Laboratory for Catalysis and Sustainable ChemistryTwo of the grand challenges of the 21st century are energy and sustainability. Within the Laboratory for Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry, we combine synthetic chemistry with development and application of new (synchrotron-based) characterization tools to contribute to solving these challenges. Catalysis plays an essential role to energy conversion and storage as well as to achieving sustainable chemicals conversion.
An important part of our research therefore focuses on providing understanding of a functioning catalyst with the ultimate aim to be able to design better catalytic processes. This reflects the general research theme within the laboratory, which is to provide understanding of a functioning respectively functional material. The laboratory is in particular strong in the development and application of in situ / operando time- and space-resolved measurements. For that, we maintain strong links to the synchrotron. We apply methods based on X-ray absorption and emission and X-ray photoemission spectroscopies, in addition to ptychographic imaging. High space-resolution is achieved in both the hard and soft X-ray regimes and diffractive and spectroscopic imaging is explored.
PSI researchers have developed a new catalytic converter for cleaning emissions from natural gas engines. It is very active even at low temperatures and remains that way over a long period of time. This allows natural gas to be burned in a cleaner, more climate-friendly way. Thus natural gas and biogas become more attractive as substitutes for petroleum products – for example, as fuel for cars.
New issue of Angewandte Chemie is featuring a paper entitled "Effect of Active Sites Structure on Activity of Copper Mordenite in Aerobic and Anaerobic Conversion of Methane to Methanol" by Vitaly and Dennis.
Johannes Ihli and co-researchers made it into Nature CommunicationsNature Communications will be publishing the paper of Johannes Ihli et al., "A three-dimensional view of structural changes caused by deactivation of fluid catalytic cracking catalysts", in issue 8, article number 809. The paper has already gone online on October 9, 2017.
Cover page of The Journal of Physical ChemistryThe paper titled "Core–Shell Structure of Palladium Hydride Nanoparticles Revealed by Combined X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and X-ray Diffraction" by Aram L. Bugaev was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry and made it on the cover of issue 33/2017.
SPS Award in Applied Physics awarded to Waiz KarimThe SPS 2017 Prize in Applied Physics is awarded to former member of the van Bokhoven Group Waiz Karim for his PhD thesis entitled "Metal nanostructures and their catalytic properties using top-down nanofabrication and single particle spectroscopy" which was honored with his 1st author publication "Catalyst support effects on hydrogen spillover" by W. Karim, C. Spreafico, A. Kleibert, J. Gobrecht, J. VandeVondele, Y. Ekinci, J. A. van Bokhoven, Nature, 2017, 541, 68–71.
In oil extraction sites, gaseous methane is simply burned, even though it could actually be a useful precursor material for fuels and products of the chemical industry. One way to make methane usable is to convert it to methanol. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have now developed a new chemical process that allows this conversion in an efficient and inexpensive way.
Eighty percent of all products of the chemical industry are manufactured with catalytic processes. Catalysis is also indispensable in energy conversion and treatment of exhaust gases. Industry is always testing new substances and arrangements that could lead to new and better catalytic processes. Researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Villigen and ETH Zurich have now developed a method for improving the precision of such experiments, which may speed up the search for optimal solutions.