Chris Slootweg was born in Haarlem (The Netherlands) in 1978 and received his undergraduate education from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2001, with research stays at the University of Amsterdam (Prof. Piet van Leeuwen) and University of Sussex (Prof. Michael Lappert). After earning his PhD in 2005 under the supervision of Prof. Koop Lammertsma, he pursued postdoctoral studies at the ETH Zürich with Peter Chen. He started his independent scientific career in 2006 at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014 and moved to the University of Amsterdam in 2016. The mission of his laboratory is to educate students at the intersection of fundamental physical organic chemistry, main-group chemistry, and circular chemistry. Chris is co-founder and scientific advisor of SusPhos BV, a pioneering company focused on upcycling phosphate-rich waste streams to generate high-quality alternatives to replace current fossil-sourced products.
I combine state-of-the-art synthetic chemistry, mechanistic design and computational chemistry to enable the discovery of novel sustainable chemistry by developing novel functional molecules with unique properties based on renewable resources. I coined circular chemistry (Nature Chem.) and educate students at the intersection of fundamental physical (in)organic chemistry and advanced main-group chemistry. My laboratory is recognized for studying single-electron processes in main-group (photo)chemistry to promote the homolytic bond activation and subsequent functionalisation of challenging small molecules.
I aim to answer how can we most effectively use our resources to improve global sustainability? Therefore, I develop novel circular technologies that use chemistry as an enabling tool to target the conservation of critical raw materials as well as contribute to solving pressing waste problems. My unique approach to chemistry combines design, synthesis and mechanistic understanding with the environmental fate and impact of current products targeting safe by design (no persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic compounds) and design for reuse, recovery and recycling.
My motivation is to contribute to solving societal and environmental challenges, like those articulated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, and the Dutch National Research Agenda on circular economy and resource efficiency. Based on my concept of circular chemistry, I develop practical examples to replace today’s linear ‘take–make–dispose’ approach with circular processes. I apply life cycle thinking and circularity to reinvent chemistry by developing novel chemical products and redox processes that use waste as a resource, in particular focussing on the sustainable use of phosphorus, boron and hydrogen. This is in order to optimise resource efficiency across chemical value chains and enable a closed-loop, waste-free environment. I enjoy very much the integrative approach of transferring known knowledge (education) and creating new findings by conducting novel and original research.
Selected grants and awards
Some other academic activities
We combine state-of-the-art synthetic chemistry, mechanistic design and computational chemistry to enable the discovery of novel sustainable chemistry by developing novel functional molecules with unique properties based on renewable resources. In particular, we are interested in studying single-electron processes in main-group (photo)chemistry to promote the homolytic bond activation and subsequent functionalisation of challenging small molecules.
In general, we develop novel circular technologies that use chemistry as an enabling tool to target the conservation of critical raw materials as well as contribute to solving pressing waste problems. This unique approach to chemistry combines design, synthesis and mechanistic understanding with the environmental fate and impact of current products targeting safe by design (no persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic compounds) and design for reuse, recovery and recycling.
Hydrogen gas is a crucial energy carrier in the renewable energy transition, as it has a high energy capacity of 122 MJ/kg. Nonetheless, it has a low density and thus a low volumetric energy capacity; at room temperature, 1 kg of H2 occupies a volume of 11 m3. Consequently, the storage of H2 is a key aspect of its large-scale application as a zero-emission energy carrier.
Interestingly, NaBH4 can act as a solid storage medium, releasing four equivalents of H2 upon its hydrolysis with >99% efficiency. A longtime challenge of the use of NaBH4 though is the formation of sodium metaborate, NaBO2, as so-called ‘spent fuel’. Yet if NaBO2 can be reused in the process, NaBH4 becomes a circular hydrogen storage material. Recently, we have developed a circular, waste-free method to regenerate NaBH4 through the electrochemical recycling of the NaBO2 spent fuel. This discovery lays the groundwork for the large-scale application of sodium borohydride as a sustainable hydrogen storage medium, and thus opens up exciting opportunities for importing hydrogen on a large, commercial scale.
Phosphorus is essential for life on Earth and plays a prominent role in modern science and technology, where organophosphorus compounds are of immense importance for their wide-ranging applications in material science, nanotechnology and life sciences. At present, however, the overall industrial processes to produce these phosphorus compounds are unsustainable, energy-intensive, and ineﬃcient.
To meet the growing demand for phosphorus derivatives, whilst complying with increasingly stringent environmental regulations and sustainability issues, we will advance P(III)/P(V) redox cycling and modernise the use of phosphorus by developing novel one-electron processes that minimise unnecessary redox reactions. Our interdisciplinary approach in organophosphorus chemistry exploits all facets of physical (in)organic chemistry, with a key focus on synthesis, molecular and mechanistic design, and sustainability. In our research projects, we will develop:
We will implement these innovations into a broader context and develop scalable protocols, which are needed to realize sustainable phosphorus chemistry on a large scale, introducing recycling, clean, and ‘cradle-to-cradle’ technologies as ground-breaking changes in the field to ensure the continued beneficial use of phosphorus. This research project has significant relevance for the Dutch National Research Agenda on Circular economy and resource efficiency: it will enforce a paradigm shift by developing efficient redox cycling methods to convert waste phosphates directly into high-value products using novel synthetic methodologies, and hence, contribute to modernising phosphorus chemistry by setting new frontiers.
Over 350.000 chemicals and mixtures of chemicals have been registered for production and use worldwide, and these products and their constituents are found everywhere, including in waste products, soils, water, air, plants, food, animals, and the human body. Furthermore, environmental wastes and pollutants often are the sources of new, sometimes even more toxic, molecules formed as transformation products. There is therefore an urgent need for the design of safer molecules and materials that permit fast and complete environmental mineralization while retaining their desired functions.
Optimal product design should target the most favourable end-of-life state, avoiding persistence in the environment and breakdown into harmful products. We will showcase safe and environmentally benign organophosphate flame retardants with enhanced biodegradability by bringing together sustainable synthesis and design with a key focus on (eco)toxicology, environmental impact, and implementation along the value chain. Furthermore, we will also generate the environmental health and safety data of our benign and circular organophosphates, which will make them more easily marketable.
|Steven Beijer||Steven Beijer | LinkedIn|
|Anna Chernysheva||Anna Chernysheva | LinkedIn|
|Hannah Flerlage||Hannah Flerlage | LinkedIn|
|Joost van Gaalen||Joost van Gaalen | LinkedIn|
|Jelle Hofman||Jelle Hofman | LinkedIn|
|Said Ortega||Said Ortega | LinkedIn|
|Pier Wessels||Pier Wessel Wessels | LinkedIn|
|Lars van der Zee||Lars van der Zee | LinkedIn|
|Florenz Buß||Florenz Buß | Linkedin|
|Pim Linnebank||Pim Linnebank | LinkedIn|
|Valentin Geiger||Valentin Geiger | LinkedIn|
|Bas de Jong||Bas de Jong | LinkedIn|
|Marissa de Boer||Marissa de Boer | LinkedIn|
|Devin Boom||Devin Boom | LinkedIn|
|Laurian Botez||Laurian Botez | LinkedIn|
|Evi Habraken||Evi Habraken | LinkedIn|
|Flip Holtrop||Flip Holtrop | LinkedIn|
|Tetiana Krachko||Tetiana Krachko | LinkedIn|
|Christoph Helling||Christoph Helling | LinkedIn|
|Andy Jupp||Andrew Jupp | LinkedIn|
|Emmanuel Nicolas||Emmanuel Nicolas | LinkedIn|
|Feriel Rekhroukh||Feriel Rekhroukh | LinkedIn|
|Cássia Santana||Cássia Sidney Santana | LinkedIn|
|Matias Villalba||Matias Villalba | LinkedIn|
|Kaj van Vliet||Kaj van Vliet | LinkedIn|
Awards for Hannah Flerlage
Hannah received a poster prize (2nd place) and won a Travel Grant at the European Meeting on Fire Retardant Polymeric Materials in Zürich.
Hoe pas je safe and sustainable by design toe?
Veiliger en duurzamer ontwerpen
Hannah and Chris highlight the importance of safe and sustainable design of chemicals in Chemie Magazine of the Royal Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI) and Hannah also highlighted this in C2W.
Design thinking en duurzame chemie
Tess was interviewed by C2W on her work on Design Thinking and Sustainable Chemistry, as well as her ambitions to contribute to a more sustainable world.
Kan de waterstofkorrel ons van het gas afhelpen?
Tess and Chris showcase the use of NaBH4 as circular hydrogen carrier in the science programme ATLAS on Dutch television.
In een lab op de UvA werken drie chemici aan een waterstofrevolutie in de scheepvaart
Chris is interviewed about the work on hydrogen carriers.
Chris Slootweg receives Vici grant
Chris has been awarded an NWO Vici grant of 1.5 million euros to develop novel chemical routes for establishing circularity in phosphorus.
Hannah Flerlage wins Student Recycling Award 2021
Hannah has won the Student Recycling Award from the Dutch industry association BRBS Recycling.
(Amsterdam Science Park)
Chris is portrayed in the 'Boundless Minds' series of Amsterdam Science Park:
Interview with Chris Slootweg
(SYNFORM - Thieme Chemistry)
Profile of Chris in the 'Young Career Focus' series.
Stairway to Impact Award and Rabo Sustainable Innovation Award for Chris Slootweg & SusPhos
Chris receives the very first Stairway to Impact Award from Dutch funding agency NWO.
Chris Slootweg in Nature Chemistry: ‘Green Chemistry is an outdated concept’.
In a recent commentary published in Nature Chemistry, Chris introduces a new concept: Circular Chemistry. In analogy to the well-known 12 principles of Green Chemistry, he presents the 12 principles of Circular Chemistry and outlines the paradigm shift that is needed in the field of chemistry in order to establish a circular economy.
Thieme chemistry journals award for Chris Slootweg
Chris is one of the recipients of the 2019 Thieme Chemistry Journals Award.
HIMS researchers collect urine at Lowlands festival
Steven, Bas and Chris showcase phosphate recovery at “A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise”:
Humboldt Research Fellowship for Chris Slootweg
Chris is recognized with a Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers.