Johnson Matthey launches UK-China low carbon research consortium accelerating a green future in China

Johnson Matthey, (JM), a global leader in sustainable technologies, today launches a UK-China research consortium to help accelerate China’s low carbon goals. JM, in collaboration with Fudan University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Xiamen University, and Oxford University will work together on scientific research focussed on how CO2 can be used in green bulk chemicals production.

One of the first projects, over the next four years, will look at formic acid, which has the potential to build a cleaner and healthier world by incorporating green hydrogen and above ground carbon into chemicals.

Each member of the consortium is a world leading catalysis and chemistry group with specialities: Fudan University provides NMR study of catalyst structures and reaction mechanisms, carbon-based energy conversion, and heterogeneous catalyst design and characterisation, Hong Kong Polytechnic University brings surface science and characterisation facilities, Xiamen University contributes catalysis competencies as it is one of the largest catalyst groups in China with a national lab, and the University of Oxford shares technical expertise in advanced functional materials and interfaces, heterogeneous catalysis, and energy and sustainable chemistry.

Dr. Mark Su, President – China at Johnson Matthey, says: “We know we can only accelerate progress through strategic partnerships. By working with world leading universities, collectively we will be able to acquire and leverage technological capabilities which can help to provide the low carbon solutions that help China achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.”

Dr. Edman Tsang, Professor of Oxford University, says. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work closely with JM and our Chinese collaborators towards China’s low carbon/net zero in green synthesis through this consortium. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. I am really looking forward to address such a grand challenge.”

Dr. Youzhu Yuan, Professor of Xiamen University, says: “Formic acid is one of the fundamental organic chemical raw materials, an ideal carrier for hydrogen energy and a key step in carbon cycle. As an important organic C1 resource, formic acid has the following advantages over gaseous CO2 and CO: easy to transport as it is in liquid form at ambient condition; high temperature and high pressure can be avoided in the reaction process and it’s more favourable thermodynamically when it is used as an alkylating reagent. Among them, we especially look forward to the R&D of catalysts for selective alkylation using formic acid as a carbon source.”

Dr. Molly Li, Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, says: “I’m excited that PolyU will work with JM on a novel heterogeneous hydroformylation concept to deliver green chemicals. We hope this strategic research consortium can bring formic acid to a cutting-edge solution for sustainable chemical processes.”

Dr. Lin Ye, Associate Professor at Fudan University, says: “Co-operating on scientific research will lead to greater hydrogen utilization. We hope that our research will demonstrate best practice in environmentally friendly and sustainable catalyst design, reaction route construction and operation.”

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