Associate Professor Timothy Noël from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is awarded the DECHEMA Prize 2017 in recognition of his pioneering work on continuous photochemical conversion in microfluidic systems. Timothy Noël is one of the leading experts in this field, which may be used in the future for the synthesis of fine chemicals and active pharmaceutical ingredients or even in carbon dioxide activation for the synthesis of solar fuels.
The DECHEMA prize is endowed with 20,000 euros and is awarded annually for outstanding research work in the fields of technical chemistry, process engineering, biotechnology and chemical apparatus. The award ceremony will take place on 14 June 2018 at ACHEMA, the world forum for chemical engineering, process engineering and biotechnology in Frankfurt, Germany. DECHEMA is the German Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. According to Prof. Volker Hessel (TU/e), the DECHEMA prize is really one of the high-ranked prizes on a European scale. Often the prize is awarded to German researchers. Only former award winners Bert Weckhuysen (Universiteit Utrecht) and Frank Hollmann (TU Delft) were Netherlands based scientists too.
Inspired by the tree leaf that collects the incident sunlight and uses this energy to produce chemical substances, Timothy Noël has developed solar photomicroreactors and combined them with microfluidics. This enables him to create a scalable, adaptable chemical factory that is powered by our richest source of energy - the sun. With luminescent dyes in a transparent host, sunlight is collected, converted and focused on tiny embedded fluid channels. This technology has the potential to catalyse an enormous variety of reactions that could affect the lives of millions of people. It creates opportunities for environmentally friendly production of inexpensive chemicals and medicines, without complex production facilities or even completely without electrical energy. This means that production is also possible at the most outlying locations.
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