Vivek Polshettiwar (India) has been awarded the 2022 IUPAC-CHEMRAWN VII Prize for Green Chemistry in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of green chemistry.
Professor Vivek Polshettiwar (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India) works on the development of novel nanomaterials for catalysis, solar energy harvesting, and CO2 capture-conversion to tackle “climate change”. With his group, they have developed next-generation green nanocatalysts via the morphological control of nanomaterials, dendritic fibrous nanosilica (DFNS) whose uniqueness is high surface area resulting from the fibrous structure instead of the formation of pores, making the large surface area easily accessible (Nature Protocol. 2019, 14, 2177-2204). DFNS is now being used for various applications, such as catalysis, photocatalysis, CO2 capture-conversion, RNA extraction from viruses, energy harvesting & storage, drug delivery, etc.
For example, by using the techniques of nanotechnology, Polshettiwar has transformed DFNS-based yellow gold to black gold by changing the size and gaps between gold nanoparticles. Similar to real trees, the developed black gold acts like an artificial tree that uses CO2, sunlight, and water to produce fuel. This work on “Black (nano)Gold” is one-of-its-kind and a way forward to develop “Artificial Trees” which captures and converts CO2 to fuel and valuable chemicals (Chemical Science, 2019, 10, 6694-6603). His group also showed how cooperativity in defects sites of DFNS convert CO2 to fuel (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2020, 117, 6383) and how DFNS can be converted to green solid-acid for waste plastic degradation (Nature Commun. 2020, 11, 3828)
The research field of “Green Catalysis using Fibrous Nanosilica” which Polshettiwar has developed, is now explored by more than 150 groups worldwide (Accounts Chem. Res. 2022, 55, 1395). Polshettiwar is now trying to commercialize these technologies for solar energy harvesting, CO2 capture and conversion to green fuels and chemicals.
The CHEMRAWN VII Prize was first announced in August 2008 and since, has been awarded every two years at the IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry. The Prize of USD 5000 is granted to a young investigator (less than 45 years of age) from an emerging region who is actively contributing to research in Green Chemistry. The 2022 CHEMRAWN VII Prize will be presented to Professor Vivek Polshettiwar at the 9th IUPAC Conference on Green Chemistry that will be held 5-9 September 2022, in Athens, Greece.
The IUPAC CHEMRAWN VII prize has previously been awarded to Noureddine Yassaa (Algeria) in 2010, Rashimi Sanghi (India) in 2012, Vania G. Zuin (Brazil) in 2014, Ali Maleki (Iran) in 2016, Mirabbos Hojamberdiev (Uzbekistan) in 2018, and to Huizhen Liu (China) and Banothile Makhubela (South Africa) in 2020.