Dr. Francesco della Monica

Prof Arjan Kleij

Sustainable Polyesters and Renewable Terpenoid Monomers

Francesco obtained his Master Degree in Chemistry in 2013, at the University of Salerno (UNISA) in Italy. At UNISA, he worked one year as post-graduated researcher, before starting his doctorate in 2014 at the Chemistry and Biology Department in the group of Prof Carmine Capacchione. In 2018, he gained his PhD defending a thesis on the development of new iron-based catalysts for the reaction of carbon dioxide with epoxides. He spent one year as postdoctoral researcher at the same institute. In July 2019, he joined the research group of Prof Arjan W. Kleij as a MSCA-IF fellow to develop new terpenoid monomers for the synthesis of sustainable polymers. When he is not in the lab, Francesco likes reading, watching movies and spending time with his family.

ICIQ profile

From 01/07/2019 to



Synthetic polymers derived from petrochemical products are essential for the production of a wide range of consumer
products. The demand for more sustainable and renewable monomers and polymers is currently increasing, because fossil
feedstock will become scarce in future times, and the global legislation is putting an increasing stress on the use of certain
monomers used in the polymer industry. The aliphatic polyesters represent one of the most appealing type of bioplastic
materials, because of their general biocompatibility and facile hydrolytic degradation and, in this ambit, the use of terpenes
as monomers or monomer-precursors is largely unexplored. The primary objective of this project, is the creation of new
polyester formulations based on renewable and accessible terpene monomers to answer to the growing need for future
generations of more functional and sustainable materials. Three renewable monomers have been selected, two derived from
camphor and a new one from β-elemene. Structurally new polyesters will be synthesized by ring opening (co)polymerization
of these monomers, using catalytic systems based on cheap and health-friendly metals (Fe, Al). The use of the new βelemene based monomer will incorporate vinylic groups along the polymer chains, offering the possibility for postmodification of the obtained material. The success of the project is supported by the Experienced Researcher background in
polymer synthesis with the Host experience in the discovery and catalytic valorization of new terpene scaffolds. The action
will take place in an interdisciplinary and international environment, granting to the Experienced Researcher a solid train in
scientific and soft skills needed for his future career. The results of the action will have a strong impact on the society, giving
the opportunity to asses circular economy on a highly impact industrial sector, such as that of bio-polymers.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement 840557

“Equal Opportunity Prize”

In October 2019, I was a member of a five-people team awarded with the “Equal Opportunity Prize” in Start Cup Campania 2019, a competition for business ideas based on research

“Cinzia Chiappe Award”

In July 2019, I was awarded with the “Cinzia Chiappe Award” for the Best Italian PhD Thesis in the field of Green and Sustainable Chemistry, awarded by the “Gruppo Interdivisionale