Project Details Chemistry Beyond Chlorine

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 May 2014
End Date:
18 February 2016


Environmental constraints and efficient energy usage impose to develop new chemical strategies. Chlorine compounds find use in a number of important commercial products that contain and do not contain chlorine. Because of the negative impacts of chlorine and other halogens on global environment and health, alternative synthetic pathways which adopt a holistic and proactive approach may provide new products and processes. The perception of the role of chemistry in issues of general interest will take advantage by the publication of this book. The project is not committed in any way against chlorine; conversely, it will be useful to seek alternative pathways beyond chlorine chemistry.


Chlorine is “an iconic molecule” for industry -and humankind had major benefits from its exploitation- even though its production by the electrolysis of sodium chloride is energy intensive; and CO2 emissions are comparable to that of the iron and steel industry and higher than for cement. Cl2, other halogens and its derivatives have a negative impacts on global environment and health (e.g., toxicity and ecotoxicity, ozone layer depletion, energy consumption, and climate change) and chlorine-based chemistry often does not obey the principles of atom economy and waste minimization. There is need to go forward, beyond chlorine chemistry, in fact. The substitution of chlorine compounds means that, avoiding electrolysis as primary energetic source, chemistry “beyond chlorine” is considerably more difficult; this illustrates why it has not been adopted before.

The mentioned PAC Special Issue (Vol. 84, No 3, March 2012), constituted by 30 original articles, describes the aim of the book; the latter will have instead a review content, dealing with a dissemination purpose among scholars and students. Innovative synthetic pathways using clearly identified production drivers (e.g., environmental and health impact, energy consumption, economical feasibility, etc.) will elucidate alternatives to chlorine in synthesis. The book intends to bring these challenges, and will deal with the following topics: chlorine-free reagents, chlorine-free catalysts, phosgene replacement, chlorine-free solvents, thionyl chloride substitution, and metrics for chlorine-free reactions.

The first chapter will deal with the main present uses and production of Chlorine-based compounds. There is a need of a deep discussion among the Task Group Members of BCh, in order the book to not encompass randomly distributed chapters, but instead to have a more structured content, as this matter deserves. A Workshop to plan for and develop the book content will be dedicated to: recruiting of authors of the book (a few have been already identified); development of recommendations to authors about chapters preparation (length, structure, content, illustrative material, sophistication level), reports and reviews to be published on PAC and CI; formulation of ideas for future projects on this specific topics; draft report and consideration of public comments, presentation and dissemination of results.

Chemists deserve to be perceived as people able to carry out and address a dialogue together with politicians, economists, entrepreneurs, philosophers on sustainable development, instead as polluters of the planet. L.-N. He, E. Lokteva, C. Mota, Qianghao Qu and P. Tundo will be Editors of the book to be published by Springer.


Jan 2015 – Project announcement published in Chem. Int. Jan-Feb 2015, p. 25;

Update February 2016 – Project complete – the book edited by Pietro Tundo, Liang-Nian He, Claudio Jose de Araujo Mota, and Ekaterina Lokteva is being published by Springer (ISBN: 978-3-319-30071-9; DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-30073-3). See for more information or download bookflyer.

Book reference announced in the Nov 2016 issue of Chemistry International, p. 28,

Last updated 17 Mar 2017