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Book Review Handbook of Green Chemistry and Technology. Edited by James Clark and Duncan Macquarrie

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Handbook of Green Chemistry and
Edited by James Clark
and Duncan Macquarrie. Blackwell,
Oxford 2002. 540
pp., hardcover
£ 160.00.–ISBN
A ™handbook∫ is a work that comprehensively summarizes knowledge about
a scientific discipline or a special field
(e.g., the Brockhaus Encyclopedia). In
the Encyclopaedia Britannica we find a
detailed article about handbooks, including in particular the important
handbooks of chemistry. A passage from
that is quoted here, as it will help in
classifying the work under review: ™...
but a more important event was the
publication of the Handbuch der theoretischen Chemie (Handbook of Theoretical Chemistry; 1817 ± 19) by the German scientist Leopold Gmelin, a work
of such excellence that it still appears in
new editions from the Gmelin-Institut.
Heinrich Rose, a German chemist, issued his Ausf¸hrliches Handbuch der
analytischen Chemie (Complete Handbook of Analytical Chemistry) in 1851,
and the first edition of the famous
Liebig, Poggendorff, and Wˆhler×s
Handwˆrterbuch der reinen und angewandten Chemie (Handbook of Pure
and Applied Chemistry) was issued in
1837; its second edition (1856 ± 65) was
expanded to nine volumes. This work
was continued by Hermann Fehling×s
Neues Handwˆrterbuch der Chemie
(New Pocket Dictionary of Chemistry;
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2003, 42, 601 ± 602
1871 ± 1930). The French counterpart,
C. A. Wurtz×s Dictionnaire de chimie
pure et applique¬e (Dictionary of Pure
and Applied Chemistry; 1869 ± 1908),
became the standard work of its day.
The Russian-born chemist Friedrich
Konrad Beilstein first issued his Handbuch der organischen Chemie (Handbook of Organic Chemistry) in Hamburg, Germany, in 1880 ± 83; it is the
most extensive work of its kind today.∫
In the Rˆmpp encyclopedia of chemistry we find the following comments:
™Unfortunately handbooks suffer from
two inherent disadvantages: firstly the
cutoff point of the literature coverage
often occurs several years before publication (but only about two years earlier
in the present case), and secondly such
handbooks consist of several volumes,
the publication of which sometimes
stretches over decades, so that the contents of the first volume are often already outdated before the complete
edition of the work is available. (But in
the present work we are only concerned
with a single volume, and there is no
plan for a second volume.) For these
reasons handbooks as a genre have
often been condemned. However, critical editing of the articles in a handbook
can achieve a high level of excellence,
even compared with progress reports
that have a short useful life, and that
may ensure a future for handbooks. ...
Anyone using a handbook must always
first carefully read the preface or introduction to find out which system has
been followed in organizing the contents.∫
Thus we begin with the preface by
James Clark, one of the editors of the
handbook reviewed here. He explains
that the title has been carefully chosen,
and gives a brief description of what the
23 chapters are about. He makes no
mention of any gaps in the treatment,
from which one is presumably meant to
conclude that (in view of the definition
of a handbook at the beginning of this
review) the work contains a comprehensive and critical description of green
chemistry. On page xvii we find the
statement: ™Chemistry will not be able
to solve all the problems of the green
chemistry revolution. We must learn to
make better use of other sciences and
technologies, and biochemistry is one
of the most important of these.∫ I find
¹ 2003 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
that surprising, because the chemistry
described in the 23 chapters that follow
is of a conventional kind and certainly
not revolutionary. Furthermore, I think
that biochemistry is a branch of chemistry.
The introduction, also by James
Clark, outlines the ™so-called principles
of green chemistry∫, which are treated
with varying degrees of thoroughness
and explicit detail in the following
chapters. Two articles concentrate on
the principle that ™waste prevention is
better than treatment or clean-up∫. T. Y.
Zhang describes interesting examples of
minimizing wastes in the pharmaceutical industry, and W. R. Sanderson discusses the use of hydrogen peroxide
with a similar aim.
Six chapters are devoted to the
principle that ™catalysts are superior to
reagents∫. M. A. Harmer reports on
™Industrial Processes using Solid Acid
Catalysts∫, D. Macquarrie (one of the
editors) on ™Micelle-Templated Silicas
as Catalysts in Green Chemistry∫, G.
Gelbard on ™Polymer-Supported Reagents∫, H. L. Holland on ™Biocatalysis∫, Y. Sasson and G. Rotheberg on
™Recent Advances in Phase-Transfer
Catalysis∫, and K. Martin on ™Green
Catalysis for Industry∫. Surprisingly,
there is no separate chapter on homogeneous catalysis, although a few examples are described by J. J. Bozell in the
chapter ™Green Chemistry in Practice∫.
Five chapters deal with the principle
that ™energy demands in chemical syntheses should be minimized∫. T. J. Mason and P. Cintas provide a contribution
on ™Sonochemistry∫, C. R. Strauss on
™Applications of Microwaves for Environmentally Benign Organic Chemistry∫, I. R. Duncan on ™Photochemistry∫,
K. Scott on ™Electrochemistry and Sustainability∫, and B. Grievson on ™Fuel
Cells: A Clean Energy Technology for
the Future∫.
Alternative solvents are discussed in
three chapters: ™Supercritical Carbon
Dioxide as an Environmentally Benign
Reaction Medium for Chemical Synthesis∫ (N. Tanchoux and W. Leitner),
™Chemistry in Fluorous Biphasic Systems∫ (J. Rabai, Z. Szlavik, and I. T.
Horvath), and ™Extraction of Natural
Products with Superheated Water∫
(A. A. Clifford). In the preface J. Clark
states that various ways of using water,
0044-8249/03/4206-0601 $ 20.00+.50/0
supercritical fluids, and ionic liquids are
discussed in the handbook. It is surprising that solvent-free reactions, which
certainly would have merited a whole
chapter, are not mentioned.
R. Jachuk contributes a short chapter on ™Process Intensification for
Green Chemistry∫, discussing some aspects of reactor developments that can
be important for green chemistry. Unfortunately there is no chapter on separation technologies, which are extremely important for industrial chemical processes, especially for those that
claim to be described as green. Separation stages are typically responsible for
about half the energy used in processes,
and more than half of the capital and
operating costs.
A. Azapagic reports on ™LifeCycle Assessment: A Tool for Identification of More Sustainable Products
and Processes∫. It is noticeable that,
instead of applying the method to examples that are described in other
chapters in the book, the author discusses as examples ™glass bottles vs.
cartons∫ and the ™Scotch whisky system∫, topics that are not mentioned
anywhere else in the handbook. However, that is understandable, since one
would need to work out a life-cycle
assessment (LCA) for a product ™from
the cradle to the grave∫, that is, from the
extraction of the raw material to the
final disposal or recycling of the product. For most of the processes discussed
in this book the detailed data needed for
such a calculation are not available.
Ideally, a quantitative comparison of
alternative processes with regard to
consumption of resources and environmental performance should be made as
early as possible in process development, preferably at the laboratory stage.
Simple methods for making such comparisons are a very important requirement for developing environmentally
benign processes. A few such methods
have been developed in the last few
years, but these are not covered in the
Lastly, the handbook contains two
chapters of a general and fundamental
kind, ™Principles of Sustainable and
Green Chemistry∫, by M. Lancaster,
and ™Green Chemistry and Sustainable
Development∫, by T. E. Graedel. These
two chapters, together with the introduction already mentioned which sets
out the ™principles of green chemistry∫,
can serve as an internal standard to
evaluate the usefulness of this handbook. If one does that, many gaps at
once become apparent. In particular, it
is especially regrettable that two principles of green chemistry, that ™raw materials should increasingly be renewable∫, and that ™chemical products
should be designed to be nontoxic∫,
which are stated repeatedly in the handbook, are mentioned only marginally or
not at all when examples are discussed.
The title of this handbook raises high
expectations. It invites comparison with
the classic handbooks that cover general
¹ 2003 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
0044-8249/03/4206-0602 $ 20.00+.50/0
chemistry or its narrower disciplines.
The verdict from that is clear. This is not
a handbook, but a broad collection of
research reports that the editors have
put together under the heading of
™green chemistry∫. The authors of the
contributions are mainly from Europe,
especially from the United Kingdom.
Thus, this collection forms a good complement to the 1998 compilation Green
Chemistry: Frontiers in Benign Chemical Syntheses and Processes, by P. T.
Anastas and T. C. Williamson, which
consisted mainly of articles by authors
from the USA (see my review: Angew.
Chem. Int. Ed. 2000, 39, 2206). Furthermore, it is clear that ™green chemistry∫ is
not a new field of chemistry, but an
important set of guidelines for chemists
to evaluate reactions and products from
the standpoint of their contribution to
sustainable development, in accordance
with UN Agenda 21, Chapter 35.2
(, which
states: ™There is a need for the sciences
to reassess and promote less intensive
trends in resource utilization... Thus, the
sciences are increasingly being understood as an essential component in the
search for feasible pathways towards
sustainable development.∫ That applies
also to chemistry, of course, and this
book is an important contribution towards that aim.
J¸rgen O. Metzger
Fachbereich Chemie
Universit‰t Oldenburg (Germany)
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2003, 42, No. 6
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chemistry, macquarrie, clarke, greek, book, technology, duncan, handbook, edited, review, james
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