Photo-Electro: Transforming Chemical Synthesis, Discovery and Manufacture is a partnership between the Universities of Nottingham, Bristol, and Southampton.
The goal is to use continuous photochemistry and electrochemistry to transform how fine chemicals, agrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals are manufactured in the UK. In addition, the programme is supported by 25 industrial partners.
We aim to minimise the amount of chemicals, solvents, and processing steps needed to construct complex molecules by exploiting light and/or electricity to promote more specific chemical transformations and cleaner processes. By linking continuous photochemistry and electro-chemistry with thermal flow chemistry and environmentally acceptable solvents, we will create a toolkit with the power to transform all aspects of chemical synthesis from initial discover through to chemical manufacturing routes. Historically photo- and electro-chemistry have been under-utilised in academia and industry because they are perceived to be complicated to use, difficult to scale up and engineer into viable processes despite their obvious environmental, energy and cost benefits. We will combine the strategies and the skills needed to overcome these barriers and will open up new areas of science particularly to:
- provide routes to novel molecular architectures, hard to reach or even inaccessible by conventional methodologies
- eliminate many toxic reagents by rendering them unnecessary
- minimise solvent usage by smart recycling
- promote a new ethos for synthetic route planning