27th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Greener Catalytic Oxidation Processes

Development of green and sustainable methodologies by using renewable raw material, reducing chemical wastes, and working with eco-friendly reagents have been stimulated by extensive research because of inescapable global energy crisis. Selective oxidation of organic chemicals is considered as one of the most critical challenges facing the chemical industry (mentioned in the Technology Vision 2020 report published by the Council for Chemical Research). Air represents an ideal alternative to commonly used stoichiometric oxidants such as toxic metal salts and peroxides. Air is available at virtually no cost and produces no environmentally hazardous by-products. However, the scope of air or oxygen-coupled oxidation reactions is presently quite limited since air is very inert towards reacting with organic molecules.

The solution is the development of catalysts to guide the chemical reaction toward kinetically favored products. Advances in catalysis research are critical to address many of the major challenges facing our nation and world, including (i) reducing the contribution of human activities to global warming, (ii) identifying sustainable energy sources, and (iii) minimizing the environmental impact of chemical synthesis.

Despite many industrial processes feature catalytic methods for aerobic oxidation, their scope is limited, and chemical reagents such as transition metal oxides and chlorine-based oxidants remain in common use. Recent developments in heterogeneous catalysis point toward new opportunities for selective aerobic oxidation chemistry. Heterogeneous catalysts are materials present in different phases (usually solid) than the reactant. However, most of the current efficient technologies are based on precious metals and use of oxidative additives, which may not be feasible for long term needs. For a view of addressing current limitations, design of novel materials by employing more abundant elements for selective oxidation is highly desirable.


Prof. Sourav Biswas, SUNY Buffalo State
Dr. Biswanath Dutta, National Energy Technology Laboratory

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