Chemistry welcomes new Head of Department

The Department of Chemistry has welcomed to the role its new Head of Department, Professor Peter Styring. Peter has moved from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, also at the University of Sheffield.

peterPeter studied for his degree and PhD in Chemistry at the University of Sheffield before taking roles in Spain, USA and at the University of Hull where he was Lecturer in Organic Chemistry. He returned to the University of Sheffield in 2000 and pursued his research interests in the field of catalysis and functional materials, together with their continuous flow processing that allows reactions to be rapidly taken from the discovery scale to the production scale over a short time scale.

A significant part of Peter’s interests focuses on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Utilisation (CDU). His commitment to the field has led to him leading major policy reviews and consultations, and providing government reports .

He is Chair of the CO2Chem Network, the largest global network of academics, industry and policy makers with interests in CDU. The network currently has over 1,000 members and is continuing to grow.

Peter is a world leader in research to develop novel solid carbon capture agents combined with solid supported catalysts that can act in tandem and so reduce process costs while increasing energy efficiency. The aim is to convert carbon dioxide into useful chemicals, fuels, building materials and so on, thus contributing to reducing the impact of the increased carbon dioxide levels caused by climate change.

Peter’s research in carbon dioxide utilisation is an area in which he met resistance and the phrase “It’ll never work.” However, in this and his work to develop super-hydrophobic surfaces or self- lubricating surfaces (for example on skis), such phrases just spur Peter on. He said of his research, “I like a challenge. If someone tells me something isn’t possible, it just makes me all the more determined to make it work and, so far, I’ve always found the solutions.”

Having taken on the role of Head of the Department of Chemistry, for an initial term of two years, Peter has arrived with ambitious plans. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, his first move will be to restructure and streamline the department’s management. He explains, “I believe departments are run most effectively when their management is open and transparent, and when more people are engaged with the process.

“I would like to increase teaching and research income in a number of different ways, so it is going to be important to me to have colleagues working constructively in an environment that will encourage high morale and efficiency. The challenge will be building teams that can identify areas of strength as well as those areas where development will benefit the Department.”

To read more about the Department of Chemistry, please visit its website.