Below are multi-partner (>2) national and international cooperative projects, in which our team is participating or has participated.


BioHart (EU INTERREG program, 2016-2019)


In Dutch, the acronym BIO-HArT stands for 'Biorizon Innovation and Upscaling of Renewable Aromatics Technology'. Biorizon is a Shared Research Center with an initial focus on technology development for the production of functionalized biobased aromatics for performance materials, chemicals & coatings. Over the past years Biorizon has developed three commercially promising technologies for the conversion of wood, sugars and lignin into aromatics. By demonstrating the technology within this project on a larger scale, the confidence in the applicability of the technology on an industrial scale enhances and the risk to invest diminishes. Simultaneously bio-aromatics will be produced in sufficient quantities to be able to start application development routes.

Project results

Eighteen months after the project launch, the University of Antwerp has booked remarkable progress. Chemists of the Organic Synthesis division have developed new, convenient, scalable and green methods for the transformation of lignin oil monomers to valuable industrial chemicals such as catechol and pyrogallol. The developed methods use neither expensive catalysts, nor toxic solvents. A European patent application has been filed.

This project is established by a contribution of the European Interreg V Flanders-The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment and the labor market by means of cross-border projects. On a total budget of € 6.085.445,38 Interreg contributes € 3.042.722,69 (50 %) and besides that the provinces of North-Brabant, Antwerp, East-Flanders and Flemish-Brabant offered additional funding. Thereby they make an important contribution to the further development of the Flemish-Dutch border region as a top location for the transition to a more sustainable, biobased economy and an efficient use of natural resources.

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BioFact (EOS Excellence of Science program, 2018-2021)

ORSY participates in the project “Bio based factory: Sustainable chemistry from wood”, one of the 38 projects supported by the highly competitive and prestigious Excellence of Science program of the Science Foundations FWO and FNRS in Belgium. The program aims to promote top level collaborative fundamental research between the Flemish and French-speaking communities of Belgium. Together with researchers form the Universities of Leuven, Ghent, Brussels, Liège as well as the German Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (LIKAT), researchers from Antwerp will develop new ways to obtain (new) chemicals from wood biomass as a feedstock. Emphasis in the synthetic method development is on sustainable chemistry.

EOS website

FWO website

FNRS website


CHAOS: C-H Activation in Organic Synthesis (COST Action, 2016-2020)


The main aim of this Action is to render C-H activation a truly versatile, practical and general tool for organic chemistry, applicable in both industry and academia.

In principal, organic chemists have the tools in hand to prepare any thermodynamically stable molecule by one way or the other. However, even though great achievements have been made in the past century, most of the bond forming reactions rely on preactivated substrates. Additionally, in complex synthesis, protecting group techniques are often required either to block alternative sites of reactivity, or to protect functional groups labile under reaction conditions required for a specific step of a sequence. The paradigm in organic synthesis has shifted from “getting the job done (the molecule synthesized)” towards getting the job done in the most efficient way possible. The method of metal catalysed C-H activation of organic small molecules has great potential in this regard. At the moment, the field includes many examples of transformations which can be carried out only on specific types of substrates and only few contributions deal with the application of C-H activation in the synthesis of complex molecules such as natural products. Additionally, applications of C-H activation in industrial processes are scarce. Hence, broad applicability, similar to the well establish cross-coupling reactions, has to be established. The time is ripe now to make a big European collaborative effort in the area of C-H activation.

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ARBOREF: Aromatic biorefinery (Catalisti project, 2015-2019)

While the conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose to fuels and chemicals has already been extensively studied, the conversion technology for lignine valorsization is developed significantly less. Central to the project is a recently developed COK technology, which converts wood into mono-phenols (from lignin), and cellulose pulp. What are the most interesting synthetic routes from the lignin fraction, which allow both synthesis of existing chemicals such as phenol, but also new chemicals for polymer and fine chemical applications? This is the challenge ORSY is tackling together with COK within the ARBOREF project.

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CHEM21: Chemical manufacturing methods for the 21st century pharmaceutical industries (IMI - Innovative Medicines Initiative project, 2012-2017)


CHEM21 is a project that will develop a broad based portfolio of sustainable technologies for green chemical intermediate manufacture aimed at the pharmaceutical industry. It is the largest public private project funded in Europe in the field of sustainable chemistry. ORSY is involved in the Work Package concerned with the development of sustainable chemical catalysts and processes. The focus is on the use of abundant and low toxicity first row transition metal catalysts such as iron, nickel and copper and their use in transformations that have been selected by pharma companies as being of most value in improving drug manufacture. These include aromatic C-H activation to make C-O, C-C and C-N bonds.

Project website


FunMem4Affinity: Exploration of functional ceramic membranes for affinity organic solvent nanofiltration (IWT project, 2012-2015). 


The projecthas developed a toolbox of innovative functionalized ceramic membranes (FunMem) with pores in the range of 1 nm. The synthesis of the membranes is done using a new proprietary grafting method based on organometallic chemistry leading to a direct covalent bonding of the organic functional group to the metal of metaloxide membranes. ORSY was involved in the use of these membranes for catalyst separation and recovery.