Best Student Oral Presentation
After a one-year break, the 31st International Conference of the Catalyst Society of South Africa (CATSA) was held from November 7 to 10, 2021, for the first time as an online conference due to the coronavirus. Under the theme "Catalysis for a sustainable society", the conference offered exciting lectures from different areas of catalysis, for example from Prof. Paul J. Chirik on the topic "Reimagining the periodic table - Addressing sustainability challenges in the 21st century". Our group was represented by Martin Fuchs. For his presentation entitled "Towards a Circular Economy - Carboxyguanidine Zn catalysts for the chemical recycling of bio-based polyesters" he was awarded 1st place for "Best Student Oral Presentation". He presented the recent results of his research on the chemical recycling of bio-based polyesters, such as polylactide. Herein alcoholysis is used as tool for chemical recycling, enabling efficient conversion of the polyester into smaller molecules. These can be recycled directly back to the monomer and from there to the plastic, or serve as a platform chemical to produce several compounds. This can reduce both the manufacturing costs of polylactide and the environmental impact of plastic waste. The robust and non-toxic zinc catalysts used in this study are already used in our group to produce polylactide and can therefore enable a circular plastics economy. Further information about the conference, which is planned for next year again as a face-to-face event, can be obtained at http://www.catsa.org.za/.