Université de Strasbourg

Jean-Baptiste Sortais & Éric Pollet

Biography - Jean-Baptiste Sortais

University of Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier, France & USIAS Fellow, Laboratory of Molecular Innovation and Applications (LIMA), University of Strasbourg and CNRS, France

Jean-Baptiste Sortais, USIAS Fellow 2022Jean-Baptiste Sortais is professor at the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse (France) and conducts his research work on homogeneous organometallic catalysis within a laboratory of the French National Research Centre (CNRS) - the Laboratory for Coordination Chemistry (LCC).

Following his studies at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, from which he graduated in 2003 in physical sciences (with an option in chemistry) Jean-Baptiste Sortais obtained a DEA graduate degree, then a PhD at the University of Strasbourg (then Louis Pasteur University) under the supervision of Dr. Michel Pfeffer. His research work focused on the synthesis of chiral cyclometallated complexes of ruthenium and their applications in catalysis. He subsequently carried out two post-doctoral stays; with Professor Jan-Erling Bäckvall at the University of Stockholm (Sweden) on dynamic kinetic resolution, then with Professor Gerhard Erker at the University of Münster (Germany) in the field of Lewis-Frustrated pairs. In 2009, he was recruited as associate professor within the team Organometallics: Materials and Catalysis at the Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences (ISCR) of the University of Rennes 1. In 2017, he was promoted to full professor at the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse.

His current research work is mainly focused on the development of new molecular catalysts based on abundant 3D transition metals, such as iron, nickel, cobalt, and manganese. Catalytic applications focus on reduction processes in the broad sense (hydroelementation, hydrogenation, dehydrogenation, hydrogen transfer, hydrosilylation, hydroboration and hydrogen borrowing) and direct activation of C-H bonds. The main objective of his work is thus to promote new reactivities and/or selectivities based on readily available and inexpensive metal catalysts in the context of sustainable chemistry.

In 2016, he was appointed Junior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF) and received the 2019 Young Researcher Award from the Catalysis Division of the French Chemistry Society (SCF).

During his stay in Strasbourg, Jean-Baptiste Sortais will be hosted by Professor Vincent Ritleng at the Laboratory of Molecular Innovation and Applications (LIMA), and will work with Dr. Éric Pollet from ICPEES.

Biography - Éric Pollet

Institute of Chemistry and Processes for Energy, Environment and Health (ICPEES), University of Strasbourg and CNRS, France

Éric Pollet, USIAS Fellow 2022Éric Pollet studied chemistry at the François Rabelais University in Tours (France) and then at the Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, where he obtained a PhD in chemistry (specialising in chemical engineering) in 2001. His thesis, carried out under the supervision of Professor Thierry Hamaide, focused on the implementation and modelling of a continuous process of coordinated anionic polymerisation by ring opening of lactones and oxiranes. He then joined Professor Philippe Dubois' team at the University of Mons (Belgium) for a two-and-a-half-year postdoctoral stay during which he developed organic/inorganic nanohybrid materials based on biodegradable polyesters and lamellar clays. In 2004, he obtained a position as a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg within the European School of Chemistry, Polymers and Materials (ECPM). He then joined the "Biobased and/or Biodegradable Polymers" team of Professor Luc Avérous, in the laboratory that was to become the Institute of Chemistry and Processes for Energy, Environment and Health (ICPEES), where his research activity is mainly dedicated to the development of biobased and/or biodegradable macromolecular architectures with new or improved properties. In 2017, he obtained his habilitation to direct research (HDR) at the University of Strasbourg.

For the past 20 years, Éric Pollet has been developing research activities in the field of biobased or biodegradable polymeric materials. This research focuses on two main areas: (i) the synthesis of biosourced polymers based on building blocks obtained from the biomass and (ii) the development of multiphase materials (blends, composites, nanohybrids, etc.) based on natural biopolymers. Over the past ten years, he has also initiated a new research topic and developed strong expertise in the use of enzymatic catalysis for the synthesis of biobased polymers. This use of enzymatic catalysis has, more recently, been extended with some success to polymer (bio)recycling.

Éric Pollet is the author of 95 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 15 book chapters, and has co-edited a book. He is also a member of the French National Council of Universities (CNU) section 33, a member of the Mutaxio joint research laboratory (between ICPEES and Soprema) and also deputy director of the ECPM.

Project - Reductive chemical recycling of polyurethanes via hydrogenation with homogeneous catalysts based on abundant transition metals

01/11/2022 – 31/10/2024

Polyurethanes (PUR) are the sixth most widely used polymers in the world. The sheer diversity of polyurethanes makes of them one of the most versatile materials. The applications of PUR span from flexible foams in upholstered furniture (mattresses, car seats) to rigid foams (insulation in walls, roofing) and coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers found in footwear or electronic products.

This massive use of PUR means that large amounts of waste are produced, including not only post-consumer products but also scrap from manufacturing. The treatment of this PUR waste poses a problem today, as carbamates – the chemical components of PUR - are very poorly reactive. Chemical recycling is therefore challenging, as it requires energy-intensive and material-costly techniques, and the more recently-developed enzymatic biorecycling of PUR faces serious limitations.

The aim of the current proposal is thus to develop an original approach to recycle PUR using hydrogenolysis promoted by well-defined homogeneous catalysts based on Earth abundant transition metals, to produce valuable building blocks that can be upcycled for the production of new polymers.

France 2030