Using nanocatalysis in green chemistry is of increasing interest due to the possibility of creating economically beneficial processes (e.g. increasing the recovery and reusability of expensive precious metal catalysts including platinum). Below is an excerpt from Nanocatalysis: Academic Discipline and Industrial Realities, which selects a number of principles from the 12 principles of green chemistry, showing how nanocatalysts can contribute to achieving them.
"It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it is formed" (principle #2)
Nanocatalysts help to increase selectivites (compared to conventional reactions).
"Wherever practicable, synthetic methodologies should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment" (principle #3)
Using nanocatalytic processes, organic solvents can be replaced by water.
"Synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure" (principle #6)
For numerous chemical processes, harsh reaction conditions can be avoided by employing nanocatalysts, as, for example, in the hydrolysis of esters.
"Unnecessary derivation (blocking group, protection/deprotection, temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be avoided whenever possible" (principle #8).
Nanocatalysts have the potential to open direct reaction paths that were unachievable using traditional methods, such as in the synthesis of H2O2.
"Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents" (principle #9)”
An example involving nanocatalysts includes the advancement of the well-known Friedel-Crafts reaction by the introduction of a nanosized zeolite catalyst.
"Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen so as to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires" (principle #12).
Nanocatalysts can make an important contribution, like in safer oxidation processes for organic molecules.
Sandro Olveira, Simon P. Forster, and Stefan Seeger, “Nanocatalysis: Academic Discipline and Industrial Realities,” Journal of Nanotechnology, vol. 2014, Article ID 324089, 19 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/324089