Prof. John Holbrey

QUILL Research Centre School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Queen's University Belfast


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Prof. John Holbrey started out studying 99mTc complexes as heart imaging agents before working in Sheffield (with Duncan Bruce) and Berlin (with Klaus Praefcke) on platinum group metallomesogens. He then moved to Queen’s University Belfast to work with Ken Seddon exploring uses of ionic liquids in green chemistry. After spending four years at the University of Alabama (with Robin Rogers) he returned to Belfast to develop industrial applications of ionic liquids in collaboration with BP and with PETRONAS and, collaborating with Chris Hardacre on the use of neutron scattering to study the phase behaviour, structure and solvation of ionic liquids. He was appointed Lecturer in 2011 and Professor in 2019.

He has published over 110 publications, and was placed at number 59 in the 2011 Times Higher Education Supplement’s ranking of the top chemists of the past decade. His research explores how ionic liquids can be used to address and overcome challenges in chemical and engineering processes, and has included the first work on ionic liquid solvents for cellulose (JACS, 2002, 124, 4974) and the design of ionic liquid mercury scrubbers from oil and gas, commercialised by PETRONAS as Hycapure‑HgTM (Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 8617).

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