From 7 to 9 July, the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies hosted its fifth annual Summer Showcase. The showcase is an event which provides an opportunity to discuss and develop collaborations for the forthcoming year, and also provides a chance for our industrial and international partners to catch up with the ongoing research within the centre. This post covers day one of the event, and was contributed by first-year student Emma Lampard.
The event was introduced by the director of the CSCT, Professor Matthew Davidson, and opened by Professor Gary Hawley, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Design, who discussed the importance of sustainable development and the cutting edge research going on within the centre. Dr Barbara Vieira of the OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center, based at Ohio State University was the event’s first speaker who gave an interesting overview of OBIC's ‘Cell to Sell’® commercialisation model, which used in commercializing technologies like those we develop. She also discussed the need to increase awareness of bio-based products amongst general consumers.
After lunch speakers included Dr Tim Davies of Green Biologics who gave a talk on sustainable n-butanol production and the paths to commercialising this technology; Dr Rob Potter of Johnson Matthey PLC who talked about how to make hydrogen peroxide from a PEM fuel cell, and the advantages of this technique over traditional methods; as well as CatSci’s Dr Jonathan Moseley who discussed relevant screening techniques to evaluate sustainable solvents, and the rational understanding, development, optimization and scale up of catalysed reactions. The session also featured a talk from one of the CSCT’s Whorrod Fellows, Dr Antoine Buchard who gave an insightful overview of his research into making new monomers from carbon dioxide.
Dr Will Reynolds, one of the CSCT’s first graduates and now working at the Institute of Process Research and Development (iPRD) at the University of Leeds, gave a talk on his adventures in process development and scale-up, and about what he learnt from his time at the centre, including how to work with chemical engineers, the importance of industrial collaborations and good time management!
The final session of the day was kicked off by a talk from CSCT Industrial Fellow Dr Paul Murray on design of experiments for efficient reaction screening. He discussed the advantages of design of experiments over more traditional approaches to experimentation, and gave examples of how this has helped reaction optimization. DTC PhD student Rebecca Bamford gave a talk on biopolymer supported metal nanoparticles for continuous catalytic reactions, and why these nanoparticle catalysts would be particularly useful. Dr David Robichaud of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory talked about increasing carbon efficiency through selective hydrogenation of biomass pyrolysis vapours.
The talks were followed by the Whorrod prize presentation, which recognises excellence in the MRes for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, and is awarded to the student with the highest average of credits for the first year. This year the prize went to Jon Wagner, and was followed by the prize lecture on Jon’s research into the catalytic conversion and upgrading of microbial biomass into fuel range hydrocarbons using different classes of materials. The afternoon session ended with flash presentations from the first year students, and an overview of the research topics covered by students in upper years.
The day concluded with a poster session, before heading over to the marquee for dinner. Professor Steve Howdle from the University of Nottingham gave a highly entertaining after dinner speech!