Sustainable Synthesis of Multi-Ring Compounds

$15,000 USD
Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview


Aromatic multi-ring molecules such as benzyltoluene and dibenzyltoluene are industrially important compounds used in pharmaceuticals, heat-transfer fluids, fragrances, etc. and increasingly as liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) for the storage and transport of hydrogen used for fuel. Unfortunately, current synthetic methods for producing these molecules are not sustainable on the large scale projected to be needed in the future. The Seeker, Johnson Matthey, is looking for innovative sustainable approaches for the synthesis of these or similar molecules.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.



As the world moves toward greener energy sources carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen will supplant traditional hydrocarbons for uses where electrification is not practical. One major hurdle remaining is in the transport and storage of hydrogen. Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) are molecules that can be readily hydrogenated and dehydrogenated to store and release hydrogen and are easy to handle and transport. LOHCs are likely to be important energy vectors in the future and aromatic multi-ring compounds such as benzyltoluene and dibenzyltoluene are leading candidates to fill such a role. Current synthetic methods to make these compounds typically rely on batch processes and environmentally unfriendly reactants and thus are not suitable for the large-scale sustainable production that will be required to produce the amounts needed in the future. Johnson Matthey, the Seeker for this Challenge, is searching for innovative ideas for the sustainable large-scale production of these or similar molecules.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 20-OCT-2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s).All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided .



Our vision is for a world that’s cleaner and healthier; today and for future generations. As a global leader in sustainable technologies, we apply our cutting edge science, creating solutions with our customers that make a real difference to the world around us. We have annual sales of over £4.2 billion and an annual operating profit of over £539 million with a gross R&D spend of £190m.


What is the Wazoku Crowd?

Imagine a world where any problem you have can be looked at by millions of expert, motivated eyes. The Wazoku Crowd makes this possible. With twenty years of experience in crowdsourcing, the Wazoku Crowd is the gold standard for open talent and external innovation solutions. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with the Wazoku Crowd to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is a Wazoku Crowd Ideation™ Challenge?

A Wazoku Crowd Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

Use the slider to explore how the Challenge process works:


Review & Accept



To start solving this Challenge, log in to the Challenge Center or register as a Solver

Visit the Wazoku Crowd Community to start the conversation