What is Green Chemistry? Introduction, Concepts
Green chemistry is a chemical philosophy encouraging the design of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.
For this, scientist are trying to develop methods to produce eco-friendly compounds. This can be best understood by considering the following example in which styrene is produced both by traditional and greener routes.
This method involves two steps. Carcinogenic benzene reacts with ethylene to form ethyl benzene. Then ethyl benzene on dehydrogenation using Fe2O3/Al2O3 gives styrene.
To avoid carcinogenic benzene, greener route is to start with cheaper and environmentally safer xylenes.
Green Chemistry in day-to-day life
A few contribution of green chemistry in our day to day life is given below
(1) Dry cleaning of clothes
Solvents like tetrachloroethylene used in dry cleaning of clothes, pollute the ground water and are carcinogenic. In the place of tetrachloroethylene, liquefied CO2 with suitable detergent, is an alternate solvent used. Liquified CO2 is not harmful to the ground water. Now a days H2O2 used for bleaching clothes in laundry, gives better results and utilises less water.
(2) Bleaching of paper
Conventional method of bleaching was done with chlorine. Now a days H2O2 can be used for bleaching paper in presence of catalyst.
(3) Synthesis of chemicals
Acetaldehyde is now commercially prepared by one step oxidation of ethene in the presence of ionic catalyst in aqueous medium with 90% yield.
(4) Instead of petrol, methanol is used as a fuel in automobiles.
(5) Neem based pesticides have been synthesised, which are safer than the chlorinated hydrocarbons.
Every individual has an important role for preventing pollution and improving our environment. We are responsible for environmental protection. Let us begin to save our environment and provide a clean earth for our future generations.
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