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EP/J017833/1 - CATALYTIC TRANSFORMATION OF BIO-DERIVED PLATFORM MOLECULES

Research Perspectives grant details from EPSRC portfolio

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Professor A Gavriilidis EP/J017833/1 - CATALYTIC TRANSFORMATION OF BIO-DERIVED PLATFORM MOLECULES

Principal Investigator - Chemical Engineering, University College London

Other Investigators

Dr V Dua, Co InvestigatorDr V Dua

Professor PF McMillan, Co InvestigatorProfessor PF McMillan

Scheme

Standard Research

Research Areas

Process Systems: Components and Integration Process Systems: Components and Integration

Catalysis Catalysis

Related Grants

EP/J017868/1

Start Date

07/2012

End Date

06/2015

Value

£690,108

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Grant Description

Summary and Description of the grant

Humanity has enjoyed the benefits of the industrial revolution and has built a technologically sophisticated civilization based on oil. However, it is now waking up to the reality that the fossil fuels are not going to last forever. A paradigm shift, from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable resources, and a chemical industry transition to sustainable processes are needed to meet the challenges of resource depletion and climate disruption. Nature produces a vast amount of 170 billion metric tons of biomass per year by photosynthesis. Surprisingly, only a few percent is used by humans for food and non-food purposes. The size of this production is sufficient to supply virtually all of the raw materials now required for the chemical industry. Thus, biomass compounds are the most abundant renewable resources available, and they are currently viewed as a feedstock for the green chemistry of the future.

In direct analogy to a petroleum refinery, which produces fuels and chemicals from crude oil, a biorefinery is a facility that produces multiple products, including fuel, power, and bulk or fine chemicals, from biomass. Even though catalysis is regarded as a key enabling technology for biomass conversion, its deployment in biorefineries is still limited. More importantly, several of the catalysts used for biomass conversion are based on catalyst technology developed specifically for petroleum refining. Petroleum feedstocks are basically hydrophobic, in stark contrast to biomass hydrophilic, high oxygen content feedstocks. Hence, new catalytic processes are urgently needed with specifically tailored catalysts. This presents a unique opportunity which is yet to be exploited by the £12 Billion global catalyst market.

The complexity of the challenge cannot be met by single individuals, because innovation requires interdisciplinary research that integrates methods, skills and strengths of different disciplines. In line with this winning strategy, we intend to bring about sizable step change in catalytic process development methodology by building on the diverse expertise of the team members, which includes catalytic chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, microreactor technology, systems engineering, in situ spectroscopy. This approach will ensure a level of understanding of biomass conversion processes that would enable the rapid evaluation of novel catalyst and catalytic processes. One unique feature of this research project is that we will develop rapid reaction profiling methodologies based on close interaction of experimental and theoretical investigations.

Structured Data / Microdata


Grant Event Details:
Name: CATALYTIC TRANSFORMATION OF BIO-DERIVED PLATFORM MOLECULES - EP/J017833/1
Start Date: 2012-07-01T00:00:00+00:00
End Date: 2015-06-30T00:00:00+00:00

Organization: University College London

Description: Humanity has enjoyed the benefits of the industrial revolution and has built a technologically sophisticated civilization based on oil. However, it is now waking up to the reality that the fossil fuels are not going to last forever. A paradigm shift, from ...