The Green Chemistry Assistant: Expanding the horizons of green chemistry in chemical education


Robert M. Hanson,, Paul R. Campbell, Gary O. Spessard,, and Marc A. Klingshirn, Department of Chemistry, St. Olaf College, 1520 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, MN 55057
The Green Chemistry Assistant (GCA),, is a collaborative project between St. Olaf College and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that allows analysis of chemical equations, reactions, and processes in terms of green chemistry, safety, and chemical hazards. Geared toward a broad range of users, the site focuses on single- or multi-step processes for which the balanced chemical equations are known. Concepts such as atom economy, theoretical yield, experimental atom economy, process mass efficiency, and E-factor are explained and are calculated based on balanced chemical equations and experimental quantities introduced by users. In this presentation we will describe how we have used the GCA in both general chemistry and organic chemistry to introduce students to green chemistry concepts and to get students routinely thinking about safety and chemical hazards in the laboratory. In addition, we will highlight several surprises we encountered along the way in applying green chemistry measures to standard organic laboratory processes.