The focus of Structured Materials for Catalytic Applications Group is the development of new and improved heterogeneous catalyst, structured reactors and engineering concepts devoted to sustainable technologies that lead to intensified processes, improved energy and feedstock efficiency, and minimized environmental impact. Our research is oriented to solve industrial needs and environmental concerns without forgetting the fundamentals behind the technology.
In this regard, the development of cordierite monoliths coated with layers of entangled carbon nanofibers was a foundational research (Adv Mater 2006;18(12):1589-92). Later on, they were used as catalyst for different environmental applications.
At the material side, our research is focused on nanostructured carbon materials in different morphologies and compositions (carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, graphene, carbon spheres) as catalyst and catalyst support. As metal-free catalyst, we prepared, characterized and tested carbon nanofibers doped with heteroatoms (N,B). Other carbon material we are working on is porous carbon materials prepared via hydrothermal carbonization of biomass derived compounds.
Current catalytic applications comprise:
- CO2 methanation
- dehydrogenation of alkane to alkenes
- electrocatalytic oxygen reduction reaction
- catalytic water treatment
- fine chemistry reactions (esterifications, selective oxidations and hydrogenations)
In parallel, we are also currently using the synthetized carbon materials to prepare inks used in the processing of perovskites solar cells.