Selective Biomass Conversion
Single-site bifunctional catalysts have particular promise in selective biomass conversion. We are interested in developing one pot catalytic reaction schemes for the conversion of bio-derived chemicals to various industrially relevant organic compounds. Many biomass conversions rely on a metal function (hydrogenation/hydrogenolysis) and an acid function (isomerization/dehydration) or base function (condensation/dehydration).
We propose to integrate this necessary bi-functionality into catalysts by covalently grafting organic catalysts onto a mesoporous matrix containing active metal sites. Two areas of particular interest are the hydrolysis of oligosaccharides to monosaccharides and the hydrogenolysis of sugar alcohols to polyols. Over the summer, this project will focus on catalyst synthesis, characterization and catalyst testing over the summertime. The undergraduate student will work closely with a postdoctoral fellow.