University partners in new Sustainable Chemicals and Materials Manufacturing Research Hub  

The University of Liverpool is a key partner in a new £11 million research hub to improve the sustainability of chemical and polymer production.

The Sustainable Chemicals and Materials Manufacturing Hub (SCHEMA), which is led by the University of Oxford, brings together researchers from across the UK working with a large consortium of commercial, technology translation and civic partners.

SCHEMA is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and leverages £22m commitments from its partners.

It will focus on transforming the way chemicals and polymers are designed, made, and recycled. This includes supporting the transition away from the use of virgin petrochemicals and redesigning processes and materials to increase recycling rates.

The University’s input to SCHEMA is led by Professor Matt Rosseinsky, from the Department of Chemistry and the Materials Innovation Factory.

Professor Rosseinsky’s work develops digital tools to design new materials to address challenges such as Net Zero.

He is leading an £8.8million EPSRC Prosperity Partnership which is developing next-generation sustainable materials for consumer products.

A Fellow of the Royal Society since 2008, Professor Rosseinsky contributed to their Catalysing Change: Defossilising the chemical industry report, which published last week.

Last year, Professor Rosseinsky was awarded the Eni Energy Frontiers Award, often described as the Nobel Prize of energy research.

He said: “I am excited that the University of Liverpool is involved in this new Hub and I look forward to working with academic and industry partners on the sustainability challenges facing the chemical sector.

“The team here at Liverpool will support the discovery of new pathways to manufacturing chemical sustainably, harnessing the automated and digital discovery capabilities here at the Materials Innovation Factory. Working alongside partners, we will help evaluate and implement the arising catalysts in manufacturing processes.”

In addition to Oxford and Liverpool, SCHEMA also involves academics from the Universities of Bath, Cardiff, York and Cambridge. Research teams will work across the fields of sustainable chemistry, process engineering, polymer materials science, and digital technologies.

Professor Charlotte Williams, from the University of Oxford, will lead the Hub. She said: “It is imperative that the chemical industry reaches net zero emissions and sustainability as so many essential downstream industries depend upon it. Our Hub will be well placed to tackle this difficult challenge by bringing together a very wide range of academic expertise with companies from across the supply chain.”

SCHEMA is one of five new hubs funded by the EPSRC to create a sustainable future for manufacturing.

EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Charlotte Deane said: “With their focus on innovation and sustainability the advances made by the hubs will benefit specific sectors, the wider manufacturing sector and economy, as well the environment.”