Supercritical Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a readily available, cheap, recyclable and is non-toxic and non-flammable. Above the
temperature of 31.6 oC and pressure of 73 atm carbon dioxide exhibits physical properties, which are
intermediate between those of gases and liquids. These conditions are called supercritical conditions and
are readily achievable using commercially available equipment. Supercritical carbon dioxide is able to
dissolve a range of chemical substances including organic substrates, catalysts, and light gases. Its main
advantage however comes from the fact that this solvent can be easily turned into a gas by simply
releasing the pressure leaving no solvent residues and requiring no evaporation or separation. As such it
is widely used as an alternative to conventional solvents with numerous applications such as: extraction
and purification of specialty chemicals and useful natural products, an alternative solvent in coatings
industry, (replacing 40-90% of volatile solvents), degreasing and dry cleaning applications. It is also
increasingly applied as a solvents in synthetic industrial processes.
Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence for Industry has extensively explored the application of this
solvent in extraction of valuable natural products or high tech materials, in development of novel
materials and in clean organic synthesis. We have also explored the application of this solvent in
biologically catalysed reactions and worked on development of homogeneous catalysts soluble in
supercritical carbon dioxide.
Supercritical Carbon Dioxide in Organic Synthesis
Researchers at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence for Industry have developed novel synthetic
reactions, which in conventional solvents give mixtures of products, but in supercritical carbon dioxide
yielded just a single product. This is due to unique tunable properties of supercritical fluids allowing
much greater control over... [continues]
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