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Improving the Environment & Economy Through a Greener Approach to Chemistry

November 10, 2017

Stairs Lecture in Chemistry on November 14 explores social, fiscal and environmental factors behind “Green Chemistry”

Dr. Philip Jessop, Canada research chair in Green Chemistry at Queen’s University, will deliver Can Chemistry Be Green? as part of the 2017 Trent University Stairs Lecture in Chemistry, on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at the Market Hall, 140 Charlotte Street.

“Professor Jessop’s lecture brings a practical perspective to solving issues with greener approaches to chemistry, which will resonate with the Trent and Peterborough communities,” explains Dr. Robert Stairs, professor emeritus at Trent, who created the lecture series. “He is both a chemist and an inventor who applies creative solutions to the problems we face today - how to convert harmful carbon emissions and biomass into useful products.”

The old way to prevent pollution was to capture pollutants before they left the factory or chemical plant, which is always a financial burden. The Green Chemistry approach – design the process so that pollutants aren’t made – can reduce environmental impact while making industries more economically competitive, because designing processes to reduce pollution requires minimizing wasted energy and materials. For this new approach to work, the right chemistry and societal conditions are necessary to bring these green processes to market. During his presentation, Prof. Jessop will discuss the origins of green chemistry, explain how new technologies are assessed for their environmental impact, and introduce, as an example of a new technology, a “greener" paint.

Prof. Jessop is the technical director of GreenCentre Canada. After completing his Ph.D., he was a researcher in Japan under the direction of Nobel Prize winner Ryoji Noyori, investigating reactions in supercritical carbon dioxide. He has studied green solvents, and the conversion of waste CO2 and biomass to useful products. Prof. Jessop’s distinctions and awards include the NSERC Polanyi Award, Killam Research Fellowship, Queen’s University Prize for Excellence in Research, Canadian Green Chemistry & Engineering Award, Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada and a Canada research chair tier 1. He serves as chair of the editorial board for the journal Green Chemistry, and helped create GreenCentre Canada, a National Centre of Excellence for the commercialization of green chemistry technologies.