The team's work is featured in the inaugural issue of Trends in Chemistry, a review journal published by Cell Press that aims to address major questions across all areas of chemistry. In a paper entitled "Organic Electrosynthesis for Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing," Modestino and NYU Tandon doctoral student Daniela Blanco review the challenges and opportunities facing the global chemical industry amid pressure to decrease carbon emissions.
The technology is employed by the sustainable Nylon startup Sunthetics, launched in 2018 by a team that includes Blanco, Modestino and NYU Tandon graduate Myrian Sbeiti.
Chemical - Industry - Quarter - World - Energy
The chemical industry commands roughly one quarter of the world's energy demand, mostly in the form of fossil fuel-generated heat needed to drive thermochemical reactions. As the availability of renewable energy soars, organic electrosynthesis -- relying on electricity, not heat, to drive reactions -- can now easily be generated via solar, wind, or other renewable means. Estimates show that up to a third of chemical products -- as well as new products that result from yet-untapped chemical transformations -- could be produced through electrosynthesis.
Modestino identified three major areas where multidisciplinary research could yield solutions to obstacles preventing industrial-scale organic electrosynthesis:
Stability - Electrolyte - Solutions - Electrosynthesis - Relies
Boosting the electrochemical stability of the aqueous electrolyte solutions upon which electrosynthesis relies;
Improving the solubility of organic molecules in aqueous electrolyte solutions;
Strategies - Reactions - Processes
Developing strategies for mitigating unwanted reactions during electrochemical processes.
Modestino noted that organic electrosynthesis stands to...
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