Combining Bio- and Chemo-catalysis for the Conversion of Bio-Renewable Alcohols

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The use of biomass as a source of fuel is on the sharp increase. In parallel with this expansion, new chemical processes and technologies are required to improve efficiency, sustainability, and profitability.
Biocatalytic and chemocatalytic methods can be combined to affect the conversion of bio-alcohols, and convert them to valuable chemical targets in an atom efficient and environmentally benign manor. Fermentation offers a useful first step in biomass conversion, as whole cell biocatalysts can provide sustained activity when fed with crude biomass. Coupling this with homogeneous and/or heterogeneous catalysis enables the preparation of a diverse product range. The transition between biocatalytic and chemocatalytic steps can be assisted by utilising ionic liquids.
Ionic liquids have potential roles in biorefineries that generate alcohols; as an extractant, reaction medium, and catalytic reagent. Underpinning the potential of ionic liquids in this area is: 1. the ability of ionic liquids to solubilize polyols and alcohols; 2. the facility to functionalise ionic liquids and tune properties; 3. the low volatility of ionic liquids.
The FP7 project GRAIL will be highlighted; this project focusses on the utilisation of glycerol formed as a by-product in biodiesel synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 05 May 2015
EventInternational Symposium on Green Chemistry 2015 - La Rochelle, France
Duration: 03 May 201507 May 2015


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Green Chemistry 2015
CityLa Rochelle


  • Chemocatalysis
  • Renewables
  • Ionic liquids


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