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Enabling technologies allied to green chemistry: synthesis of high value-added compounds from biomass derivatives


Biofeedstocks in general and biowaste in particular represent an attractive source of useful chemical functionality, which to date is still largely untapped in terms of its application in the fine chemicals industry. Our group have identified continuous flow methods as a must use technology for the valorization of such materials. Indeed, many principles of Green Chemistry can be achieved with the adoption of new technologies that are inherently cleaner when compared to the current status quo. In this proposal, reactions under continuous flow regime as well as under microwave irradiation (MW) will be explored for the processing of an extremely rich and abundant matrix in Brazil: the biomass. The project comprises 3 strategic research axes, which the central objective is to explore the benefits of these two technologies for biomass processing for the obtention of: versatile platform chemicals - Axis 1, new chemicals and building blocks - Axis 2, and new functional materials - Axis 3. In the first axis, we will evaluate the synthesis of platform chemicals from carbohydrates, under MW irradiation. Design of experiments (DoE) will be employed in order to assess the reaction conditions and evaluate the effect of several parameters. In addition, we will pursue reaction conditions aligned with the principles of Green Chemistry, such as the use of green solvents, mild temperatures (lower energy expenditure) and reusable catalytic systems (ionic liquids from natural sources). In the second axis, renewable sources such as terpenes and chitin derivatives will be assessed. In this case, ethenolysis reactions of terpene derivatives will be evaluated aiming at the preparation of new compounds and synthetic intermediates. We will also investigate the use of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine in the synthesis of aminofuran compounds in batch (MW) and flow regime. Finally, in the third axis, we will evaluate the synthesis of new functional materials, also derived from biomass, such as the preparation of a heterogeneous palladium catalyst using a new solid support and novel polyurethanes as well as green polyesters. (AU)

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