Vol. 7 No. 2 (2023)
Feature Articles

Professors Trost and Sheldon’s Promotion of Catalytic Technologies, Atom Economy, and the E-Factor Metrics in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and the Fine Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries, to Speed the Early Evolution of “Green Chemistry”

Mark A. Murphy
UVLAW Patents LLC 171 China Creek Rd. Blowing Rock North Carolina 28605, US

Published 2023-07-11


  • Green Chemistry,
  • Green Engineering,
  • History,
  • Atom Economy,
  • E-Factor,
  • Environmental Quotient,
  • Catalysis,
  • Interdisciplinary Research,
  • Evolution,
  • Industry
  • ...More

How to Cite

Murphy, M. A. (2023). Professors Trost and Sheldon’s Promotion of Catalytic Technologies, Atom Economy, and the E-Factor Metrics in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and the Fine Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries, to Speed the Early Evolution of “Green Chemistry”. Substantia, 7(2), 41–55. https://doi.org/10.36253/Substantia-2140


The Academic chemical literature (and much current teaching to University Students) still often describes “Green Chemistry,” as having originated in the late 1990s from the United States EPA, the “12 Principles of Green Chemistry”, and/or Academia.  But all of the “12 Principles” had already been in “un-enunciated” Industrial practice and had produced many commercialized examples of environmentally favorable chemical products and processes in major segments of Industry, long before the 1990s.  This article briefly reviews the early 1990s publications of Professor Barry Trost and Roger Sheldon that spread awareness of the importance of catalysis to the evolving “Green Chemical” concepts of “Atom Economy”, the “E-Factor” metrics, and into Academic “Green Chemistry” research. Trost and Sheldon’s publications admitted that catalysis and “Atom Economy” had been in practice in the commodity chemicals industry for decades, but encouraged more use of those techniques and concepts in the Fine Chemical and Pharmaceutical industry segments, and into Academic research and the teaching of organic chemistry, years before the words “Green Chemistry” or the “12 Principles” came into literature use.


Graphical Abstract:

Roger A. Sheldon, The Royal Society,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons

Barry M. Trost, Photographer: Armin Kübelbeck, CC-BY-SAWikimedia Commons

Atom Economy, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons


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