Research interests involve a fundamental understanding of the synthesis of catalysts and functional materials with particular interest in zeolites, mesoporous materials, carbon nanofibers, supported metals and metal oxides, and solid base materials such as hydrotalcites. The work on zeolites comprises generation of mesopores, characterization using electron tomography (3D-TEM) and catalysis. Carbon nanofibers are investigated for their potential as catalysts support materials. Mesoporous materials (e.g. MCM-41, SBA-15) are used as support materials for fundamental studies on catalyst preparation. Most recently we have focused on control of the location of metal nanoparticles in bifunctional catalysts such as Pt/alumina/zeolite catalysts.
The approach in our research is to combine the outcome of several techniques into a unifying picture of the complex nanomaterials that are synthesized. The in-house techniques are a.o. in situ XRD, IR, physisorption, TPR-TPD-TPO, TGA, SEM and TEM. As special competencies Electron Tomography, STEM-EDX and Liquid-Phase TEM (Dr. Jovana Zecevic) and high-throughput catalyst testing using a 16-reactor Flowrence set up of Avantium are mentioned.
Catalytic studies involve (hydro-)isomerisation of hydrocarbons, selective hydrogenations, aldol-condensation and synthesis gas conversion (paraffins, olefins and alcohols).