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Cooperation towards a sustainable chemical industry

Project description

CO2 may soon be taking its rightful place in sustainable organic synthesis

Carbon forms the backbone of all organic compounds and organic molecules present in numerous products including gasoline and natural gas, plastics, detergents, dyes, food additives and medicines. The typical starting materials for the industrial synthesis of these compounds are fossil fuels. The potential environmental and economic benefits of using CO2 as a feedstock have been known for decades. However, few industrial processes have been successful. The strong bonds in CO2 are not particularly reactive, requiring significant energy and harsh catalysts and conditions that result in large greenhouse gas footprints. CO2PERATE is developing processes using CO2 and biomass as starting materials and non-precious metal catalysts. Their goal is the sustainable CO2-based synthesis of numerous chemicals for industrial and pharmaceutical applications.


Our society depends on thousands of indispensable molecules such as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, dyes, and coatings. Such products are synthesized from starting materials that originate from fossil resources, mainly oil. As oil is depleting, alternative starting materials are needed. CO2 is a benign and sustainable carbon source, which in analogy to natural photosynthetic processes can be used to form chemical building blocks. However, despite the potential ascribed to CO2, the scope of chemicals available from CO2 remains narrow. In particular, the number of syntheses leading to carbon-carbon (C-C) bond formation from CO2 is limited, although C-C linkages constitute the core of all organic molecules. The CO2PERATE consortium is a cooperation between 3 industrial and 7 academic nodes, with a simple but essential vision: Training of European researchers in the synthesis of indispensable molecules from sustainable carbon sources and with sustainable catalysts. The main focus is on using CO2 as a synthon in C-C bond formation leading to industrially relevant compounds. In order to develop fully sustainable processes, CO2PERATE will react CO2 with biomass-derived starting materials and will use non-precious metal catalysts. The development of CO2-based synthetic pathways is highly beneficial not only for the chemical industry but also for pharmaceutical applications. In particular, CO2PERATE will have major impact on carbon-based isotopic labelling, which is an area of great economic value. The CO2PERATE research program unites leading expertise in catalysis, organic synthesis, computational modelling, isotopic labelling, process plant development, and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and chemical additives. The research will be complemented by training in transferable skills, including entrepreneurship, patenting, outreach and open science, alongside personally adapted career development, with mentoring, intersectorial exchange, and international mobility.


Net EU contribution
€ 584 684,64
Hansine hansens veg 14
9019 Tromso

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Norge Nord-Norge Troms og Finnmark
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (9)