Accessibility statement

Dr Thomas Farmer

01904 324479

Research Interests

Green Chemistry, clean synthesis, bio-based chemicals, sustainable chemistry, heterogeneous catalysis, microwave reactors, flow reactors, ultrasound reactors, polymer synthesis and characterisation.

Thomas Farmer research

Dr Thomas Farmer is leader of the Clean Synthesis Technology Platform in the University of York’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE), where he manages a team of researchers investigating the greener synthesis of sustainable chemicals and materials. Tom’s major research interests are:

  • The production of bio-derived building block chemicals (so called platform molecules) from biomass
  • Conversion of these platform molecules to higher-value products such as monomers and polymers, solvents, metal chelators, antioxidants, surfactants and pharmaceuticals
  • The synthesis of novel monomers from biomass, and how these go on to effect the characteristics of polymers produced from them
  • Improving the end-of-life options for polymers through enhanced bio-degradability or facilitation of recycling methods. This approach can be used to further develop a genuine Circular Economy
  • Investigating new sustainable heterogeneous catalysts produced from biomass
  • Developing new standard test methods to assist in the certification and labelling of bio-based products, thus helping to promote a bio-based economy
  • The application of cleaner synthetic methods including new sustainable solvents, electrochemistry or the use of microwave, ultrasound and flow reactors

Since 2012 Tom has been a tutor on the departments successful MSc in Green Chemistry & Sustainable Industrial Technology course. Tom’s is a co-investigator on a large EPSRC project (Sustainable Polymers, EP/L017393/1) studying the formation of various polymer classes using bio-derived platform molecules and waste carbon dioxide. He is also a co-investigator on a BBSRC/IUK project (EnzPoly, BB/N023595/1) investigating the use of new bio-based monomers for the synthesis of polymers via enzymatic catalysis, and the influence of this on the physical properties and bio-degradability of the resultant plastics. Tom previously managed the University of York’s involvement on two European Commission funded projects to develop and promote new standard test methods and certification for bio-based products (see KBBPPS and OpenBio).

Selected Publications

Tom's Research in the Media

Value creation from biomass through bio-chemicals – Part 1, Tom’s first interview with NC Partnering, August 2016

Value creation from biomass through bio-chemicals – Part 2, Tom’s second interview with NC Partnering, September 2016

The case for new biobased platform chemicals, Tom’s interview with Bio-based Press, April 2016

How a footballer’s wonder chemical could change the world – a scientist explains, article in The Conversation, November 2015

Thomas Farmer

York Research Database link