The entry step in a biomass conversion scheme should allow for the separation of the carbohydrate portion of the biomass from the lignin one. We are currently working on the development of new hydro/solvothermal methods for the selective deconstruction of lignocellulose into useful aliphatic and aromatic chemicals.
ChemSusChem 2013, 6, 989-992; Catal. Sci. Technol., 2014, 4, 3626-3630.
NEW COLLOID CATALYSTS FOR BIOREFINERY
Many of the primary products of the solvothermal treatments of biomass can be conveniently upgraded into different platform chemicals by straightforward catalytic transformations. Unfortunately, many of these processes are often catalyzed by expensive and rare elements belonging to the platinum-group metals. In addition, such supported catalysts are accessed via time-consuming synthetic procedures, besides being subjected to leaching and passivation when in contact with real biomass hydrolysates. The use of inexpensive and abundant elements, for example iron and nickel, for the synthesis of colloidal catalysts on the basis of simple protocols can positively influence the production of sustainable chemicals from biomass. One specific aim of our group is the design and the synthesis of novel sustainable colloid catalysts, which will be evaluated in the catalytic upgrade of biomass substrates.
Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 1272-1276; J. Mat. Chem. A 2014, 2, 11591; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136 (5), 1758.
NEW VALUE-ADDED SUSTAINABLE CHEMICALS
Learning from the process of biomass deconstruction, we work on the development of strategies for the synthesis of new sustainable building blocks and platform chemicals that find application in polymer and material sciences. One of our first goals in this direction was the development of green synthetic methods to access sustainable ionic liquids and imidazolium ions.
Chem. Eur. J. 2013, 19, 15097; Green Chem., 2014, 16, 3705.