Prof. Serge Tavernier, prof. Jadwiga Sołoducho, ing. Łukasz Pazdur (phot. Krzysztof Mazur)
Prof. Serge Tavernier and Łukasz Pazdur, MSc, from the University of Antwerp are visiting the Wrocław University of Technology Faculty of Chemistry as part of a partnership between the two institutions. They will have a tour of our laboratories and meet our researchers and students
Łukasz Pazdur, a graduate of the Faculty of Chemistry in the Medicinal Chemistry specialization, has been studying at the University of Antwerp for three years. In 2012, as part of the Erasmus exchange programme, he went there to complete his Master’s thesis, written under the supervision of Prof. Jadwiga Sołoducho. Now, he is writing his Doctor’s dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Serge Tavernier.
“We are focusing on ‘green’ chemistry, and especially the chemistry of cooking oils and research on derivatives of fatty acids.” – explains Łukasz Pazdur, MSc – “We try to convert the acids into multifunctional compounds. The aim is to make vegetable oils recyclable, i.e. to make use of oils already used in the food industry. We want to treat them and transform in such a way that biopolymers and biolubricants can be produced. The food sector uses lots of rapeseed oil, popular in our climate zone. Many research projects are being carried out in Europe on the recycling of cooking oils that today are simply thrown out after use. These are vegetable oils, so they are biodegradable, but their resources in Europe are limited, so it is worth recycling them and it is profitable. We are working on a new method of oil processing. Now we are testing it in laboratory to check if it is eligible for industrial application.”
“The Belgian chemical and cooking oil sectors belong to the largest in the world, so there is much interest in such research. Together with our part of the project, the chemical transformation, also the biochemical part is performed. In this case, the researchers try to apply enzymatic transformation, e.g. with the use of yeast. Prof. Serge Tavernier supervises both parts of the project. He is not only concerned with oil processing but also the recycling of paper and lignin. Substances present in lignin can be used, for example, for organic synthesis. In such case, lignin is broken down by chemical compounds into smaller molecules that can be later used for organic synthesis. This especially concerns aromatic compounds.
Prof. Serge Tavernier: “I hope the cooperation between our faculties will develop, as the graduates of Wrocław University of Technology, like Łukasz Pazdur, represent a really high level. I am thinking, for example, about student and doctoral student exchange programmes, as part of which they could write their theses partly in Wrocław, and partly in Belgium. I have close ties with the chemical industry, since I came to the University of Antwerp after 20 years of work for the industry. Thus, I know very well its aims and I try to match our research to these aims. It is important that the research results can be quickly applied in the industry. We aim for an intensive cooperation with chemical companies, also in terms of the topics of Master’s theses and Doctor’s dissertations.”
On Friday, Prof. Tavernier met with BSc students. He delivered a lecture on “green” chemistry in the broad meaning and the research he is working on at the University of Antwerp.
The guests will also visit the Faculty of Chemistry laboratories and meet with employees of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Microbiology, Department of Chemical Engineering, and Department of Bioorganic Chemistry.
Translation: Dariusz Więcławski