Accessibility statement

Dr Duncan Macquarrie

01904 324533

My research falls mainly into two areas – mesoporous materials and microwave chemistry, both very much focussed on biomass valorisation

In the former, I have extensive experience in developing mesoporous silicas using both templated and non-templated routes. Earlier work focussed on organically modified catalytic materials from synthetic precursors, but more recently the focus has been on bioderived systems – for example using silica from combustion ashes (a waste stream form biomass burners) to generate MCM-41 and related systems.[1] this has been extended to produce Carbon silica composites (CSCs) where these materials can be coated with a carbonaceous layer, effectively producing a mesoporous carbon with a strong, structured silica backbone.[2]

More recently in this area, I have been leading a major effort (within the Porous4APP EU project) to scale up Starbon®, a template-free mesoporous carbon derived from waste biomass. This has led to a deeper understanding of this material and the ability to produce it at pilot scale. Applications in catalysis and energy storage have also been explored (eg [3]), and a spin out company now exists to market the material.

Microwave chemistry is a very promising route to biomass deconstruction, and can produce significant enhancements in energy use and product selectivity compared to conventional heating. We have carried out extensive work on the valorisation of biomass, and on the mechanisms of biomass activation, and have started to develop a much more complete understanding of the requirements for successful deconstruction to valuable chemicals.[4] This work is underpinned by a range of lab scale reactors including a cutting edge solid state microwave generator and two multi-kg scale microwave reactors for pilot scale studies. In the area of synthetic chemistry, we have developed a clear mechanistic understanding of the effect of microwaves on a pharmaceutically relevant dealkylation reaction, which shows clear microwave enhancement at higher operating conditions, due to a combination of more rapid energy transfer and interfacial polarisation.[5]

[1] Dodson, J., Cooper, E., Hunt, A.J., Matharu, A.S., Cole, J., Minihan, A., Clark, J.H. & Macquarrie, D.J. (2013). Alkali silicates and structured mesoporous silicas from biomass power station wastes: the emergence of bio-MCMs. Green Chemistry. 15 1203

[2] Synthesis and application of tuneable carbon–silica composites from the microwave pyrolysis of waste paper for selective recovery of gold from acidic solutions K Sotiriou, N Supanchaiyamat,  T Jiang, I Janekarn, A Munoz Garcıa, V L Budarin, D J MacQuarrie  and A J Hunt  RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 25228

[3] S Kim, M De bruyn, J G Alauzun, N Louvain, N Brun, D J Macquarrie, L Stievano, B Boury, L Monconduit, PH Mutin, Alginic acid derived mesoporous carbon  (Starbon ®) as template and reducing agent for the hydrothermal synthesis of mesoporous LiMn2O4 grafted with carbonaceous species. J. Mater. Chem, A, (2018) 6 14392 – 14399

[4] J Fan, M De bruyn, V L Budarin, M J Gronnow, P S Shuttleworth, S W Breeden, D J Macquarrie, J H Clark, Direct Microwave Hydrothermal Depolymerisation of Cellulose, J. Amer. Chem. Soc, 2013, 135 11728

[5] M De bruyn, V Budarin, GSJ Sturm, G D Stefanidis, M Radoiu, A Stankiewicz, D J Macquarrie, Subtle Microwave-Induced Overheating Effects in an Industrial Demethylation Reaction and Their Direct Use in the Development of an Innovative Microwave Reactor, J. Amer Chem Soc, 2017, 139 5431-5436