Avondlezing door prof.dr. Lies Bouwman georganiseerd door de Chemische Kring Midden Nederland.
Many bulk chemicals are produced from fossil fuels using stoichiometric chemistry; for example in the production of 1 kg of nylon more than 4 kg of by-products is formed. In attempts to improve these existing (inefficient) industrial processes, only incremental advances are often made because the starting material and main reaction sequence are not changed.
Major improvements, however, can often only be achieved when one considers both alternative feedstock and new catalytic chemistry. Transition metal compounds form an important toolbox for the development of new catalytic reactions.
The main objective of our research is to gain fundamental understanding of the reactivity of transition metal complexes and how to direct this reactivity to novel types of intermediates. One challenging topic is for instance: can we develop a new catalytic reaction to make nylon from biomass?
Elisabeth Bouwman received her PhD degree from Leiden University in 1990 with professor Jan Reedijk on the study of model compounds for copper enzymes. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Delft University of Technology with professor Herman van Bekkum, and at Indiana University (USA) with professor George Christou, for which she obtained a NATO fellowship. She received a KNAW-fellowship in 1991 to start her own research line at Leiden University. In 2010 she was appointed full professor at Leiden University.
Her main areas of expertise are coordination chemistry and homogeneous catalysis, with emphasis on applied research, such as the development of new drying catalysts for alkyd paints, development of new catalytic reactions to epoxy resins, and the study of alternative catalytic routes to produce bulk chemicals: http://mcbim.lic.leidenuniv.nl/.
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