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Car exhaust, source: skistz, Flikr
Catalysts are used in car exhausts to reduce air pollution

Internal News - 11 November 2008

Department to host workshop on green chemistry in partnership with Chinese university

Dr Tony James, in the Department of Chemistry, and Professor Jianzhang Zhao, from the Dalian University of Technology, China will co-host a workshop on campus in December that will explore how chemistry can be used to help the environment.

The workshop entitled: Catalysis & sensing for our environment, to be held on 9-10 December 2008, will be attended by top academics from China and Europe, including five from the Department of Chemistry at Bath.

Most industrially important chemicals are produced using catalysts, which speed up chemical reactions and make them more environmentally-friendly. This is done by cutting the amount of waste produced and reducing the energy needed to drive the reaction. Common catalysts with applications include catalytic convertors in cars to reduce air pollution, as well as those for preparing drug intermediates for use in the pharmaceutical industry.

The workshop will also investigate how chemical sensors can be used to monitor environmental conditions such as air and water quality. A key area of research at Bath in this area is in sensing chemicals such as fluoride in water. At low concentrations, fluoride gives health benefits, but higher concentrations can be detrimental to health. Fluoride sensing can also be used to detect chemical weapons used for terrorism.

The workshop is funded by the Royal Society as part of the China-UK Science Networks scheme launched in 2007. The scheme aims to initiate and develop enduring partnerships between UK and Chinese scientists.

Dr James said: “Professor Jianzhang Zhao worked as a Research Fellow in my group for two years. During that time he carried out excellent research and together we published a number of highly-cited papers. Since his return to China we have continued to collaborate and publish papers together.

“The workshop will be a great opportunity to discuss future research collaborations, preliminary grant applications and arrange possible exchanges of researchers.”

The event, organised by Dr James and Dr Steven Bull from the Department of Chemistry, is the latest in a series of collaborations between the Department and universities in China.

The China-UK Science Networks scheme was launched by the UK Office of Science & Innovation and the Chinese Ministry of Education. The grant for the workshop is being administered by the Royal Society, on behalf of the UK Government Office for Science, and by the China Scholarship Council, on behalf of the Ministry of Education in China.

For programme details and registration, please see the related links above.