Presented by Kai Wang, Graduate Student, Voutchkova Lab, GW Department of Chemistry
Online and In-person
The development of catalytic processes for the conversion of renewable waste products, such as glycerol and CO2, to value-added chemicals is critical to enabling a circular economy. We address the development of new methods that simultaneously convert waste materials such as CO2 and glycerol to commodity chemicals with increasing demand, such as lactic and formic acid, via dehydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation processes. However, the catalysts we have employed to-date for these processes are not recoverable and are based on precious metals, such as iridium. Here we report a significant advance in the development of robust heterogeneous catalysts for these processes based on single-site heterogeneous catalysts (SSHCs) immobilized on cheap clay-based hydrotalcite supports. The catalysts are characterized extensively to elucidate surface chemistry and electronic effects of the support, and tested for glycerol dehydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation under microwave, high pressure, and continuous flow reaction conditions. Given that high activity, selectivity and robustness are critical requirements for potential commercial feasibility, we study the structure-property-activity relationships that can help us further rationally design robust and active catalysts for these green catalytic processes.