Our society has an increasing demand for the fuels, plastics, and other essential chemicals that support our modern way of life. This growing energy requirement is in direct competition with the need to better protect our environment to mitigate the ongoing climate change we are experiencing. Furthermore, our relative inability to efficiently recycle current generation plastics has lead to an accumulation of waste that is an ongoing ecological disaster. We therefore need to start improving the efficiency of how we make the products we need, and how to recycle those we no longer need. Many of the processes involved in making our fuels and chemicals can be environmentally damaging. Similarly, many current recycling strategies are equally as energy intensive. As a result, we need to develop more environment-friendly and energy efficient processes.
Research in the Brogan Group aims to develop new enzyme-based biotechnologies to help us move to a more sustainable, renewable, economy. The major project in the group is the development of solvent-free liquid proteins as a novel biomaterial for the deployment of enzymes in industrially relevant solvent systems. The secondary project in the group is the design and synthesis of ionic liquid infiltrated polymer networks, “ionogels”, as versatile soft materials for biocatalysis.