Green chemistry

Introducing green chemistry into your industrial processes reduces or eliminates hazardous substances during the production and application of chemical-related processes. Using these techniques reduces waste from chemical processes, leading to a cleaner environment and more cost-effective use of raw materials.

Expertise

The Green Chemistry Group at the University of Leicester is renowned for its work in ionic liquids. Ionic liquids have a number of benefits:

  • Electrically conductive
  • Extremely low vapour pressure
  • Low combustibility
  • Excellent thermal stability
  • A wide liquid range
  • Favourable solvating properties

They are suitable for the following applications:

  • Electroplating - Using a variety of metals such as chromium or aluminium, this has applications in electronics, optics, sensors, automotive and aerospace, enabling devices to use less power, produce less waste and have an improved surface finish.
  • Electropolishing - New techniques being developed at Leicester lead to a higher current efficiency, excellent surface finish and a non-corrosive finish.
  • Immersion coating - Currently being explored as an alternative to the conventional acid-based autocatalytic electroless coatings, this has real benefits for printed circuit board manufacturers as it prevents the degradation of exposed copper surfaces before the board is assembled.
  • Metal oxide processing - This uses ionic liquids to dissolve a range of metal oxides to enable selective extraction of a particular metal from waste materials.

Another way to incorporate green chemistry into industrial processes is through recycling waste products, such as our project that turned egg shells into food packaging and our project that investigated a more environmentally-friendly alternative to MDF.

Our lead academics in these areas are Professor Andy Abbott and Professor Karl Ryder.

Facilities for industry

An ionic liquids demonstrator is available, allowing prospective clients to bring along their own items or materials to see how ionic liquids could be incorporated into their industrial processes. Using ionic liquids instead of hazardous chemicals can reduce health and safety risks while boosting your company's environmental credentials.

Training for industry

A whole training programme for industry is in place, covering a range of subjects including:

  • Biocatalysis and biotransformations
  • Solid phase synthesis
  • Molecular imprinted polymers
  • Protein engineering
  • Target synthesis
  • Metal finishing
  • Molecular properties

Visit our training for industry webpage for further details.