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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S013768/1
Title: Water as synthetic reaction medium: realising its green chemistry credential
Principal Investigator: Nguyen, Dr BN
Other Investigators:
Kapur, Professor N Blacker, Professor AJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AstraZeneca Asynt Concept Life Sciences
Dr Reddy's Laboratories UK Ltd Imperial College London Sterling Pharma Solutions Ltd.
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2019 Ends: 31 August 2022 Value (£): 871,782
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Synthetic Methodology Manufacturing Machine & Plant
Physical Organic Chemistry
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Oct 2018 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 and 4 October 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project aims to deliver the underpinning tools and design principles to support the use of water as a reaction media in High Value Chemical Manufacture. Water has long been promoted as an environmentally friendly and safe 'green' reaction media for synthetic processes which can lead to much more sustainable and cost effective manufacturing process. Nevertheless, the green credential of water has been limited due to issues related to organic contamination of the water waste stream, cost of subsequent treatment and the often required organic solvents at purification stage.

Water-accelerated reactions, i.e. reactions which proceed faster in water than in organic solvents and wherein organic reactants and products form hydrophobic droplets, are potential game-changers High Value Chemical Manufacture. They benefit from accelerated rates, improved productivity and much improved green metrics through reduction in the use of organic solvents. Their current limitations are: (i) a limited pool of known reactions; (ii) lack of suitable equipment and process understanding; and (iii) insufficient understanding of acceleration effects which can guide discovery and process design.

This project will address these knowledge gaps and deliver the following critical outputs, identified through discussion with our industrial partners in chemical industry sector: (i) a wider range of synthetically useful water-accelerated reactions, (ii) multi-scale batch and flow reactors to support the scale-up pathway for water-accelerated processes, (iii) standardised protocols for characterising such processes and basic process understanding for scaling up, and (iv) streamlined workup/product purification and recycling of water to truly deliver green processes. These outputs will have transformative impacts in the chemical manufacture industry, delivering lower cost and better quality controlled processes through shorter routes, reduced organic waste and facile interfacing between chemo- and biocatalytic processes.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk