Tomislav Friscic

Associate Professor, McGill University

My research group is inventing and developing routes to transform chemical manufacturing by eliminating the need for solvents. Solvents, globally used in quantities exceeding 40 million tons per year, are principal components of industrial waste, a major materials and energy cost of chemical manufacturing, and are often hazardous, toxic, and many are volatile and act as greenhouse gases. Our solvent-free alternatives to traditional chemistry have been highlighted in scientific (e.g. Nature, Chemical & Engineering News, Chemistry & Industry, and more) and popular press (the New York Times, Forbes, Daily Mail, and more), and have already provided new, cleaner, energy-efficient routes for processing of base metals, refining of critical elements and noble metals, development of inexpensive fuel cell catalysts, clean pharmaceutical manufacture, and direct conversion of biomass into useful small molecules. By providing new, solvent-free strategies and techniques to chemists and manufacturers, we are contributing to a paradigm shift which will eliminate the dependence of the global chemical enterprise on solvents, with significant societal, economic and environmental consequences.

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