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Water waste from surfactant chemistry: risk or opportunity?

Krell, Christoph and Gallou, Fabrice (2021) Water waste from surfactant chemistry: risk or opportunity? Organic process research & development, 25.


Most biotransformations have been mediated in water as the bulk medium, usually with the addition of surfactants as solubility enhancers. Scattered reports and research interest of selected groups have also driven the usage of water in chemical transformations. But it is not until the advent of Phase-Transfer Catalysis that water could be envisioned as a medium of choice, if not entirely, at least partially. Closer to us, Lipshutz’ seminal report on the use of benign by design surfactant to conduct a large variety of transformations sparked our attention and led us as early as 2011 to aggressively enter the field. We rapidly saw in it significant opportunities from a sustainability standpoint especially, with the prospect of establishing a new paradigm where most chemical transformations could be run sustainably and advantageously in water. With the support of our academic partners, Professor Lipshutz and Sachin Handa, a large and continuously growing number of synthetic methodologies were established to conduct the most important transformations of our portfolio in water, and have been implemented on scale in our plants. An immediate aspect that we needed to address became that of the waste water management. Indeed, while we had demonstrated the absolute needs in water to be lesser than compared to traditional process in organic solvents, we still needed to demonstrate that the water could be disposed safely and that no inherent risk could occur due to the usage of the surfactant. The following manuscript describes our approach to the problem and our recommendations to control the quality of our waste water, and dispose of it in the most sustainable manner.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Sustainability, surfactant, micelles, waste water
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2021 00:45
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2021 00:45


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