The primary objective of this proposal is to devise and implement efficient catalytic strategies for the conversion of cellulosic feeds into chemical and fuel precursors using earth-abundant catalysts. Biomass-derived molecules are intrinsically hydrogen deficient due to their large oxygen content and require redox-active centers to introduce hydrogen atoms into their structure. Although supported platinum group metals (PGMs) exhibit exceptional catalytic activity for such reactions, their use in new global scale biomass-conversion processes is limited due to scarcity, high costs, and low hydrothermal stability. Therefore, a strong focus in this project will be placed on the characterization and applications of next-generation earth-abundant catalysts that can serve as replacements for precious metals during the conversion of cellulose. Focusing on the strengths of the complementarity with Prof. Yuriy Roman from MIT, this project is a required step to consolidate a fruitful collaborative work that aims to deliver a strong fundamental catalyst design framework that will lead to high impact scientific discoveries, opening up opportunities for the development of new technologies.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: