Chemical Developments of the Future The 10 Chemical Innovations with the Highest Sustainability Potential

Author / Editor: Christian Lüttmann / Wolfgang Ernhofer

Since the establishment of the Periodic Table of Elements (PSE) 150 years ago, not only the number of known elements has increased, but new technologies have also emerged: Chemical pesticides to protect the harvest, batteries for energy on the move and plastics in every form, color, and function. The current focus is on the sustainability aspect. But here, too, chemistry offers new solutions. The 10 most promising technologies for a more sustainable world have been selected by the chemical association IUPAC.

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IUPAC has put together the 10 most promising innovations in chemistry for a more sustainable world (symbol image).
IUPAC has put together the 10 most promising innovations in chemistry for a more sustainable world (symbol image).
(Bild: creative commons, markmags / Pixabay )

The picture gallery at the end of this article shows which 10 chemical technologies, according to the IUPAC experts, are the signposts for a more sustainable world.

Würzburg/Germany – It has been 150 years since the Russian researcher Dimitri Mendeleev presented the periodic table of elements in a publication. At that time it was only filled with 63 of the 118 elements known today. But with wise foresight, Mendeleev had positioned these 63 entries in such a way that there were gaps in the PSE. Elements discovered later fit into these without any problems. For example, Mendeleev correctly predicted the elements gallium, scandium, and germanium with his PSE.

Essentially, the periodic table has existed until today in its former form – naturally extended by numerous elements – even though other PSE concepts have been proposed. For many, it has become a symbol of the natural science of chemistry. This is undoubtedly also because that it has a uniform structure across all national borders and is the same in every language.

From the Order of Elements to the Order of Chemistry

To maintain order in the PSE and to create general standards in chemistry, some chemists from industry and research founded the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1919.

IUPAC does not only maintain any new entries in the PSE, such as 2016 officially recognized elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessin (Ts) and Oganesson (Og). It also makes recommendations on the nomenclature of chemical compounds and the formatting of publications, as well as standards for atomic weights and physical constants.

To mark its 100th anniversary, IUPAC 2019 has published a list of the ten chemical technologies with the greatest potential for a more sustainable planet. Experts selected these ten promising technologies from hundreds of proposals from the scientific community. The entries range from the first "Eureka" moment in the laboratory to the established industrial application. In any case, there is a high probability that these technologies are or will become milestones of progress.

The 10 Chemical Innovations with the Highest Sustainability Potential
Gallery with 11 images

Original Publication:

Fernando Gomollón-Bel: Ten Chemical Innovations That Will Change Our World: IUPAC identifies emerging technologies in Chemistry with potential to make our planet more sustainable, Chemistry International, Volume 41, Issue 2, published online: 01.04.2019; DOI: 10.1515/ci-2019-0203

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