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PhD student-Characterization of tailored bimetallic (de)hydrogenation catalysts - Belgium  

Ghent University (company)

Posted on : 08 March 2017

Project Description

This project intends to characterize the structural and catalytic-kinetic properties of bimetallic nanocatalysts for (de)hydrogenation processes, precisely tailored by atomic layer deposition. 

  • Heterogeneous Pt-based catalysts are widely used in industrial and environmentally important processes, such as in hydrocarbon (de)hydrogenation reactions. 
  • The growing demand for base chemicals, feedstocks and environmental protection, motivates the search for better catalysts. 
  • In view of improving activity and even more so selectivity, nanostructured bimetallic Pt-based catalysts offer properties not found in monometallic Pt catalysts. 
  • To develop better Pt-based catalysts, a strategy for controlled design of stable bimetallic nanocatalysts is proposed by means of atomic layer deposition (ALD), in collaboration with the Department of Solid State Sciences. 
  • Optimization of the catalytic performance will be based on variation of catalyst phase, shape and promoter element, and on managing deactivation by applying a protective coating.
  •  Two reactions are targeted: propane dehydrogenation, yielding propene as chemical building block, and benzene hydrogenation, in view of removal of hazardous aromatic compounds and monomer production for nylon.
  •  The research questions that require addressing are: which promotor element is optimal, which phase, composition, particle size?
  • What are the best layer parameters to deliver a coating with optimal protection capacity? 
  • The project combines mostly experimental work, like synthesis, extensive characterization and catalytic and kinetic testing of bimetallic catalysts, with modelling. 

As a PhD student in this project, you will be responsible of:
  •   Physico-chemical characterization of the bimetallic catalysts, using BET, TPR, in situ XRD, XPS, ...
  •   In depth operando characterization using XAS (X-ray absorption spectroscopy)
  •   Synthesis of bench mark catalysts
  •   Kinetic performance testing of the bimetallic catalysts
  •   Modelling of kinetic results Interested? Come and talk about this PhD project! 

Profile of the candidate 
  • Applicants must possess a MSc in Chemical Engineering or related subject and a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 95(iBT) or equivalent. 
  • Relevant experience in the area of reactor engineering, kinetics, and/or computational chemistry is strongly recommended. 
  • Candidates must have a strong mathematical background and be willing to focus on obtaining quantitative rather than qualitative results. 

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