Awardees of the 2019 IUPAC-Zhejiang NHU International Award for Advancements in Green Chemistry

We are delighted to announce that the first four recipients of the recently established IUPAC -Zhejiang NHU International Award for Advancements in Green Chemistry go to Mingxin Liu from McGill University, Xiaofu Sun from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, Julian West from Rice University, TX, and to Fabio Aricò from the Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia, Italy.

The awards will be presented during the closing ceremony of the IUPAC Congress in Paris on Friday, 12 July 2019. The awardees are invited to attend a special Symposium 8.5  Chemistry Addressing the UN-17 Sustainable Development Goals”, scheduled Monday 8 July afternoon, organized by the IUPAC Interdivisional Committee on Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development, ICGCSD.

The new collaborative award in Green Chemistry has been established to encourage young and experienced chemists, and to emphasize the importance of advancements in Green Chemistry and the value of sciences to human progress.

The first three prizes are awarded to early career chemists:

Mingxin Liu
In recognition of his research in the field of clean redox reactions for aldehyde/alcohol and the application of photosensitizing semiconductors as catalyst for organic transformations.

Mingxin Liu received his PhD from McGill-Montreal under the NSERC-CREATE Leader Program in Green Chemistry. His research aims to develop cutting-edge reactions that minimizes waste in chemical processes while delivers the clean product efficiently, as on the development of unprecedented aldehyde oxidation and reduction reactions to eliminate the high energy cost and excessive waste: he designed powerful yet robust silver and copper catalysts that enable clean and facile aldehyde oxidation and reduction reactions in water and air. Mingxin Liu has also contributed in the development of converting biomass into value-added products and achieving 1,2-diol cleavage into carbonyls. During his postdoctoral research, he developed a highly efficient photocatalytic nitrogen fixation in water catalyzed by gallium nitride, which efficiently activates nitrogen by chemisorption and minimizes charge-hole recombination. He also developed a one-step photo-driven conversion of methanol to ethanol using semiconductor nanowire. |


Xiaofu Sun
In recognition of his research in the design and development of novel routes for CO2 electroreduction into value-added chemicals and fuels

Xiaofu Sun completed his Ph.D at the Institute of Chemistry of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China in 2017, and then he moved to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore as a Research Fellow. Xiaofu’s research focuses on the tailored synthesis of novel nanocomposites for the electroreduction of CO2. The electroreduction of CO2 into various products, such as CO, organic acids, alcohols and hydrocarbons, is an alternative promising green approach for CO2 conversion and utilization, which is an important area of green chemistry. Xiaofu has developed several novel routes for CO2 electroreduction to chemicals and fuels with selectivity and stability, including selective production of C1 products, C2 products and electrochemical formation of C-N bond. His work on electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 is a promising way to store the renewable energy, so making significant contribution to green chemistry. Using CO2 as feedstock for large-scale fabrication of chemicals and fuels via chemical conversion, offers a promising strategy for controlling the global carbon balance and meets the challenges of a sustainable society. |


Julian West
In recognition of his research in the design and development of new synthetic transformations using earth abundant element photocatalysts.

Julian West obtained his Ph.D. at Princeton University and is currently an assistant professor of chemistry at Rice University. His doctoral research concerned the design of a dual catalytic system capable of dehydrogenative transformations using earth abundant elements and light energy. This noble metal-free catalyst combination follows a nature-inspired pathway of high- and low-energy hydrogen atom abstractions (HATs) not only effective for the dehydrogenation of alkanes and alcohols but, also, acceptorless dehydroformylation, or the conversion of aldehydes into alkenes, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen gas. Julian West was also able to demonstrate the uranyl cation as an effective, earth abundant visible light photo-HAT catalyst for C–H fluorination, an important transformation for the synthesis of agrochemicals, materials, and pharmaceuticals. Together, these catalytic reactions enable more streamlined and sustainable synthesis of important organic molecules.
jgwest@rice.edu |


The fourth prize is awarded to an experienced chemist:

Fabio Aricò
In recognition of his achievements employing dialkyl carbonates in biorefinery development and bio-based platform chemicals via chlorine-free chemistry.

Fabio Aricò has started working in the field of Green Chemistry in 2005 after being awarded his Ph.D. at Reading University and post-doc position at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. He is now associate professor of organic chemistry at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy. His research interest within Green Chemistry is to develop innovative reaction pathways focussing on chlorine-free synthetic approaches via dialkyl carbonate (DAC) chemistry. Fabio Aricò has exploited dialkyl carbonates chemistry in the phosgene-free synthesis of carbonates and carbamates with potential applications as monomers for polycarbonate/polyurethane. He also contributed to demonstrate that DACs are highly selective alkylating agents that can be used in substitution of alkyl halides and dimethyl sulphate for alkylation of numerous nitrogen and oxygen substrates. He has reported on the DAC-mediated cyclization reactions can be used as sacrificial molecules in cyclization reaction instead of halogenated compound. As a result, heterocycles have been prepared employing this synthetic approach such as: tetrahydrofuran and furan systems, pyrrolidines, indolines, isoindolines, 1,4-dioxanes, piperidines, benzo-fused 1,4-heterocycles and cyclic carbamates.
In the field of biorefinery, Aricò has investigated the reactivity and preparation of several bio-based platform chemicals with special attention to D-sorbitol, isosorbide, 2,5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) and related derivatives.
Recently, he has started investigating a new family of carbonate defined mustard carbonates that are carbonate analogues of well-known toxic mustard gas. These new compounds are shown to preserve the high reactivity of their mustard gas analogues (via the intrinsic anchimeric effect) without retaining the toxicity. Applications of mustard carbonates reported, include the synthesis of heterocycles via ring expansion and macromolecules preparation.


Winners of IUPAC-Zhejiang NHU International Award will prepare a review article for publication in a coming issue of IUPAC journal Pure and Applied Chemistry. Managed by the Interdivisional Committee on Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development (ICGCSD), the Award will be presented every two years and the next call will be announced in 2020, in advance of the 2021 IUPAC Congress to be held in Montreal, Canada, 13-20 August 2021. For reference and more details about the awards, see 2019 Call for Nominations.

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