The University of Manchester is working with DSM Chemical Technology on a research project to produce more environmentally friendly chemicals.

These innovations will be used to make safer and more effective drugs and to develop chemicals for the perfume industry and flavourings for the food industry. As part of the project, academics from the U.K. university are leading research into drug metabolism.

The £8.5 million Horizon 2020 project, ROBOX, is funded by the European Union. It also involves other companies and universities across Europe, all aiming to develop sustainable alternatives to industrial oxidation utilizing innovative biocatalysts and air in a safe and green way.

According to the University of Manchester, these developments will bring environmental and safety advantages over conventional chemical manufacturing methods that are currently used in industry. Biocatalysis not only offers the potential for cleaner production methods but can also deliver improved products.

The university’s Professor Nicholas Turner explained:

“A lot of the processes we use currently are expensive and not very cost effective. This is a unique opportunity for academic groups to work alongside chemical companies and specialist SMEs to develop innovative biocatalytic processes for applying oxidation for chemical synthesis.

“We believe that challenging problems of this nature are best solved on a pan-European basis by bringing together under one roof the combined expertise of many groups to establish a world-class research hub in biocatalysis and sustainable chemical synthesis.”