Catalysis and Sustainable Bio-organic Synthesis


About this course

Catalysis as a phenomenon is in the core of metabolism, evolution and life itself. As a synthetic tool, catalysis was utilized starting from the XIX century, and nowadays it is impossible to imagine the everyday life without the benefits that catalysis has brought to us. Up to 80% of the materials and fuels are produced with at least one catalytic transformation. The rising interest in the development of sustainable and green chemical reactions additionally increases the importance of catalysis. Novel catalytic methodologies are expected to become the key lever that will increase the efficiency of chemical synthesis to make it compatible with modern challenges and societal demands.

In this course we will discuss catalysis from different angles, constructing a unified matrix of catalysis-related topics: from fundamental principles of catalysis to the practical utilization of catalytic transformation in both fine (bio)-organic synthesis and the large scale industrial processes. The different elements of the course will include:

  • role of the catalysis in organic synthesis with elements of retrosynthetic analysis;
  • fundamentals of catalysis theory from physical and inorganic chemistry perspective
  • homogeneous transition metal catalysis with elements of biocatalysis and organocatalysis;
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • the application of computational modeling in catalysis.

The ultimate goal of this coarse is to develop an understanding of catalysis as a multifaceted phenomenon.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Analyze catalytic transformations simultaneously at different levels
  • Analyze catalysis-related problems on different dimensions: from Multi-ton scale industrial applications to an atomic level of active catalytic cites
  • Define and recognize the basic principles of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. The similarities, differences and limitations of these different methods of catalysis operation
  • Suggest a reasonable mechanism for the catalytic transformation and methods to further prove the hypothesis
  • Propose methods to study and optimize the performance of the catalyst in transformations of interest
  • Recognize the importance of catalysis for sustainable synthesis of (bio-organic) bulk and fine chemicals and know how to incorporate catalytic steps into multistep synthetic routes
  • Identify the key aspects of experimental design of catalytic reactions
  • Perform computational modeling of catalytic system

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
ORC20306 Bio-organic Chemistry and/or BNT20806 Bio-inorganic Chemistry and/or PCC22306 Driving Forces in Chemistry, Physics and Biology

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    10 March 2025

    • Ends
      2 May 2025
    • Term *
      Period 5
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 9 Feb 2025
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University