Hybrid Materials (HyMat) for Catalysis and Purification
The development of new materials for catalytic processes based on supported liquid films is a topic that bridges heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis as well as biocatalysis and joins applied chemistry with materials science and engineering.
Our target is to amalgamate the benefits of both homogeneous (high selectivity) and heterogeneous (easy recyclability) catalysis by developing hybrid materials for chemical conversion and gas purification processes. Such hybrid materials consist of supported liquids and depending on the nature of this liquid (organic, inorganic, ionic, metallic), we obtain different materials with strong benefits for certain applications.
We try to gain fundamental knowledge of the role of each building block (support, liquid, active site) by detailed kinetic, spectroscopic and theoretical studies. Based on this fundamental knowledge we optimize the material as well as the reactor design to achieve most sustainable processes possible.
One field of application of such hybrid materials is large scale chemical synthesis, in which the higher selectivity or better recyclability of the catalyst is leading to more benign processes. Examples include hydroformylation, selective hydrogenation, and Friedel-Crafts alkylations. Another industrial sector for hybrid materials is the hydrogen economy, including selective hydrogenations and dehydrogenations.