Chemicals are an essential part of European Union citizens’ daily lives, and the EU chemicals’ sector is also a major strategic sector for the EU. However, chemicals can pose a severe threat to the environment and health. Dangerous chemicals represent about 62% of total chemical production in the EU. Several specific phosphorus derivatives are used in a wide range of applications, including pesticides, flame retardants, plastics, childcare products and pharmaceuticals. Although there is no conclusive data on their toxicity for human health and the environment, their production can involve chemical intermediaries (such as specific ammines) that need to be treated and recovered, or phenol derivatives, which are all categorized as highly dangerous. Additionally, wastewater produced in the process needs to be treated and neutralised.
The project will demonstrate a more sustainable and efficient process for the production of such compounds. The new process will avoid the use of dangerous chemicals and will not produce contaminated wastewater because water use is largely avoided. The new process also uses less energy and generates by-products that are useful for other sectors such as agriculture.