Professor James Clark

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The 21st century will see fundamental changes in chemical manufacturing and chemical use worldwide. Traditional petroleum resources will gradually be replaced by sustainable resources derived from nature including trees, plants and food and biorefinery wastes. Chemicals determined to be hazardous to the environment will have to be substituted. The unique set of circumstances provides an exciting opportunity for the discovery and application of new green chemistry solutions to these sustainability challenges.

We are investigating a range of green chemical technologies and their application to major chemical challenges. These include environmentally friendly heterogeneous catalysis, energy efficient microwave and ultrasonic-activated processes, supercritical fluid extraction of valuable chemicals from plants, and novel materials derived from biomass. Recent breakthroughs in the York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence include the isolation of valuable chemicals from wheatstraw, the design of new catalysts for organic chemistry in water (including the conversion of fermentation broths), and the conversion of starch and cellulose into higher value polymeric materials including a new family of carbonaceous materials with enormous applications potential

Green Chemistry and Biorefinery

Other new research areas in the Centre include greener pharmaceuticals, the recovery of valuable chemicals from waste electronic goods, and new sustainable routes to consumer chemical products.

Researchers are generally involved in collaborative projects involving other researchers, industry and other Universities worldwide, and get involved at all project stages from discovery to application.

Image of Starbon
Production of mesoporous carbon bycontrollable pyrolysis of expanded starch