We have long touted the potential of ionic liquids to create more sustainable manufacturing processes. Maaike Kroon of Delft University of Technology has spent her short PhD career creating a process for making drugs that is faster, cheaper, requires 75 percent less energy, produces no chemical waste, and does not use harmful solvents- not bad for 2 years of work from a 25 year old. Expect to see more green chemical wizardry from this young scientist in the future.
"I like to see new scientific discoveries actually being applied. This is currently an exciting challenge in nanotechnology."
Her idea combines the positives of both ionic liquids and supercritical carbon dioxide. The reaction components are dissolved in the ionic liquid, which is then mixed with supercritical carbon dioxide. This process promotes all of the dissolved components to mix rapidly, and form the desired product without any reactions going astray and creating side products (an important aspect for efficiencies and purity of compounds like drugs). This is only the beginning for the useful combination of ionic salts and supercritical carbon dioxide. There are many more materials that could benefit from this sustainable manufacturing technique.:: Innovations Report