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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H029567/1
Title: Novel precious metal nanocatalyst made by biofabrication
Principal Investigator: Macaskie, Professor LE
Other Investigators:
Shannon, Dr IJ Wood, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr K Deplanche
Project Partners:
C-Tech Innovation Ltd Roads to Riches
Department: Sch of Biosciences
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Follow on Fund
Starts: 01 January 2010 Ends: 30 June 2011 Value (£): 159,200
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioprocess Engineering Catalysis & Applied Catalysis
Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Oct 2009 Follow On Fund 7 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Precious metal catalysts are key to many processes in chemical industry (e.g. hydrogenations, oxidations, syntheses), environment (automotive catalysts, fuel cells) and medicine (metallic nanoparticles). In general different catalysts are used for different processes. Recently the potential benefits of being able to use bimetallic catalysts have been appreciated but these types of catalyst are difficult to make by conventional methods, and may give products of inconsistent quality.As part of an ongoing EPSRC project we evaluated the potential for using bacteria to biomanufacture precious metal catalysts, while a sister BBSRC project is, in parallel, evaluating the potential for sourcing precious metals from wastes: together these projects have demonstrated a 'one stop shop' microbial method to biomanufacturing new, active, catalysts from wastes. The ongoing EPSRC project has shown a new method to make a bimetallic catalyst based on Au and Pd. Bimetallic catalysts are 'next generation': they can achieve high selectivities and reactions that single metal catalysts cannot. Pd/Au bimetallic catalysts are not yet commercially available although the catalyst industry is working hard to achieve this goal. Within a short, internally-funded development study we showed high selectivity by biomanufactured Pd/Au bimetallic in a typical alcohol oxidation; the selectivity was accompanied by a high activity, neither of which were achieved by commercial single metal comparators. This, and the high scalability of biomanufacturing systems, prompted this FoF bid, the purpose of which is to facilitate and enable the transition from benchtop demonstration to commercial prototype. For the latter we will utilise two novel catalyst formulation methods brought by collaborations, namely (a) metallic nanoparticles supported on carbon spheres and (b) a novel immobilisation method yielding highly cohesive bacteria which hold the precoius metal nanoparticles/bimetallics tightly.We will manufacture test quantities of both new materials and evaluate their potential in oxidation reactions of known commercial relevance. We will also test the potential for the new 'Bio-Pd/Au' as a fuel cell (FC) catalyst via extant collaboration with a FC expert. . Using (a) suspended metallised bacterial cells and (b) bionanocatalyst made by the two new attachment methods we will evaluate not only total catalyst activity but catalyst re-usability in repeated reaction cycles, with particular emphasis on durability and lack of attrition, ensuring nanocatalyst retention and complete separation from the product stream without fragmentation. In parallel with the technical tasks business development will proceed with the assistance ot two associated Fellowships dedicated to business development, a company Partner who wishes to initiate a new joint venture, and a current Partner who will take the lead in organising dissemination activity to the market audience via a dissemination workshop. With IP filing imminent, there wil be no barrier to dissemination; indeed, a manuscript is awaiting submission to 'Science' in the immediate future, with several additional high profile disseminations anticipated. These we propose to achieve within the project's lifetime
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk