Research in the Barta Group focuses on sustainability and green chemistry with a particular emphasis on the conversion of renewable resources and catalysis with earth-abundant metals.
Two main research areas are pursued:
1.) Synthesis and characterization of novel heterogeneous catalysis for the cleavage of lignocellulosic resources, including pretreatment and characterization.
2.) Development of new homogeneous catalytic methods for atom-economic functionalization of the obtained building blocks.
A variety of research lines include reductive and hydrogen-neutral depolymerization and defunctionalization of lignin to aromatic monomers. Similarly, reductive approaches using copper catalysts are being used to convert cellulose and derived platform chemicals into a variety of end products. The main focus here is to find new approaches to deal with the complexity and changing feedstock inputs, and to identify and minimize the causes of side reactions leading to reduced product yields. In addition, we are involved in the development of new methods for the iron-catalyzed coupling of alcohols and amines, as well as the hydrogenation of carbonyl compounds, including esters, also in an asymmetric manner.