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Solvents/Auxiliary Chemicals


The cost, environmental impact, and safety of a chemical processes is often driven by the solvents and other auxiliary chemicals.  It is interesting to note that the amount of solvent used often exceeds raw materials, reagents, and products, particularly in the case of separation and purification processes.  Once again, while quantity of these chemicals it is an important consideration from a perspective of material and energy efficiency, it is the nature of our historic solvents that has posed the greatest challenge to the environment and human health.   Conventional solvents have generally been volatile, increasing likely exposures; hydrophobic, serving as long term sources of concern in environmental systems, and toxic to ecosystems and humans, particularly notable in terms of worker exposure.  Just we are aspiring to design safer chemical products, the same effort and attention should be brought to bear on the design of safer solvents or solvent-free processes through both improving the inherent nature of these compounds as well as minimizing their exposure potentials.

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