Introducing lectures

Workshop abstracts 1st annual SuBiCat meeting 18-19 June 2014

Biomass valorization: the enabling interplay of catalyst preparation and evaluation, and reactor engineering

Dr. Cecilia Mondelli

In the last years, biomass has attracted much interest as a renewable carbon source for the production of chemicals and fuels. In this context, while heterogeneous catalysis possesses a tremendous potential for rendering feasible and economic biobased conversion routes, the transposition of traditional catalytic technologies is not straightforward due to the highly oxygenated nature of bio-derived feedstocks. After describing the diverse challenges associated with the design of catalysts for biomass valorization, this lecture will illustrate the development of performing Lewis-acid and basic zeolite-based materials for the production of lactic acid and the partial deoxygenation of pyrolysis oil, respectively. In this regard, it will be shown how post-synthetic zeolite modification stands as a facile and scalable strategy to simultaneously enhance activity, selectivity, and lifetime. This method in fact enables to introduce unique catalytic centers while hierarchically structuring the zeolite porosity, the benefits of which were largely demonstrated in relation to oil-based processes. Having highlighted impressive strengths of tuned solids, the talk will recall that decisive aspects as the scale up into technically-relevant forms and the stability under realistic processing conditions remain to be surpassed prior to their large-scale implementation. Among the future directions to address these crucial issues, the potential of novel hybrid engineering concepts combining reaction and separation in a single unit will be underlined.


  • Comprehension of the main challenges related to the design of heterogeneous catalysts for biomass processing
  • Fundamental understanding of synthetic strategies able to generate zeolites featuring tailored active sites and distinct porosity levels
  • Rationalization of the relation between catalyst structure and performance
  • Understanding of the added levels of complexity upon scaling up promising catalyst formulations
  • Comprehension of reactor engineering requirements for the large-scale production of biochemicals and fuels
  • Understanding of emerging hybrid reactor concepts integrating reaction and separation

Operando spectroscopy I

Dr. ir. Javier Ruiz-Martinez

Understanding of the working principle of catalytic materials is of paramount importance for the rational design of new catalytic material with more efficient active sites and suitable porous structure for specific catalytic reactions. Fundamental insights into the structural properties of catalysts and reaction intermediates can only be truly acquired by operando spectroscopy. This comprises the use of advance characterization techniques and catalytic testing under relevant reaction conditions simultaneously by using appropriate in-situ cells.

This lecture aims to illustrate how operando spectroscopy can aid to the understanding of catalytic materials. The concept of operando spectroscopy will be explained and potential pitfalls while performing such an approach will be highlighted. Finally, some examples will be presented on the characterization of heterogeneous catalysts under real reaction conditions in gas and liquid phase reactions.

Operando Spectroscopy Part II: the Role of NMR

Anna Codina, PhD, Material Characterisation Lab. Manager, Bruker UK

Operando spectroscopy has greatly contributed to the understanding of both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis and as a consequence increased the robustness of the synthesis.

This lecture aims to create awareness of the potential of NMR in the field of operando spectroscopy, specially combined with other techniques such as IR and MS. Existing and new hardware and software solutions are presented and discussed.


  • Basic comprehension of NMR spectroscopy Fundamental understanding of information obtained by NMR, advantages and disadvantages vs other techniques
  • Terminology. Differentiation between in-line and on-line monitoring
  • Create awareness of new hardware and software solution for process monitoring by NMR
  • Establish background that enables forward thinking about the developments needed in the field

Knowledge Transfer: an introduction

Dr Ewan D. Chirnside

As national budgets and funding for the sciences, arts and humanities come under increasing pressure, and economies in developed countries increasingly reliant on competing through high level knowledge and skills, government funding for research more closely resembles a “public investment” (like new railways, roads and civil infrastructure) than classical research “grants”. There is increasing pressure on researchers to not only contribute to their subject and their peers through publishing but to engage more widely and intimately with industry, the public, a range of other interested stakeholders & 3rd parties as well as the government bodies that fund them.

This generic activity is referred to as Knowledge Exchange (KE) or Knowledge Transfer (KT) and where science patents and know-how are made available, as Technology Transfer. Governments now fund researchers in expectation that classical academic outputs (publications in learned journals and academic presentations to peers) are translated more widely into a wider range of outputs (blogs, wikis, news articles, working papers, policy documents etc.) which are more accessible to a much wider range of parties and individuals, and that researchers themselves engage in a wider range of discussions and meetings beyond academe and from all walks of life.

By translation and dissemination through a wide range of pathways a set of additional outcomes and uses of research become possible with the widest potential impact in economic development, social & public policy contributions, and cultural and public engagement.

This workshop aims to introduce the fundamentals of Knowledge Exchange and provide a basic toolset to early career researchers which can be applied to any research project to determine opportunities and ways to engaged pro-actively in knowledge exchange and assist researchers map their own particular “pathways to impact”.


  • Basic comprehension of knowledge exchange and its mechanisms
  • Stimulate researcher’s consideration of outputs, outcomes and impact
  • Provide a simple DIY “pathways to impact” toolkit

Advanced ligand design

Professor P.C.J. Kamer

Knowledge about bonding and reactivity in organometallic chemistry has largely contributed to the enormous growth of applications of transition metal complexes. The properties of organotransition metal complexes are dependent on the ligand environment of the metal. By changing the ligands the structure, reactivity and stability can be directed and sometimes the effects can even be predicted.

This lecture course aims to demonstrate how fundamental mechanistic insights in organometallic chemistry can be applied in rational ligand design and eventually in the development of new or improved complexes and materials for technological applications and practical studies in chemical processes.


  • Comprehension of basic organometallic chemistry.
  • Fundamental understanding of ligand effects in organometallic complexes
  • Comprehension of elementary steps of a catalytic cycle.
  • Fundamental understanding of ligand effects on elementary steps of catalytic reactions.
  • Rationalisation of relation between catalyst structure and metal recyclability
  • Rationalisation of relation between catalyst structure and complex degradation

DSM's Biobased Innovations

Oliver May

Industrial Heterogeneous Catalysis

Professor H.J. Heeres

Heterogeneous catalysts are commonly used for the production of transportation fuels and important base- and bulk chemicals. For the successful development of new processes and optimisation of existing ones, a holistic approach is required involving activities on small length scale like surface and particle level (heterogeneous catalysis research) as well as on larger length scales like reactor and process scale (heterogeneous catalysis engineering).

This lecture course aims to provide the audience insights in the fundamentals of each length scale, the interrelations between the various scale, and the possible measures to be taken to develop processes with a high product selectivity and yield.


  • Introduction to length and timescales in heterogeneous catalyst research and engineering.
  • Provide insights in relevant phenomena of heterogeneous catalysis on molecular level
  • Provide insights in the interplay between kinetics and mass transfer on particle level
  • Provide a basic understanding of reactor concepts for heterogeneous catalysis.
  • Create awareness concerning the importance of high selectivity for bulk chemical manufacture on all length scales
  • Provide insights in the various stages of process development

Continuous-Flow Homogeneous Catalysis using Advanced Fluids

Walter Leitner

  • Continuous-Flow Homogeneous Catalysis using Advanced Fluids.
  • From Molecular Understanding to Reaction Engineering Concepts