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Chemistry International
Vol. 24, No. 3
May 2002


New Books and Publications

Electrochemistry and Interfacial Chemistry for the Environment
Pure and Applied Chemistry, Vol. 73, No. 12, 2001.

Modern chemistry has clearly played a key role in the improvement of quality of life around the world. However, these advances come with a price: increased contamination of the environment by substances that can disrupt endogenous biological systems—sometimes severely—and that ultimately impact on humans as well. Accordingly, it is appropriate for the chemical sciences community to actively address development of green chemical processes and environmental remediation. A number of efforts in this direction have been initiated in various IUPAC Divisions.

The Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division has a long-standing commitment to environmental issues. A recent example was the division’s workshop on Electrochemistry and Interfacial Chemistry in Environmental Clean-Up and Green Chemical Processes that was held from 67 April 2001 in Coimbra, Portugal. The project, which was organized by Professor Brett, was jointly funded by IUPAC and by the International Council for Science. The workshop brought together specialists in the area of electrochemistry and interfacial chemistry to address approaches to the removal of potential contaminants from industrial wastes in water, soil, and the atmosphere, the use of electrochemistry for the generation of reactants, removal of contaminants and electroanalysis, and the use of colloids, microemulsions, and nanoparticles for remediation. Photocatalysis also figured prominently in discussions. An additional key element in the workshop was a tutorial session, prior to the lectures and poster session, designed to acquaint everyone with basic concepts.

The objective of the project was to increase awareness within the worldwide industrial and academic chemical community of the importance of electrochemistry and surface chemistry in environmental clean-up and in environmentally friendly industrial chemical processes. The negative impact on the environment of industrial chemical processes and other fabrication procedures is well known, and significant efforts have been made to reduce this impact through less-polluting and more energy-efficient processes with appropriate recycling and effluent treatment. Treatment of stored solid or liquid waste and remediation of contaminated land resulting from pollution are other problematic areas which deserve attention. Electrochemistry and interfacial chemistry have an important role to play in all these areas involving solid and liquid pollutants. There is a need to demonstrate and clarify what can be achieved using presently available technology and to point out future tendencies in technological development.

The workshop was directed toward three types of participant who have particular interest in the combination of electro-or interfacial chemistry and the environment: specialists of international standing, scientists from developing countries describing the specific problems their countries face, and researchers and students concerned with environmental problems.

The organizing committee of C.M.A. Brett (Chairman), J.F. Rusling, L.Koopal, and J. Gregory arranged a program of invited lectures to reflect the contributions that can be made by electrochemistry and interfacial chemistry to solving and preventing some of the present environmental pollution problems. The workshop comprised 16 invited lectures and 40 poster contributions, with 77 participants from 18 countries. The workshop format allowed ample time for fruitful discussion of the advantages and limitations of the electrochemical and interfacial chemistry approaches at the small-scale level up to large-scale facilities.

This Special Topic Issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry on "Electrochemistry and Interfacial Chemistry for the Environment" was derived from the workshop. Workshop participants were asked to submit articles for the issue based on their presentations. The articles reflect well the panorama of subjects covered in the workshop, including fundamentals and the importance of current and new applications of electrochemistry and interfacial electrochemistry to environmental cleanup and green chemical processes. Topics covered include electrochemical reactors, electrosynthesis, electrochemical sensors, corrosion, photoelectrochemical degradation of pollutants, colloids for waste treatment, and industrial applications. The issue emphasizes the challenge of dealing with environmental pollution and clean-up, consistent with the needs and resources of various countries around the world, while suggesting some possible solutions.

With a foreword by G. W. Wilson, and a preface by C. Brett, this issue was coordinated by the IUPAC Special Topics editor, Professor James R. Bull. For more information on the special topics project, go to <>.





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