Center for Grand Challenges & Green Technologies

Green Chemistry Principles

Humanity’s Top 10 Problems for Next 50 Years

(Source: Nobel Laureate Sir R. Smalley lecture)

Energy

Water

Food

Environment

Poverty

Terrorism and War

Disease

Education

Democracy

Population

The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry

(developed by Paul Anastas and John Warner)

Developed by Paul Anastas and John Warner, the following list outlines what would make a greener process or product:

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1. Prevention

It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it has been created.

2. Atom Economy

Synthetic methods should be designed to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product.

3. Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses

Wherever practicable, synthetic methods should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.

4. Designing Safer Chemicals

Chemical products should be designed to affect their desired function while minimizing their toxicity.

5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries

The use of auxiliary substances (such as solvents, separation agents, et cetera) should be made unnecessary whenever possible and innocuous when used.

6. Design for Energy Efficiency

Energy requirements of chemical processes should be recognized for their environmental and economical impacts and should be minimized. If possible, synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.

7. Use of Renewable Feedstocks

A raw material or feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever technically and economically practicable.

8. Reduce Derivatives

Unnecessary derivatization (use of blocking groups, protection/deprotection, temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be minimized or avoided if possible, because such steps require additional reagents and can generate waste.

9. Catalysis

Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents.

10. Design for Degradation

Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function they break down into innocuous degradation products and do not persist in the environment.

11. Real-Time Analysis for Pollution Prevention

Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for the real-time, in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.

12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention

Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.

(Source: Anastas, P. T. and Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press: New York, 1998, p. 30.)

The 12 Principles of Green Engineering

(developed by Paul Anastas and Julie Zimmerman)

Developed by Paul Anastas and Julie Zimmerman, the following list outlines what would make a greener process or product:

1. Inherent Rather Than Circumstantial

Designers need to strive to ensure that all material and energy inputs and outputs are as inherently nonhazardous as possible.

2. Prevention Instead of Treatment

It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it is formed.

3. Design for Separation

Separation and purification operations should be designed to minimize energy consumption and materials use.

4. Maximize Efficiency

Products, processes and systems should be designed to maximize mass, energy, space and time efficiency.

5. Output-Pulled Versus Input-Pushed

Products, processes and systems should be “output pulled” rather than “input pushed” through the use of energy and materials.

6. Conserve Complexity

Embedded entropy and complexity must be viewed as an investment when making design choices on recycle, reuse, or beneficial disposition.

7. Durability Rather Than Immortality

Targeted durability, not immortality, should be a design goal.

8. Meet Need, Minimize Excess

Design for unnecessary capacity or capability (eg. “one size fits all”) solutions should be considered a design flaw.

9. Minimize Material Diversity

Material diversity in multi-component products should be minimized to promote disassembly and value retention.

10. Integrate Local Material and Energy Flows

Design of products, processes and systems must include integration and interconnectivity with available energy and material flows.

11. Design for Commercial “Afterlife”

Products, processes and systems should be designed for performance in a commercial “afterlife”.

12. Renewable Rather Than Depleting

Material and energy inputs should be renewable rather than depleting.

(Source: Anastas, P. T., and Zimmerman, J. B., “Design through the Twelve Principles of Green Engineering”, Env. Sci. Tech. 2003, 37(5), 94A-101A.)


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