"The principal goal of “BIFUNC-NANOCAT” is to develop efficient and selective bi-functional catalyst systems having both acid/base catalysed and an oxidation functionalities for the valorisation of biomass to produce bulk/speciality chemicals effectively in an environmentally benign route. Oxidative valorisation of the lignin and cellulosic constituents of biomass for the production of value added products by bi-functional heterogeneous catalysts using environmentally benign oxidants like O2 or H2O2 in a green solvent medium is the key aspect. The proposed bifunctional nano-alloy catalyst will also be tested for the oxidation of bio-renewable feedstock materials (platform molecules) and model compounds using green oxidants like O2 or H2O2 in an ionic liquid medium replacing stoichiometric oxidants like permanganates or chromates. We intend to use the catalysed oxidative dehydrogenation of bio-renewable benzylic alcohols (e.g. veratryl alcohol, vanillyl alcohol and cinnamyl alcohol) as a substrate activating strategy for the synthesis of amines, benzimidazoles, and as a general strategy for the N-alkylation of amines in a single pot. In situ spectroscopic techniques, like ATR-IR, UV-Vis, Raman, along with X-ray absorption methods (e.g. XAFS, including XANES and EXAFS as well as related microscopy methods, such as STXM), coupled with isotopic labelling studies would be employed to understand the interaction between substrates and catalysts, especially to characterize the adsorbed species and the compositional effects of the nano-alloys made and during catalytic reaction. It is proposed to study the feasibility of performing some of the above mentioned reactions in a continuous fashion using different reactors like fixed bed reactor (FBR), micropacked bed reactors (MPBR)."
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