Lead: Professor R. Tom Baker, University of Ottawa

The catalytic processing theme will apply the full gamut of catalytic approaches: base and transition metal catalysts, homogeneous and heterogeneous systems, bacterial transformation and reactions in ionic liquids. Catalysis will be used not only to degrade lignin to smaller fragments, but also to functionalize these fragments so that they can be further transformed to valuable chemicals and materials. There will be strong interaction between the thermochemical and catalytic processing themes.

The Team

The theme leader is Prof. R. Tom Baker, a recognized authority in homogeneous, bifunctional and multiphase catalysis. He is the Canada Research Chair in Catalysis Science for Energy Applications and Director of the Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovations (CCRI) at the University of Ottawa. His research includes catalyzed conversion of carbohydrates to diesel fuel and oxidation of lignin models to aromatics.

Professor Brian James, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and emeritus professor at UBC, is a world-renowned expert in homogeneous hydrogenation catalysis. He worked previously on homogeneous catalyzed hydrogenation of lignin and more recently he has collaborated with Paprican on novel phosphorus compounds for lignin modification.

Professor Gregory Patience is in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique. His research is on heterogeneous catalysis including hydrocarbon partial oxidation, combustion and gas-solid fluidization.

Professor Lindsay Eltis is in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC. His work includes the use of microbial catabolic enzymes for breakdown of PCBs and biphenyl and degradation of nitriles.

Professor Robert D. Singer is in the Department of Chemistry at Saint Mary’s University and is an internationally recognized expert in the design and synthesis of task specific ionic liquids. His research includes metal separations and development of new ionic liquid surfactants.

Professor Doug Stephan is the Canada Research Chair in Catalysis and New Materials at the University of Toronto. Author of over 225 papers and 50 patents, his research in catalyst development has garnered numerous national and international awards and world-wide attention.



Project ID Project Name
3-1 Lignin oxidation using air and base metal catalysts (R.T. Baker, University Ottawa)
3-2 Ruthenium complex-catalyzed lignin conversion (B. R. James, UBC)
3-3 Upgrading of lignin to value-added chemicals (G. Patience, Ecole Polytechnique)
3-4 Bacterial transformation of lignin (Lindsay Eltis, UBC)
3-5 Catalytic lignin depolymerization in ionic liquids (R. Singer, St Mary’s University)
3-6 Catalytic Functionalization of Monolignols (D. W. Stephan, Univ. of Toronto)