Biorenewables and waste valorisation towards lubricant additives

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


The additive industry relies heavily on fossil fuel derived chemicals such as isobutylene and isoprene for the large-scale manufacturing of lubricants, viscosity modifiers and other additives. This research aims to address the reliance on crude oil derived chemicals by looking at sustainably sourced monomers through waste valorisation or bio renewables to produce polymers for the additive industry.

Proposed solution and methodology

In order to achieve the aim of this project, the research will begin by exploring sources of waste and bio-renewables. It is important to highlight that the materials of interest in this research should not compete with food production. They should allow responsible consumption and production and should not detriment life on land, avoiding for example, problems associated with palm oil production. These aims align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goals 2 (zero hunger), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 15 (life on land).

This research will consider a variety of approaches to converting waste materials into monomers and polymers for the additive industry. These will include bioconversions, for example, using enzymes, bacteria or fungi. Many bioconversions are known to take place under mild conditions, which adds to the green credentials of this research.

Additionally, this research will investigate the use of catalysis to facilitate the conversions of waste materials into compounds of interest. When considering metal catalysis, earth abundant metal catalysts will be of prime interest due to their lower cost and higher abundance compared to rarer earth metals.

In addition to these proposed methodologies, this research will look to incorporate other green chemical processes, such as the use of supercritical CO2 as a greener solvent. This should help to avoid or minimise the use of more traditional volatile organic compounds.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022236/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2284647 Studentship EP/S022236/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Philippa Jacob