Prof. dr. P.C.A. (Pieter) Bruijnincx

Organic Chemistry and Catalysis
Education Institute Chemistry
030 253 3128

Full Professor Sustainable Chemistry & Catalysis


Pieter Bruijnincx obtained both his Master’s degree (2002) and Ph.D. degree in Chemistry (2007) from Utrecht University (both cum laude, highest distinction). His doctoral studies were performed under the direction of Profs. Bert Klein Gebbink, Gerard van Koten, and Bert Weckhuysen and focused on the development of bio-inspired oxidation catalysts and models for non-heme iron enzymes. After receiving his PhD degree, he was awarded an NWO Rubicon grant (2007) to work in the medicinal inorganic chemistry group of Prof. Peter Sadler at the University of Warwick, U.K. on catalytic drug development.

In 2009, he returned to Utrecht to join the Inorganic Chemistry & Catalysis group as an tenure-track assistant professor to work on the catalytic conversion of biomass and renewables for the production of bulk and fine chemicals. In 2013 Pieter Bruijnincx got tenure at the group of Inorganic Chemistry & Catalysis and in 2015 he was promoted to Associate Professor Catalysis for Renewables. In 2010 and 2013 he received VENI and VIDI grants from the Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO). In 2018, he got appointed as Full Professor to hold the chair of 'Sustainable Chemistry & Catalysis' at the Organic Chemistry & Catalysis group of the Debye Institute of Nanomaterials Science.

His research of Pieter Bruijnincx focuses on the new catalysts and conversion routes for the sustainable production of new and 'drop-in' chemicals, materials and fuels, e.g. by valorization of lignocellulosic biomass and biomass-derived platform molecules, CO2 and waste feedstock. 

Recent examples of research topics include the catalytic depolymerization of lignin and humins and further catalytic upgrading of lignin-derived aromatics, the conversion of ethanol to butadiene, a novel route for furanics-based aromatics production, fatty acid isomerization, and catalyst development for levulinic acid hydrogenation. For this, both the use of both heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts are explored. In addition to catalyst design and (in situ) catalyst characterization, particular emphasis is put on advanced structural characterization of the complex biomass feeds and waste streams (e.g. industrial lignins and humins). In addition to his biomass valorization research, he also works on the development of new catalytic concepts at the interface of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, e.g. Pickering Emulsions for catalysis or Single Atom Catalysts. 

The research, financed by NWO, STW, EU and by industrial partners, is carried as part of national (e.g. public private partnerships such as Catchbio, BPM, etc), international (Marie Curie ITN, COST, etc) and industrial collaborations. The projects involve the development of both heterogeneous catalysts and homogeneous (transition metal-based) catalysts . We aim to gain fundamental understanding of the catalytic process, i.e. the elucidation of structure-activity relationships, to study catalyst stability and deactivation and to study mechanistic aspects of the reaction. The research is thus performed at the interface of the fields homogeneous/heterogeneous catalysis and organic/inorganic chemistry. 

In 2016 Pieter Bruijnincx became member of The Young Academy (De Jonge Akademie) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science and Arts (KNAW). 

Duurzame Chemie & Katalyse