Green Chemistry applications for the Manufacturing Industry
Sustainability has become an important issue in all spheres of life, focusing on the safeguard of people’s life, environmental protection and natural resources exploitation. Companies around the world are showing increasing interest in environmentally friendly manufacturing.
Our research Team is actively engaged in the development of a new class of green chemical compounds which may be used to improve environmental sustainability of a variety of products/processes designed with a circular economy approach.
We will report the use of a new class of active cross-linking agents (ACL) which can be employed to produce non-toxic metal free leather, antifouling paints, active packaging.
The great potential of ACL is embedded in their multiple applications. These activators can link together different molecules or functional groups with a “lock and key” mechanism, similarly to enzymes or catalysts so that no trace of the ACL is left in the final product after reaction.
Few examples of the importance of this outstanding feature will be given concerning leather manufacturing and antimicrobial packaging production.
As far as leather production is concerned, the fundamental and unprecedented difference between conventional tanning agents and ACL is that the latter act as “catalysts” and are not retained in leather after tanning. They stabilize the collagen structure, allowing to produce high quality tanned leather which is devoid chemicals and is thus non-toxic (Figure 1). Main environmental benefits derive from the absence of chrome slurries, reduction in chemical consumption and hazard.
Figure 1. Examples of ACL tanned leather and antimicrobial packaging