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Green chemistry is the use of chemistry for pollutant source reduction; the definition encompasses therefore all aspects of chemical processes that reduce impact on human health and on the environment. Its goal is to improve the quality of life and the competitiveness of industry by encouraging the design of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances, for example by developing alternative syntheses for important industrial chemicals.
There are five focus areas, whereby Green Chemistry can be achieved, and that are currently the main focus themes of this area of research:
- Alternative synthetic pathways, based on atom efficiency, achievable through catalysis and biocatalysis, natural processes, such as photochemistry, electrochemistry and biomimetic synthesis.
- Alternative reaction conditions, based on the use of solvents that have a reduced impact on the environment, increased selectivity and reduced wastes and emissions.
- The design, use, and production of chemicals that are less toxic than current alternatives, inherently safer with regard to accident potential.
- Alternative feedstocks and safe reagents to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and the potential for accidents.
- The evaluation of the risk connected to chemical processes, to chemical products and reagents, to by-products
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