Multidisciplinary Research

The Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies is a multidisciplinary research centre, including the Departments of Biology & Biochemistry, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Pharmacy & Pharmacology and Physics, and the School of Management. With leading academic research groups in many relevant areas, and state-of-the-art facilities, we carry out research that crosses traditional boundaries between chemical sciences and engineering.

All our research projects are multidisciplinary in nature, to deliver new and sustainable chemical technologies for the future. We develop new molecules, materials and processes for sustainability in the broadest possible sense, structured around four main themes:

Our four research themes

Click on the icon below to find out more about your chosen research theme.

Overview

Solar cells, fuel cells and batteries, sustainable water supply, water cycle & human health.

Sustainable clean energy and water management are among the most urgent global challenges, and pose fundamental scientific and engineering questions. We will address key research challenges that span the chemistry/chemical engineering interface, including: sustainable solar cells; energy storage and batteries; sustainable water supply; and water cycle and human health.

Key publications

Poli, I, Eslava, S & Cameron, P 2017, ‘Tetrabutylammonium cations for moisture-resistant and semitransparent perovskite solar cells’ Journal of Materials Chemistry A, vol 5, no. 42, pp. 22325-22333. DOI: 10.1039/c7ta06735f

Chouler, J, Bentley, I, Vaz, F, O’Fee, A, Cameron, P & Di Lorenzo, M 2017, ‘Exploring the use of cost-effective membrane materials for Microbial Fuel Cell based sensors’ Electrochimica Acta, vol 231, pp. 319-326. DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2017.01.195

Wallace, S, Mitzi, D & Walsh, A 2017, ‘The steady rise of kesterite solar cells’ ACS Energy Letters, vol 2, pp. 776-779. DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.7b00131

Jackson, AJ, Tiana, D & Walsh, A 2016, ‘A universal chemical potential for sulfur vapours’ Chemical Science, vol 7, no. 2, pp. 1082-1092. DOI: 10.1039/C5SC03088A

Weller, M, Weber, O & Charles, B 2016, ‘Phase Behaviour and Composition in the Formamidinium-Methylammonium Hybrid Lead Iodide Perovskite Solid Solution’ Journal of Materials Chemistry A. DOI: 10.1039/C6TA06607K

Tyson, JA, Mirabello, V, Calatayud, DG, Ge, H, Kociok-Kohn, G, Botchway, SW, Pantos, D & Pascu, SI 2016, ‘Thermally reduced graphene oxide nanohybrids of chiral functional naphthalenediimides for prostate cancer cells bioimaging’ Advanced Functional Materials, vol 26, no. 31, pp. 5641-5657. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201601123

Chouler, J, Padgett, GA, Cameron, PJ, Preuss, K, Titirici, M-M, Ieropoulos, I & Di Lorenzo, M 2016, ‘Towards effective small scale microbial fuel cells for energy generation from urine’ Electrochimica Acta, vol 192, pp. 89-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2016.01.112

Brivio, F, Frost, J, Skelton, J, Jackson, A, Weber, O, Weller, M, Goñi, A, Leguy, AMA, Barnes, PRF & Walsh, A 2015, ‘Lattice dynamics and vibrational spectra of the orthorhombic, tetragonal, and cubic phases of methylammonium lead iodide’ Physical Review B, vol 92, no. 14, 144308. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.92.144308

Chouler, J & Di Lorenzo, M 2015, ‘Water quality monitoring in developing countries; can microbial fuel cells be the answer?’ Biosensors, vol 5, no. 3, pp. 450-470. DOI: 10.3390/bios5030450

Wood, SM, Eames, C, Kendrick, E & Islam, MS 2015, ‘Sodium ion diffusion and voltage trends in phosphates Na4M3(PO4)2P2O7 (M = Fe, Mn, Co, Ni) for possible high-rate cathodes’ Journal of Physical Chemistry C, vol 119, no. 28, pp. 15935-15941. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b04648

Student projects

NameTitleSupervisorsPartners
Ahmet, Ibrahim
(2011–2015)
Precursor and Process Development into Thin Film Metal Chalcogenide MaterialsJohnson, Hill, Bending, PetersCatalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC)
Atri, Ria
(2016–2020)
Novel materials for on-vehicle hydrogen electrolysersEslava, Edler, Marken, BannisterAdvanced Fuel Technologies
Baker, Robert
(2016–2020)
Controllable Synthesis of Perovskite Quantum Dots Using Flow ChemistryCameron, Torrente (Cambridge), Marken, WalkerMonash University; CSIRO
Bradley, Stephen
(2012–2016)
Microbial fuel cells as online and on site sensors for water qualityDi Lorenzo, Kasprzyk-Hordern, Marken, Dennis (Wessex Water)University of São Paulo, Wessex Water
Boswell, Jacob
(2016–2020)
Mesoporous metals for inductively heated catalysisSquires, HillSPECIFIC
Bristow, Jessica
(2012–2016)
Chemical bonding in metal-organic frameworks: from fundamentals to design principlesWalsh, Ting, Gale (Curtin University)Accelrys
Burton, Lee
(2010–2014)
Phase stability and composition for tin sulfide sensitised solar cellsWalsh, Molloy, BowenIMRA-Europe
Charles, Bethan
(2015–2019)
Structure, spectroscopy and photoelectrochemistry of photovoltaic materialsWeller, Wolverson, Peter SPECIFIC
Chouler, Jon
(2013–2017)
Development of a self-sustainable and cost-effective tool for water quality monitoring in developing countriesDi Lorenzo, Cameron, Kasprzyk-HordernWessex Water, Wellboring
Clarke, Matthew (2017-2021)New sustainable energy materials for rechargeable batteriesIslam, MaysCFH Docmail
Davies, Daniel
(2014–2018)
Interface engineering for indium-free transparent electronicsWalsh, Allsopp, MorganYonsei University
Doan, Huan
(2014–2018)
Synthesis, characterization and applications of novel hierarchical porous materialsTing, SartbaevaJohnson Matthey, Nanyang Technological University
Ferdani, Dominic (2014–2018)Engineering Perovskites for 3rd Generation Solar CellsCameron, Lewis, WalkerSPECIFIC
Hayward, Emily
(2011–2015)
Investigating fouling and cleaning during the filtration of gum Arabic to save water and reduce energyBird, Wilson, PattersonKerry Ingredients; RWTH Aachen University
Hill, Alf
(2010–2014)
Urea as a renewable feedstock for PEM fuel cellsTorrente, Marken, IravaniRWTH Aachen University
Hodges, Ben
(2010–2014)
Tailored donor acceptor carbon nanohybrids as new approaches to photovoltaic applicationsPascu, Cameron, Raithby, MattiaSAFC
Holyfield, Leighton (2013–2017)Design of Safe Hybrid Hydrogen Storage TanksMays, BurrowsEPL Composite Solutions Ltd
Jackson, Adam
(2011–2015)
Thermodynamics for practical kesterite photovoltaicsWalsh, PeterSPECIFIC
Lopez, Carlos
(2015–2019)
Rapid on-site colourimetric determination of drinking water safety in the developing worldLewis, James, WenkThe Nasio Trust
Kearney, PhilippaRemoval of endocrine disruptor BPA from waterCameron, Kasprzyk-Hordern, Wilson, Di LorenzoWessex Water
Miles, David
(2011–2015)
Anodized ZnO nanostructures for next-generation photovoltaicsMattia, CameronSPECIFIC
Ng, Mako
(2012–2016)
Solution-processed solar cells from earth-abundant elementsWeller, Walsh, ShieldsSPECIFIC
Ohene-Yeboah, Leyorla
(2015–2019)
Pollutant speciation and remediation in the environment using atomistic simulationsParker, Wenk, Kasprzyk-HordernChinese Academy of Sciences
Pockett, Adam
(2011–2015)
Characterisation of perovskite solar cellsCameron, WalkerSPECIFIC
Poli, Isabella
(2015–2019)
Exploiting perovskites for the generation of solar fuelsCameron, EslavaSPECIFIC
Raikova, Sonia
(2014–2018)
Developing a marine biorefinery for the production of fuels and fertilizer from the hydrothermal liquefaction of macroalgaeChuck, McManusAirbus Group
Ramirez Canon, Anyela (2010–2014)ZnO photocatalytic membranes for water treatmentMattia, Cameron, Arnot, TorrenteWessex Water
Roake, Eleanor (2017-2021)Splitting of Water Assisted by Pyro-electricity (SWAP)Bowen, Marken, Eslava, KhanbarehCPI
Runa, VivianeNew approaches to microbial ecology in biological phosphorus removal systemsLanham, Jones Wessex Water; Anglian Water
Rushworth, Andrew (2012–2016)The development of new graphene-based materialsRaithby, Bending, JohnsonJohnson Matthey
Sackville, Emma
(2013–2017)
Molecularly Defined Electro-Catalysts for Energy Conversion and Biomass ValorisationHintermair, MarkenJohnson Matthey
Sharpe, Jessica
(2010–2014)
Hydrogen storage in novel nanoporous materials for sustainable energy applications in the aerospace industryMays, BurrowsAirbus Group
Sims, Natalie
(2016–2020)
Medicinal products in the environment: novel strategies reducing environmental exposureKasprzyk-Hordern, ArnotWessex Water
Singer Hobbs, Maya (2015–2019)New Catalysts for Dioxygen ActivationHintermair, Plucinski, EdlerMonash University
Sullivan, Hannah (2015–2019)Wide Band Gap Semiconductor Materials: Enhancing Efficiencies of GaN LEDsJohnson, AllsoppPragmatIC
Surman, Matthew (2016–2020) Metal Oxide Photoelectrode Materials for Water SplittingHill, Eslava, JohnsonHelmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
Taylor, Caitlin
(2015–2019)
Double energised ZnO nanowires for the degradation of trace contaminants in waste waterWenk, Mattia, Kasprzyk-HordernWessex Water
Taylor, Emily
(2016–2020)
Chalcogenide thin film materials for next generation energy applicationsJohnson, Hill, WolversonHelmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
Thompson, Joseph (2012–2016)New Precursors for Application in Thin film Chalcogenide MaterialsJohnson, WolversonSPECIFIC
Wagner, Jon
(2012–2016)
Novel materials for catalytic conversion of bio-oilsTing, Weller, ChuckWessex Water; Airbus Group
Wallace, Suzanne (2014–2018)Overcoming the efficiency bottleneck of metal sulfide solar cellsWalsh, Bowen, WellerDuke University, SPECIFIC
Weber, Oliver
(2013–2017)
Optimising Energy Harvesting Processes in Metal Halide PhotovoltaicsWeller, Bowen, Walsh, CameronSPECIFIC
Wood, Stephen
(2011–2015)
Computer Modelling of new Cathode Materials for Sodium-Ion BatteriesIslam, MaysSharp Laboratories of Europe
Zoumpouli, Garyfalia (2016–2020)Low-cost ozonation of waste water with optimised biofiltration and alternative gas-transfer methodsWenk, Kasprzyk-Hordern, ChewWessex Water

Major grants

Photocatalytic Anodic Metal Membranes for Micropollutant Removal

This project addresses the twin challenges that have so-far hindered the use of photocatalysis in water treatment: the potential leaching of photocatalytic slurries in the environment and the low efficiency of UV light illumination, which translates in low activity, for immobilised photocatalysts.

ReNEW – Developing Resilient Nations – Towards a Public Heath Early Warning System via Urban Water Profiling

An innovative solution to current problems with rapidly identifying and responding to deteriorating public health and environmental conditions in fast developing urban environments in LMIC countries, aiming to manage risks to public and environmental health relating to urbanisation, population growth, lack of infrastructure and the overarching challenge of climate change. We will establish a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research capability, based on engineering and digital technology approaches, for real-time community-wide diagnostics and tuneable multi-hazard public health early warning system (EWS) with the ultimate goal of strengthening communities’ resilience.

Energy Materials: Computational Solutions

Our vision is to develop and apply predictive techniques for modelling the atomic level operation of energy materials. We will enable the development of new materials for the next generations of energy devices, causing a step change in the performance of solar cells, lithium-ion batteries, solid oxide fuel cells and thermoelectric devices.

H2FCSupergen — The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Hub

H2FC Supergen logoH2FC (Hydrogen and Fuel Cells) is the first connected, inclusive research infrastructure in the UK that will span the entire Hydrogen and Fuel Cell landscape. Although the initiative is UK-based we have strong international links. We utlise networks, knowledge exchange and stakeholder (including outreach) engagement, community building, and education, training and continuous professional development.

SEWPROF ITN — A new paradigm in drug use and human health risk assessment: Sewage profiling at the community level

SEWPROF aims to develop inter-disciplinary and cross-sectoral research capability for the next generation of scientists working in the newly-emerging field of sewage epidemiology. It will provide an integrated approach towards public health monitoring at a community level based on innovative sewage epidemiology techniques.

SPECIFIC — Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Industrial Coatings

SPECIFIC, an academic and industrial consortium led by Swansea University with Tata Steel as the main industrial partner, is funded by EPSRC, Technology Strategy Board and the Welsh Government. The shared vision is to develop functional coated steel and glass products for roofs and walls that generate, store and release renewable energy – transforming buildings into power stations and delivering significant environmental and economic benefits.

SUPERGEN Energy Storage Hub

Energy storage is more important today than at any time in human history. It has a vital role to play in storing electricity from renewable sources (wind, wave, solar) and is key to the electrification of transport. However, current energy storage technologies are not fit for purpose. This consortium brings together investigators with strong international and national reputations in energy storage research and spanning the entire value chain from the energy storage technologies themselves, through manufacturing, integration, and evaluation of the whole system in which the energy storage would be embedded.

SUPERSOLAR Solar Energy Hub

The Supergen Solar Hub is an exciting 5 year project that will see the creation of the UK’s first standards lab for solar cells, a research programme that aims to improve the efficiency of next generation photovoltaic devices. We also intend to set up a training programme for the Photovoltaic research sector and the formation of an inclusive solar community that links research carried out in universities and industry.

Overview

Environmental, economic and political pressures demand the development of novel routes to fuels and chemicals from renewable feedstocks to replace current fossil fuel based processes.

Economic viability often depends on process integration into the existing manufacturing infrastructure, requiring a significant level of interdisciplinary understanding.

Key publications

Gregory, GL, López-Vidal, EM & Buchard, A 2017, ‘Polymers from sugar: cyclic monomer synthesis, ring-opening polymerisation, material properties and applications’ Chemical communications (Cambridge, England), vol 53, no. 14, pp. 2198-2217. DOI: 10.1039/c6cc09578j

Quilter, H, Hutchby, M, Davidson, M & Jones, M 2017, ‘Polymerisation of a terpene-derived lactone: A bio-based alternative to ԑ-caprolactone’ Polymer Chemistry, vol 8, no. 5, pp. 833-837. DOI: 10.1039/C6PY02033J

Gregory, GL, Jenisch, LM, Charles, B, Kociok-Köhn, G & Buchard, A 2016, ‘Polymers from sugars and CO2: synthesis and polymerization of a d-Mannose-based cyclic carbonate’ Macromolecules, vol 49, no. 19, pp. 7165-7169. DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.6b01492

Donnelly, J, Horton, R, Gopalan, K, Bannister, CD & Chuck, CJ 2016, ‘Branched ketone biofuels as blending agents for Jet-A1 aviation kerosene’ Energy & Fuels, vol 30, no. 1, pp. 294-301. DOI: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.5b01629

Mattia, D, Jones, M, O’Byrne, J, Griffiths, O, Owen, R, Sackville, E, McManus, M & Plucinski, P 2015, ‘Towards Carbon Neutral CO2 Conversion to Hydrocarbons’ ChemSusChem, vol 8, no. 23, pp. 4064-4072. DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201500739

Jones, M, Brady, L, Mckeown, PM, Buchard, A, Schafer, PM, Thomas, LH, Mahon, MF, Woodman, TJ & Lowe, JP 2015, ‘Metal influence on the iso- and hetero-selectivity of complexes of bipyrrolidine derived Salan ligands for the polymerisation of rac-lactide’ Chemical Science, vol 6, no. 8, pp. 5034-5039. DOI: 10.1039/C5SC01819F

Jenkins, RW, Sargeant, LA, Whiffin, FM, Santomauro, F, Kaloudis, D, Mozzanega, P, Bannister, C, Baena, S & Chuck, CJ 2015, ‘Cross-metathesis of microbial oils for the production of advanced biofuels and chemicals’ ACS Sustainable Chemisty and Engineering , vol 3, no. 7, pp. 1526-1535. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b00228

Donnelly, J, Muller, C, Wiemans , L, Chuck, C & Dominguez , P 2015, ‘Upgrading biogenic furans: blended C10–C12 platform chemicals via lyase-catalyzed carboligations and formation of novel C12 –choline chloride-based deep-eutectic-solvents’ Green Chemistry, vol 17, no. 5, pp. 2714-2718. DOI: 10.1039/C5GC00342C

Buchard, A, Carbery, DR, Davidson, MG, Ivanova, PK, Jeffery, BJ, Kociok-Köhn, G & Lowe, JP 2014, ‘Preparation of stereoregular isotactic poly(mandelic acid) through organocatalytic ring-opening polymerization of a cyclic O-carboxyanhydride’ Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, vol 53, no. 50, pp. 13858-13861. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201407525

O’Byrne, J, Owen, R, Minett, D, Pascu, SI, Plucinski, PK, Jones, MD & Mattia, D 2013, ‘High CO2 and CO conversion to hydrocarbons using bridged Fe nanoparticles on carbon nanotubes’ Catalysis Science and Technology, vol 3, no. 5, pp. 1202-1207. DOI: 10.1039/C3CY20854K

Student projects

NameTitleSupervisorsPartners
Abeln, Felix
(2015-2019)
Developing a food-grade high value palm oil substitute from the yeast M. pulcherrimaChuck, HenkCroda and AB Agri
Allan, Scott (2017-2021)Cultured meat bioprocess designEllis, De BankNew Harvest
Bennett, Martyn
(2016-2020)
Metabolic flux analysis of Parageobacillus thermoglucosidasius for the prediction and analysis of metabolic engineering strategiesLeak, ArnotCorbion; Indian Institute of Technology
Bevon, Elizabeth (2016-2020)Robust Catalysts for the depolymerisation of polyestersJones, MattiaRWTH Aachen University
Boden, James (2017-2021)Self healing elastomers for life-extension of rubberDavidson, Buchard, BowenARTIS
Chapman, Robert (2012-2016)A protecting group free strategy for the sustainable synthesis of polyketide natural productsBull, Plucinski, Jones, Gonzalez (University Jaume I)Northwestern University
Crean, Rory
(2015-2019)
Designing a novel biocatalysis platform based on beta-peptide linkagesPudney, BullUniversity of Stellenbosch
Cunningham, William (2013-2017)Catalytic conversion of Terpene feedstocks into value-added chemicals and commodity pharmaceuticalsBull, Plucinski, Jones, D PattersonUniversity of Stellenbosch
Davey, Chris
(2012-2016)
Lower energy recovery of dilute organics from fermentation brothsD Patterson, LeakLanzaTech
De Groof, Vicky
(2016-2020)
Anaerobic mixed culture processes for bio-waste valorizationLanham, Arnot, LeakWessex Water, GENeco
Donnelley, Joseph (2012-2016)(Bio)catalytic synthesis of a novel transport fuel substitute from industrially produced fermentation productsChuck, Bannister, McManusRWTH Aachen University
Elstone, Naomi
(2014-2018)
Extraction and modification of greener surfactants from natural sources and their use in development of delivery methods for active compoundsEdler, Leak, LewisUnilever
Federle, Stefanie (2016-2020)Bio-based monomers for high performance materialsDavidson, Scott, Trask
Gregory, George (2012-2016)Cyclic carbonates from sugars and CO2: synthesis, polymerisation and biomedical applicationsBuchard, Davidson, SharmaCorbion
Hall, Andrew
(2014-2018)
A Combined Spectroscopic and Theoretical Approach to the Development of Homogeneous Catalysts for Hydrogen Transfer ChemistryHintermair, Buchard, LoweBruker
Hammond, Oliver (2014-2018)Deep Eutectic Solvents: Structure, Surfactants and SynthesisEdler, Eslava, BowrenSTFC
Hicks, Rob
(2014-2018)
Enhancing lipid production for sustainable production of biofuels using yeast biotechnology and nanobubble engineering to exploit renewable feedstocksHenk, ChuckAB Agri
Jenkins, Rhodri
(2010-2014)
Renewable liquid fuels from microbes for aviation and road transport useChuck, Bannister, DavidsonAirbus Group
Johns, Marcus
(2012-2016)
Biomaterial substrates for cardiac stem cell engineeringSharma, J Scott, Rahatekar (Bristol)Revolution Fibres
Joyes, Michael
(2014-2018)
Group 4 Catalysts for Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) synthesisDavidson, Jones, D Patterson, E PattersonCorbion
Kirk, Sarah
(2012-2016)
New initiators for the controlled production of copolymersJones, EllisRWTH Aachen University
Liang, Jinghui
(2016-2020)
Tackling carbon catabolite repression and sporulation in Parageobacillus spp.Leak, BolhuisCorbion
Lightfoot, Jasmine (2017-2021)Applications and processing biopolymersScott, Buchard, Di Lorenzo, IravaniMonash University
McCormick, Strachan (2015-2019) Benign Catalysts for the Production of Renewable plasticsDavidson, Buchard, JonesCorbion
McKeown, Paul
(2012-2016)
Polymerisation of Esters in Supercritical CO2Davidson, Jones, Hintermair, Howdle (Nottingham)Corbion
Obrien, James C (2013-2017)Processing, Forming and Modifying Cellulose to Produce Materials and Composites with Specific Properties and Tested BiodegradabilityScott, Mattia, Torrente, MurrayUniversity of São Paulo, The Ohio State University
Parker, Heather
(2011-2015)
Depolymerized lignin for the aviation and care product sectors – catalyst design and product testingJones, ChuckAirbus Group
Piccini, Marco (2017-2021)Functional Xylose Polymer platform for sustainable plasticsBuchard, Chuck, Leak
Quilter, Helena
(2013-2017)
Terpene Derived Monomers for New PolymersJones, Mattia, DavidsonRWTH Aachen University, Stellenbosch University
Rowlandson, Jemma (2013-2017)Development of Innovative Nanoporous Carbons from Renewable Lignin Feedstocks and Investigation of Novel Characterisation TechniquesTing, EdlerMAST Carbon, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Sargeant, Lisa
(2010-2014)
The development of microbial lipids suitable as low temperature fuel feedstockChuck, R Scott, DavidsonAirbus Group; Almac
Smith, Tristan
(2013-2017)
Sustainable production of 2-phenylethanol from Metschnikowia pulcherrimaHenk, ChuckStellenbosch University
Smug, Kasia
(2014-2018)
New Sustainable Materials for Terpenoid FeedstocksPlucinski, Davidson, HintermairSasol; Isobionics
Stalker, Megan
(2016-2020)
Developing a molecular description of adsorption and solubility of celluloseParker, Duren, Scott, GrantUniversity of São Paulo; University of Campinas
Tibbetts, Josh
(2015-2019)
Catalytic transformation and valorization or terpenes and other biorenewablesBull, Martinez-Hernandez, Lewis, HintermairStellenbosh University, UNAM (Mexico)
Thomlinson, Isabel (2016-2020) Sequence Control in Synthetic Polymers via Post-Polymerization Stereochemical ResolutionHintermair, DavidsonCorbion; Bruker
Thompson, Joe
(2012-2016)
New precursors for application in thin film chalcogenide materialsJohnson, WolversonSPECIFIC
Wagner, Jon
(2012-2016)
Novel materials for catalytic conversion of bio-oilsTing, Weller, ChuckWessex Water; Airbus Group
Whiffin, Fraeya
(2011-2015)
Care product emulsions and a palm oil substitute from a yeast cultivated on wasteChuck, D Patterson, Edler, R ScottUnilever
Williams, Luke
(2010-2014)
Alcohol Dehydrogenases from the thermophile Geobacillus thermoglucosidasiusBull, DansonTMO Renewables

Major grants

 

BIOBEADS – Advanced Manufacturing for Sustainable Biodegradable Microbeads

This project will develop, in combination, new manufacturing routes to new products. Manufacturing will be based on a low-energy process that can be readily scaled up, or down, and the products will be biodegradable microbeads, microscapsules and microsponges, which share the performance characteristics of existing plastic microsphere products, but which will leave no lasting environmental trace. Using bio-based materials such as cellulose (from plants) and chitin (from crab or prawn shells), we will use continuous manufacturing methods to generate microspheres, hollow capsules and porous particles to replace the plastic microbeads currently in use in many applications.

Transatlantic discovery, characterization and application of enzymes for the recycling of polymers and composites

This Global Innovation Initiative (GII) project provides a vehicle for developing collaborative research using the strengths of all three partners (University of Bath, Ohio State University and University of São Paulo) and for building research capacity, by developing a mobile cohort of young researchers who are able to work on multi-disciplinary solutions to global challenges.

Bio-derived Feedstocks for Sustainable, UK-Based Manufacture of Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Intermediates

This project aims to establish a range of new technologies to enable the synthesis of a range of chemicals from sugar beet pulp (SBP) in a cost-effective and sustainable manner. The UK is self-sufficient in the production of SBP which is a by-product of sugar beet production (8 million tonnes grown per year) and processing. Currently SBP is dried in an energy intensive process and then used for animal feed. The ability to convert SBP into chemicals and pharmaceutical intermediates will therefore have significant economic and environmental benefits.

CLEVER: Closed Loop Emotionally Valuable E-waste Recovery

Our vision is to enable a move away from the ‘throw-away’ society towards a new paradigm of durability, quality, user engagement with products, and zero-waste; specifically, to close the loop on recycling of consumer electronics and to facilitate recovery of valuable metals.

Fractionation and exploitation of the component value of DDGS

Distiller’s dried grain and solubles (DDGS) is made by separating the residue of the wheat grain from wheat-based bioethanol plants, post-fermentation (distillers grain) with a “solubles” syrup created by concentration of the “thin stillage” recovered post-distillation. The project’s ultimate aim is to extract fat/oil using supercritical CO2, use the distillers grain in a second fermentation by hydrolysis and microbial metabolism of the non-starch carbohydrates and use some of the protein in biocatalytic upgrading to defined chemical products. In the first stage of the project, where we will be developing methods to extract fat/oil, release and hydrolyse the carbohydrate and selectively metabolise certain protein components, we will benchmark the suitability of the methods by the level of retention of the animal feed value of the residue. In the second part of the programme we will develop new metabolically versatile bacterial strains able to degrade most of the non-starch carbohydrate and convert it to 1-butanol, and selective proteolytic and tandem biocatalytic methods to convert part of the protein to value-added chemical products.

Nano-Integration of Metal-Organic Frameworks and Catalysis for the Uptake and Utilisation of CO2

Nano-scale-integration of CO2 uptake and utilisation processes will provide new highly efficient single-step processes to turn CO2 into useful products (polymers, carbohydrates and fuels). Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) have emerged as a front-runner in the uptake and storage of CO2. Effective catalysts for the conversion of CO2 into useful chemical products have already been discovered but industrial CO2 waste streams with high CO2 concentrations are used.

In this project these two areas of existing strength are combined to provide new nano-structured functional catalyst membranes tailored to both capture and concentrate CO2 from the free atmosphere and convert CO2 into useful products in a single continuous process.

Terpene-based Manufacturing for Sustainable Chemical Feedstocks

We will develop a sustainable and integrated platform for the manufacture of industrial chemicals based on biological terpenoid feedstocks to complement the carbohydrate, oil and lignin-based feedstocks that will be available to sustainable chemistry-using industries of the future.

Overview

Achieving sustainable economic development via chemical technologies is a multi-faceted challenge that requires an integrated response.

By adopting a whole systems approach, we combine fundamental chemistry with engineering optimization. Projects in the Processes and Manufacturing theme draw on the cross-functional expertise available in Bath to combine leading-edge technological insight with analyses of total supply chain and whole life cycle impact, in collaboration with industrial and international partners.

Key publications

Hall, AMR, Broomfield-Tagg, R, Camilleri, M, Carbery, DR, Codina, A, Whittaker, DTE, Coombes, S, Lowe, JP & Hintermair, U 2018, ‘Online monitoring of a photocatalytic reaction by real-time high resolution FlowNMR spectroscopy’ Chemical communications (Cambridge, England), vol 54, no. 1, pp. 30-33. DOI: 10.1039/c7cc07059d

Tibbetts, JD, Carbery, DR & Emanuelsson, EAC 2017, ‘An In-Depth Study of the Use of Eosin Y for the Solar Photocatalytic Oxidative Coupling of Benzylic Amines’ ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, vol 5, no. 11, 7b01754, pp. 9826–9835. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b01754

Rochat, S, Polak-Krasna, K, Tian, M, Holyfield, L, Mays, T, Bowen, C & Burrows, A 2017, ‘Hydrogen Storage in Polymer-Based Processable Microporous Composites’ Journal of Materials Chemistry A, pp. 18752-18761. DOI: 10.1039/C7TA05232D

Coombs O’Brien, J, Torrente Murciano, L, Mattia, D & Scott, JL 2017, ‘Continuous production of cellulose microbeads via membrane emulsification’ ACS Sustainable Chemisty and Engineering , vol 5, no. 7, pp. 5931-5939. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b00662

Gale, E, Wirawan, RH, Silveira, RL, Pereira, CS, Johns, MA, Skaf, MS & Scott, JL 2016, ‘Directed discovery of greener cosolvents: new cosolvents for use in ionic liquid based organic electrolyte solutions for cellulose dissolution’ ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, vol 4, no. 11, pp. 6200-6207. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b02020

Torrente-Murciano, L, Bishopp, SD, Fox, D & Scott, JL 2016, ‘Biphasic epoxidation reaction in the absence of surfactants – integration of reaction and separation steps in microtubular reactors’ ACS Sustainable Chemisty and Engineering , vol 4, no. 6, pp. 3245-3249. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b00280

Hill, AK & Torrente-Murciano, L 2015, ‘Low temperature H2 production from ammonia using ruthenium-based catalysts: Synergetic effect of promoter and support’ Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, vol 172-173, pp. 129-135. DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2015.02.011

Bell, TE, González-Carballo, JM, Tooze, RP & Torrente-Murciano, L 2015, ‘Single-step synthesis of nanostructured γ-alumina with solvent reusability to maximise yield and morphological purity’ Journal of Materials Chemistry A, vol 3, no. 11, pp. 6196-6201. DOI: 10.1039/c4ta06692h

Bishopp, SD, Scott, JL & Torrente Murciano, L 2014, ‘Insights into biphasic oxidations with hydrogen peroxide; towards scaling up’ Green Chemistry, vol 16, no. 6, pp. 3281-3285. DOI: 10.1039/c4gc00598h

Student projects

NameTitleSupervisorsPartners
Abou-Shehada, Sarah (2010–2014)Catalytic reversible oxygen transfer processesWilliams, Plucinski, BullGSK
Barnard, Jonathan (2017-2021)Multifunctional adsorbent structures for air purificationChew, Perera, BurrowsDSTL; Carbonex Ltd; Monash University
Bell, Tamsin
(2013-2017)
Stabilisation of nanoparticles on curved supportsMuricana, ParkerSasol Technologies
Bristow, Jessica
(2012–2016)
Chemical bonding in metal-organic frameworks: from fundamentals to design principlesWalsh, Ting, Gale (Curtin University)Accelrys
Chapman, Robert (2012–2016)A protecting group free strategy for the sustainable synthesis of polyketide natural productsBull, Plucinski, Jones, Gonzalez (University Jaume I) Northwestern University
Davey, Chris
(2012–2016)
Lower energy recovery of dilute organics from fermentation brothsPatterson, LeakLanzaTech
Escursell, Oriol
(2016–2020)
The fractionation and concentration of whey protein and casein streams from skimmed milkBird, Kasprzyk-Hordern, Chew, WenkTetra Pak
Hayward, Emily
(2011–2015)
Investigating fouling & cleaning during the filtration of gum arabic to save water and reduce energyWilson, Bird, PattersonKerry Ingredients; RWTH Aachen University
Heron, Callum
(2014-2018)
Sustainable C-H Functionalisation by Improved Catalyst DesignFrost, E Patterson, BuchardThe Scripps Research Institute
Jones, Caroline
(2012–2016)
Novel catalytic methodology for the sustainable synthesis of aza-heterocyclesWilliams, Plucinski, Bull GSK
Lomax, Helen
(2011–2015)
New approaches to the catalytic activation of arenesWilliams, Bull, PattersonRWTH Aachen University
Mahy, William
(2011–2015)
Design of multi-catalytic processes for drug discoveryFrost, Bull, PlucinskiCatSci; Sasol
Maltby Richard
(2014-2018)
Computational and Experimental Studies of Single-Use-Technology BioreactorsChew, LeakCentre for Process Innovation
Manning, Harriet (2011–2015)The application of hybrid membrane processes to fractionate gum arabic into streams of added valueBird, EdlerKerry Ingredients
McKeown, Paul
(2012–2016)
PLA in SuperCritical CO2Davidson, Jones, Hintermair, Howdle (Nottingham)Corbion
Paterson, Andy
(2012–2016)
Selective catalytic C-H activation for drug manufactureFrost, PattersonNovartis
Provis-Evans, Cei (2015–2019)Iron photocatalysis for the efficient synthesis of phosphorus-carbon bondsWebster, E PattersonCatSci; Nanyang Technological University
Regue, Miriam
(2015-2019)
Development of nanostructured metal oxides for solar fuelsEslava, JohnsonTechnical University of Denmark
Rood, Shawn
(2014-2018)
Ceria-based Engine Exhuast CatalystsEslava, RobinsonJohnson Matthey; University of Cambridge
Rushworth, Andrew (2012-2016)The Development of Graphene Based MaterialsRaithby, Johnson, BendingJohnson Matthey
Thompson, Joe
(2012–2016)
New precursors for application in thin film chalcogenide materialsJohnson, WolversonSPECIFIC
Wirawan, Remigius (2012–2016)Towards robust cellulose-based nanofiltration membranesJ Scott, PattersonUniversity of Campinas
Wagner, Jon
(2012-2016)
Novel materials for catalytic conversion of bio-oilsTing, Chuck, WellerAirbus Group

Major grants

BIOBEADS – Advanced Manufacturing for Sustainable Biodegradable Microbeads

This project will develop, in combination, new manufacturing routes to new products. Manufacturing will be based on a low-energy process that can be readily scaled up, or down, and the products will be biodegradable microbeads, microscapsules and microsponges, which share the performance characteristics of existing plastic microsphere products, but which will leave no lasting environmental trace. Using bio-based materials such as cellulose (from plants) and chitin (from crab or prawn shells), we will use continuous manufacturing methods to generate microspheres, hollow capsules and porous particles to replace the plastic microbeads currently in use in many applications.

Integrated energy efficient microwave and unique fermentation processes for pilot scale production of high value chemicals from lignocellulosic waste

To meet key climate change targets, while providing sustainable economic growth, the UK must develop a robust bioeconomy. This requires the valorisation of UK-specific and abundant waste lignocelluosic streams. This project aims to develop a pilot scale multi-product biorefinery by coupling breakthroughs in low energy biomass treatment and unique fermentation to produce marketable compounds.

Terpene-based Manufacturing for Sustainable Chemical Feedstocks

Our aim is to develop a sustainable, integrated platform for manufacture of industrial chemicals based on biological terpenoid feedstocks to complement carbohydrate, oil and lignin-based feedstocks that will be available to sustainable chemistry-using industries of the future. Our focus will include production of aromatics and amines which are particularly challenging targets from other biofeedstocks.

Total Recovery of All Platinum Group Metals (TRAP)

Platinum group metals (PGMs) are widely used as catalysts in the production of chemicals that enhance quality of life: pharmaceutical & cosmetic products, coatings, energy-efficient lubricants, adhesives, food cling wraps and phthalate-free plasticisers, to name just a few examples. However, the UK has no viable reserves of PGMS, so it is critical that we recover the metals both for their value (for example, rhodium, Rh, to be recovered in this project, sells for >$1100 per troy ounce!) and to ensure materials security. Total Recovery of All Platinum group metals (TRAP) is a project focussed on developing a technology package integrating both new materials and low-energy engineering processes using membranes to capture Rh from waste streams in production of large volume chemicals. To achieve this, a UK SME with expertise in metals capture, Phosphonics, will work with academic partners at the University of Bath and a large waste management company, Veolia. Recovery of metals like Rh will recover value from waste, enhance the UK’s movement towards the circular economy and ensure that we can continue to manufacture the products that we need, while reducing global C-footprint.

UK Catalysis Hub

Catalysis is a core area of contemporary science posing major fundamental and conceptual challenges, while being at the heart of the chemical industry – an immensely successful and important part of the overall UK economy (generating in excess of £50 billion per annum). UK catalytic science currently has a strong presence, but there is intense competition in both academic and industrial sectors, and a need for UK industrial activity to shift towards new innovative areas posing major challenges for the future. In light of these challenges the UK Catalysis Hub endeavours to become a leading institution, both nationally and internationally, in the field and acts to coordinate, promote and advance the UK catalysis research portfolio (UK Catalysis Hub project criteria).

Professor Matthew Davidson of the CSCT leads the “Catalysis for Chemical Transformations” theme of the UK Catalysis Hub.

Factory in a Fumehood: Reagentless Flow Reactors as Enabling Techniques for Manufacture

Why reagentless? In traditional chemical processes once a reagent has performed its task it needs to be removed from the product stream. Unless the spent reagent can be reactivated then the waste stream must be dealt with. Most processes require large amounts of reagent, placing a heavy financial and environmental burden on manufacturing of high value products such as pharmaceuticals.

Spinning Mesh Disc Reactors

This project will develop a new paradigm in spinning disc process intensification technology: the spinning mesh disc reactor (SMDR). The SMDR uses a high surface area rotating mesh supporting a catalyst to create process intensification. A liquid is centrifugally forced and accelerated into the mesh creating rapid mixing and increased heat and mass transfer rates compared to conventional reactors, accelerating reaction rates.

Overview

Well-being is a vital technical and societal component of sustainability, and chemical technologies associated with healthcare and well-being pose interesting problems.

Specifically, key challenges include: the generation of new synthetic methodology for the preparation of a range of pharmaceuticals by clean catalytic/biocatalytic chemistry coupled with sustainable processing; the design and development of methods for rapid sensing in hospital environments; and devices for the detection of in vivo infection and delivery of nanomedicines.

Key publications

Courtenay, JC, Deneke, C, Lanzoni, EM, Costa, CA, Bae, Y, Scott, JL & Sharma, RI 2017, ‘Modulating cell response on cellulose surfaces; tunable attachment and scaffold mechanics’ Cellulose, pp. 1-16. DOI: 10.1007/s10570-017-1612-3

Lopez-Alled, CM, Sanchez Fernandez, A, Edler, K, Sedgwick, A, Bull, S, McMullin, C, Kociok-Kohn, G, James, T, Wenk, J & Lewis, S 2017, ‘Azulene–boronate esters: colorimetric indicators for fluoride in drinking water’ Chemical Communications, vol 53, no. 93, pp. 12580-12583. DOI: 10.1039/c7cc07416f

Chen, Y-C, Smith, T, Hicks, RH, Doekhie, A, Koumanov, F, Wells, SA, Edler, KJ, van den Elsen, J, Holman, GD, Marchbank, KJ & Sartbaeva, A 2017, ‘Thermal stability, storage and release of proteins with tailored fit in silica’ Scientific Reports, vol 7, 46568. DOI: 10.1038/srep46568

Marcé, P, Paterson, AJ, Mahon, MF & Frost, CG 2016, ‘Mechanistic insight into ruthenium catalysed: meta -sulfonation of 2-phenylpyridine’ Catalysis Science and Technology, vol 6, no. 19, pp. 7068-7076. DOI: 10.1039/c6cy01254j

Frost, CG & Paterson, AJ 2015, ‘Directing remote Meta-C–H functionalization with cleavable auxiliaries: Frost and Paterson discuss various methods of “going meta”, notably the report from Jin-Quan Yu and co-workers’ ACS Central Science, vol 1, no. 8, pp. 418-419. DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.5b00358

Mahy, W, Plucinski, P, Jover, J & Frost, CG 2015, ‘Ruthenium-catalyzed O- to S-alkyl migration: a pseudoreversible Barton-McCombie pathway’ Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, vol 54, no. 37, pp. 10944-10948. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201505280

Paterson, A, St. John-Campbell , S, Mahon, M, Press, NJ & Frost, C 2015, ‘Catalytic meta-selective C–H functionalization to construct quaternary carbon centres’ Chemical Communications, vol 51, no. 64, pp. 12807-12810. DOI: 10.1039/C5CC03951G

Abou-Shehada, S, Teasdale, MC, Bull, SD, Wade, CE & Williams, JMJ 2015, ‘Lewis acid activation of pyridines for nucleophilic aromatic substitution and conjugate addition’ ChemSusChem, vol 8, no. 6, pp. 1083-1087. DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201403154

Abou-Shehada, S & Williams, JMJ 2014, ‘Separated tandem catalysis: It’s about time!’ Nature Chemistry, vol 6, no. 1, pp. 12-13. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1826

Mahy, W, Plucinski, PK & Frost, CG 2014, ‘Copper-catalyzed one-pot synthesis of  N-Aryl oxazolidinones from amino alcohol carbamates’ Organic Letters, vol 16, no. 19, pp. 5020-5023. DOI: 10.1021/ol502322c

Student projects

NameTitleSupervisorsPartners
Al-Ani, Aneesa (2017-2021)Engineering defects and disorder for enhanced pharmaceutical propertiesWilson, Castro Dominguez, DavidsonAstrazeneca; CMAC
Bradley, Stephen
(2012-2016)
A sensor for online and onsite water quality monitoringDi Lorenzo, Kasprzyk-Hordern, MarkenUniversity of São Paulo
Camilleri, Matthew
(2013-2017)
Photofloworganocatalysis for sustainable redox chemistryCarbery, MurcianoGSK
Celebi, Duygu
(2011-2015)
Oxidised Cellulose Gels and Films for Encapsulation and ReleaseEdler, Scott, GuyUnilever
Courtenay, Jamie
(2014-2018)
Decorated cellulose surfaces – opportunities for novel, sustainable ingredients for formulated products and tissue engineering scaffoldsScott, Sharma, EdlerUniversity of Campinas
Glancy, Jack (2017-2021)Kinetic isotope effects as transition-state probes for glycosidic reactions Williams, Pudney
Gregory, George (2012-2016)Cyclic Carbonates from Sugars and Carbon Dioxide: Synthesis, Polymerisation and Biomedical ApplicationsBuchard, Sharma, DavidsonCorbion
Jarkov, Vlad (2017-2021)Biocompatible piezoelectrics for tissue regenerationKhanbareh, Tosh, Scott, BowenRenishaw UK
Johns, Marcus
(2012-2016)
Biomaterials for the Cardiac EnvironmentSharma, Scott, Rahatekar (Bristol)Revolution Fibres
Jones, Caroline
(2012-2016)
Sustainable catalytic methodology for functional group manipulationWilliams, Plucinski, BullGSK
Kirk, Sarah
(2012-2016)
Polymers and copolymers for tissue engineering applicationsJones, EllisRWTH Aachen University
Lampard, Emma (2013-2017)Benzoxaboroles for Membrane SeparationJames, D Patterson, BullUniversity of Stellenbosch
Lomax, Helen
(2011–2015)
New approaches to the catalytic activation of arenesWilliams, D PattersonRWTH Aachen University
Mahy, William
(2011–2015)
Design of novel catalytic processes for the synthesis of pharmaceutical intermediatesFrost, PlucinskiCatSci; Sasol
Morrison, Kerrie (2017-2021)Polymer stabilized phospholipid nanodiscs - Protein: polymer interactionsEdler, Whitley, PriceISIS
Paterson, Andy
(2012-2016)
Selective Catalytic C-H Fictionalization for Drug Discovery and ManufactureFrost, D PattersonNovartis
Pinheiro, Jessica (2016-2020) Organoid Expansion Bioreactor DevelopmentEllis, De BankCellesce
Ryder, Alison
(2016-2020)
Visible-light mediated C–H functionalisationsCresswell, EslavaGSK
Scott, Daniel
(2015-2019)
Bridging the Gap in Sustainable Continuous Chemicals Manufacture: Integrating Upstream Synthesis and Downstream CrystallisationWilson, Davidson, ReisCMAC
Thompson, Abigail (2016-2020)Release, Monitoring and Recovery of Drugs with Selective Ionic DiodesMarken, Estrela, ScottZimmer & Peacock
Tyson, James
(2011-2015)
Graphene nanocomposites and biocomposites in cancer theranostics: towards prostate cancer biosensingPascu, Marken, Estrela, TyrrellCentral Laser Facility
Serife Ustuner
(2015-2019)
Electrochemical detection of microRNAs for cancer diagnosisEstrela, Frost, LindsayUniversity of São Paulo
Watt, Kathryn (2017-2021)Fluorophore labelled peptides for diagnostic and theranostic applicationsMason, James, WilliamsGSK
Weber, Maria
(2015-2019)
Fluorogenic materials for diagnosis and theranostic applicationsJames, Mackenzie, BullECUST (Shanghai); GSK; Redx Pharma

Major grants

ReNEW – Developing Resilient Nations – Towards a Public Heath Early Warning System via Urban Water Profiling

An innovative solution to current problems with rapidly identifying and responding to deteriorating public health and environmental conditions in fast developing urban environments in LMIC countries, aiming to manage risks to public and environmental health relating to urbanisation, population growth, lack of infrastructure and the overarching challenge of climate change. We will establish a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research capability, based on engineering and digital technology approaches, for real-time community-wide diagnostics and tuneable multi-hazard public health early warning system (EWS) with the ultimate goal of strengthening communities’ resilience.

Bacteriosafe — Development of a wound dressing to detect pathogenic bacteria

The aim of the BacterioSafe consortium is to construct, test and develop a unique active wound dressing, which incorporates novel colourimetric sensor and active therapeutic processes for detecting and counteracting pathogenic bacteria in wounds. The initial focus will be burn wounds, but the application to other types of wounds is intended. The inspiration of this project is the natural nono-biological mechanism of bacterial attack of healthy cells.

Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging of New Functional Biomaterials for Non Invasive Early Tumour Diagnosis

Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer prior to metastasis has a significant impact on patient survival. This project will demonstrate novel luminescent optical imaging agents that could lead to safe, extremely accurate, non-invasive and affordable early diagnostics of cancers which are difficult to access non-invasively due to limited light penetration through tissues such as the alimentary tract.

Encapsulated phage for treatment of burns and wound site infections

One of the primary problems in the treatment of burns is bacterial infection, which can delay healing, increase pain; increase the risk of scarring and in some cases cause death. In recent years there have been great improvements in the treatment of burns, but the problem of infection has not gone away. This project, in partnership with Biocontrol Ltd and the departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath, will encapsulate specific lytic phages within phospholipid vesicles, and incorporate the vesicles into a prototype burn / wound dressing and a topical aqueous cream.

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