Improving biomass transformation catalysis with a combined nanomaterials and spectroscopy rational design approach

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Chemistry


Heterogeneous (solid) catalysts underpin the manufacture of > 90% of fuels and chemicals and the chemicals sector contributes £50bn yr-1 to the UK economy. The need to develop new or improved catalysts (more efficient, selective, cheaper, greener) has never been greater, with an expanding, more developed population, depletion of fossil resources and enormous concerns about global warming. The key enabler in delivering the catalysts needed is systematic insight into the molecular / atomic mechanisms that control catalyst function.

This project will use "idealized" catalyst structures to provide mechanistic insight into a key biomass-to chemicals transformations of platform molecules (e.g. furfural, a promising "platform molecule" readily obtainable from sugar and providing access to a number of adhesive/resin/solvent and plastics intermediates (all currently fossil derived).

The catalyst structures will be synthesized using nano-chemistry techniques. The uniformity obtained enables the reliable use of spectroscopic handles for the catalysts' charge transfer and acid/base properties - key mechanistic parameters we want to understand.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513039/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2115415 Studentship EP/R513039/1 01/10/2018 31/12/2021 Kathryn Louise MacIntosh
Title Nickel-catalysed vapour-phase hydrogenation of furfural, insights into reactivity and deactivation [dataset] 
Description Data in this dataset correspond to the paper: Nickel-catalysed vapour-phase hydrogenation of furfural, insights into reactivity and deactivation Kathryn L. MacIntosh and Simon K. Beaumont 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact K.L. MacIntosh, S.K. Beaumont, Nickel-Catalysed Vapour-Phase Hydrogenation of Furfural, Insights into Reactivity and Deactivation, Top. Catal., 63 (2020) 1446-1462.