Research lines

Olefin Polymerization and Oligomerization Catalysts.

This research line stems from our collaboration with Repsol. It seeks to develop new catalysts for the transformation of simple olefins such as ethylene, into polymers with special structural and physical properties. We have prepared, tested and studied many types of catalysts based on different transition elements: Ni, Pd, Fe, Co, Mn, Cr, containing various, specially designed ligands. Catalyst performances are tested in a dedicated laboratory with specific instrumentation. Our current interests are: a) New bimetallic complexes for the production of polyethylenes with tailored molecular weight distributions; b) More tolerant catalysts for the copolymerization of ethylene with polar monomers, and c) New cocatalysts and activation methods.

Catalysts for the Valorization of Renewable Chemical Resources.

This is our most recent research line. With it, our group contributes to the resolution of important problems we face today, such as climatic change and the need of devising new sustainable processes for the Chemical Industry. Our goal is to create, study and optimize new catalysts for the transformation of raw materials from renewable sources into added value products. The resources we focus on are substances that can be produced in large amounts from specialized crops, biomass or other renewable sources, in particular alcohols, e. g., methanol ethanol or glycerol, but also carbon dioxide as a building block for chemical synthesis.

Basic Organometallic Chemistry.

An important part of our research activity deals with the organometallic chemistry of transition elements. Our goal is to extend the limits of the current knowledge on the structure and reactivity of organometallic compounds, and, above all, to improve our understanding of catalytic processes. One of our research topics is the study of transition metal alkyl derivatives as intermediates in olefin polymerization catalysis. In addition, we are interested in late transition metal alkoxo and amido complexes. Although these are not, stricto sensu, organometallic compounds, they have a number of similar properties. We are especially interested in how these complexes serve as intermediates in potentially useful reactions, such as formal oxidative processes, or CO2 fixation.