Sustainable chemistry from alkanes

Zuo weiwei

Nationality Chinese

Year of selection 2008

Institution CNRS Département Chimie

Country France

Risk Environment

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

1 year

60000 €

Cheap alkanes, the way to sustainable chemistry?

Plastics, synthetic fibers, pharmaceutical drugs: a few among a wealth of added-value products that are now born out of an alkane-based chemical synthesis. Indeed, alkanes or hydrocarbons, are the primary constituents of clean-burning fuels and natural gases, coveted by chemists. Yet, due to the generally unreactive nature of alkanes, chemical syntheses do not automatically yield the best possible results, with significant quantities of alkanes left unused. Besides ruining the latter’s ecological virtues, this is an undeniable loss for the economy.
Thus, to overcome the problems of such methods, Dr. Zuo Weiwei, by developing new dehydrogenation catalysts, chose to make better use out of cheap alkanes that were not properly converted, to form a new higher-added value chemical, the olefin. This process would represent a particularly important step toward an optimal use of natural resources, thereby answering society’s desire to find cheaper and cleaner sources of materials and energy.

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