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The University of Southampton
Clean Carbon

Chemistry and ‘Clean Carbon’ Combine for Energy-Efficient Chemical Technologies

Published: 22 March 2016
A featured spot for Robert Raja et al - the team's nanoparticle catalyst design

The latest issue of the prestigious Chemistry and Sustainability journal, CHEMSUSCHEM, has chosen to feature a paper by Clean Carbon member, Dr Robert Raja and his team – their stunning catalyst design is highlighted on the front cover. The article: Design of highly selective platinum nanoparticle catalysts for the aerobic oxidation of KA-oil using continuous-flow chemistry, describes a sustainable, energy-efficient method for the manufacture of nylon-6, which mitigates the generation of greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and other inorganic waste that ends up in landfill. This is part of an on-going industrial collaboration with Honeywell, USA, who are one of the largest producers of nylon-6.

By 2019, the nylon industry is predicted to be valued at $14 billion. Apart from clothing, the fibre is used in many products, from toothbrushes to fishing nets and carpets to guitar strings. The complex, multistep chemical process generates large volumes of inorganic and carbon-based chemical waste.

Using their patented catalyst design, Dr Raja's team have developed a platinum nanoparticle catalyst, which affords exceedingly high selectivities and atom-efficiencies for the target product in a continuous fashion. This offers processing and scale-up benefits from an industrial standpoint, while simultaneously eliminating the need for carbon capture and storage, which brings its own associated environmental and economic benefits.

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