• About the Sustainability Zone

    An oxidation catalyst used to convert carbon monoxide into less toxic carbon dioxide at low temperatures | Image via NASA Langley Research Center / Wikimedia

    An oxidation catalyst used to convert carbon monoxide into less toxic carbon dioxide at low temperatures | Image via NASA Langley Research Center / Wikimedia

    In the sustainability zone we will look at chemists trying to limit the impact of industrial processes on the environment, as well as those looking at ways for us to use fewer natural resources, or turn waste products into useful materials.

    One way to do this might be through the use of catalysts. A catalyst increases the rate of a reaction, and lowers the amount of energy needed. As catalysts are not used up in the reaction, they can be used over and over again. Another way may be to take waste products of industrial processes, and using them to create materials which can be used in other ways.

    In this zone we will meet scientists looking at ways to convert greenhouse gasses into useful materials, like plastics, and another looking at electronics. There is one scientist researching ways to use bugs from the Dead Sea to make industrial processes more efficient and less polluting, and two using catalysis to turn agricultural waste and grasses into renewable fuels.