Selective production of valuable chemicals by electro-nano-catalysts (SELECTRON)
Start date: 27 Apr 2017, End date: 26 Apr 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

To minimise the impact of mankind on the environment while ensuring economically viable industrial activities, greener processes are needed. In particular, developing selective synthesis routes of valuable chemicals with limited waste in the production is a major challenge faced by industry. As a case study, Haldor Topsøe, world expert in catalysis and secondment host in the project, aims to produce the valuable chemical dimethyl carbonate (DMC) without CO2 emission. Within this framework, the SELECTRON project will develop an electro-nano-catalyst for the selective and green production of DMC from methanol and CO. First, a nanotoolbox and a new synthesis route will be developed using a microwave reactor synthesis to provide Pt, Au, Ag, Cu nanocatalysts with controlled shape and structure. Second, the electrocatalytic properties of these catalysts for production of dimethyl carbonate will be assessed for the first time by state-of-the-art electrochemical and chemical characterisation but also more advanced technique like spectro-electrochemistry in parallel to theoretical simulation. Based on the knowledge gained on the electrocatalytic mechanism, a stable and selective catalyst will finally be produced. This highly interdisciplinary project will benefit from my strong background in nanomaterials design and synthesis, electrochemistry and catalysis, the complementary expertise of the host group in spectro-electro-chemistry, expertise of collaborators in theoretical simulation, and the strong commitment of Haldor Topsøe to bridge the gap academia-industry in order to develop a green production method for valuable chemicals like DMC. I will develop the required skills to become an independent expert in the emerging field of green production of valuable chemicals by electro-nano-catalysis, thus fulfilling H2020’s goal to generate leading expertise and innovation in green technologies.