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  3. Process design and optimization
A diagram of the tools included in Mistra SafeChem's toolbox

Toolbox: Process design and optimization

In the pursuit of enhanced safety and sustainability in the production of chemicals and materials, Mistra SafeChem is actively working on developing innovative tools and methods to achieve the following objectives.

Replacement of virgin resources with recycled materials in the regeneration of textile fibers through cutting-edge spinning technologies. The primary emphasis lies in strengthening the mechanical properties of recycled fibers by incorporating novel, eco-friendly bio-based additives.

By incorporating novel fractionation technologies, the toolkit enables the substitution of virgin resources in primary production with secondary products or waste materials. This transformation primarily targets forestry and agricultural by-products or waste streams. The extracted fractions are then customised and recombined through sustainable chemistry approaches, yielding innovative composite materials.

Pioneering novel catalytic methods, including both enzymatic and metal-based approaches, to produce organic compounds of significant utility in various industries, particularly the pharmaceutical sector. The toolkit harnesses reagents and reaction conditions in line with the principles of green chemistry, with an emphasis on optimising atom economy, minimising waste, and using non-hazardous reagents or solvents.

The processes and optimization approaches use performance, toxicity and life cycle impact assessments as decision-making tools.

C-H amination

The programme has developed a carbon-hydrogen amination method using high-throughput experimentation. Miniaturization to the nanomolar scale enables sustainable screening with reduced material consumption.
Contact: Belén Martín-Matute
Article: Merging Directed C–H Activations with High-Throughput Experimentation: Development of Iridium-Catalyzed C–H Aminations Applicable to Late-Stage Functionalization External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

Non-natural chiral amino acids

A method has been developed to access non-natural chiral amino acids, which are important as small-molecule drugs or in peptide therapeutics, using a recyclable iridium catalyst. The method provides the product in quantitative yields, giving excellent atom economy.
Contact: Belén Martín-Matute
Selective and quantitative functionalization of unprotected α-amino acids using a recyclable homogeneous catalyst External link, opens in new window.
Selective quantitative N-functionalization of unprotected α-amino acids using NHC-Ir(III) catalyst External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

Chiral allenes

A highly selective method for the production of enantiomerically pure allenes, important motifs in biologically active compounds, using a first-row catalyst (nanocopper on microcrystalline cellulose).
Contact: Jan-Erling Bäckvall
Article: Heterogeneous Copper-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling for Sustainable Synthesis of Chiral Allenes: Application to the Synthesis of Allenic Natural Products External link, opens in new window.
Ready for use

Enzyme stabilization

Sequence-based protein engineering pipeline for the generation of biocatalysts with enhanced robustness.
Contact: Per-Olof Syrén
Engineering of Ancestors as a Tool to Elucidate Structure, Mechanism, and Specificity of Extant Terpene Cyclase External link, opens in new window.

Status: Ready for use

CO2 utilization

Sequestration of CO2 into biochemicals by designed cell factories.
Contact: Per-Olof Syrén
Article: Whole-cell Mediated Carboxylation of 2-Furoic Acid Towards the Production of Renewable Platform Chemicals and Biomaterials External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

Electrochemical oxidation

Oxidation of organic compounds using a palladium catalyst and CO from CO2.
Contact: Belén Martín-Matute
Article: Electrochemical Palladium-Catalyzed Oxidative Carbonylation-Cyclization of Enallenols External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

1C synthons

Direct use of CO2 as a one-carbon synthon for synthetic organic chemistry.
Contact: Belén Martín-Matute
Article: Manuscript in progress
Status: Work in progress

Isolation of chemicals from textile waste (1)

Isolation of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) from cotton, polyester/cotton, and acrylic/cotton waste fabrics by acid catalysed hydrolysis.
Contact: Aji Mathew
Cellulose Nanocrystals from Postconsumer Cotton and Blended Fabrics: A Study on Their Properties, Chemical Composition, and Process Efficiency External link, opens in new window.
Cellulose Nanocrystals (CNCs) Derived from Dyed and Bleached Textile Waste External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

Isolation of chemicals from textile waste (2)

Processing of citrated cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) from cotton and recycling of reagents.
Contact: Aji Mathew
Article: Citrated cellulose nanocrystals from post-consumer cotton textiles Opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

Recycling of polyester textiles by organocatalysis

A tool to regenerate building blocks pthatalic acid and ethylene glycol from discarded PET for use in virgin fiber production of the same.
Contact: Joseph Samec
Article: Recycling of Polyesters by Organocatalyzed Methanolysis Depolymerization: Environmental Sustainability Evaluated by Life Cycle Assessment External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

Thermosets from lignin

Thermosets made from lignin using a byproduct from the forestry industry.
Contact: Joseph Samec
Article: A New Family of Renewable Thermosets: Kraft Lignin Poly-adipates External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use

Reductive electrochemical depolymerization of lignin

Pathway for tailor-made bio-derived molecules for use either as bio-based coatings or as green replacements for lubricant additives.
Contact: Adam Slabon
Article: Electrochemical Depolymerization of Lignin in a Biomass-based Solvent External link, opens in new window.
Status: Ready for use