Chemistry Alum celebrated for work on sustainable catalysts

November 13, 2023 by Alyx Dellamonica

Department of Chemistry alum Dr. Meera Mehta has recently been awarded a prestigious Starting Grant from the European Research Council for her research into creating sustainable alternatives to today’s chemical catalysis, the process crucial to almost all the world’s manufactured goods.

U of T Arts & Sciences has profiled Mehta, who earned her PhD in chemistry in 2017, in an interview discussing her work and a journey that has taken her to a new position as an associate professor at the University of Oxford. The article highlights the importance of Mehta's work in seeking alternatives to palladium and platinum, which are expensive and environmentally damaging to acquire. It notes, too, that much of the world’s diminishing supply of these precious metals is located in Russia and China. Mehta's work offers the possibility of using more abundant and accessible elements like phosphorus, boron, aluminum and silicon as replacements. Her exploration includes using these catalysts in ways can capture carbon, and perhaps eventually lead to more sustainable industrial practices.

Mehta talks about her work in Toronto and expresses a sense of being lucky for mentorship she continues to receive from Chemistry Professor Doug Stephan and others at U of T.