Green Chemistry Principle #11

Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention

Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time, in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.

Contributed by Douglas Raynie, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry, South Dakota State University

Imagine driving down a busy highway in a car with all of the windows painted an opaque black!!! While that scenario many not seem realistic (or safe), what if you had a 360° camera and the sensors and technology being developed for self-driving cars? Now, the safety of your commute is more ensured.

This description, while applied to automobiles, is illustrative of the 11th principle of green chemistry. Just as we need real-time feedback for driving safety, real-time feedback is essential in proper functioning chemical processes. Most chemists are familiar with laboratory analysis from their undergraduate training. But analysis can also be performed in-line, on-line, or at-line in a chemical plant, a subdiscipline known as process analytical chemistry. Such analysis can detect changes in process temperature or pH prior to a reaction going out of control, poisoning of catalysts can be determined, and other deleterious events can be detected before a major incident occurs.

Process analysis is of such importance that the US Food and Drug Administration encourages such an approach for the manufacture, design, and control of pharmaceutical manufacturing. Since 1984, an industry-academic partnership, the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry, has promoted research into emerging techniques for process analytical chemistry.

While the traditional roles of analytical chemistry also advance green chemistry goals, the effective application of process analytical chemistry directly contributes to the safe and efficient operation of chemical plants worldwide.

Additional resource:

Center for Process Analysis & Control

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