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RWTH

RWTH Aachen University
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604 Projects, page 1 of 121
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101104383
    Funder Contribution: 173,847 EUR

    Aromatic molecules are integral to every aspect of chemistry. In general, the preparation of these compounds is approached via the use of aromatic precursors that are progressively functionalized using reactivity like electrophilic/nucleophilic aromatic substitution. Derivatives equipped with electron withdrawing groups (ester, ketone...) are particularly used in synthesis but are often challenge to prepare. This is because aromatic chemistry has to follow some stringent selectivity rules that activate or deactivate specific positions. This means that installing a functionality on a deactivated position (e.g. meta in an electron rich aromatic) is very difficult and requires many steps. This project seeks to address this challenge by developing an innovative approach to aromatic synthesis using simple Diels-Alder cycloadditions to construct a six-carbon cyclic framework followed by an unprecedented desaturation process. In particular, we will demonstrate the integration of three catalytic modes, photoredox + cobalt + HAT catalysis, as blueprint to progressively desaturate Diels-Alder cycloadduct to poly-functionliased aromatics. This reactivity will streamline the preparation of many high-value but difficult to make aromatic products, will be used in late-stage functionalizations and will substantially expand the fields of dual photoredox–cobalt catalysis and boryl radical chemistry. This research capitalizes on recent developments of the Leonori group that has experience in the development of methodologies based on both desaturation and boryl radical reactivity. The completion of such an innovative and ambitious project at RWTH Aachen University will be facilitated by generating, transferring, sharing and disseminating knowledge, and will enhance my future career following the training plan envisioned.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 307432
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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 340698
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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 793158
    Overall Budget: 159,461 EURFunder Contribution: 159,461 EUR

    Biodiesel production is usually accompanied by the production of 10% (w/v) glycerol as main low-value by-product, making it not yet economically competitive to petroleum-based processes. Recently, Ustilaginaceae fungi have attracted more attention due to their abilities of using crude glycerol to produce chemicals of industrial interest. Unlike established filamentous fungi, many Ustilaginaceae strains can grow in haploid and unicellular form, which are remarkably advantageous for industrial applications. Of note, U. trichophora was reported to have the highest titre for microbial malate production, even if the yield is still low. If the carbon lost during cultivation is suppressed, U. trichophora will be a novel candidate for industrial malate production and contribute directly to crude glycerol valorisation. However, the metabolic network and its function are not described for any Ustilaginaceae species. Isotope-assisted metabolomics approaches are powerful in exploring the metabolic network operation. By capturing the snapshot or the kinetics of metabolite pools, these approaches can guide metabolic engineering strategies to alter metabolic flux distribution and maximize target compound production. Therefore, this study aims to decipher the structure and dynamics of the metabolic networks of U. trichophora by using isotope-assisted metabolomics approaches. Results obtained in this research will guide ongoing efforts in metabolic engineering to maximize malate production from crude glycerol of U. trichophora. Further contributions will be made beyond the envisaged industrial applications, as the Ustilaginaceae are also investigated in the context of host-pathogen interactions and fundamental cell biology.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101054894
    Overall Budget: 2,498,730 EURFunder Contribution: 2,498,730 EUR

    Chemical energy carriers will play an essential role for future energy systems, where harvesting and utilization of renewable energy occur not necessarily at the same time or place, hence long-time storage and long-range transport of energy are needed. For this, hydrogen-based energy carriers, such as hydrogen and ammonia, hold great promise. Their utilization by combustion-based energy conversion has many advantages, e.g., versatile use for heat and power, robust and flexible technologies, and its suitability for a continuous energy transition. However, combustion of both hydrogen and ammonia is very challenging. For technically relevant conditions, both form intrinsic, so-called thermo-diffusive instabilities (very different from the often-discussed thermo-acoustic instabilities), which can increase burn rates by a stunning factor of three to five! Without considering this, computational design is impossible. Yet, while linear theories exist, little is understood for the more relevant non-linear regime, and beyond some data and observations, virtually nothing is known about the interactions of intrinsic flame instabilities (IFI) with turbulence. Here, rigorous analysis of new data for neat H2 and NH3/H2-blends from simulations and experiments will lead to a quantitative understanding of the relevant aspects. From this, a novel modeling framework with uncertainty estimates will be developed. The key hypothesis then is that combustion processes of hydrogen-based fuels can be improved by targeted weakening or promotion of IFI, and that this kind of instability-controlled combustion can jointly improve efficiency, emissions, stability, and fuel flexibility in different combustion devices, such as spark-ignition engines, gas turbines, and industrial burners. Guided by the developed knowledge and tools, this intrinsic-flame-instability-controlled combustion concept will be demonstrated computationally and experimentally for two sample applications.

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