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Can Chemistry Be Green?: Stairs Lecture

Posted: July 24, 2017

Annual Stairs Lecture in Chemistry

headshot of Dr. Phillip Jessop
Dr. Phillip Jessop

Event Details

  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017
    7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    Market Hall

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. Economic benefits occur because designing processes to reduce pollution requires minimizing wasted energy and materials. What’s the catch? The right chemistry and societal conditions are necessary to bring these green processes to market. This presentation 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.

Dr. Phillip Jessop is the Canada research chair of Green Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s University, and technical director of GreenCentre Canada. After his Ph.D. (Inorganic Chemistry, UBC, 1991) and a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Toronto, he was a contract researcher in Japan under the direction of Ryoji Noyori (Nobel Prize 2001), investigating reactions in supercritical CO2. As a professor at the University of California-Davis (1996-2003) and then at Queen’s University, he has studied green solvents, conversion of waste CO2 and biomass to useful products, and the chemistry of H2. He invented the concept of switchable solvents and has now developed several classes of such solvents, plus many other switchable materials. Professor 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, the Eni Award for New Frontiers for Hydrocarbons, 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, has chaired two international conferences, and helped create GreenCentre Canada, a National Centre of Excellence for the commercialization of green chemistry technologies.