Stockholm university logo, link to start page
Gå till denna sida på svenska webben

Introduction to Sustainable Chemistry

The course provides an overview of sustainable chemistry and will equip the students with an understanding of how to assess chemical syntheses and processing routes as well as to design sustainable materials and chemicals.

Sustainable science teaching

“Introduction to Sustainable chemistry” will introduce you to the definitions of sustainability and the UN sustainability goals and the fundamental principles of sustainable chemistry.

You will become familiar with important aspects of environmental law and regulations of chemicals, ananlysis and assessment of the fate of toxic chemical, and life-cycle analyses of chemical products and processes.

The course covers important examples of how sustainable chemistry can identify and mitigate environmental and global warming challenges and contribute to sustainable transformation and you will become familiar with safe design of synthesis pathways, processing routes, and products that minimizes the use and generation of hazardous substances.

  • Course structure

    1. What is sustainability and sustainable chemistry? Definitions of sustainability concepts and the UN sustainability goals and introduction of sustainable chemistry concepts used in research, scientific publications and industrial practice. 
    2. The legacy and possibilities of chemistry. Historical overview of chemistry with examples from the chemical industry. Highlights of how chemistry has improved our lives but at the same time have caused significant environmental problems. Examples of how environmental problems have been mitigated or eliminated by the combination of legislation, technical development and changes in consumers' product choices: freons, DDT, mercury, fire retardants, sulphur in oil (acid rain). Discuss current challenges, e.g. PFAS and the transition away from the petrochemicals (fossil-based carbon), that involve more difficult conflicting goals. 
    3. Environmental law and regulations for chemists. Introduction to environmental law and regulations with a focus on EU legislation and REACH. 
    4. Life cycle analysis. Introduction to life cycle analysis with case studies of industrially relevant processes and products.
    5. Mitigation of anthropogenic climate change. Overview of anthropogenic causes of climate change and global warming and main sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Introduction and discussion of main approaches to mitigate anthropogenic global warming with examples of how chemistry can enable new technologies to mitigate green house gas emissions and replace fossil fuels for energy production; e.g. carbon capture and storage (CCS), solar hydrogen, and biofuels. 
    6. Renewable materials and recycling. Introduction of the forest industrial processes and products including the biorefinery concept and examples of potential lignocellulose-based products. Overview of Li-ion batteries for cars with identification of critical materials and energy demand and current routes for recycling. 

    Teaching format

    Course will be taught through lectures and home assignments.

    Learning outcomes and our expectations from you

    Upon completion of the course you should be able to:

    • Explain the principles and limitations of common sustainability concepts and the UN sustainability goals.
    • Describe important environmental laws and regulations of chemicals in the EU and Sweden, including REACH.
    • Describe important examples of the impact of chemical processes and materials on the environment.
    • Explain the merits and shortcomings of proposed solutions to important environmental and global warming challenges.
    • Perform light life cycle assessments (LCA) of chemical processes and products.

    You will be expected to:

    • Attend and actively participate in the lectures and tutorials.
    • Participate in discussions with other students and the teachers.
    • Read the assigned literature and complete the assignments on time.


    Written exam.

    Written and oral presentations.


    Lennart Bergström

    Phone: +46-70-5179991

  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Hand-outs and articles in electronic form.

  • Contact

    Lennart Bergström

    Phone: +46-70-5179991

    Chemistry Section & Student Affairs Office


    Instagram: @chemistry_stockholmuniversity

    Facebook: ChemistryStockholmUniversity