21.10.2015

Green Chemistry Principle 6 | Energy Efficiency

Design for Energy Efficiency is the full name for Principle 6.

This Principle states that energy requirements should be recognized for their environmental and economic impacts and should be minimized. Synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.

Green Chemistry Principle 6 Design for Energy Efficiency

Dr David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute describes principle 6 as one of the “forgotten principles”.  Chemists he says try to get a reaction to completion and to separate the desired product at as high a yield as possible. Energy efficiency is not a core concern of the chemist. In fact it’s often irrelevant and it’s free. The chemist puts the plug into the wall or gets the liquid nitrogen out of the dewar.

A dewar is a vacuum or thermos flask

I confess I had to look up the meaning of dewar. It’s used domestically of course and also industrially.  It keeps your soup or coffee hot and your liquid nitrogen cold. It was invented by Sir James Dewar in 1892. Dewar didn’t ever patent the invention but German men who discovered the commercial use for it renamed it thermos.

Most chemists mainly think about energy in terms of the reactions it creates. They do not think of where it comes from or the need to minimise its use. And they almost never think of its cost.

The 6th principle asks that thought is given to the issue of energy efficiency which is a key issue for the 21st century. Most energy is based on fossil fuels which actually deliver a very small amount of energy to the end use. Much is lost in transport and transmission. Chemists could help to change this. To do so they need to minimise as far as possible the steps taken to achieve the desired result, and to use lower cost materials. Trying to run reactions as far as possible at ambient temperatures and pressure is also a way to be green and have impact less on the planet.

Halo loves to be green, to think about the resources it uses, including energy. For more information about Halo technology and products you can contact us here or fill in the form below.

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