Sustainable applications and solar energy conversion
in focus for Mistra SafeChem research group
The development of materials and methods for sustainable applications and solar energy conversion is the focus of the research group led by Adam Slabon, now professor in inorganic chemistry at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. We asked him some questions in our series of news articles about the work in the research groups of Mistra SafeChem.
Who are the members of your group?
– I am leading a research group of currently four senior researchers, six PhD students and one technician. We are very international because we have group members from Europe, Africa and Asia. It is the science that brings us and the different cultures all together to elaborate on the important scientific challenges of today, Adam Slabon says.
In what field are you focusing?
– Our research is on the development of materials and methods for sustainable applications and solar energy conversion. These research interests are interdisciplinary at the crossroads of inorganic chemistry, (photo)electrochemistry and materials science. We are also working closely with several companies, and this provides us with the chance to stay connected to recent developments in the industry. This is also one key reason why I am very happy to be part of the Mistra SafeChem programme.
From which research areas have your group published scientific articles so far?
– We have developed within Mistra SafeChem a new methodology for nanoscale spectroscopy to investigate samples that could be potentially toxic. This has become our reference for developing biobased and environment-friendly substitutes. We have also developed metal-free catalysts that do not represent any hazard at the end of the life cycle.
What have you learned that can be useful for others in the programme?
– I would consider the connection of our research to the toxicology and life-cycle analysis part of Safechem especially inspiring because it allowed us to expand our knowledge beyond chemistry. Mistra SafeChem has been also an exciting platform for the collaboration with our industrial partners Krahnen and AC2T research, which is also reflected by the articles that we have published together as a partnership between academia and industry.
Could you mention any result that you are particularly proud of?
– I am especially proud of every graduated PhD student and postdoctoral researcher who has continued their careers in academia or industry. When it comes to scientific results, I am sharing the same enthusiasm for each of the projects of my group’s PhD students and senior researchers. I would therefore pick our latest paper External link, opens in new window. which is currently in print in ChemSusChem. This work has been published within the Mistra SafeChem programme and demonstrates an electrochemical method to depolymerize the biopolymer lignin using a biomass-derived solvent in the form of levulinic acid.