Professor Duncan Wass

University of Bristol


My research interests are in fundamental and applied homogeneous catalysis and organometallic chemistry. Specific current interests are in developing catalysts for bio alcohol upgrading to advanced biofuels, carbon dioxide conversion, transition metal cooperative Lewis pairs and catalysts for self-healing composite materials.


Duncan Wass completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Durham (1992-1995). He then studied for his PhD (1995-1998) under the supervision of Professor Vernon Gibson CB FRS at Imperial College, London. In 1999, he joined BP Chemicals Ltd, working in their Sunbury-on-Thames laboratories. After secondment to a commercial sales and marketing team, he moved to BP’s research site in Brussels, Belgium. Duncan joined the School of Chemistry at Bristol University in January 2004, and was promoted to Professor of Catalysis in 2012.

My Sessions

Catalytic upgrading of (Bio)ethanol to Butanols – New Routes to Advanced Biofuels


Butanols have emerged as valuable advanced biofuels with fuel properties very similar to existing gasoline. This contribution will describe our work in developing catalysts for the conversion of ethanol and methanol/ethanol mixtures into n-butanol and isobutanol. ┬áThese ruthenium-based catalysts can achieve good conversion and very high selectivity, and this is sensitive to ligand structure. Preliminary […]

Renewables to chemicals and fuels