Available Literature Studies

Currently the following calls for literature studies are open. If you are interested please directly contact the indicated supervisor(s).

Supervisor(s): Joel Mensah and Pieter Bruijnincx
Title: Heterogeneously catalyzed hydrogenation of esters and arenes
Project description: Hydrogenation reactions are a central part of many industrial processes e.g. in the food sector for the processing of vegetable oils or petrochemical industries and the conversion of alkenes and aromatics into alkanes. The majority of such processes relies on the application of heterogeneous catalysis. Currently, we are interested in a specific hydrogenation reaction with industrial relevance.
In this literature study, the development of supported metal catalysts for the (combined) hydrogenation of ester- and arene groups shall be discussed. Special attention will be devoted to a priorly selected group of metals and supports, the catalyst synthesis, besides the reaction conditions and the influence of these parameters on the resulting product distribution. The aim of this work is to identify crucial aspects governing the rational construction of active sites for the selective reduction of carboxylic esters and aromatic hydrocarbons. The specific hydrogenation reaction and further details will be revealed upon acceptance.

Supervisor(s): Xinwei Ye and Bert Weckhuysen
Title: Challenges and prospects of direct conversion of methane to methanol: understanding from a molecular level
Project description: Natural methane is abundant and present as methane clathrate, shale gas etc. Methane as the simplest alkane is a potential building block to construct valuable chemicals such as methanol. Direct partial oxidation of methane to methanol is intensively studied, however, the conversion rates are still low. Challenges in direct methane conversion originate from C-H bond activation to prevent over-oxidation in this reaction. In this literature study, methane partial oxidation to methanol will be discussed with respect to thermodynamics, active sites, and reaction pathways in heterogeneous catalyst systems, to identify the key points for constructing active sites and rational design of catalyst structures.

Supervisor(s): Jim de Ruiter and Ward van der Stam
Title: What economic challenges does CO2 electroreduction entail?
Project description: If we change the point of view from scientific to economical, CO2 can be interpreted as a ‘cheap’ feedstock for many chemicals and products. The word ‘cheap’ is enclosed in quotes, as it cannot easily be considered cheap. Taking the excess CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into something valuable may sound as a lifechanging idea, it also raises major chemical, economic, political and environmental issues that are not so easy to solve. The review should give a better understanding on the possibilities regarding CO2 reduction from a chemical and economical point of view. Chemically, the review should be focused on electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 and the economic challenges that this entails, along with some examples (and calculations). If there is some room, one could add the pollical point of view as well, which will broaden the overall picture of the story. The aim of the review is to shed some light on the boundary between economy and chemistry in CO2 electroreduction.