New Chemistries

Green chemistry is the design, production and use of chemical products that:

  • Utilize sustainable raw materials completely and efficiently
  • Minimizes waste and energy consumption in product production
  • Creates useful and long-lasting products
  • Produces products that are environmentally benign through recycling or natural degradation

Sustainability is achieved by stressing chemical efficiency throughout the life cycle of chemical products, from inception to disposal.

Driving Research

From designing nanostructured solar cells to the production of new cancer fighting drugs, all chemical design, production and use can benefit from the application of the basic principles of sustainability and green chemistry. Chemists and chemical engineers realize the importance of sustainable design principles and are the key player who can effectively use green chemistry principles to address the challenges presented by resource shortages, chemical waste and toxicity, and climate change.

Training Leaders

Our goal is to bring about a generational transformation in society's production and use of chemicals and chemical products, We have a unique opportunity to teach societies' future leaders to think about critical new technologies and to advance the principles of green chemistry and sustainability because more than half of all Berkeley undergraduates take at least one laboratory chemistry course. If other universities and colleges follow Berkeley's lead, in another generation the principles and practices of green chemistry will be second nature to chemical industry practitioners, chemists and chemical engineers, regulators and policy makers, and to educators.

Transforming Curriculum

To meet the demands of 21st Century education, we are redesigning and rebuilding our undergraduate chemistry and chemical engineering teaching labs. This effort is fully integrated with changes in our curriculum to communicate the fundamentals of laboratory science- including the principles and practice of green chemistry- while including topical applications that demonstrate the central role of molecular thinking in virtually every scientific discipline. As a result of these efforts, the College of Chemistry will remain a national role for safe, sustainable, efficient, and inspiring laboratory education for decades to come.

Innovating Responsibly

With a growing world population, and with standards of living rising in many formerly poor countries, the demand for chemical products will continue to skyrocket. Using today's technologies, it is becoming difficult to meet this demand while protecting human health and the world's environment. The way forward is to advance new research methods and capabilities that build sustainability into chemical design processes from their inception, and to create new chemical technologies that minimize environmental and public health problems while producing the products that society demands.


New Chemistries Associate Director: Prof. Robert Bergman, College of Chemistry