CO2, Polymers and Catalysis

Blend of images showing fermentation, grass and a researcher in a lab.

Sustainable Organic Chemistry

The world’s resources are finite and mankind is currently using them up at a far faster rate than natural processes can replenish them. This is most apparent in the use of fossil fuels, not only as energy sources, but also as the starting material for the production of most commercially available organic chemicals. The overarching goal of Professor Michael North's research is to utilise waste biomass and carbon dioxide as alternative (and sustainable) carbon sources for the chemicals industry. We combine these sustainable feedstocks with catalytic transformations in green solvents (or in the absence of solvent) using processes that require little or no energy input to develop truly sustainable alternatives for the production of important chemicals. More details of specific research projects are given in the pages below.  



More information on our research can be found in the following 2016 publications:

  1. J. A. Castro-Osma, J. R. Dodson, I. D. V. Ingram, M. Moss, M. North, A. Quadrelli, L. Quintana-Gómez, D. Reed, P. Styring and A. Villa-Zaragoza ‘Highlights from Faraday Discussion: Carbon Dioxide Utilisation, Sheffield, UK, September 2015’ Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 232–238.

  2. X. Wu, J. A. Castro–Osma and M. North ‘Synthesis of Chiral Cyclic Carbonates via Kinetic Resolution of Racemic Epoxides and Carbon Dioxide’ Symmetry, 2016, 8, article 4 (doi:10.3390/sym8010004).

  3. Y. A. Rulev, V. A. Larionov, A. V. Lokutova, M. A. Moskalenko, O. L. Lependina, V. I. Maleev, M. North and Y. N. Belokon ‘Stereochemically Inert Chiral Cobalt(III) Complexes as a New Type of Bifuctional Brønsted Acid – Lewis Base Catalyst for the Preparation of Cyclic Organic Carbonates’ ChemSusChem 2016, 9, 216–222.

  4. J. A. Castro–Osma, M. North and X. Wu ‘Synthesis of Cyclic Carbonates Catalysed by Chromium and Aluminium(Salphen) complexes’ Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22, 2100–2107 (hot paper).

  5. J. A. Castro-Osma, M. North, W. K. Offermans, W. Leitner, and T. E. Müller ‘Unprecedented Carbonato Intermediates in Cyclic Carbonate Synthesis Catalysed by Bimetallic Aluminium(Salen) Complexes’ ChemSusChem 2016, 9, 791–794.

  6. J. W. Comerford, S. J. Hart, M. North, and A. C. Whitwood ‘Homogeneous and silica-supported zinc complexes for the synthesis of propylene carbonate from propane-1,2-diol and carbon dioxide’ Cat. Sci. Tech. 2016, 6, 4824–4831.

  7. J. A. Castro-Osma, A. Earlam, A. Lara-Sánchez, A. Otero and M. North ‘Synthesis of oxazolidinones from epoxides and isocyanates catalysed by aluminium heteroscorpionate complexes’ ChemCatChem 2016, 8, 2100–2108.

  8. J. A. Castro-Osma, K. J. Lamb and M. North ‘Cr(salophen) Complex Catalyzed Cyclic Carbonate Synthesis At Ambient Temperature And Pressure’ ACS Catalysis, 2016, 6, 5012–5025.

  9. Y. Bai, M. De bruyn, J. H. Clark, J. R. Dodson, T. J. Farmer, M. Honoré, I. D. V. Ingram, M. Naguib, A. C. Whitwood and M. North ‘Ring opening metathesis polymerisation of a new bio-derived monomer from itaconic anhydride and furfuryl alcohol’ Green Chem. 2016, 18, 3945–3948.

  10. G. Durá, V. L. Budarin, J. A. Castro-Osma, J. H. Clark, M. North, P. S. Shuttleworth and S. C. Z. Quek ‘Enhanced CO2 Capture by Waste-Derived Mesoporous Carbons’ Angewandte Chemie, 2016, 55, 9173–9177.

  11. M. North, ‘Across the Board: Michael North - Ring-Opening Polymerisation’ ChemSusChem, 2016, 9, 2012–2014.

  12. I. D. V. Ingram, M. North and X. Wu ‘Halide free synthesis of cyclic and polycarbonates’ Chapter 15 in ‘Chemistry Beyond Chlorine’ (P. Tundo, L. N. He, E. Lokteva and C. Mota Eds), Springer, 2016.