The Abu-Omar research group develops and studies catalysts that convert recalcitrant lignin in biomass into aromatic phenols. This concept of lignin first produces delignified cellulose as a byproduct, which can be digested to fermentable sugars. The aromatic phenols can be upgraded further to fuels, chemicals, and moldable polymeric materials, opening several possibilities for more efficient biorefining processes.

Organic Synthesis Using Benign Nanoreactors in Water,

Organic Synthesis Using Benign Nanoreactors in Water, Dr. Bruce Lipshutz

Dr. Peter C. Ford's group conducts research on the catalytic disassembly of plant biomass into organic liquids suitable for fuels and/or chemicals. This biomass disassembly process employs the use of Cu-based heterogeneous catalysts derived from hydrotalcite precursors in supercritical methanol medium.

Sustainable Manufacturing and Product Design

The sustainable use of materials, including the (re)design of products to maximize their sustainability, is an area of immense and rapidly growing environmental and economic importance. It also impacts the greater goal of enabling a much larger fraction of the world’s population to achieve the high standard of living that technology now confers upon the residents of developed nations, without exceeding the Earth’s capacity to supply the necessary raw materials and absorb the inevitable byproducts of activities required to generate technology.

The University of California, Santa Barbara has created an interdisciplinary initiative to integrate sustainability considerations into research in the chemical sciences and engineering, including assessment/minimization of environmental impact and assessment/optimization of economic feasibility, cultivation of public awareness, and social acceptance of sustainability goals. A team of researchers from chemistry and biochemistrychemical engineeringenvironmental sciencetechnology management, and communication is collaborating to improve the efficiency, reduce the environmental impact, and improve social acceptance of alternative chemical technologies.

As the focal point for this effort, the University has established a cluster of four endowed research Chairs: the Mellichamp Academic Initiative Professorships in Sustainability. The Chairholders will have overlapping and complementary interests in green chemistry, sustainable manufacturing, catalytic processing, and the economics of new technologies.

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Recent News

The Mellichamp Academic Initiative in Sustainability is once again pleased to sponsor the Mellichamp Sustainability Fellowships for collaborative research in the area of chemical sustainability by UCSB graduate students.  Nominations are being solicited for Summer 2017. Priority will be given to projects that support graduate students working with at least two faculty members in the Mellichamp Sustainability cluster, and projects without current external funding.  Stipends of up to $8,000 will be awarded, depending on need. 

  • Chemical Engineering UCSB
  • Bren School
  • TMP
  • Chemical Life Cycle Collaborative
  • UCSB Sustainability