Green, Less Toxic Catalysts
Catalysts—chemical species that gather around the molecular fragments chain—are at the heart of modern chemical processes. They reduce the energy demand associated with traditional processes, as well as the amount of waste produced by the chemical industry. But the most widely used catalysts today are composed of expensive toxic metals that generate high production costs.
Catalytic transformations routinely occur with the help of metallic species. But Dr. Frédéric-Georges Fontaine, Canada Research Chair in Green Catalystis and Metal-Free Processes, is trying to replace inorganic catalysis with organic species that are less toxic and more affordable. By modifying catalysts’ molecular assembly architecture, Fontaine and his team are able to modulate the reactivity of simple and abundant molecules to transform them into catalysts that are as effective as their metallic counterparts
With the help of modern spectroscopic tools and computational methods, Fontaine is focusing on designing catalysts that can be used in a number of strategic fields—for example, to synthesize drugs, transform carbon dioxide into industrial compounds, or synthesize modern materials for capturing and storing green energy.
Fontaine’s work will help lay a new foundation for chemical practices and develop greener, less polluting industries.