Towards an understanding of crucial chemistry
Answering the important research questions in the field of sustainable chemistry is centered around a fundamental understanding of the chemical processes enabling the conversion of raw materials into useful products and energy. In this catalysis plays a crucial role.
Abundant transition metals
Building on a strong base of expertise in the catalytic performance of reactive less abundant metals, new insights will be developed in the field of abundant metal complexes (containing Fe, Cu, Ni, etc.). This will lead to knowledge based design of new catalytic systems.
Detailed knowledge will facilitate breakthroughs in the development of new efficient abundantly available (cheap) catalysts for use in biomass conversion, cheaper and more efficient conversion of traditional (fossil) feedstocks and advanced fuel cell technologies.
Fuel cell technology
In addition, for the storage and use of green energy, electrocatalysis will become increasingly important. This is not only relevant to the efficient harvesting of energy from sunlight and the subsequent conversion into fuel. Of equal importance is the efficient conversion of fuel into electricity using fuel cells. The research on abundant metal catalysis and fuel cells is expected to lead to breakthroughs in (reversed) fuel cell technology with cheap catalytic electrodes based on abundant metals.
Adding to this is the expertise of professor Van der Zwaan in the area of the life cycle analysis of sustainable processes. In collaboration with the key chairs of the sustainable chemistry he will develop a program offering a holistic view for the conversion of biorenewables to chemicals using all key catalysis technologies available. New catalytic technology that according to such analysis would be required, will be developed within the Research Priority Area Sustainable Chemistry. This holistic approach is completely novel and it is expected that it will lead to discoveries with impact on both science and society.