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The road map to sustainable processes is not only based on the proper choice of the starting materials and products, but also on the development of clean chemical processes able to prevent significant wastes and huge consumption of energy and materials. The fine chemical and specialty industry needs for new solutions and approaches in order to face with economical, environmental and social concerns, even more increasing in the last few years. Catalysis could become one of the key tool in order to set up new technologies able to lead to a profitable process intensification, giving the opportunity to work on waste minimisation, reduction of synthesis steps and atom economy. The research group is involved since 20 years in the setting up of processes based on the use of non-noble based heterogeneous catalysts able to substitute traditional stoichiometric reagents and homogeneous complexes, thus promoting ultraselective transformations under very mild reaction conditions and allowing to overcome many downstream waste treatment procedures.

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Catalysts studied at ISTM already revealed excellent performances in selective hydrogenation reactions under mild reaction conditions, even under hydrogen transfer conditions, and in aerobic or anaerobic oxidation reactions. The high versatility of the systems used, joined with the possibility to tune the reaction conditions in order to properly address selectivity, makes them excellent promoters even in acid catalysed isomerisations reaction and N- and O-alkylations. These features in many cases allows to set up cascade processes able to reduce the number of reaction steps, thus broadening in a significant way the possible applications of polyfunctional substrates.

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