Making Polymers from Sugars

John Matthiesen publishes in Angewandte Chemie International Edition with CBiRC members. Sugars were converted to monomers using a cascade process that streamlines metabolic engineering and electrochemistry. The obtained monomer, 3-hexenedioic acid, yields unsaturated Nylon 6,6 with tunable properties.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 2368-2373 [link]

Tailored Zeolites for the Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass

Zeolite catalyzed fast pyrolysis of biomass produces value-added commodity chemicals in a single step. However, this process is limited by coke formation, an undesired side reaction. Structural parameters such as defect density and crystallinity can be tailored through synthesis to favor the deoxygenation and aromatization reactions.

ChemSusChem 2016, 9, 1473-1482 [link]


Designing Carbocatalysts from Bottom Up

We design new carbocatalysts (metal-free catalysts predominantly based on carbon) from bottom up by combining homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. Molecular active sites are first investigated under homogeneous conditions using kinetic studies. This approach allows us to identify the reaction mechanism and the optimal reaction conditions. The most promising active sites are then grafted onto graphene to obtain the corresponding heterogeneous catalysts.

ACS Catal. 2015, 5, 3162-3173 [link]

Understanding Metal-Carbon Support Interactions

Carbon is typically considered to be an inert support in heterogeneous catalysis. Yet, the performance of metal nanoparticles decorating the carbon surface varies with the nature of the carbon scaffold. We seek to elucidate these metal—support interactions in order to rationally design nanocarbons with tailored functional properties.


Areas of Research

We engineer catalysts for the sustainable production of chemicals and fuels from renewables.

Functional Nanocarbons


Bio-oil Upgrading

CO2 Conversion

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Team at Work