Renewable Chemicals from Lignin Symposium

Congratulations to Sandra Constant, Robin Jastrzebski and Goran Rashid, who were awarded Green Chemistry poster prizes at the recent Renewable Chemicals from Lignin Symposium.

Green Chemistry was pleased to sponsor the Renewable Chemicals from Lignin symposium, which took place on 18th November, London, UK with the aim of bringing together researchers from academia and industry involved in the processing and applications of lignin in order to share the science, address the challenges in the field and build collaborations for the future.

Oral presentations were given on a wide variety of topics from lignin structure to biocatalytic conversion and applications, with a great line-up of speakers including Tim Bugg, Mike Jarvis and David Jackson to name just a few. The poster prizes were judged by members of the scientific committee and were awarded as follows:

  • Gosan Rashid, University of Warwick, for his poster ‘Discovery of novel bacterial lignin-degrading enzymes.’
  • Robin Jastrzebski, Utrecht University, for his poster entitled ‘A sustainable route to dimethyl adipate from lignin by non-heme Iron (III) oxidative cleavage of catechols.’
  • Sandra Constant, Utrecht University, for her poster ‘Comparison of the chemical structure of oganosolv lignins extracted from three lignocellulosic sources: Wheat straw, poplar and spruce.’

Take a look at the RSC Conferences website to see what other great events are coming up!

Poster prize winners with some of the speakers and conference organisers

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Versatile chemical intermediate produced renewably using heterogeneous catalyst

James Sherwood is a guest web-writer for Green Chemistry. James is a research associate in the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York. His interests range from the certification and application of bio-based products, to the understanding of solvent effects in organic synthesis.

Bio-based acetaldehyde graphical abstractEfficient and selective conversion of lactic acid into acetaldehyde using a mesoporous aluminum phosphate catalyst

Acetaldehyde is needed by the chemical industry for many diverse applications, such as paint and cosmetic formulations, plastics and construction materials. As such there is a need for renewable acetaldehyde within the bio-based economy and bio-ethanol can be oxidised to give acetaldehyde for this purpose. Now an alternative process using lactic acid as a feedstock has been developed.

The catalyst for this transformation is a mesoporous aluminium phosphate, facilitating full conversion of the lactic acid and yields of acetaldehyde exceeding 90%. While the use of aluminium is very favourable compared to ethylene oxidation catalysts based on silver for example, the longevity of phosphorus reserves are a concern. However the catalyst is robust and can be used for over 200 hours. Also, the process is efficient at lower temperatures than are often needed for transformations of lactic acid.

Read the advanced article in Green Chemistry online now:

Efficient and selective conversion of lactic acid into acetaldehyde using a mesoporous aluminum phosphate catalyst

Congming Tang, Jiansheng Peng, Xinli Li, Zhanjie Zhai, Wei Bai, Ning Jiang, Hejun Gao and Yunwen Liao

Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01779J

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Recent HOT GC Articles

Check out the following HOT articles, these have all been made free to access for a limited time:
Chemical conversion pathways for carbohydrates
Chandrani Chatterjee, Frances Pong and Ayusman Sen
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01062K

Catalytic conversion of carbohydrate-derived oxygenates over HZSM-5 in a tandem micro-reactor system
Kaige Wang, Jing Zhang, Brent H. Shanks and Robert C. Brown
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01784F

Upgrading biomass-derived furans via acid-catalysis/hydrogenation: the remarkable difference between water and methanol as the solvent
Xun Hu, Roel J. M. Westerhof, Liping Wu, Dehua Dong and Chun-Zhu Li
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01826E

Recent progress on supported polyoxometalates for biodiesel synthesis via esterification and transesterification
Nilesh Narkhede, Sukriti Singh and Anjali Patel
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01743A

A novel D-glucosamine-derived pyridyl-triazole@palladium catalyst for solvent-free Mizoroki–Heck reactions and its application in the synthesis of Axitinib
Chao Shen, Hongyun Shen, Ming Yang,Chengcai Xia and Pengfei Zhang
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01606H  

Aqueous ionic liquid solutions as alternatives for sulphide-free leather processing
R. Vijayaraghavan, N. Vedaraman, C. Muralidharan, A. B. Mandal and D. R. MacFarlane
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01476F

Si-mediated fabrication of reduced graphene oxide and its hybrids for electrode materials
Barun Kumar Barman and Karuna Kar Nanda
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01485E

Conversion of biomass derived valerolactone into high octane number gasoline with an ionic liquid
Jiayu Xin, Dongxia Yan, Olubunmi Ayodele, Zhan Zhang, Xingmei Lu and Suojiang Zhang
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01792G

Ionic liquids: not always innocent solvents for cellulose
Matthew T. Clough, Karolin Geyer, Patricia A. Hunt, Sunghee Son, Uwe Vagt and Tom Welton
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01955E

Electrocatalytic upgrading of model lignin monomers with earth abundant metal electrodes
Chun Ho Lam, Christy B. Lowe, Zhenglong Li, Kelsey N. Longe, Jordan T. Rayburn, Michael A. Caldwell, Carly E. Houdek, Jack B. Maguire, Christopher M. Saffron, Dennis J. Miller and James E. Jackson
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01632G

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A greener recipe for copper nanowires – GC article in Chemistry World

Written by William Bergius

In an ingenious application of food chemistry more commonly associated with the searing of steak or baking of bread, scientists in Singapore have developed a green synthesis for well-defined copper nanowires (CuNWs).

Indium tin oxide (ITO) is the most widely used transparent conductor in today’s consumer technology, featuring in solar cells, touch screens and LED displays. However, alternatives are being sought due to the high cost and finite supply of indium. Films made from silver or copper nanowires are promising candidates, exhibiting high conductivity and optical transparency in addition to being flexible….

The Maillard reaction is responsibile for the delicious aroma of baked bread, grilled steak and roasted coffee © iStock photo

Interested to know more?

Read the full article by William Bergius here

Read the research article in GC:

Facile control of copper nanowire dimensions via the Maillard reaction: using food chemistry for fabricating large-scale transparent flexible conductors

M. Kevin, Gregory Y. R. Limb and  G. W. Ho  

Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article

DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01566E

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Sleeping sickness fly trap in a nutshell – GC article in Chemistry World

Written by Charlie Quigg

An international team of chemists has developed a green method for creating odour attractants to trap the insects that spread African sleeping sickness.

Sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis is transmitted by tsetse flies and is a threat to millions of people, and their livestock, across sub-Saharan Africa. Trapping these flies can reduce the number of sleeping sickness cases. Unfortunately, the odour attractants that draw the flies in are often prohibitively expensive – barring buffalo urine, which has unfortunate hygienic and olfactory detractions – limiting their use…

Tsetse flies feed on the blood of vertebrate animals © Image Quest Marine/Alamy

Interested to know more?

Read the full article by Charlie Quigg here

Read the research article in GC:

Synthesis of tsetse fly attractants from a cashew nut shell extract by isomerising metathesis

S. Baader, P.E. Podsiadly, D.J. Cole Hamilton and L.J. Goossen

Green Chem., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01269K

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7th Green Solvents Conference, Dresden, Germany

Kylie L. Luska

Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University, Worringerweg 1, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

The 7th Green Solvents Conference took place in the Saxonian capital city of Dresden, Germany from October 19-22, 2014. This biennial Dechema conference brings together chemists and engineers from both academia and industry to discuss their latest research discoveries and future perspectives on the fundamental aspects and application of advanced fluids. An important aspect of the Green Solvents Conference series is the selection of a unique locale, in which previous meetings have been held in the lower Rhein Valley (Bruchsal), Lake Constance (Friedrichshafen), the Bavarian Alps (Berchtesgaden) and the middle Rhein Valley (Boppard). The latest edition of the Green Solvents Conference took place in Dresden; a city renowned for its magnificent baroque architecture and role in the reunification of Germany through the “Peaceful Revolution”.

The four-day conference provided an opportunity to discuss the scientific progress and application of such alternative solvents as water, ionic liquids, supercritical fluids, green organic solvents and controllable multiphase media. The conference presentations highlighted the wide variety of chemical syntheses and processes utilizing advanced fluids including: biomass conversion, supported ionic liquid phases and continuous flow processes. A common discussion point during the conference involved various life cycle characteristics of alternative solvents such as large-scale production, toxicity and end-of-life disposal. It was emphasized that such factors need to be considered during the early stages of advanced fluid development to ensure novel chemical syntheses or processes will have a reduced environmental impact compared to conventional methods.

On Sunday evening, the conference began with the awarding of the “Willi Keim Prize” to Roberto Rinaldi from the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung. The section of “Advanced Fluids” of Dechema established this award in 2012 to recognize an outstanding young scientist working in the field of advanced fluids and was named in honour of Prof. emeritus Wilhelm Keim (RWTH Aachen University). Dr. Keim’s research investigated the use of alternative solvents in numerous catalytic processes, in which his work was important in the development of the SHOP process (Shell Higher Olefin Process) by demonstrating and implementing the principle of biphasic catalysis for the first time on an industrial scale. Dr. Rinaldi was the recipient of the 2014 Willi Keim Award for his work on the use of alternative solvents in the conversion of biomass. His intriguing talk outlined different aqueous, ionic liquid and solvent-free (mechanochemical) methods for the processing of biomass feedstocks that have been developed within his lab.

Green Chemistry photo 1

Willi Keim Prize winner Dr. Roberto Rinaldi

The Sunday evening program also included a keynote lecture from one of the pioneers in the field of advanced fluids, Martyn Poliakoff from the University of Nottingham. His research examines the development of continuous catalytic processes using scCO2 as a mobile phase. His lecture illustrated how supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2), an “old” solvent, can be utilized in the development of novel chemical processes. As examples, he showcased how his lab has created a self-optimizing continuous flow reactor for the conversion of levulinic acid to δ-valerolactone, a continuous method for the creation of methylmethacrylate and a continuous photocatalytic procedure toward the synthesis of artemisinin.

The Monday program began with Mark Shiflett from Dupont Central Research and Development who outlined his work toward the implementation of ionic liquids within the chemical industry. His work examines the phase behaviour of hydrofluorocarbons in imidazolium ionic liquids, in which he stressed the importance in obtaining high quality data in order to properly understand the fundamental properties of advanced fluids. He illustrated how ionic liquids have potential application within Dupont as media for the purification of tetrafluoroethylene and for the separation of hydrofluorocarbon isomers and diastereomers.

Andreas Kirschning from the Leibniz Universität Hannover presented his work on the construction of continuous flow reactors in organic synthesis. He illustrated how consecutive reactions can be carried out in continuous flow to achieved complex organic transformations. He emphasized how this approach mimics biosynthetic routes, which are not necessarily “step-economic” but are highly efficient syntheses due to the continuous processing of reaction intermediates. His lab also investigates the use of inductive heating in continuous flow processes, which involves the application of an electromagnetic field to a tubular reactor constructed of a conductive metal or filled with magnetic nanoparticles. Inductive heating allows for the creation of very high reaction temperatures and has been applied in his work for such reactions as the Claisen rearrangement and alcohol oxidation.

François Jerome from the Université de Poitiers presented his work toward the application of deep eutectic solvents in the conversion of biomass resources. Deep eutectic solvents based on such materials as choline chloride represent inexpensive, non-toxic and environmentally benign ionic liquids. His work has explored the use of deep eutectic solvents in the dissolution of crystalline cellulose and for the catalytic transformation of various biomass-derived substrates. His research has shown that deep eutectic solvents can be created by mixing choline chloride directly with biomass substrates and thus avoid the requirement of a second component to form an ionic liquid phase.

Tuesday morning began with a lecture from Fabrice Gallou from Novartis who presented his perspective on the use of alternative solvents in the pharmaceutical industry. He outlined how the driving force toward the implementation of more benign solvents is mainly dependent on its performance characteristics (e.g., reaction yield, product purity) but is also related to legislation changes and literature precedence. He emphasized that the application of alternative solvents in the pharmaceutical industry is not a matter of “if” but “when” this switch will occur. He illustrated several examples of how such solvents as N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and dichloromethane (DCM) are being replaced with safer solvents. Furthermore, he showed how Novartis has investigated the use of surfactants to enable various organic transformations to take place in aqueous solution.

Phillip Jessop from Queen’s University outlined his research into the development of switchable solvents. He emphasized that “green solvents” are those that impart the lowest environmental impact on an entire chemical process, in which solvent separation has one of most significant influences on the efficiency of a procedure. He highlighted his work on the creation and application of switchable hydrophilicity solvents and switchable water through the use of nitrogen-based additives and CO2. The switchability of these solvents, triggered by the application or removal of CO2,  allows for facile product separations in a wide variety of processes including the production of latex, extraction of soybean oil or desalination of seawater. He also showed how his group is preparing an in silico screening method to identify the most appropriate nitrogen-based additives for the formation of switchable solvents, which combines together various performance characteristics and toxicity considerations.

The last day of the conference included a keynote lecture from David Bergbreiter from Texas A&M University who presented how “older solvents” based on oligomer hydrocarbons can accomplish “new tricks”. His work investigates the use of polyisobutylene, polyethylene and poly(N-alkylacrylamide) oligomers as recyclable solvents for catalytic reactions. Functionalization of homogeneous catalysts with polymer units imparted catalyst solubility and retention in these polymeric solvents. The thermomorphic behaviour of these polymeric solvents and catalysts allow for facile product or catalyst separation by which temperature can be used as a trigger to switch between a mono- and biphasic solvent system or a soluble and insoluble catalyst.

Phillip Savage of Pennsylvania State University presented his work on the valorization of algal biomass using aqueous phase reforming. He illustrated the advantages of converting algal biomass in comparison to lignocellulose resources (e.g., faster growth rates, avoid land usage, lignin-free feedstock) and outlined various strategies in which aqueous phase reforming of algae can be used in the production of biofuels. He also presented work within his group toward the formation of novel heterogeneous catalysts that operate under aqueous phase reforming conditions.

Poster Award Winners Jose I. Garcia, Manuela Facchin and Emilia Streng (receiving the award for Zacharias Amara)

Poster Award Winners Jose I. Garcia, Manuela Facchin and Emilia Streng (receiving the award for Zacharias Amara)

 The high quality of the oral and poster program presented at the 7th Green Solvents Conference provided a stimulating environment for the conference participants to engage and discuss the future challenges and applications of advanced fluids. Congratulations to the winners of the poster awards: Jorge I. Garcia (University of San Jorge), Manuela Facchin (Università Cà Foscari Venezia) and Zacharias Amara (University of Nottingham). The conference also provided a lively social program, which provided additional opportunities for the attendees to network and exchange ideas. The conference dinner was held at Festungsmauern am Brühlschen Garten, a baroque barrel vault dining hall located below the old city walls of Dresden, which offered a beautiful setting for the participants to enjoy some local food, drinks and entertainment.

Dr. Walter Leitner welcoming guests to the conference dinner

Dr. Walter Leitner welcoming guests to the conference dinner

 Academic and industrial researchers interested in the fundamental study and application of advanced fluids are encouraged to take part in the 8th Green Solvents Conference on October 16-19, 2016. In accordance with conference tradition, participants can expect the conference to be held in another inspiring city located near large amounts of the greenest solvent, water!

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Driving towards success with biomass-derived petrol – GC article in Chemistry World

Written by Anisha Ratan

Chinese scientists have overcome previous limitations to generate high octane number petrol from biomass-derived γ-valerolactone (GVL), an organic compound that is already often blended in small amounts with petrol or diesel. Using an ionic liquid catalyst, the conversion churned out a 2,2,4-trimethylpentane-rich substance with an octane number of 95.4, the highest reported for biomass derived fuel.

GA

Process for converting GVL into high octane number petrol

Petrol, the liquid many of us use to run our cars, is typically obtained from fossil fuels. But, with energy demands rocketing, producing a renewable and sustainable alternative has become a challenge for many researchers…

Interested to know more?

Read the full article by Anisha Ratan in Chemistry World here…

Read the article in GC:

Conversion of biomass derived valerolactone into high octane number gasoline with an ionic liquid
Jiayu Xin, Dongxia Yan, Olubunmi Ayodele, Zhan Zhang, Xingmei Lu and Suojiang Zhang
Green Chem., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01792G

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Green Polymer Chemistry 2015

AMI’s Green Polymer Chemistry 2015 is the 4th edition of the international conference on sustainable synthesis of plastics and elastomers including materials currently available in the marketplace. The event will take place from 18-19 March 2014 at the Maritim Hotel, Cologne, Germany.

The conference kicks off with market papers on the global renewable plastics industry, discusses renewable packaging, new from old materials, synthesis, renewable plastics, measuring sustainability and new routes to bio-based polymers. This will be a 2-day conference with a networking cocktail reception for all delegates and speaker to attend, on the evening of the first day. Please follow the link here for full programme: http://www.amiplastics.com/Events/Resources/Programme/Green%20Polymer%20Chemistry%202015%20Brochure.pdf

For more information please visit the webiste or contact the Conference Organiser: Kat Langner, email: kl@amiplastics.com Tel: +44 (0) 117 314 8111

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EPA Announces Winners of 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Green Chemistry would like to congratulate the recent winners of the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry. These prestigious annual awards recognize chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use. The 2014 submissions were formally judged by an independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute.

The winners include:

  • Academic: Professor Shannon S. Stahl, University of Madison for his work on developing aerobic oxidation methods for Pharmaceutical Synthesis.
  • Small Business: Amyris, for engineering a yeast to make a renewable fuel replacement for petroleum diesel.
  • Designing Greener Chemicals: The Solberg Company, for developing a new safer firefighting foam which is free from persistent toxic chemicals.
  • Greener Reaction Conditions: QD Vision, Inc., for the production of new LED lighting material that can bring massive energy savings.
  • Greener Synthetic Pathways: Solazyme, Inc., for making soaps, laundry detergents, food products and fuels while reducing energy and water use, waste and impacts on forests.

For further information on the award winning research and how to enter for the 2015 awards take a look at the EPA website.

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Lignin boosts sunscreen performance

Article written by Cally Haynes

Scientists in Canada and China have shown that the effectiveness of commercial sunscreens can be enhanced by the addition of lignin and, as an unprecedented bonus; sunlight exposure may help them work even better!

To read the full article written about this work visit Chemistry World.

The original research article is free to access until 14 November 2014.

Download it here: Y Qian, X Qiu and S Zhu, Green Chem., 2014, DOI: 10.1039/c4gc01333f

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