IIT Guwahati ‘develops’ efficient catalysts for transforming industrial waste into valuable chemicals – education
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, have formulated efficient “clamp” catalytic systems that transform industrial or biomass waste into valuable chemicals.
According to the team, small amounts of these “clamp catalysts” repeatedly convert large amounts of industrial waste such as glycerol into lactic acid and hydrogen. These catalysts also efficiently convert bioethanol, a low energy density fuel, into high energy density butanol.
“Clamp catalysts are complex molecules in which an organic moiety sticks tightly to a metal core, like the claws of a crab. Such an arrangement not only confers stability to the catalyst, but also selectivity to achieve the envisioned transformations, ”said IIT Professor Guwahati Akshai Kumar Alape Seetharam.
“(We) rationally designed and tested a large library of ‘clamp catalysts’ to be used in these transformations. The experiments were carried out under environmentally benign conditions without the use of dangerous reagents and solvents. “The most efficient clamp catalyst was found to be the one with the least crowding around the center of the metal. This arrangement allowed an easy elimination of hydrogen from the starting materials, glycerol and ethanol, and its selective conversion to lactic acid and butanol, respectively ”, he added.
Findings of the time have also been featured in the journals of the Royal Society of Chemistry – Chemical Communications and Catalysis Science and Technology. “Our computational studies have attributed the unprecedented activity of clamp catalysts to the minimal crowding present in the metal core and allowed a good understanding of the electronic and steric (crowding) factors that control reactivity,” said Hemant Kumar Srivastava of National Institute of Pharmaceuticals. Education and Research (NIPER) Guwahati.
The team also included researchers Kanu Das, Moumita Dutta, Siriyara Jagannatha Prathapa, Eileen Yasmin, and Babulal Das.