Bram Kappé

PhD Candidate
Employed since: February 2021
Room: Vening Meineszgebouw-C



Structure sensitivity and promotor effects in (de)hydrogenation reactions catalyzed by supported nickel nanoparticles

Bram’s project is part of ARC CBBC, and in collaboration with BASF Bram will investigate structure sensitivity in nickel catalyzed (de)hydrogenation reactions, such as CO2 methanation. Most catalytic reactions are structure sensitive, which means that the surface atoms of a supported metal catalyst differ in activity. The specific activity of surface atoms depends on their electronic structure and the atomic arrangement in their surrounding (coordination). The electronic structure and atomic arrangement are in turn influenced by the shape and size of the nanoparticle and can be tuned by the addition of promoters or modifiers. To study structure sensitivity, nanoparticles with well-defined shapes and sizes are thus necessary. In his project, Bram will synthesize nickel nanoparticles of several sizes and shapes to selectively expose different surfaces. Additionally, Bram will study the effect of addition of promoters to fine-tune the electronic properties of the nanoparticles. The synthesized nanoparticles will then be supported on high surface area supports and the catalysts will be tested in, for example, CO2 hydrogenation, as a model structure sensitive reaction. The effect of nanoparticle shape and promoters will be studied by operando techniques such as infrared and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. This study is expected to give new fundamental insights in structure sensitivity which will guide rational design to improve catalysts for(de)hydrogenation reactions.



2021 – present
PhD candidate in the group of prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen, Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Utrecht University

Project title: ‘Structure sensitivity and promotor effects in (de)hydrogenation reactions catalyzed by supported nickel nanoparticles’, part of ARC CBBC and in collaboration with BASF

2018 – 2020
Master’s degree in Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University 

Master thesis at the Organic Chemistry and Catalysis group, titled ‘Aminoborane as a Cooperative Acceptor Ligand’, supervised by Martine Tiddens, Msc. and Dr. Marc-Etienne Moret

Research project at the Synthetic Organic Chemistry group, University of Amsterdam, titled ‘C-H Activation by Thermally Accessible Radical Ion Pairs’, supervised by Dr. Chris Slootweg

2014 – 2018
Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Utrecht University

Bachelor thesis at the Condensed Matter and Interfaces group, titled ‘Characterization of CdSe/CdS dot in rods synthesized via the seeded growth method’, supervised by Tim Prins, Msc. And Prof. Daniël Vanmaekelbergh.