Hydrogen fuel cells could hold the key to future efficient and sustainable production of pharmaceutical drugs, according to research from University of Wisconsin-Madison chemists and engineers.
An important process for making drugs requires large quantities of zinc metal as a source of electrons but handling zinc is complicated and generates large amounts of environmentally unfriendly waste.
In their search for an alternative process, the researchers, working with Merck & Co, took inspiration from hydrogen fuel cells, which use hydrogen gas as the source of electrons to generate electricity.
Shannon Stahl, a professor in the university’s Department of Chemistry, said, “The chemical industry is a massive energy consumer, and there is a big push to decarbonise the industry. Renewable electricity can provide energy to produce chemicals with a much lower carbon footprint than burning fossil fuels.
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