Department of Engineering / Research / Strategic Themes / Uncertainty, Risk and Resilience / Projects / Terpene-Based Manufacturing for Sustainable Chemical Feedstocks

Department of Engineering

Terpene-Based Manufacturing for Sustainable Chemical Feedstocks

Terpene-Based Manufacturing for Sustainable Chemical Feedstocks

Principal Investigator: Professor Matthew Davidson

This project aims to develop a sustainable, integrated platform for manufacture of industrial chemicals based on biological terpenoid feedstocks to complement carbohydrate, oil and lignin-based feedstocks that will be available to sustainable chemistry-using industries of the future. Our focus will include production of aromatics and amines which are particularly challenging targets from other bio feedstocks. Transition from fossil-based feedstocks to renewable alternatives is a key challenge for the 21st Century. Major efforts are underway to address this with work currently focused on carbohydrates, fats and oils, and lignins all of which give rise to fundamental technological barriers due to the incompatibility of complex and oxygen-rich materials with conversion technologies developed for simple hydrocarbon-based petrochemical feedstocks. This often requires biological feedstocks to undergo costly and inefficient transformations and separations prior to deployment in existing supply chains.

Key challenges to be addressed in the context of terpene-based manufacturing include:

  • development and optimization of sustainable chemical transformations
  • scale-up of intensive conversion processes;
  • development of new terpene sources
  • systems-level understanding of uncertainties (technical, environmental and economic) associated with new terpene-based manufacturing technologies