The rapid depletion of fossil resources such as oil, the improvement in waste management and in general the environmental protection, constitute a global challenge that currently encourage chemists to focus their research on the design of safer products and more efficient processes with less environmental impact. In this sense, the use of raw materials of renewable origin, the efficient management of energy and the design of materials that can be easily recycled or reused while possessing suitable properties for their application, are one of the most outstanding challenges in the field of polymeric materials. The key objectives of our research come within this field defined commonly as sustainable polymer chemistry.
Our research activities combine organic synthesis with polymerization techniques, emphasizing on the use of efficient and sustainable synthetic methodologies following the basic principles of "green chemistry". In this sense, different methodologies have been studied such as the use of "click" reactions; the use of non-metallic or enzymatic catalysts, or the use of microwaves in the preparation of polymers from diverse bio-based starting compounds. More recently, we have extended our interest to the preparation of polymers with defined architectures such as AB and ABA block copolymers, stimuli responsive polymers or amphiphilic polymers through controlled polymerization techniques allowing the control of molecular weight, architecture and other polymer characteristics. Improving polymer degradability is also specially pursued as a response to social concern in waste reduction after final applications.
As a result of these works, a variety of polymer systems based on renewable monomers have been designed, developed and tested in different applications.