plants in test tubes, lab equipment, male researcher in lab

Natural Solvents & Biolubricants

Wood pellets, test tubes, researcher in lab

Clean Synthesis & Platform Molecules

starbons, researcher with bioboard, wheat

Renewable Materials

beaker, grass, researcher working with microwave

Microwave Chemistry


Research Projects



Research Group Members

Led by Professor James Clark, the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence has a long established reputation for working closely with industry and fostering interdisciplinary research through close collaboration with chemical engineering and other disciplines.

The research areas of the Centre cover a broad spectrum of subjects and involve both fundamental and applied research. We concentrate on developing new applications and providing practical solutions for existing industrial processes. This involves improvement of the processes both in terms of their environmental performance and efficiency through the application of catalysis, alternative solvents and reagents, and novel reactor technologies.

The group works at the frontiers of green chemistry research in the following areas:

Renewable Materials (led by Dr Avtar Matharu)

  • Physical and chemical modification of natural abundant materials, especially polysaccharides
  • Projects include Starbons (new carbonaceous materials derived from starch) and new “bio-boards” made entirely of green and sustainable components 

Clean Synthesis and Platform Molecules (led by Dr Thomas Farmer)

  • Developing cleaner manufacturing technologies and processes
  • Maximising effeciency and minimising waste in the production of a range of chemicals
  • Interests covering the use of solid catalysts and alternative solvents to “green” reactions

Alternative Solvents (led by Dr Andy Hunt)

  • Focuses on the use of both natural and bio-derived solvents in applications including extraction and fractionation of waxes from waste biomass
  • Organic chemistry, product cleaning, material development, impregnation and utilisation of computer models to predict the effects of solvents in chemical reactions

Microwave Chemistry (led by Dr Vitaly Budarin)

  • Using microwaves in the conversion of biomass (e.g. forestry and agricultural wastes, food waste, etc.) to useful products
  • Valuable products include liquid & solid fuels, and chemicals from sustainable sources of carbon

CO2, Polymers and Catalysis (led by Prof Michael North)

  • Utilising waste biomass and carbon dioxide as alternative (and sustainable) carbon sources for the chemicals industry.
  • We combine these sustainable feedstocks with catalytic transformations using processes that require little or no energy input to develop sustainable alternatives for the production of important chemicals.