The ERC awards this prestigious European grants to experienced scientists who perform high-quality and innovative research. With Petra receiving this grant, all four professors of the group Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis were awarded an ERC consolidator or advanced grant within the past three years.
The ERC provides De Jongh 2 million euros for her research on the design and development of new catalysts, based on insights gained from studying 3D model catalysts. A great challenge is to produce fuels, plastics and medicines from water and carbon monoxide or dioxide using wind and sun –energy, whereas they are currently mainly produced based on oil.
By using three-dimensional model-catalysts, De Jongh will obtain insight into how to find the right catalyst for a specific process. Model-catalysts have a well defined, often regular three-dimensional structure. This makes it possible to investigate the relationship between the structure of the catalyst and its functionality with high precision .
De Jongh explains: “I am especially intrigued by the fact that you can make many different substances, starting with the same small molecules, and how small changes in, for example a copper-based catalyst, can lead to different desired products”