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The Bochum team: Dulce Morales, Steffen Cychy, Stefan Barwe, Dennis Hiltrop, Martin Muhler and Wolfgang Schuhmann (from left) © RUB, Marquard

New catalyst with a dual function

Angew.Chem.: Plastic production with this catalyst would be sustainable and would also enable the creation of hydrogen as a potential energy source.

Chemists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have developed a new, low-cost catalyst for plastic production. It turns a biorefinery product into a starting material for the synthesis of plastics, which could represent a sustainable alternative to widespread PET. At the same time, the potential energy source hydrogen can also be formed during the reaction.

During the study, the team surrounding Dr Stefan Barwe and Prof Dr Wolfgang Schuhmann from the Bochum-based Centre for Electrochemical Sciences cooperated with the RUB Laboratory of Industrial Chemistry under the leadership of Prof Dr Martin Muhler. The researchers describe the work in the journal Angewandte Chemie from 9th July 2018.

“We could take a big step towards a sustainable chemicals industry if we did not use crude oil as the starting material, but rather biomass that is not used as a foodstuff,” says Wolfgang Schuhmann.

additional information

Original publication: S. Barwe, J. Weidner, S. Cychy, D. Morales, S. Dieckhöfer, D. Hiltrop, J. Masa, M. Muhler, and W. Schuhmann: Electrocatalytic 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural oxidation using high surface area nickel boride, in: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, DOI:10.1002/anie.201806298

Press release from RUB.

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