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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y015754/1
Title: Developing a Future Green Chemical Economy through Aluminium Bimetallics
Principal Investigator: Weetman, Dr C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Pure and Applied Chemistry
Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 January 2024 Ends: 31 December 2026 Value (£): 468,874
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Co-ordination Chemistry
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Jul 2023 EPSRC Physical Sciences Prioritisation Panel- July 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Tomorrow's chemistry needs greater use of more sustainable resources in keeping with the "United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". In the pressing need for more sustainable methodologies, main group elements are considered attractive as viable alternatives to established precious transition metal-based systems, owing to their high natural abundance and low-cost. This is due to the ability to manipulate main group elements (e.g., Mg, Al, Si etc.) into low-oxidation and low-coordinate environments and which makes them highly reactive species with behaviour more like transition metals. However, accessing these reactive species is extremely challenging due to the stability of the higher oxidation state. Therefore, to truly compete with transition metals and capitalise on the green advantages of main group elements, innovations into how to influence and control facile reductive elimination at main group centres are required.

To meet this challenge, inspiration is drawn from some of nature's best catalysts, namely metalloenzymes, wherein two metal centres are combined in a metal-metal bonded framework within their active site. This combination enables facile bond-breaking (oxidative addition) and selective bond-forming reactions (reductive elimination) to occur, depending on the energy requirements of the cell. It is the metal-metal bond, and thus bimetallic nature of the system, that has been highlighted as the main driving force in enabling control over these transformations.

Therefore, it is my research vision to be able to replicate nature with sustainable main group elements as part of the core bimetallic framework, in particular aluminium, as this will provide an innovative solution to overcome the challenging reductive elimination step. This will be achieved through synthesising novel metal-metal bonded systems and developing an understanding of their nature through a combined experimental and theoretical approach. I believe that such an a posteriori strategy fully understanding the properties of main group elements is essential towards the realisation of a future green economy.

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Organisation Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk