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Reference Number EP/E010571/2
Title Engineering the convergence of chemistry and biology: resolving the incompatibility of bio- and chemical catalysis
Status Completed
Energy Categories FOSSIL FUELS: OIL, GAS and COAL(Oil and Gas, Other oil and gas) 25%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 50%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Chemical Engineering) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr A Lapkin
No email address given
School of Engineering
University of Warwick
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 November 2009
End Date 30 June 2010
Duration 8 months
Total Grant Value £57,613
Industrial Sectors Chemicals
Region West Midlands
Programme Cross-Discipline Interface, Materials, Mechanical and Medical Eng, Physical Sciences, Process Environment and Sustainability
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr A Lapkin , School of Engineering, University of Warwick (99.999%)
  Other Investigator Professor MG Davidson , Chemistry, University of Bath (0.001%)
Web Site
Abstract This project will develop new approaches to enable the transition from petrochemicals to the bio (renewable) feedstocks supply chain. The challenge is to obtain efficient production of synthetically useful chemicals from highly functionalized bulk feedstock materials, complex mixed feedstocks and new types of by-products. Biocatalytic transformations will be used to converge a large variety of feedstocks into a small number of building blocks for further synthesis, exploiting the excellent adaptability and selectivity of biocatalysts compared with chemical catalysts. These building block small molecules will be further effectively transformed using chemical catalysis into functional high-value products. Since it is not cost effective or practical to separate the biological products prior to chemical transformation, we shall develop novel reaction systems with fully integrated bio- and chemo-catalysis. There are very few examples of such reaction systems at present, due to the fundamental incompatibility between chemo- and biocatalysts in terms of operating conditions (temperature, salinity, solvents), and toxicity of small molecules to many biocatalysts. We shall solve this problem by spatial and temporal micro-separation of bio- and chemocatalytic systems such that both are operated within mutually compatible conditions, approaching the optimal conditions for both. This requires the design of new materials and reactor concepts, and modification of catalysts. This proof-of-principle project aims to demonstrate the developed concepts on the example of conversion of glucose and glycerol to 1,3-propanediol and lactic acid by whole cells, followed by a number of chemical transformations leading to esters, olefins, ethers, aldehydes, inter alia
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 02/02/10