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New sustainable ways for conversion lignocellulose

04 December 2015

The European Research Council has awarded Dr. Katalin Barta of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry an ERC Starting Grant of 1.5 million euros. During her research she will develop novel, fully sustainable catalytic methods for the conversion of renewable resources to industrially relevant bulk and fine chemicals. The approach combines several disciplines including homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis in order to address key fundamental challenges in the field of renewables.

The chemicals we use in our daily life predominantly originate from depleting fossil resources. But can we access these chemical products from renewable starting materials?

Not competing with food supply
Dr. Barta’s five-year research program tackles this challenge by developing new chemical pathways and catalysts for the conversion of lignocellulose, which is found in agricultural and forestry waste streams and does not compete with the food supply. These new methods will be designed to efficiently depolymerize lignocellulose to smaller chemical building blocks.

Green Chemistry
This includes one of the main components of lignocellulose, lignin, which is particularly challenging to break down. The obtained ‘platform chemicals’ will be subsequently functionalized through novel and direct transformations. This approach seeks overall resource efficiency and atom economy, and aims at waste minimization throughout the process according to the principles of Green Chemistry. The catalyst will be derived from earth-abundant materials.

Sustainability is one of the focus areas of the University of Groningen.

Last modified:28 March 2023 10.51 a.m.

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