Every year, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® Green Chemistry & Engineering (GC&E) Conference hosts a special online and in-person session on a hot issue in green chemistry. This "hybrid" session isn't your typical technical session—this free event is open to audiences from all backgrounds, and will dig into the environmental, economic, and social impacts and considerations regarding the chosen issue.
This year's topic is "Endangered Elements: Critical Materials in the Supply Chain." There is a growing list of rapidly depleting elements that are considered strategic metals; they are rare, expensive, and heavily relied upon. Whether it's the platinum component of catalytic converters found in most vehicles or tantalum capacitors in almost all cell phones and laptops or palladium in countless chemical reactions for the manufacture of medicines, we depend on many platinum group and rare earth metals. The use of these materials is unsustainable, as are many of the practices employed to extract and refine them. As these materials approach impending extinction from the supply chain and generate high socioeconomic costs across the world, it is critical to identify low-cost and abundant alternatives. Until now, there have been few alternatives that could recreate the performance of these metals in fundamental applications.
From L to R: Chirik of Princeton, Eggert of Mines, and Matharu of Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence
The hybrid session will not only elucidate the true impact of our chemical demands, but showcase how innovators are creating new technologies that can be resilient and conflict-free. Experts Dr. Roderick Eggert (Professor of Economics and Business at Colorado School of Mines), Dr. Paul Chirik (Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University), and Dr. Avtar Matharu (Deputy Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and Scientific Leader for Renewable Materials Technology Platform) will use this world-wide forum to discuss this subject in detail. Issues covered will include the economic and environmental impacts from critical element exploration, extraction, and dependency; fragility of supply and geopolitical concerns; the current state of our dependency (how we depend on metals in ways we may not anticipate); what are some new, innovative green chemistry solutions; and the possibilities for recovery and recycling metals that are already in circulation.
“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email email@example.com, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.