Dr James Bennett

Transition Metal Nanoparticles Supported on Bacterial Biomass as Novel Heterogeneous Catalysts

Jamebennetts Andrew Bennett
PhD (Chemistry)
Sponsor: EPSRC

After completing an MChem at the University of Leicester Chemistry Department, James developed an interest in catalysis and decided to stay on and study for a PhD in “heterogenisation” of homogeneous catalysts.

In February 2007, he started work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, where his time is divided between the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

The objective of the project is to compare the catalytic activities of nanoparticulate transition metals produced by bacteria to those of conventional catalysts. The biogenic nanoparticles are to be tested in a range of industrially relevant reactions and the recyclability of the materials is also to be assessed.

Biogenic nanoparticles of palladium supported upon bacterial biomass have been shown to be active and selective catalysts for the hydrogenation of 2-pentyne and for the Heck coupling of olefins with aryl halides. The materials are easily recovered and recycled and remain active for several subsequent runs. The type of bacteria used as the support material has also been shown to have a significant affect on the metals activity and selectivity.

Future work will include a study of butyne-1,4-diol hydrogenation using bioPd and the testing of biogenic mixed metal oxides as catalysts in a wide range of reactions, including phenol hydroxylation, styrene oxidation and toluene benzoylation.

Relevant publications:

1. Macaskie L.E., Creamer N.J., Essa A.M.M., Brown N.L, 2007, A new approach for the recovery of precious metals from solution and from leachates derived from electronic scrap. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 96: 631-639. 

2. Creamer N.J., Mikheenko I.P., Yonga P., Deplanche K., Sanyahumbi D., Wood J., Pollmann K., Merroun M., Selenska-Pobell S., Macaskie L.E., 2007, Novel supported Pd hydrogenation bionanocatalyst for hybrid homogeneous/heterogeneous catalysis. Catalysis Today, 128: 80–87

3. Molnár Á., Sárkány A., Varga M., 2001, Hydrogenation of carbon–carbon multiple bonds: chemo-, regio- and stereo-selectivity. Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical, 173: 185-221.

4. Hamilton C.A., Jackson S.D., Kelly G.J., Spence R., de Bruin D., 2002, Competitive reactions in alkyne hydrogenation. Applied Catalysis A: General, 237: 201-209.