Is Micellar Catalysis Green Chemistry?
Many years ago, twelve principles were defined for carrying out chemical reactions and processes from a green chemistry perspective. It is everyone’s endeavor to take these points into account as far as possible when developing new processes or improving existing ones. Especially in the field of organic synthesis, a new area of research has thus been established: micellar catalysis. This review article addresses the question of whether micellar catalysis is green chemistry by applying the twelve principles to micellar reaction media. The review shows that many reactions can be transferred from an organic solvent to a micellar medium, but that the surfactant also has a crucial role as a solubilizer. Thus, the reactions can be carried out in a much more environmentally friendly manner and with less risk. Moreover, surfactants are being reformulated in their design, synthesis, and degradation to add extra advantages to micellar catalysis to match all the twelve principles of green chemistry.