The Catalysis for Renewable and Innovative Process “Care in Process” group of the Industrial Chemistry Department “Toso Montanari” of the University of Bologna is a well-established research group devoted to the development of innovative catalytic materials as well as alternative, sustainable, industrial processes.


“Our aim is to promote a fundamental research on catalysis and innovative materials and processes with a special focus on industrial collaboration and potential application”

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“Care in Process” Google Scholar group

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Main research topics

Synthesis of multifunctional catalysts based on structured materials, metal oxides, heteropolyacids and nanoparticles.
Development of innovative processes based either on reactions performed in the liquid phase, both in batch systems (e.g. autoclaves) and in flow, or reactions performed in continuous flow systems in the vapor phase.

The investigated reactions mainly concern the exploitation of platform molecules derived from raw materials of renewable origin, developing sustainable processes in the perspective of Green Chemistry:
(a) synthesis of methyl methacrylate from glycerol; (b) synthesis of maleic anhydride by selective oxidation of n-butane or 1-butanol; (c) synthesis of derivatives of phenolic compounds by functionalization (alkylations, acylations, substitutions) of phenol, catechol, eugenol and diphenols; (d) reduction by H-transfer of aldehydes and ketones (ketoacids) obtained from renewable raw materials using light alcohols as reducing agents; (e) hydrogenation of oils of vegetable origin; (f) oxidation of oils of vegetable origin to mono and dicarboxylic acids; (f) esterification of fatty acids; (g) hydrolysis of lignocellulose; (h) transformation of bioethanol to higher alcohols (Guerbet reaction); (i) synthesis of symmetric and asymmetric organic carbonates by transcarbonation; (j) use of organic carbonates as innovative reagents; (k) ketonisation of carboxylic acids.

Catalysts based on supported metal nanoparticles. Preparation, chemical-physical characterization and reactivity in reactions conducted in the liquid phase: (a) hydrogenation of furan compounds obtained from renewable raw materials; (b) hydrogenation of glycerol and hydroxymethylfurfural; (c) oxidation of glucose and hydroxymethylfurfural; (d) oxidative cleavage of aliphatic glycols

Synthesis of composite catalysts by spray freeze drying and electrospinning for applications in batch and continuous catalysis and photocatalysis processes. Synthesis of polymeric catalytic membranes.
Geopolymer structure materials. Preparation, characterization and application of geopolymer/oxide or geopolymer/zeolite materials in: (a) CO2 absorption; (b) tar reforming.
Structured catalysts. Preparation, physico-chemical characterization and reactivity in reactions conducted in the gas phase: (a) catalytic partial oxidation of methane to syngas; (b) steam reforming of biogas; (c) CO2 hydrogenation.
Preparation, electrochemical and physicochemical characterization and reactivity in reactions conducted in the liquid phase: (a) reduction of HMF; (b) glucose oxidation.

Development of catalysts for photocatalytic applications in the liquid phase: a) Decomposition reactions of pollutants and water purification, b) Photooxidation reactions of platform molecules obtained from renewable raw materials (eg hydroxymethylfurfural and glycerol); c) Photo-reforming of glycerol for the production of H2 and high added value chemicals.

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Intervista: prof. Stefania Albonetti (Sviluppo processi catalitici)

Intervista realizzata in occasione della produzione del documentario "100 ANNI DI CHIMICA INDUSTRIALE. Cinque generazioni a confronto", 2022.

Main ERC sectors

PE4 Physical and Analytical Chemical Sciences:
Analytical chemistry, chemical theory, physical chemistry/chemical physics, heterogeneous catalysis

PE5 Synthetic Chemistry and Materials
New materials and new synthetic approaches, structure-properties relations, solid state chemistry,
molecular architecture, organic chemistry

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