Public Release: 

Teflon subproducts recycled into valuable pharmaceuticals

A patent granted to ICIQ gives them exclusive rights to exploit this novel technology

Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ)

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IMAGE: A new process offers a sustainable alternative to the preparation of valuable pharmaceuticals (i.e. Prozac®) and agrochemicals from fluoroform, a sub-product obtained when preparing Teflon. view more

Credit: Public Domain

Fluoroform is highly pollutant, greenhouse effect chemical compound made of carbon and fluorine atoms. It is generated as one of the main waste products in the preparation of popular anti-adherent polymer Teflon. Eliminating fluoroform is expensive, mostly because it is a very good flame retardant, hence burning it is almost impossible.

Nevertheless, ICIQ researchers led by Prof. Vladimir Grushin saw in fluoroform a opportunity, a seam of cheap fluorinated compounds. Taking advantage of a product that is usually wasted, chemists developed a method to obtain organic compounds modified with fluorine atoms. These compounds can be used to prepare all sort of added-value products from drugs -like popular antidepressant Prozac®¬ and several prostate cancer treatments- to agrochemicals and new materials.

Patent Offices from the US and the EU granted ICIQ the exclusive rights over this new synthesis method. Currently, ICIQ is looking for allies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries to licence and exploit this new and original waste-valorisation technology.

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