The emerging use of γ-valerolactone as a green solvent
Modern and efficient synthetic methodologies should be developed in order to produce the minimal amount of waste. At this aim, the selection of the solvent is critical and chemists are directing their attention towards safer alternatives to classic toxic organic solvents.
In this article we summarize the use of γ-Valerolactone (GVL) as a safe and environmental benign biomass-derived chemical that may represents a valid alternative to critical toxic polar aprotic solvents derived from fossil resources.
INTRODUCTION: GREEN CHEMISTRY AND THE NEED FOR SAFER SOLVENTS
Sustainability is a major challenge for our society and chemistry plays a crucial role in the development of a modern chemical production based on cost-effective and environmentally-tolerable methodologies (1).
In all the industrial sectors, one of the most critical issues to solve is the large consumption of fossil fuels, together with the production of waste associated with the preparation of the needed goods. Millions tons of waste need to be disposed at an elevated monetary and dramatic environmental cost, that is clearly measurable by the increased CO2 emission and pollution (2).
The large majority of waste produced by chemical industries is related to the use of solvents,(3) and the environmental footprint of a product is largely related to the solvents used in the different production stages (4). Therefore, much attention has been dedicated from several researchers, both in Academy and Industry, to the identification of “green solvents” able to replace the most problematic and widely used ones (5).
It is obviously difficult to assess in an unambiguous and du ...