Synthesize Chemicals From Contaminated Soils

November 2, 2021

Researchers use electrolysis to produce dichlor and dibromo compounds in a safer and more environmentally friendly way

Scientists from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (JGU) and the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, have developed a process to produce basic chemicals in a much less dangerous way than was possible until now. These basic chemicals represent the starting point for many mass-produced products in the chemical industry, such as plastics, dyes and fertilizers, and are usually synthesized with the help of chlorine or bromine gas, both extremely toxic and highly corrosive.

In the current issue of Science, the researchers report that they have been able to use electrolysis, that is, the application of an electrical current, to obtain chemicals known as dichloro and dibromo compounds, which can then be used to synthesize basic chemicals . ‘Chlorine gas and bromine are difficult to handle, especially for small laboratories, as they require strict safety procedures,’ said Professor Siegfried Waldvogel, spokesperson for JGU’s leading-edge research initiative SusInnoScience, which helped develop the new process.

How does it work

“Our method largely eliminates the need for safety measures because it does not require the use of chlorine or bromine gas. It also facilitates the regulation of the reaction in which the desired chemicals are synthesized by controlling the supply of electrical current. ‘

According to Professor Siegfried Waldvogel, electrolysis can be used to obtain dichloro and dibromo compounds, for example from solvents that would normally be used to produce PVC. “This is even much easier than synthesizing the dichloro and dibromo products from chlorine gas or bromine, respectively.” The research team, they say, has shown that the novel process works as intended for more than 60 different substrates.

‘The process can be used for molecules of different sizes and is therefore widely applicable. It’s also easy to scale, and we’ve already been able to use it to convert larger amounts in the multi-gram range, ”added Waldvogel. The chemist is especially excited about the discovery that electrolysis can also be used to separate chlorine atoms from the molecules of certain insecticides that have been banned, resulting in the desired dichlorinated products. “There is virtually no natural degradation of these insecticides,” he noted.

‘They persist in the environment for extremely long periods and have now been detected even in the Arctic. Our process could help eliminate these toxic substances and use them to our benefit in the future. “

Dr. Loony Davis5
 | Website

Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *