Nature does chemistry in water, under room temperature and pressure and using life-friendly chemicals. This section groups EPFL’s research projects that get inspired by the way nature does chemistry, construct compounds and look at how we can use natural materials to do green chemistry.
Our research focus on developing chemical processes for efficient biomas conversion to renewable fuels and chemicals. Several active areas of investigation are described below.
Catalytic reforming of biomass and fermentation-derived molecules to fuels and chemicals
Biomass pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis
Greener processes through the use of sustainable solvents
Carbon dioxide fixation
Carbon fixation is the process of converting carbon dioxide to organic compounds by living organisms. In addition to photosynthesis this process can also be achieved in the absence of light. Artificial carbon dioxide fixation takes its inspiration from nature, to develop catalysts that transform carbon dioxide into useful compounds, which should help to reduce dependence on petrochemical feedstocks. Research conducted in the LCOM is concerned with the development of new bio-inspired catalysts that transform carbon dioxide into useful chemicals. Many of these catalysts are based on naturally occurring compounds, or slight derivatives of them, and are sometimes combined with nanomaterials to enhance their catalytic performance. The products we have made using these catalysts include medicines, agrochemicals, fine chemicals and fuels.
Research Lab: prof. Paul Dyson, Laboratory of Organometallic and Medicinal Chemistry