MELLICHAMP SUSTAINABILITY

THE REASON

The sustainable use of materials, including the (re)design of products to maximize their sustainability, is an area of immense and rapidly growing environmental and economic importance. It also impacts the greater goal of enabling a much larger fraction of the world’s population to achieve the high standard of living that technology now confers upon the residents of developed nations, without exceeding the Earth’s capacity to supply the necessary raw materials and absorb the inevitable byproducts of activities required to generate technology.

 

The University of California, Santa Barbara has created an interdisciplinary initiative to integrate sustainability considerations into research in the chemical sciences and engineering, including assessment/minimization of environmental impact and assessment/optimization of economic feasibility, cultivation of public awareness, and social acceptance of sustainability goals. A team of researchers from chemistry and biochemistrychemical engineeringenvironmental sciencetechnology management, and communication is collaborating to increase efficiency, reduce the environmental impact, and improve social acceptance of alternative chemical technologies.

 

As the focal point for this effort, the University has established a cluster of four endowed research Chairs: the Mellichamp Academic Initiative Professorships in Sustainability. The Chairholders pursue overlapping and complementary interests in green chemistry, sustainable manufacturing, catalytic processing, and the economics of new technologies.

"Going forward, the chemical industry is faced with a major conundrum - the need to be sustainable (balanced economically, environmentally, and socially in order to not undermine the natural systems on which it depends) - and a lack of a more coordinated effort to generate the science and technology to make it all possible."

Committee on Grand Challenges for Sustainability in the Chemical Industry, The National Academy of Science 2005

12 PRINCIPLES OF GREEN CHEMISTRY

  1. Pollution Prevention at Source

  2. Atom Economy

  3. Less Hazardous Chemical Synthesis

  4. Designing Safer Chemicals

  5. Safer Solvents & Auxiliaries

  6. Design for Energy Efficiency

  7. Use of Renewable Feedstocks

  8. Reduce the Use of Derivatives

  9. Catalysis (Chemical & Biological)

  10. Design for Degradation

  11. Real-time Analysis

  12. Inherently Safer Chemistry

12 PRINCIPLES OF GREEN ENGINEERING

  1. Inherent rather that Circumstantial

  2. Prevention instead of Treatment

  3. Design for Separation

  4. Maximize Efficiency

  5. Output-Pulled vs. Input Pushed

  6. Conserve Complexity

  7. Durability rather than Immortality

  8. Meet Need, Minimize Excess

  9. Minimize Materials Diversity

  10. Integrate Materials & Energy Flow

  11. Design for Commercial "Afterlife"

  12. Renewable rather than Depleting

CHEMICAL INDUSTRY SUSTAINABILITY

The US chemical industry is a cornerstone of American manufacturing, and the scale of chemical production is immense. The chemical industry produces commodities (large-volume, low-cost basic organic building blocks, such as ethylene, methanol, etc., as well as inorganics such as ammonia...

GLOBAL

FOOD SECURITY

In the 20th century, the invention of the Haber-Bosch process for converting atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, together with the Green Revolution that dramatically improved agricultural yields, eliminated natural limits on bioavailable nitrogen and enabled an expansion...

REDUCING DEPENDENCE ON CRITICAL METALS AND MATERIALS

The precious metals (Ru, Rh, Pd, Os, Ir, Pt) make highly effective catalysts in a wide range of chemical reactions, due to their readiness to change oxidation states and their reluctance to form recalcitrant oxides. Unfortunately, they are also some of the least abundant elements in the Earth’s crust...

CONSERVING ENERGY

AND FRESH WATER

Many chemical industry practices are highly energy- and water-intensive. For example, the Haber-Bosch process (described above), which produces 500 million tons of ammonia-based fertilizer annually, consumes 1-2 % of the entire world energy supply. Light olefins (ethylene and propylene) are...

USING RENEWABLE RAW MATERIALS

The vast majority of synthetic carbon-based materials are currently made from a handful of petroleum-derived building blocks, including ethylene, propylene, butenes, benzene, toluene, xylene and methanol. These components are converted, using chemistry, into polymers...

REDUCING RISK THROUGHOUT THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Reduced risk of exposure and minimal environmental toxicity are important dimensions of sustainable chemistry. Cradle-to-grave life cycle assessments and fate and transport studies must be employed to quantify potential emissions of chemicals at different life cycle stages...

INTEGRATING PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE

Replacement of conventional technologies by more sustainable versions is by no means automatic or rapid. New approaches must be cost-competitive; in manufacturing, this often means considering large existing capital investments, as well as supply risks. Changing or uncertain regulatory...

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