On 7 and 8 November, IMPACTIVE held its official kick-off meeting. Hosted by our coordinators at the University of Montpellier, France, the consortium met in person for the first time, and discussed the first steps of the project.
During two full days, the IMPACTIVE coordinators, partners and associated members had a unique opportunity to know each other, and distribute the tasks among the different Work Packages. Overall, the goal of the project is to develop new mechanochemical methods to synthesise active pharmaceutical ingredients following the principles of green chemistry.
Mechanochemistry looks into mashing molecules together. The mechanical force, usually provided by ball mills and extruders, is strong enough to kickstart chemical reactions, and overall provides a greener routes towards value-added chemicals. Since mechanochemistry avoids high temperatures and hazardous solvents, it’s a more environmentally friendly alternative that reduces waste, and maximizes efficiency – both gold standards of green chemistry and the circular economy.
“We want to apply these principles to the pharmaceutical industry, which currently has huge environmental impacts, including high CO₂ emissions and the contamination of soils and water,” says project coordinator Evelina Colacino, from the University of Montpellier, France. “IMPACTIVE will scale up mechanochemical methods, and could reduce carbon emissions by more than 85%.” Additionally, mechanochemistry eliminates the need for solvents and additives, further reducing production costs by 12%.
“IMPACTIVE will focus on reducing the carbon emissions of the pharmaceutical industry; it will prove that it’s possible to implement mechanochemistry at pilot plant and industrial levels,” says John Warner, a pioneer of green chemistry and a member of the IMPACTIVE Advisory Board, who also attended the in-person meeting in Montpellier. “Mechanochemistry is not only viable, but desirable and economically efficient.”
“IMPACTIVE is a big project, funded by the European Commission through its Horizon Europe programme. It’s led by the University of Montpellier, in France, and counts on seventeen partners from nine EU countries, as well as Switzerland and Israel,” explains project manager Eva Balentova, from the University of Montpellier, France. “Our consortium includes universities, research centres, industry leaders and SMEs, and has received seven and a half million euros from the European Commission to transform mechanochemistry into an industrial reality.”