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On this page you’ll find information about green chemistry and catalysis, what University of Alberta scientists are working on in this area, and the effect their work has.
Green chemistry, sometimes referred to as sustainable chemistry, is an area of science that focuses on designing chemical products and processes that produce as few hazardous substances as possible. Green chemistry is not necessarily a separate branch of chemistry but a particular approach to guide developments in the field.
Catalysis refers to the use of catalysts to accelerate chemical reactions. Catalysts are separate substances that, when used to accelerate reactions, do not undergo any permanent change. For example, potassium permanganate can be used to increase the speed of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas.
Read some of the news stories about UAlberta scientists and their research as it relates to green chemistry and catalysis.
UAlberta chemist’s advances in singlet fission push future for alternative energy
September 27, 2018
The sensitive, point-of-care test can lead to prevention of tuberculosis through early diagnosis and treatment.
July 10, 2018
New chemical compound shows promising antiviral activity.
June 21, 2018
Chemists investigate perovskite as new material for solar cells
January 16, 2018
Sunlight creates chemical reactions, researchers discover. Next step is to find out what they are and how they affect us.
September 18, 2017
Chemist Arthur Mar is using the power of machine learning to better harness the sun’s power
UAlberta chemist on the hunt for new and innovative fuels
Future Energy Systems is one of many exciting initiatives championed by Faculty of Science professors and students.
Launched in 2016 with $75 million from the Government of Canada’s Canada First Research Excellence fund, Future Energy Systems comprises many projects from researchers from different disciplines of science to help Canada transition to a low-net carbon economy.
You can find out more about some of the specific renewable energy projects UAlberta chemists are working on by clicking the links below:
Read about Jillian Buriak’s search for the 24-hour solar cell to help power a planet that has become over-reliant on a limited carbon resource.
Read about one of the Department of Chemistry’s newest assistant professors, Ran Zhao, who specializes in environmental chemistry.
Do you have questions about green chemistry and catalysis? Talk to some of our professors:
Dennis Hall's Research Focus: modern organic synthesis, development of new reactions and strategies to access functional molecules with potential uses in biology and medicine, exploring applications of organoboron compounds, design of unnatural biopolymers, and solid-phase organic synthesis
Derrick Clive's Research Focus: synthetic organic chemistry, synthesis of structurally complex natural products with biochemical and medicinal properties, and the development of new strategies and methodologies for making complicated structures
Eric Rivard's Research Focus: synthetic inorganic and polymer chemistry, solar energy, catalysis, chemical sensing, and quantum mechanical (DFT) methods
Florence Williams' Research Focus: synthetic chemistry, organometallic catalysis, chemical biology, biochemical techniques, investigating the mechanism of activity of various neurotrophic natural products, and developing new tool reactions that can be used in living cellular systems
Frederick West's Research Focus: chemical synthesis, catalysis, novel strategies for construction of complex natural products, new methodology based on unusual reactive intermediates, and de novo design of bioactive small molecules with unique binding or transport properties
Jillian Buriak's Research Focus: nanoscience and materials chemistry, nanoscale structures for solar energy, catalysis, nanoscale patterning via stamp lithography, and nanomedicine and transplantation
John Vederas's Research Focus: organic synthesis, spectroscopic methodology, mass spectrometry, isotopic techniques, natural products isolation, enzymatic reactions, culturing of microorganisms, and formation of antimicrobial peptides, amino acid metabolites, and polyketides
Jonathan Veinot's Research Focus: nanotechnology, organic optoelectronics, nanoparticle synthesis and derivatization, and polymer-based organic light-emitting diodes
Julianne Gibbs's Research Focus: molecular recognition at buried solid and liquid interfaces, second harmonic generation, and sum frequency generation
Rylan Lundgren's Research Focus: catalysis, organometallic chemistry, synthesis, and reactivity
Sarah Styler's Research Focus: environmental chemistry, road dust, composition of airborne particulate matter, photochemistry, urban air quality, and atmospheric processes.
Steven Bergens' Research Focus: enantioselective homogeneous catalysis, heterogeneous catalysis of electrochemical reactions in fuel cells, synthetic organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, electrochemistry, and the construction and operation of prototype fuel cells
Todd Lowary's Research Focus: synthetic chemistry, the conformational analysis of oligosaccharides, the design of novel therapeutic agents, and the identification of new drugs to treat tuberculosis
Find a Professor
Studying chemistry at the graduate level at the University of Alberta offers students a world-class education with plenty of opportunities to complete meaningful research.
Funding is often a major inhibitor for students trying to further their education at the graduate level, and what sets UAlberta apart from other programs is all graduate students in the Department of Chemistry are guaranteed funding (up to 2.5 years for MSc students and 5 years for PhD students). These funding opportunities, which are available through various scholarship programs like NSERC and AITF, make it so our students can focus on their research and classes without worrying about their finances.
The Faculty of Science is proud to offer some of the best tools, facilities, and labs in the industry to help our students complete their research, including:
All of our labs are managed by experts in their respective fields to ensure that all of our students are supported whenever they need it.
The Faculty of Science boasts many award-winning faculty, students, and alumni. Read about some of them in the stories below.
The following organizations help the University of Alberta by providing funding for research and grad students.
Are you interested in studying sustainable chemistry?
Find out how you can start your academic career by exploring the Department of Chemistry's undergraduate programs.
Are you interested in graduate studies in chemistry?
Check out our graduate studies page in the Department of Chemistry for more information about programs, application requirements, deadlines, and more.
The University of Alberta houses state of the art instrumentation laboratories to support and enhance our teaching and research programs. Explore them in the links below.
Help advance the University of Alberta’s environmental science research efforts.
Looking for expert comment?
Contact Jennifer Pascoe, Director of Communications & Engagement at: