Laboratory of Sustainable and Catalytic Processing

The Laboratory of Sustainable and Catalytic Processing is generally interested in reaction engineering at fluid solid interfaces. Applications of such systems include:

  • Biomass conversion
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Lignin chemistry
  • Biocatalysis
  • Green solvents
  • Bioplastics
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Recent news

© 2022 EPFL

Sustainable polyesters by functionalization of lignocellulosic sugars

— In our paper published in Nature Chemistry, we developed a novel xylose-based platform for plastics by functionalizing xylose with glyoxylic acid in a single step. This new chemical platform molecule, diglyoxylic acid xylose (DGAX), and the corresponding dimethyl ester, dimethylglyoxylate xylose (DMGX), are stable, can be synthesized at high yields (>85%) and be used as the building block for new bio-based polymers. When polymerized with diols, the cyclic rigid and polar precursors lead to biopolyesters with competitive properties and end-of-life.

© 2021 EPFL

Diformylxylose as a new polar aprotic solvent produced from biomass

— Xylose-derived diformylxylose (DFX) can be produced in a single step from biomass. In our paper published in Green Chemistry, we show that DFX can act as a novel polar aprotic bio-based solvent similarly to DMF, NMP, and DMSO in alkylation, cross-coupling, and hydrogenation reactions. We demonstrate that DFX possesses unique solvation properties — high polarity and high hydrogen-bond accepting ability. Physical properties of DFX such as high boiling (237°C) and melting point (48°C) indicate a lower risk of human exposure and the environmental impact due to low volatility. Finally, toxicological assessment shows that DFX is a non-mutagenic and non-carcinogenic molecule. Overall, low production cost, high performance, non-mutagenic nature, and renewability make DFX a promising bio-based alternative to traditional polar aprotic solvents.

© 2021 EPFL

Modeling of enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass

— Understanding how the digestibility of lignocellulosic biomass is affected by its morphology is essential to design efficient processes for biomass deconstruction. In this study, we used a model based on a set of partial differential equations describing the evolution of the substrate morphology to investigate the interplay between experimental conditions and the physical characteristics of biomass particles as the reaction proceeds. Our model carefully considers the overall quantity of cellulase present in the hydrolysis mixture and explores its interplay with the available accessible cellulose surface.

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Nathalie Matthey-de-l’Endroit (Secretary)

[email protected]

+41 21 69 35982

Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Institut des sciences et ingénierie chimiques
CH H2 535 (Bâtiment CH)
Station 6
CH-1015 Lausanne

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