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Circular chemistry: Redesigning growth at the molecular level – from the lab to the market

Seminar with professor Javier García Martínez, President-Elect of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and receiver of the 2018 Kathryn C. Hach Award as the best US entrepreneur in the chemical sector.

Time: Fri 2021-08-27 10.00

Location: KTH Campus och Zoom

Language: English

Lecturer: Javier García Martínez

Guidelines for a safe seminar

  • Zoom link to the seminar
  • We have limited the physical attendance to the seminar to 20 people. If you want to participate in real life, please register in the Google Form: Seminar Circular chemistry
  • Coffee will be served before/after the presentation
  • Please stay home if you have symptoms. Please keep social distancing during the event.

Abstract by Javier García Martínez

As we start this new decade, it is useful to step back and take a broad look at what chemistry does, so we can get an idea of the magnitude and complexity of the task. The chemical industry extracts and transforms 1,388 million tonnes of fossil fuel derived-raw materials, 575.8 million tonnes of secondary reactants, and 274 million tonnes of water per year. And it is expected to double its volume by 2030. We cannot continue to extract, emit, and dispose at the levels we are doing now without compromising our climate, our planet, and our own health. If we want to have a viable industry, available resources, and a healthy planet, the circular economy cannot be just an aspiration but the key objective of chemistry. Rethinking chemistry for a circular economy involves profound changes, from the way molecules are conceived to how processes are designed to ensure traceability, recyclability, and reuse. Circularity at the molecular level means turning chemistry toward the reuse of everything we produce – and represents an opportunity to place chemistry at the center of the new circular economy.

During my presentation I will describe my own experience in the technology transfer and commercialization of a novel family of catalysts that I discovered during my post-doc at MIT. This is an example of the use of molecular design of catalysts for the reduction of CO2 emissions. Based on my own experience, I coordinated the book “Chemistry Entrepreneurship”, which is a step-by-step guide that is specifically devoted to understanding what it takes to start and grow a new company in the chemistry sector. I will share some of the lessons I learned during the creation, growth, and sell to my company and how to spin-off successful tech start-ups from university labs.


Christofer Lendel (Department of Chemistry, KTH)

Francisco Vilaplana (Department of Chemistry, KTH, Association of Spanish Researchers in Sweden)