Development of an autonomous accelerated reaction evaluation platform

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Chemical Engineering


Catalysis is widely applied in the chemical, energy and environmental sectors. There is a pressing need for the development of new catalytic materials and for the optimisation of the existing catalytic systems to increase their efficiency, resulting in higher product yield and selectivity, lower energy consumption and higher lifetime. The project goal is to develop new data-rich methodologies based on state of the art modelling and experimental techniques that can be used to get mechanistic and kinetic information of catalysts. Such information is critical for robust reactor design and control for ultimate use in manufacturing of chemicals and materials. The aims of this research project are:
- to design automated flow catalytic reactor systems
- to couple these systems with operando catalyst characterisation
- to use this platform for catalytic nanomaterial evaluation
To attain this goal, catalytic nanoparticles will be tested in flow catalytic reactors with the use of FTIR-microspectroscopy and other analytical techniques, such as HPLC, Raman. The platform will be programmed to perform kinetic experiments using novel model-based theoretical tools, predict the reaction model structure and provide precise automated parameter estimation. Such technology fits with the Industry 4.0 philosophy on automation and use of online analytic devices. The first model system that will be studied is the esterification of levulinic acid coupled with FTIR-analysis. Levulinic acid can be considered one of the most important platform chemicals derived from biomass and its esters are used in the flavoring industry and as biofuel additives in regular diesel car engines.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513143/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2229079 Studentship EP/R513143/1 22/09/2019 22/12/2023 Eleni Grammenou