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Thursday 17 Sep 2015[NEST seminar] Sustainable Carbon Materials and Chemicals from Biomass Hydrothermal Processes

Prof Maria-Magdalena Titirici - School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London

HAR/170 (3D Visualisation Suite) 13:30-14:30

Professor Magdalena Titirici

Keywords: hydrothermal carbonization, porous carbon, energy storage, heterogeneous catalysis

The development of sustainable materials is very important in order to address the challenges presented by the global energy, food and water demands. Such sustainable materials should be of low cost, scalable, economically attractive, based on renewable and highly abundant resources and of great performance for the applications they were design for. In particular carbon nanomaterials have been recently recognized as being of extreme importance to the developing field of renewable energy generation and storage. Therefore, new materials based on carbon, ideally produced via inexpensive, low energy consumption methods, using renewable resources as precursors, with flexible morphologies, pore structures and functionalities, are desired.

Hydrothermal carbonization [1] is an ideal technology and a green chemistry approach for the production of such low-cost but highly performing carbon materials out of abundant and renewable precursors such as biopolymers extracted from agricultural crops or food waste. The practical approach is very simple and consists in placing the natural bio-derived precursor inside an autoclave, in water, followed by hydrothermal treatment overnight at 160-250C. Since the production of carbon materials in general implies harsher and multi-step methodologies along with fossil-based precursors, this process has clear advantages in terms
of sustainability and cost.

During this talk, I wish to present some of our latest results on the production and characterization of nanostructured hydrothermal carbons (HTC) from various biopolymers including the production of carbon fibers from Lignin and their use in renewable energy related applications, [2], [3].
I will also present some results on the use these carbon materials as heterogenous catalysts to convert levulinic acid obtained in the liquid phase after biomass hydrothermal treatment into other platform chemicals such as levulinate esters or gamma-valerolactone [4].

[1] M.-M. Titirici, R. J. White, C. Falco, M. Sevilla, Energy & Environmental Science 2012, 5, 6796-
[2] K. Tang , L. Fu , R J. White , L. Yu , M. Antonietti , J. Maier, M. M. Titirici , Adv. Energy Materials,
2012, 2, 873-877
[3] N. Brun, S. A. Wohlgemuth, P. Osiceanu, M. M. Titirici, Green Chem., 2013, 15, 2514-2524
[4] F. Pileidis, M. Tabassum, S. Coutts, M. M. Ttitirici, Chinese Journal of Catalysis, 2014, 35, 929-936

Short Bio - Prof. Magdalena Titirici

Magdalena Titirici obtained her PhD at the University of Dortmund, Germany in 2005. Between 2006-2012 she led the group "Sustainable Carbon Materials" at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany where she also did her "Habilitation". In 2013 Magda became an Associate Professor in Materials Science Queen
Mary University of London. She was promoted to a full Professorship in Sustainable Materials Chemistry in 2014. Prof. Titirici is the author of around 100 publications in the field of sustainable materials and green nanochemistry, several book chapters and one edited book. She is in the editorial board of ChemSusChem (Wiley) and J. Mater. Chem. A (RSC) and an associate editor for J. Mater. Chem. A. Her research interests include porous materials, hydrothermal carbonisation, innovative utilisation of biomass, CO2 sequestration, electrocatalysis in fuel cells as well as energy storage in secondary batteries and supercapacitors.

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