Biorefinery electrochemical processing for the production of value-added products from sugars

01/02/2018 - 31/01/2022

A Biorefinery is an ensemble of conversion processes and  equipment to produce fuels, power and platform chemicals from biomass. In particular, platform chemicals derived from biomass have a variety of applications, ranging from the production of pharmaceuticals, bio-plastics, bio-detergents, food ingredients and other specialty chemicals. The manufacture of chemicals in a Biorefinery nowadays is done using three type of processes: fermentation processes, thermochemical processes and chemocatalytic processes (bioforming). Towards the electrification of the Chemical Industry, the aim of my project is to apply Electrosynthesis to Biorefinery, to convert biomass (more specifically sugars) into value-added products (mainly carboxylic acids) by means of electrochemical processes. Electrocatalytic organic synthesis, in fact, in addition to being environmentally friendly, provides a powerful tool to control the reaction rate and selectivity through electrode potential and current, as well as conventional catalytic means. In this context, my research focuses on the design and optimization of the catalyst (heterogeneous) and of the reaction conditions in order to maximize the yield of the products of interest.