Membrane-Grafted Asymmetric Organocatalyst for an Integrated Synthesis-Separation Platform
Authors: Christos Didaskalou, Jozsef Kupai, Levente Cseri, Julia Barabas, Elemer Vass, Tibor Holtzl, Gyorgy Szekely
Journal: ACS Catalysis
Publication Date: 02 July, 2018
Department of: Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science
Killing two birds with one stone: a single material simultaneously tackles catalysis and purification
Sustainable manufacturing is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Researchers at the University of Manchester with colleagues in Budapest have recently bridged the gap between synthesis and separations to achieve a sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing platform.
This research introduced the concept of grafting organocatalysts onto polymer-based membranes, which solves the problem of catalyst recovery and product purification in a single step. This is especially important in pharmaceutical synthesis, where separations can account for as much as 80% of the total manufacturing cost. The membrane-assisted catalysis eliminates the need for tedious purification via conventional methods such as chromatography.
The researchers have developed a catalytic membrane reactor for the integrated synthesis and separation, which allows for a small footprint, compact synthetic platform. The achieved carbon footprint reduction of about 90% demonstrates how innovative materials and processes are carving out a sustainable future. The research outcomes are expected to trigger a paradigm shift in organocatalysis, and open up new possibilities for reducing the environmental burden posed by a breadth of industries, in particular fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals.