Monday, July 02, 2007

Mighty Green Chemistry


Who dat man? A true eco-celebrity -- Paul Anastas is the father of green chemistry. It's wonderful the world's getting so much help from planet-conscious media celebs, but what we really need are those with the requisite technical skillsets to save our globe.

Mr. Anastas is today's poster boy for those efforts. Director of the Green Chemistry Institute, Paul Anastas was formerly the Assistant Director for the Environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Trained as a synthetic organic chemist, Dr. 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.

On the eve of last year's 10th annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, Anastas discussed green chemistry and its challenges with the ACS News Service Weblog

The central questions for Green Chemists he summarized in this fashion:

"What is the molecular basis of hazard – toxicological, physical and global? Can we use weak forces as a design tool in imparting performance as we have done with covalent forces? What is the pathway toward designing catalysts from first theoretical principles? Can we use energy in the place of matter to effectively carry out transformations catalytically on a commercial scale? Are the reaction types and feedstocks we use currently in chemical manufacturing the one’s we should be using in the next ten, twenty years? If we are to meet the challenges of sustainability, it will require that we address the problem at the molecular level as one part of the solution."

The interview can be read in its entirety at the above link.

No comments: