Chemistry for Climate Action

Climate change is the most important challenge affecting the future of our planet and it is essential that we take action. We also know that chemical sciences play a critical role in developing a sustainable future. UN SDG 13, Climate Action, underscores the need to “[…] promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities”.

The role of chemistry in tackling climate change is broad and varied, from waste and CO2 reduction and utilization, to low-energy production and energy conversion and storage. Chemists are aware of this critical role and we have seen significant growth in the number of published articles in Scopus on “sustainable chemistry”

At Elsevier, the Chemistry journals department and the Elsevier Foundation have been collaborating for five years on the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge and have received thousands of proposals in this time. As it is essential for the future of the planet that climate scientists and sustainable chemists collaborate, we are proud to re-launch as the Chemistry for Climate Action Challenge. Alongside the new climate focus, the Challenge also supports SDG 5, Gender Equality, recognising the pivotal role that women play in combating climate change. Projects submitted to the Challenge must integrate a gender dimension into their projects, such as addressing the role of women in adapting to climate shifts and participating in policy-making and leadership roles.

To show the importance of climate action and to celebrate the years of collaboration between the Elsevier Chemistry journals department and the Elsevier Foundation , we have compiled this special issue, highlighting top chemistry content related to SDG 13 and providing information on past winners of the Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge.

To apply for the Challenge, visit the Elsevier Foundation website HERE.

Elsevier, Materials Today Sustainability, Volume 9, September 2020
Manufacturing challenges are anticipated to become worse in the coming decades owing to global material and energy constraints combined with environmental issues associated with conventional processes. Addressing these difficulties calls for a significant amount of research to be conducted to establish robust new technologies that are cost-effective and energy efficient, while at the same time minimizing environmental pollution.
Elsevier, Materials Today Sustainability, Volume 9, September 2020
CeO2 shows unique catalytic properties by an acid–base bifunctionality as well as redox properties. The acid–base bifunctional properties of CeO2 have been applied to the non-reductive CO2 conversion with alcohols such as dimethyl carbonate (DMC) synthesis from CO2 and methanol. CeO2 shows very high selectivity to DMC; however, the yield of DMC is strongly limited by the equilibrium. The combination of the synthesis of organic carbonates from CO2 and corresponding alcohols with suitable H2O removal methods can enhance the yield of the organic carbonates beyond the equilibrium limitation.
Elsevier, Materials Today Sustainability, Volume 9, September 2020
Solar light-driven water splitting provides a promising way to store and use abundant solar energy in the form of gaseous hydrogen which is the cleanest chemical fuel for mankind; therefore this field has been attracting increasing attention over the past decades.
Elsevier, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Volume 555, 1 November 2019
The two-dimensional (2D) ultrathin Mg-Al layered double hydroxide modified by magnetic Fe3O4 (Fe3O4/Mg-Al LDH) was successfully synthesized via the co-precipitation method. The Fe3O4/Mg-Al LDH not only exhibits superior separation efficiency of charge carriers but also possesses signally enhanced photocatalytic activity for CO2 reduction than Mg-Al LDH. The as-prepared Fe3O4/Mg-Al LDH affords the CO and CH4 generation rate of 442.2 µmol g−1 h−1 and 223.9 µmol g−1 h−1. The enhanced reduction CO2 activity mainly comes from synergetic effect of Fe3O4 and ultrathin Mg-Al LDH.
Elsevier, Current Research in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 4, January 2021
Porous liquids form a new class of materials, which are liquid at room temperature and possess permanent porosity. The latter is a characteristic generally associated with solid-state only. Since the idea of porous liquid was exploited over a decade ago, the researchers see an opportunity of solving the solid material's limitation in gas capture and separation. In this discussion, we present the most recent developments on porous liquids and, in our perspectives, how they can tackle energy and environmental issues by their coupling with membrane technology.
Elsevier, Current Research in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 3, June 2020
Bio-based aerogels with customizable porosities and functionalities constitute a significant potential for CO2 capture. Developing bio-based aerogels from different polysaccharides and proteins is a safe, economical, and environmentally sustainable approach. Polysaccharides are biodegradable, sustainable, renewable, and plentiful in nature. Because of these advantages, the use of bio-based aerogels with porosity and amine functionality has attracted considerable interest.
Elsevier, Current Research in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 3, June 2020
The successful conversion of lignocellulose into value-added products depends on overcoming the recalcitrance of its structure towards enzymatic digestion. The highly crosslinked structure of lignin, crystallinity of cellulose, and low digestibility of hemicellulose create the recalcitrance. Many studies have proved that an appropriate pretreatment method could enhance the digestibility of lignocellulosic biomass by weakening the strong network of its chemical bonds among the cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
Elsevier, Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy, Volume 18, December 2020
In this essay some important forerunners of green chemistry will be discussed and compared with the present state. The relationship to ethics will be considered. Starting from the new movement of green chemistry by Anastas, some important highlights will be presented. The new activities of IUPAC and other institutions on the concepts of metrics for green syntheses will be discussed. The prime importance of the inclusion of developing African countries into the concepts will also be covered.

12th November 2020

This article highlights the winning proposals of the fifth edition of the Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. The winning proposals were chosen for their innovative green chemistry aspects and their large positive impact on the environment, contributing to SDGs 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
2019 Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge second prize winner, Dr. Ankur Patwardhan

9th November 2020

In 2019, Dr. Ankur Patwardhan, Head of the Biodiversity Department at Maharashtra Education Society’s Abasaheb Garware College, Pune, India, was awarded the second prize in the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. Contributing to SDGs 13 and 15, his project, “Butterfly attractant for pollination and ecosystem health”, focused on the plant-pollinator interactions that play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem balance and aimed at enhancing floral visits by butterflies through the development of natural attractant formulations. One year later, we interviewed Dr. Patwardhan about his experience at the Challenge, as well as the upcoming steps for his project.