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Green Chemistry: Its Role in Building a Sustainable World

Green Chemistry
Reported by
Angelo DePalma

Posted August 20, 2007


Green chemistry, the topic of an August 20, 2007, meeting at the Academy, seeks to eliminate waste in chemical processes and increase use of renewable feedstocks. Paul Anastas of Yale University presented a roadmap for green chemistry that relies on innovative science, education of chemists at all levels in green methodology, industrial implementation of economically sound green processes, and policy initiatives that recognize green chemistry's role. Joseph DeSimone's tour of green chemistry ran the gamut of scale: from supercritical carbon dioxide as a cleaning agent (replacing toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons), to its use as a recoverable, environmentally benign solvent for commodity polymer processing, to solvent-free chemical reactions for generating nanoparticles. Richard Wool of the University of Delaware described green chemistry as an integral part of the greater environmental movement, and the solution to global warming.

Use the tabs to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Web Sites

American Chemical Society
The green chemistry page of the American Chemical Society contains educational resources, including case studies and introductory readings.

Chemistry Guide
This Web site contains links to a number of green chemistry sites.

Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA's Web site contains links to green chemistry projects and programs, grants and fellowships, international activities, and tools and literature.

Royal Society of Chemistry
This resource is the result of a collaboration between the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, the American Chemical Society and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemie. It can be used to support post-16 and undergraduate chemistry courses and gives up-to-date contexts for the study of topics such as yield, areas of organic chemistry, and intermolecular forces.

Supercritical CO2 Cleaning
A review of the process by the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center.

University of North Carolina
This Web site has an alphabetical list of links to green chemistry sites.


Anastas PT, Warner JC. 2000. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press, USA.

Doble M, Kumar A. 2007. Green Chemistry and Engineering. Elsevier Science & Technology Books, Burlington, MA.

Esty DC, Winston AS. 2006. Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Hill JW, Kolb DK. 2006. Chemistry For Changing Times. Prentice Hall.

Srivastava MM, Sanghi R, eds. 2005. Chemistry for Green Environment. Narosa Publishing House, Ltd, New Delhi.

Journal Articles

An Invitation to Green Chemists Around the World

Anastas P, Kazlauskas R, Sheldrake G. 2006. Ten years of green chemistry at the Gordon Research Conferences. Green Chem. 8: 677-678.

Anastas PT, Kirchhoff MM. 2002. Origins, current status, and future challenges of green chemistry. Acc. Chem. Res. 35: 686-694.

Anastas PT, Zimmerman JB. 2006. The green chemistry classroom. Chemical Engineer 784: 48-50.

McDonough W, Braungart M, Anastas PT, Zimmerman JB. 2003. Applying the principles of Green Engineering to cradle-to-cradle design. Environ. Sci. Technol. 37: 434A-441A.

Zimmerman J, Anastas P. 2005. Approaches to innovations in the aerospace sector through green engineering and green chemistry. SAE Technical Papers, Document Number: 2005-01-3305.

Bio-Based Polymers and Composites

La Scala J, Wool RP. 2005. Property analysis of triglyceride-based thermosets. Polymer 46: 61.

La Scala J, Wool RP. 2005. Rheology of chemically modified triglycerides. J. Appl. Poly. Sci. 95: 774.

Lu J, Hong CK, Wool RP. 2004. Bio-based nanocomposites from functionalized plant oils and layered silicate. J. Poly. Sci. Part B: Polymer Physics 42: 1441-1450.

Lu J, Khot S, Wool RP. 2005. New sheet molding compound resins from soybean oil. I. Synthesis and characterization. Polymer 46: 71.

Thielemans W, Wool RP. 2005. Lignin esters for use in unsaturated thermosets: lignin modification and solubility modeling. Biomacromolecules 6: 1895-905.

Wool RP. 2005.Rigidity percolation model of polymer fracture. J. Poly. Sci. Part B Polymer Physics 43: 168.

Green Chemistry and Engineering Enabled by New Concepts in Fluoropolymers

Dunbar A, Omiatek DM, Thai SD, et al. 2006. Use of substituted bis(acetylacetone)ethylenediimine and dialkyldithiocarbamate ligands for copper chelation supercritical carbon dioxide. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 45: 8779-8787.

Eulis L, DuPont J, DeSimone JM. 2006. Imparting size, shape, and composition control of materials for nanomedicine. Chem. Soc. Rev. 35: 1095-1104.

Liu T, Garner P, DeSimone JM. 2006. Particle formation in precipitation polymerization: continuous precipitation polymerization of acrylic acid in supercritical carbon dioxide. Macromolecules 39: 6489-6494.

Olson DA, Gratton SEA, DeSimone JM, Sheares VV. 2006. Amorphous linear aliphatic polyesters for the facile preparation of tunable rapidly degrading elastomeric devices and delivery vectors. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128: 13625-13633.

Zhang L, Zhou Z, Cheng B, et al. 2006. Superhydrophobic behavior of a perfluoropolyether lotus-leaf-like topography. Langmuir 22: 8576-8580.

Zhou Z, Dominey N, Rolland JP, et al. 2006. Molded, high surface area polymer electrolyte membranes from cured liquid precursors. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128: 12963-12972.


Paul Anastas, PhD

Yale University
e-mail | web site | publications

Paul T. Anastas joined Yale University as Professor in the Practice of Green Chemistry with appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Department of Chemistry, and Department of Chemical Engineering. In addition, Anastas serves as the director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale. From 2004–2006, Anastas served as director of the Green Chemistry Institute in Washington, D.C. He was previously the assistant director for the environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he worked from 1999–2004. Trained as a synthetic organic chemist, Anastas received his PhD from Brandeis University and worked as an industrial consultant. He is credited with establishing the field of green chemistry during his time working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the chief of the Industrial Chemistry Branch and as the director of the U.S. Green Chemistry Program. Anastas has published widely on topics of science through sustainability, such as the books Benign by Design, Designing Safer Polymers, Green Engineering, and his seminal work with co-author John Warner, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice.

Richard Wool, PhD

University of Delaware
e-mail | web site

Richard Wool is the ACRES program director (The Affordable Composites from Renewable Resources) at the University of Delaware. Wool is affiliated with the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials. He received a bachelor of science degree from University College Cork, Ireland, and a master of science degree and doctorate from the University of Utah. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Chemical Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Plastic Engineers, and the Neutron Scattering Society. He is a founding member of the Bio/Environmentally Degradable Plastics Society.

Wool is the recipient of numerous awards including the Innovations in Real Materials Award from the International Society for Innovation in Materials Research, the Technical Innovation Award for Composites Excellence, with Russel Fisher, from the Composite Fabricators Association. In 2000 he was a Discover Award semifinalist.

Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
e-mail | web site | publications

Joseph M. DeSimone is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. He is director of the NSF Science Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes, a collaborative endeavor connecting the research goals, resources, and expertise of five universities spanning the areas of chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, information and library sciences, psychology, and education. He is also director of the new UNC Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanoscience and Technology (IAM). DeSimone was also chairman (1996–2003) and co-founder of Micell Technologies, Inc, a company which pioneered the highly celebrated CO2 dry cleaning technology to replace the undesirable solvent perchloroethylene. In 2002, DeSimone co-founded BioStent with Richard Stack, William Starling, and Robert Langer to develop and commercialize polymeric drug eluting stents for cardiovascular applications. DeSimone has written more than 220 refereed articles and has issued over 100 patents.

DeSimone is the recipient of numerous regional and national awards. He was most recently elected, College of Fellows, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2006) and Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2006). In addition to receiving the 2005 ACS Award for Creative Invention, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2005) and the National Academy of Engineering (2005) for the "development of environmentally friendly chemistries and processes for the synthesis of materials, especially new fluoropolymers."

Angelo DePalma

Angelo DePalma is a freelance science writer living in Newton, New Jersey.