What is “Green” Flow Chemistry?

“Green” chemistry is an approach that aims to reduce or eliminate pollution and specifically uses chemicals and processes that are sustainable and have minimal hazardous impact on the environment. By utilising processes and technologies that are non-toxic to animals and humans, “green” Flow Chemistry offers safe and sustainable practices that result in less pollution, lower costs and high-efficiency rates for manufacturers. In this article, we will provide an overview of “green” Flow Chemistry and its importance in the field.

How is Flow Chemistry “Green”?

The main principles of “green” chemistry are to ensure chemical reactions can be reproducible, safe, scalable and efficient1, and Flow Chemistry can be used in several ways that make it a sustainable practice. Because the reactors used in Flow Chemistry typically offer benefits such as better heat management and mixing, higher levels of safety, scalability and waste generation, than alternative methods of working, they are already considered more environmentally friendly than other equipment. 

fReactor modular Flow Chemistry platform

However, it is worth mentioning that further developments can be made to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals used in Flow Chemistry and to improve energy efficiency. These developments can be made through a combination of “green” chemistry and sustainable engineering considerations and should be introduced in the initial stages of process planning. By pre-planning, scientists can make preparations regarding what chemicals or equipment will be used and what their potential outcome could be. This way of working also paves the way for greater success when scaling up from academic to industry volumes.

What are the 12 Principles of “Green” Chemistry?

When discussing “green” Flow Chemistry, the 12 principles of “green” chemistry2 are often referred to. These principles were created to offer a set of guidelines for people such as manufacturers and scientists to help them develop more sustainable methods in chemistry.

The 12 principles are:

  1. Prevent waste
  2. Atom economy
  3. Less hazardous synthesis
  4. Design benign chemicals
  5. Benign solvents and auxiliaries
  6. Design for energy efficiency
  7. Use of renewable feedstocks
  8. Reduce derivatives
  9. Catalysis vs stoichiometric
  10. Design for degradation
  11. Real-time analysis for pollution prevention
  12. Inherently benign chemistry for accident prevention

Asynt and Flow Chemistry

Developing sustainable laboratory equipment and solutions is a priority at Asynt. We work with scientists all over the world to design products that perform brilliantly whilst reducing energy consumption and waste, and help to save you money. The key outcomes desired by using “green” Flow Chemistry are increased efficiency, profitability, and less waste and can be guided by the 12 principles of “green” engineering detailed above.

One of our key Flow Chemistry platforms is the fReactor® modular Flow Chemistry system which was developed in conjunction with the iPRD at the University of Leeds so that we could provide an affordable piece of equipment for this wishing to carry out Flow Chemistry. fReactor is an intuitive platform that can be used to develop synthesis routes and materials and allows chemists to experiment with continuous-flow processing. The key benefits of the fReactor® include efficient, safer processing, rapid mixing, high-quality products and scalability. Additionally, our reactors can be used together with accessories such as pressure and temperature controllers to enhance your processes.

What is green flow chemistry?

Don’t hesitate to get in touch today for more information on “green” flow chemistry or our equipment.  You can email us via [email protected], call on +44 (0)1638 781709 or talk to us now via the LIVE CHAT box at the bottom right of your screen.

Further reading:

How much of Flow Chemistry is an engineering task?

flow chemistry engineering blog