Directions for Catalysts: Biofuels to Self-Healing Planes

Catalysts are the technology at the heart of the majority of industrial chemical processes, their ability to selectively and efficiently convert simple chemical building blocks into more advanced materials being crucial in these processes. This lecture will present two new directions for catalysts from my research group. Firstly, the discovery of catalysts for the upgrading of simple alcohols such as (bio) methanol and ethanol into drop-in replacements for liquid fuels such as petrol will be described. We have extended this technology to be tolerant to real fermentation broths, using alcohols drinks such as beer as a model feedstock. Secondly, we have been working on the development of self-healing carbon fibre reinforced composite materials of the type widely used in aerospace applications. Again, catalysts are the technology at the heart of achieving new materials that can repair themselves with almost full recovery of mechanical properties.