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Organizations & People
Appl. Chem., Vol. 72, No. 7, pp. 1233-1246,
Special Topic Issue on Green Chemistry
Atom efficiency and catalysis in organic synthesis
Roger A. Sheldon
Delft University of Technology, Organic Chemistry and
Catalysis, Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft, The Netherlands
Abstract: The key to waste minimization in fine chemicals manufacture
is the widespread substitution of classical organic syntheses employing
stoichiometric amounts of inorganic reagents with cleaner, catalytic
alternatives. The E factors (by waste per kg product) of chemical processes
increase dramatically on going downstream from bulk to fine chemicals
and pharmaceuticals, mainly owing to the use of "stoichiometric"
methods. The concept of atom efficiency is a useful tool for rapid evaluation
of the amount of waste generated by alternative processes. The general
theme of atom-efficient, catalytic processes is illustrated with industrially
relevant examples. These include catalysis by solid acids and bases,
catalytic reductions and oxidations, catalytic C_C bond formation, asymmetric
catalysis, biocatalysis, and catalysis in novel media (aqueous and fluorous
biphasic systems, supercritical fluids, and ionic liquids).
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