In the first part of this webinar, hear from Professor Cameron Weber about some ways that alternative solvents such as ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents can be designed towards the replacement of hazardous solvents and the creation of more efficient chemical processes. Following that, Professor Tony (Antonio) Patti will share about the valuable chemical components present in food waste and other plant biomass from agricultural production and related food processing. A number of examples of recovery of such components using green chemistry approaches will be described.
Ionic liquids, low melting salts, and deep eutectic solvents, mixtures that form room temperature liquids, are frequently referred to as designer solvents due to the sheer number of potential solvents that can be prepared. One of the challenges of the enormous scope of potential solvents available is to decide on key criteria for solvent selection. In this presentation, two separate projects will be discussed that both feature solvent selection and design as a central theme. In the first, the design and preparation of deep eutectic solvents that possess hydrogen bonding capabilities comparable to fluorinated alcohols will be discussed, alongside the characterisation of their polarity and physical properties. The second will discuss the consequences of ionic liquid structural features on alcohol dehydration processes, reactions that are central to the utilisation of lignocellulosic biomass for the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals.
Globally, one third of food produced for human consumption is categorised as lost or waste, which equates to 1.3 billion tonnes per annum. Our approach in finding value in the food and other agricultural waste is to conduct a detailed analysis of what is present in the material. This includes quantifying and extracting the lipids, hemicellulose, cellulose, protein, lignin and dietary fibre Depending on the substrate, investigation continues into the more highly valued compounds such as pectin, polyphenols, oils and other extractives from biomass components such as the peels and seeds. This presentation will cover a number of examples of recovering such valuable components. In all cases, Green Chemistry principles are applied to develop innovative extraction methods. For some waste streams that are rich in plant essential nutrients, application of the waste back into the agricultural systems is a necessary option to consider.
Professor Cameron Weber
Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
BSc(Adv)(Hons) and PhD, University of Sydney,
Dr. Cameron Weber is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemical Sciences and a Deputy Director of the Centre for Green Chemical Science at the University of Auckland. He completed his undergraduate degree and PhD at the University of Sydney before taking up postdoctoral research positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Imperial College London including a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship held at Imperial College London. He moved to Auckland in 2017, firstly as a Lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology before taking up his current position at the University of Auckland in 2019. His research focuses on alternative solvents such as ionic liquids, deep eutectic solvents and switchable solvents including understanding their fundamental liquid structure, their effect on chemical reactivity and their use in extraction and separation processes.
Professor Tony (Antonio) Patti,
Professor, School of Chemistry, Monash University
BSc (Hons) PhD (Chemistry), University of Melbourne, Grad Dip in Education (ACU),
Tony Patti is a Professor in the School of Chemistry at Monash University. Tony has over 35 years of experience in tertiary education and as a university researcher. His research interests are focused on green chemistry approaches for the utilisation of biomass feedstocks for extraction, processing and production of valuable chemicals for numerous applications. Applications of green chemistry in agriculture are of particular interest and he has undertaken several projects involving soil chemistry, fertiliser development and understanding the role of natural organic matter in the soil. He has also undertaken extensive consulting research and development with numerous companies in areas related to organic amendments for agriculture and food waste valorisation. In early 2020 he was appointed Director of the ARC funded Industrial Transformation Training Centre for “Green Chemistry in Manufacturing”. He is also the Course Director for the Monash Master of Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technologies. He has a strong commitment to PhD and postgraduate training in green chemistry and improving the employability of PhD graduates.
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