New catalyst for sustainable chemical synthesis

Researchers at Politecnico di Milano have made a groundbreaking discovery that has the potential to revolutionize sustainable chemical synthesis. Published in the esteemed journal Nature Synthesis, their study introduces an innovative technique involving dispersed isolated atoms on carbon nitride supports, resulting in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly catalyst for esterification reactions.

Esterification reactions are crucial in the production of various substances, including medicines, food additives, and polymers. The newly developed catalyst not only exhibits greater activity and selectivity in these reactions but also significantly reduces the reliance on rare metals. This breakthrough is a substantial step towards conserving critical resources and promoting sustainable processes in chemical synthesis.

One remarkable aspect of this catalyst is its ability to be activated by sunlight, eliminating the need for energy-intensive methods. By harnessing the power of the sun, the researchers have further enhanced the sustainability of the catalytic process. This discovery holds immense potential in reducing dependence on finite resources and minimizing the environmental impact of industrial-scale catalytic processes.

The project was led by Professor Gianvito Vilé, an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the “Giulio Natta” Department of Chemistry, Materials, and Chemical Engineering. Mark Bajada, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at Politecnico di Milano, served as the first author of the research paper. The study was conducted in close collaboration with researchers from the University of Milan Bicocca and the University of Turin, showcasing the interdisciplinary nature of this groundbreaking work.

Source: Polytechnic University of Milan

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