is due to the buffer system that is created between the nitrogen compounds-water-CO2.

This article is currently free to access until the 13th July 2012!  Click on the link below to find out more…

Elimination of the negative effect of nitrogen compounds by CO2–water in the hydrocracking of anthracene, Honglei Fan, Qian Wang, Jin Guo, Tao Jiang, Zhaofu Zhang, Guanying Yang and Buxing Han, Green Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35424A

You may also be interested in the following article as well – free to access for 2 weeks:

Water as an additive to enhance the ring opening of naphthalene, Qian Wang, Honglei Fan, Suxiang Wu, Zhaofu Zhang, Peng Zhang and Buxing Han, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1152-1158

Stay up-to-date with the latest content in Green Chemistry by registering for our free table of contents alerts.

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Green Chemistry article in C&EN – Catalytic conversion of biomass using solvents derived from lignin

A recently published Green Chemistry article by Editorial Board member James Dumesic (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) and colleagues has just been featured in the latest issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

The paper reports the  use of depolymerised lignin as a solvent in the conversion of hemicellulose and cellulose biomass fractions into high value platform chemicals and transportation fuels via a catalytic process.  The use of lignin-derived alkylphenols as solvents in this process (carried out in a biphasic reactor) minimized side-reactions in the aqueous phase and enabled recycling of the mineral acid catalysts. 

This article is free to access for 2 weeks!  Click on the link below to find out more…

Catalytic conversion of biomass using solvents derived from lignin, Pooya Azadi, Ronald Carrasquillo-Flores, Yomaira J. Pagán-Torres, Elif I. Gürbüz, Ramin Farnood and James A. Dumesic, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1573-1576

Keep up-to-date with the latest content in Green Chemistry by registering for our free table of contents alerts!

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“On water” direct Pd-catalysed C–H arylation of thiazolo[5,4-d]pyrimidine derivatives

Chinese scientists have developed a new method for synthesising 2-arylsubstituted thiazolo[5,4-d]pyrimidine derivatives under mild conditions.

2-Arylsubstituted thiazolo[5,4-d]pyrimidine derivatives are the main motif in many pharmacologically relevant compounds including Tie-2 inhibitors and immunosuppressive agents.  Given the interest in these compounds, finding a mild and effective route to synthesis them is important.  Existing methods involve the use of toxic reagents and harsh conditions which limit their applications.  In this work, Tu-Yan Li, Li-Ping Sun and colleagues from China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, China, have developed a procedure for the direct arylation of thiazolo[5,4-d]pyrimidine derivatives with aryl iodides.  They employ a combination of Pd(Ph3)4 and Ag2CO3 used exclusively in water at 60 °C, giving the products in good to excellent yields.

This article is free to access until the 6th July 2012!  Click on the link below to find out more…

“On water” direct Pd-catalysed C–H arylation of thiazolo[5,4-d]pyrimidine derivatives, Ye-Xiang Su, Ya-Hui Deng, Ting-Ting Ma, Yu-Yan Li and Li-Ping Sun, Green Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35399G

You may also be interested in these articles – free to access for 2 weeks:

Efficient and convenient C-3 functionalization of indoles through Ce(OAc)3/TBHP-mediated oxidative C–H bond activation in the presence of β-cyclodextrin, Yu Lin Hu, Hui Jiang and Ming Lu, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 3079-3087

Greener solvents for ruthenium and palladium-catalysed aromatic C–H bond functionalisation, Cedric Fischmeister and Henri Doucet, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 741-753

Stay up-to-date with the latest content in Green Chemistry by registering for our free table of contents alerts.

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Meet our Authors: Michael Meier

Michael Meier is a Professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany.  His research interests are utilizing plant oil derived fatty acids and terpenes etc., to prepare (novel) monomers study their subsequent polymerisation to obtain a variety of renewable polymers.  Michael took a few moments away from his work to talk to Green Chemistry

Who or what initially inspired you to become a chemist?

I was certainly inspired to become a chemist by my high-school chemistry teacher. Apart from being a great teacher in the class room, he offered voluntary lab-courses (which are still uncommon in Germany at this stage of education) and I will never forget making my first batch of Aspirin there. Without his excellent introduction to chemistry, I would probably have chosen another subject to study. Thank you Mr. Stegmüller!

What was the motivation behind the research described in your recent Green Chemistry article?

As for all research we do, our motivation is to find sustainable alternatives to existing chemistry. More importantly, we focus on a feedstock-shift from fossil resources to renewable ones. In our latest contribution, we used organocatalysis to develop new efficient procedures for the synthesis of organic carbonates and renewable polycarbonates. Catalysis is one aspect of the sustainability of this approach, but probably more important is the use of dimethyl carbonate as a non-toxic and potentially renewable alternative to phosgene for these reactions.

What do you see as the main challenges facing research in this area?

In my opinion, a major challenge will be the implementation of all the new and exciting findings that are described in the context of Green Chemistry into the chemical industry. Only then will chemistry have a chance to actually contribute to a sustainable development of our future. This is certainly one of my goals. In order to reach this, in my opinion chemistry does not only have to be sustainable, but also simple, broadly applicable and robust.

Where do you see the field of Green Chemistry being in 5 or 10 years time?

The field will definitely keep on growing. More and more research groups are joining the field, the younger generation is more aware of ecological problems and sustainability in general, and also industry has learned that sustainability often goes along with cost-savings. I thus look forward to a bright future of the field that will hopefully see many paradigm-changing and stimulating new results.

If you could not be a scientist, but could be anything else, what would you be?

If I would not be a scientist, I would probably run a coffee shop with the best cappuccino in town and homemade (organic of course) bagels and cakes. I actually thought about this option during my studies in Regensburg, because back then coffee-shops basically did not exist in Germany. But as you can guess from reading this, chemistry has won.

A couple of Michael’s recent Green Chemistry articles are currently free to access until the 2nd July 2012:

TBD catalysis with dimethyl carbonate: a fruitful and sustainable alliance, Hatice Mutlu, Johal Ruiz, Susanne C. Solleder and Michael A. R. Meier, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1728-1735

Thiol-ene vs. ADMET: a complementary approach to fatty acid-based biodegradable polymers, Oĝuz Türünç and Michael A. R. Meier, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 314-320

Keep up-to-date with the latest content in Green Chemistry by registering for our free table of contents alerts.

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Encaged palladium catalyst for Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction in aqueous media

Encaging the complex PdCl2(py)2 gave a highly efficient and reusable catalyst for the Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction.

Tao Li and colleagues from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China, successfully encaged the PdCl2(py)2 complex in the interior space of hollow silicate-1 spheres.  This new material was then applied to the Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction of various aryl halides and arylboronic acids in aqueous media.  Even at Pd loadings of 0.0188 mol%, the catalyst gave fast conversions to the desired products under mild conditions.  Notably, due to the ‘anti-leaching’ effect of the zeolitic shell surrounding the Pd species, the catalyst showed excellent stability and reusability and could be reused 10 times without any appreciable loss of activity. 

This article is free to access until the 29th June 2012!  Click on the link below to find out more…

PdCl2(py)2encaged in monodispersed zeolitic hollow spheres: a highly efficient and reusable catalyst for Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling reaction in aqueous media, Zhenhong Guan, Jianglin Hu, Yanlong Gu, Haojun Zhang, Guangxing Li and Tao Li, Green Chem., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35302D

You may also be interested in these articles – free to access for 2 weeks:

Heterogeneous catalytic synthesis using microreactor technology, Christopher G. Frost and Lynsey Mutton, Green Chem., 2010, 12, 1687-1703

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Green Chemistry issue 6 – now online!

The latest issue of Green Chemistry is now available online.

The front cover of this issue features work by João Coutinho and colleagues from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, who report investigations into the activity of the commercial enzyme Candida antarctica lipase B (CaLB) in aqueous solutions of ionic liquid.  The group observed that it was possible to induce superactivity in CaLB by using a long chain ionic liquid, 1-decyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride.  This increase in activity did not result from changes in the reaction mechanism or in the structure of the enzyme induced by the ionic liquid.  Instead, this phenomenon may be explained by the formation of microemulsions due to self-aggregation of the ionic liquid chain. 

Ionic liquids microemulsions: the key to Candida antarcticalipase B superactivity, Sónia P. M. Ventura, Luísa D. F. Santos, Jorge A. Saraiva and João A. P. Coutinho, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1620-1625

The inside front cover of this issue highlights work by Alexis Bell and colleagues from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, who have developed a low energy intensive process for the production of diesel fuels from 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) and D-(–)-fructose.  Alcoholic solutions of these chemicals in the presence of solid acid catalysts produced a variety of potential bio-diesel candidates, with Amberlyst-15 and Dowex DR2030 catalysts showing exceptional reactivity and selectivity.  The distribution of products could be altered by varying the reaction conditions, i.e.by raising or lowering the reaction temperature.  Metal catalysed hydrogenation of HMF using platinum gave exclusive selectivity for reduction of the carbonyl functionality of HMF. 

Etherification and reductive etherification of 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural: 5-(alkoxymethyl)furfurals and 2,5-bis(alkoxymethyl)furans as potential bio-diesel candidates, Madhesan Balakrishnan, Eric R. Sacia and Alexis T. Bell, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1626-1634

These articles are free to access for 6 weeks!

Stay up-to-date with the latest content in Green Chemistry by registering for our free table of contents alerts.

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Membrane technologies in sustainable chemistry

Membranes and membrane technologies are quickly finding applications in sustainable chemical processes.  These range from easy separation of products from reaction mixtures and purification of solvents, to the recovery of reagents or catalysts from reaction mixtures for reuse. 

Green Chemistry is an excellent forum for work in this field and a selection of recent high quality articles has been collated below.  These articles are all free to access until the 25th June 2012, so why not take a look…

Keep up-to-date with the latest reviews and primary research in this field by registering for our e-alerts today!

High performance membranes based on ionic liquid polymers for CO2 separation from the flue gas, Pei Li, D. R. Paul and Tai-Shung Chung, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1052-1063

Direct transformation of ethanol into ethyl acetate through catalytic membranes containing Pd or Pd-Zn: comparison with conventional supported catalysts, Adriana Bonilla Sánchez, Narcís Homs, Sylvain Miachon, Jean-Alain Dalmon, José Luis G. Fierro and Pilar Ramírez de la Piscina, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 2569-2575

Enzyme immobilization on/in polymeric membranes: status, challenges and perspectives in biocatalytic membrane reactors (BMRs), Peter Jochems, Yamini Satyawali, Ludo Diels and Winnie Dejonghe, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 1609-1623

Environmentally friendly route for the preparation of solvent resistant polyimide nanofiltration membranes, Iwona Soroko, Yogesh Bhole and Andrew Guy Livingston, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 162-168

Continuous biocatalytic synthesis of (R)-2-octanol with integrated product separation, Christina Kohlmann, Susanne Leuchs, Lasse Greiner and Walter Leitner, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 1430-1436

Sustainable recovery of pure natural vanillin from fermentation media in a single pervaporation step, Carla Brazinha, Dalje S. Barbosa and João G. Crespo, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 2197-2203

Recent advances in the recycling of homogeneous catalysts using membrane separation, Michèle Janssen, Christian Müller and Dieter Vogt, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 2247-2257

Performance of solvent resistant nanofiltration membranes for purification of residual solvent in the pharmaceutical industry: experiments and simulation, Siavash Darvishmanesh, Loghman Firoozpour, Johan Vanneste, Patricia Luis, Jan Degrève and Bart Van der Bruggen, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 3476-3483

Challenges for recycling ionic liquids by using pressure driven membrane processes, Kurt Haerens, Stephanie Van Deuren, Edward Matthijs and Bart Van der Bruggen, Green Chem., 2010, 12, 2182-2188

Product recovery from ionic liquids by solvent-resistant nanofiltration: application to ozonation of acetals and methyl oleate, Charlie Van Doorslaer, Daan Glas, Annelies Peeters, Angels Cano Odena, Ivo Vankelecom, Koen Binnemans, Pascal Mertens and Dirk De Vos, Green Chem., 2010, 12, 1726-1733

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Meet our Authors: James Mack

James Mack is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, USA.  His current research is in the development of environmentally benign organic reactions and in particular mechano- or ball milling chemistry.  James took a few moments to speak to Green Chemistry

 Who or what initially inspired you to become a chemist?

 My parents bought me a chemistry set in grade school and I played with the set which included small experiments. I became more interested in high school chemistry. However, I knew when I took an organic chemistry sophomore year in college, that I would pursue a career in the field.

What has been the motivation behind your recent research?

When I was in graduate school I went to a seminar on Green Chemistry and thought there must be a better way to make more environmentally benign reactions. Also, chemistry should make life better for the next generation and I can be part of that change.

What do you see as the main challenges facing research in this area?

One of the challenges is explaining to world leaders that the chemical methodologies we use today will drastically impact the future. We can’t consistently borrow against the future. For example, we use resources today and hope to find alternatives tomorrow; we need to find better ways to conserve the resources we have.

Where do you see the field of Green Chemistry being in 5 or 10 years time?

In 5 to 10 years, the field will grow tremendously because students are more environmentally conscious than I was in my twenties. Green chemistry and protecting the environment is embedded in the social consciousness of today’s youth.

And finally…

If you could not be a scientist, but could be anything else, what would you be?

If I couldn’t be a chemist, my dream job would be to become the General Manager of the Boston Celtics (NBA basketball team). After all, it’s a green team! That would be magical and certainly a dream comes true! I also love to debate; therefore, pursuing a law degree would have been another great career choice.

Take a look a couple of James’ recent articles in Green Chemistryfree to access until the 19th June 2012:

Investigating the formation of dialkyl carbonates using high speed ball milling, Daniel C. Waddell, Indre Thiel, Ashley Bunger, Dominique Nkata, Ashley Maloney, Tammara Clark, Brandon Smith and James Mack, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 3156-3161

A two-step ball milling method synthesizes and purifies α,β-unsaturated esters, William C. Shearouse, Chelsea M. Korte and James Mack, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 598-601

Stay up-to-date with the latest content in Green Chemistry by registering for our free table of contents alerts.

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Top ten most accessed articles in April

This month sees the following articles in Green Chemistry that are in the top ten most accessed:-

Cellulose nanowhisker aerogels
Lindy Heath and Wim Thielemans
Green Chem., 2010,12, 1448-1453, DOI: 10.1039/C0GC00035C

One-pot conversion of CO2 and glycerol to value-added products using propylene oxide as the coupling agent
Jun Ma, Jinliang Song, Huizhen Liu, Jinli Liu, Zhaofu Zhang, Tao Jiang, Honglei Fan and Buxing Han
Green Chem., 2012, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35150A

Catalytic conversion of biomass using solvents derived from lignin
Pooya Azadi, Ronald Carrasquillo-Flores, Yomaira J. Pagán-Torres, Elif I. Gürbüz, Ramin Farnood and James A. Dumesic
Green Chem., 2012, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35203F

A direct synthesis of 5-alkoxymethylfurfural ethers from fructose via sulfonic acid-functionalized ionic liquids
George A. Kraus and Tezcan Guney
Green Chem., 2012, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35175G

A one-pot hydrothermal synthesis of sulfur and nitrogen doped carbon aerogels with enhanced electrocatalytic activity in the oxygen reduction reaction
Stephanie-Angelika Wohlgemuth, Robin Jeremy White, Marc-Georg Willinger, Maria-Magdalena Titirici and Markus Antonietti
Green Chem., 2012,14, 1515-1523, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35309A

Highly-efficient conversion of glycerol to solketal over heterogeneous Lewis acid catalysts
Li Li, Tamás I. Korányi, Bert F. Sels and Paolo P. Pescarmona
Green Chem., 2012, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC16619D

Transition metal based catalysts in the aerobic oxidation of alcohols
Camilla Parmeggiani and Francesca Cardona
Green Chem., 2012, 14, 547-564, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC16344F

TBD catalysis with dimethyl carbonate: a fruitful and sustainable alliance
Hatice Mutlu, Johal Ruiz, Susanne C. Solleder and Michael A. R. Meier
Green Chem., 2012, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35191A

Solvent- and catalyst-free synthesis of new hydroxylated trisubstituted pyridines under microwave irradiation
Guodong Yin, Qiong Liu, Junrui Ma and Nengfang She
Green Chem., 2012, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35243E

Hydrolysis of chitosan to yield levulinic acid and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in water under microwave irradiation
Khaled W. Omari, Jessica E. Besaw and Francesca M. Kerton
Green Chem., 2012,14, 1480-1487, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC35048C

Why not take a look at the articles today and blog your thoughts and comments below.

Fancy submitting an article to Green Chemistry? Then why not submit to us today or alternatively email us your suggestions.

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