Dr. Ina Vollmer

Assistant Professor
Employed since: May 2019
Email: i.vollmer@uu.nl
Room: David de Wied 5.84

Research

Research

Researcher unique identifier (ORCID): 0000-0001-9917-1499
UU Website: https://www.uu.nl/staff/IVollmer
X: @InaVollmer_DE
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ina-vollmer-84327959/

The majority of plastic waste is landfilled, burned or leaks to the environment. Unfortunately, only 12 % (by weight) is recycled globally, mainly because the predominantly applied recycling technique of melting and re-extrusion produces a lower quality plastic. Therefore, chemical depolymerization of plastic has been studied to produce monomers which can be used to make high-quality plastic again. For polyolefins, however, only a very mixed, low value hydrocarbon stream was obtained thus far.4  This is because thermal cracking of the strong polyolefin bonds evokes random bond scission, uncontrolled further reaction and thus the formation of various products besides monomers.

My expertise is in mechano-chemistry1 and mechano-catalysis2-3, chemical recycling of plastics,4-8 and heterogenous catalysis8-10 as well as polymer chemistry and radical analytics. I teach polymer chemistry and electron spin resonance spectroscopy.

The research on my team focusses on developing pathways for the low temperature selective chemical recycling of plastic waste to chemical building blocks like aromatics,5, 6 carboxylic acids8 and monomers. I am especially interested in using mechano-catalysis to drive the depolymerization and cracking reactions of polyolefins. Mechano-chemistry is a rather less developed field of chemistry where reactions are driven not by thermal energy, electrons or photons but rather by mechanical strain, which can lower the activation energy needed to be overcome for bond cleavage. This strain can, for example, be applied in a ball mill.

In my team, we developed a surface activated mechano-catalyst (SAM cat), which we patented.2-3 Instead of adding catalyst as powder to the ball mill, we functionalize the grinding spheres directly. This significantly improves performance. The catalyst is placed right where the energy input into the system is the highest, at the impact point of the spheres. In addition, it avoids difficulties in bringing the powder catalyst, polymer and grinding spheres together at the same location at the same time.

supervised PhDs/Postdocs:
Adrian H. Hergesell
Claire L. Seitzinger

Co-supervised PhDs:
Sebastian Rejman
Tom Smak
Jochem van de Minkelis
En Chen
Michael Jenks
Kordula Schnabl

Videos/Webinars:

Open Science:
I lead the activities towards digitalization in the group according to the principle of findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable data (FAIR). We have set up a procedure for data storage on the Yoda server of UU that is then published openly via a doi link. We have also set up a group wiki and electronic lab journals and are currently setting up a server infrastructure to automatically back up all raw measurement data from over 40 lab instruments.

(1) Aydonat, S., Hergesell, A. H., Seitzinger, C. L., Lennarz, R., Chang, G., Sievers, C., Meisner, J., Vollmer, I., & Göstl, R., Leveraging mechanochemistry for sustainable polymer degradation. Polymer Journal, 2024, 56(4), 249–268. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41428-023-00863-9

(2) Vollmer, I., Hergesell, A.H., Seitzinger, C.L, patent application, EP24170863.5

(3) Vollmer, I., Hergesell, A.H., Weckhuysen, B.M., patent application, PCT/NL2023/050544

(4) Vollmer, I., Jenks, M.J.F., Roelands, M.C.P, White, R.J., van Harmelen, T., de Wild, P., van der Laan, G.P., Meirer, F., Keurentjes, J.T.F., Weckhuysen, B.M., Beyond Mechanical Recycling: Giving New Life to Plastic Waste. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59 (36), 15402–15423, doi.org/10.1002/anie.201915651

(5) Vollmer, I., Jenks, M. J. F., González, R. M., Meirer, F. & Weckhuysen, B. M., Plastic Waste Conversion over a Refinery Waste Catalyst. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60 (29), 16101–16108, doi.org/10.1002/anie.202104110

(6) 3. Rejman, S., Vollmer, I., Werny, M., Meirer, F., Vogt, E., Weckhuysen, B. M., Transport Limitations in Polyolefin Cracking at the Single Particle Level, Chem. Sci., 2023, 14(37) 10068-10080, doi. org/10.1039/D3SC03229A (data available at: doi.org/10.24416/UU01-72ZJU1)

(7) Thevenon, A., Vollmer, I., Towards a Cradle-to-Cradle Lifecycle for Polyethylene, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2023, 62 (3), e202216163, doi.org/10.1002/anie.202216163

(8) Smak, T. J., de Peinder, P., van der Waal, J. C., Altink, R., Vollmer, I., & Weckhuysen, B. M., Oxidative Conversion of Polyethylene Towards Di-Carboxylic Acids: A Multi-Analytical Approach. ChemSusChem, 2023, e202301198. doi.org/10.1002/CSSC.202301198

(9) Vollmer, I., Kosinov, N. Szécsényi, Á, Li, G., Yarulina, I, Abou-Hamad, E., Gurinov, A., Ould-Chikh, S., Aguilar-Tapia, A. Hazemann, J.L., Pidko, E., Hensen, E. J. M., Kapteijn, F., Gascon, J., A site-sensitive quasi in-situ strategy to characterize Mo/HZSM-5 during activation, J. Catal. 2019, 370, 321-331, doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2019.01.013

(10) 8. Vollmer, I., van der Linden, B., Ould-Chikh, S., Aguilar-Tapia, A., Yarulina, I., Abou-Hamad, E., Sneider, Y.G., Olivos Suarez, A.I., Hazemann, J.L., Kapteijn, F., Gascon, J., On the dynamic nature of Mo sites for methane dehydroaromatization, Chem. Sci. 2018, 9 (21), 4801–4807, doi.org/10.1039/C8SC01263F

(11) 9. Vollmer, I., Ould-Chikh, S., Aguilar-Tapia, A., Li, G., Pidko, E., Hazemann, J.L., Kapteijn, F., Gascon, J., Activity Descriptors Derived from Comparison of Mo and Fe as Active Metal for Methane Conversion to Aromatics. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141 (47), 18814–18824, doi.org/10.1021/jacs.9b09710

(12) 10. Vollmer, I., Abou‐Hamad, E., Gascon, J., Kapteijn, F., Aromatization of ethylene–main intermediate for MDA?, ChemCatChem 2020, 12 (2), 544-549, doi.org/10.1002/cctc.201901655

C.V.

C.V.

2021 – now      Assistant professor in Chemistry, Utrecht University (UU), The Netherlands

2019 – 2021     Postdoctoral fellow in Chemistry, UU, The Netherlands

11/03/2019       PhD in Chemical Engineering/Heterogenous Catalysis, Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), The Netherlands, supervisors: Prof. Freek Kapteijn and Prof. Jorge Gascon

2015                Master in Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The United States

2013                Bachelor in Process Engineering, Hamburg University of Applied Science (HAW Hamburg), Germany

Successful grants:

  • 2021, Veni grant for conducting 3 years of independent research (250k Euro) by the Talent program of the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
  • 2022, Open competition XS grant by NWO for groundbreaking high-risk ideas (50k Euro).
  • 2023, private partnership subsidy funding with Carboliq GmbH as industrial partner, received from TKI Groene Chemie & Circulariteit (108k Euro)

Invited lectures:

  • 2023, American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall meeting, “Surface-activated grinding spheres enable the direct mechano-catalytic depolymerization of polypropylene waste in the solid state”
  • 2023, Celebration of the Stratingh Institute at University of Groningen, “Chemical valorization of plastic waste”
  • 2023, Center for Zeolites and Nanoporous Materials of the French National Center for Research (CNRS) upon invitation of Prof. Svetlana Mintova, “Catalytic conversion of plastic waste”
  • 2023, American Chemical Society Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference “Chemical strategies for valorization of plastic waste”
  • 2022, ACHEMA, “Chemical strategies for the valorization of plastic waste”
  • 2022, European Industry and Energy Summit, “Chemical valorization of plastic waste”
  • 2022, University of Cambridge, “New life for plastic waste“
  • 2022, Advanced Research Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC) annual symposium, “Chemical strategies for the valorization of plastic waste”
  • 2022, Technical University of Ilmenau, invited by Dr. Robert Geitner, “New life for plastic waste”
  • 2021, ACS spring meeting, “Design of coke-resistant catalysts for the conversion of polyolefins to aromatics”

Editorial activity, moderating, organization of symposia:

  • 2024, editor for Applied Catalysis A: General
  • 2023, guest editor for a joint themed issue “Plastic conversion” of the journals Catalysis Science & Technology and Polymers, https://doi.org/1039/D3PY90069J
  • 2021, moderator of panel discussion on chemical recycling of plastics during the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Catalysis Science & Technology
  • 2021, organizer of focus session on recycling of plastics supported by ARC CBBC at the CHAINS conference in the Netherlands.
  • Peer review for ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, Angewandte Chemie, Applied Catalysis A and B, Chemical Engineering Journal, Energies, Journal of Catalysis, Nature Chemistry, ACS Catalysis, Separation and Purification Technology, and Applied Sciences. I also review proposals for the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) Moonshot program and the Stanford Synchroton Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) and am in the topic committee of the International Catalysis Conference (ICC) in 2024.

Teaching:

  • 2023, We developed a new MSc. program at UU on sustainable and circular chemistry starting in 2024, in which we promote interdisciplinary research. We integrate life cycle, technoeconomic and toxicity assessment as well as systems thinking, societal and environmental impact into the curriculum centered around catalysis and chemistry.
  • 2022, together with three other PIs, we developed a BSc. level polymer chemistry course at UU of which I am the coordinator.
  • Since 2021, I am teaching electron spin resonance spectroscopy in the BSc. level course “Spectroscopy of Molecules and Materials” at UU
  • Since 2021, together with another PI, we developed a BSc. level sustainable chemistry course that we teach at the University College Utrecht (UCU)
  • Since 2021, I teach a guest lecture on chemical recycling of plastics at the Hogeschool Utrecht (HU)
  • Since 2021, I teach a guest lecture on transport phenomena in heterogeneous catalysis at UU

Committee work:

  • Since 2023, member of the faculty of science council of UU.
  • Since 2023, member of the faculty advisory board research IT looking at ways to promote open science and data at the faculty of science at UU
  • Since 2022, board member of the Institute for Sustainable and Circular Chemistry (ISCC) at UU.
  • 2022-2023, member of the committee assessing and promoting the societal, economic and judicial impact of research at UU.
  • Since 2021, member of ARC CBBC

Journalistic experience:

  • 2011-2017, journalistic education via a scholarship from the German Konrad-Adenauer foundation
  • 2014, internship as scientific journalist at the magazine MIT Technology Review in Hannover, Germany (6 weeks)
  • 2012, internship as business editor at Nation Multimedia Group in Bangkok, Thailand (2 months)
  • 2012, internship at the German Press Agency (DPA) (2 months)

News

20 May 2022

Ina & Ward received an NWO XS grant for curiosity-driven research

Ina Vollmer and Ward van der Stam (both ICC) have received an NWO XS grant of 50.000 euro for curiosity-driven research into new ways to recycle plastic and CO2. Ina […]

Read more
11 May 2021

Where has all the plastic gone? Ina Vollmer & Florian Meirer interviewed about plastic in the environment

Ina Vollmer and Florian Meirer have been interviewed for an in-depth article about plastic in the environment: 99 percent of all the plastics in the ocean is missing. We know […]

Read more

Publications

Aydonat, Simay; Hergesell, Adrian H.; Seitzinger, Claire L.; Lennarz, Regina; Chang, George; Sievers, Carsten; Meisner, Jan; Vollmer, Ina; Göstl, Robert

Leveraging mechanochemistry for sustainable polymer degradation Journal Article

In: Polymer Journal, 2024, (Cited by: 0; All Open Access, Hybrid Gold Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Vollmer, Ina; Jenks, Michael J. F.; Rejman, Sebastian; Meirer, Florian; Gurinov, Andrei; Baldus, Marc; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Unravelling potential reaction intermediates during catalytic pyrolysis of polypropylene with microscopy and spectroscopy Journal Article

In: Catalysis Science and Technology, vol. 52, 2024, (Cited by: 0; All Open Access, Green Open Access, Hybrid Gold Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Schnabl, Kordula B.; Mandemaker, Laurens D. B.; Ganjkhanlou, Yadolah; Vollmer, Ina; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Green Additives in Chitosan-based Bioplastic Films: Long-term Stability Assessment and Aging Effects Journal Article

In: ChemSusChem, 2024, (Cited by: 0; All Open Access, Hybrid Gold Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Smak, Tom J.; de Peinder, Peter; der Waal, Jan C. Van; Altink, Rinke; Vollmer, Ina; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Oxidative Conversion of Polyethylene Towards Di-Carboxylic Acids: A Multi-Analytical Approach Journal Article

In: ChemSusChem, vol. 17, no. 7, 2024, (Cited by: 0).

Links | BibTeX

Schnabl, Kordula B.; Mandemaker, Laurens D. B.; Nierop, Klaas G. J.; Deen, Olivier V. B.; Eefting, Desmond D.; Vollmer, Ina; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Green Additives in Chitosan-Based Bioplastic Films: Physical, Mechanical, and Chemical Properties Journal Article

In: ChemSusChem, vol. 16, no. 20, 2023, (Cited by: 0; All Open Access, Hybrid Gold Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Vollmer, Ina; Sardon, Haritz; Huber, George W.; Li, Zhibo

Introduction to Plastic Conversion Journal Article

In: Polymer Chemistry, vol. 14, no. 26, pp. 3054 – 3056, 2023, (Cited by: 0).

Links | BibTeX

Thevenon, Arnaud; Vollmer, Ina

Towards a Cradle-to-Cradle Polyolefin Lifecycle Journal Article

In: Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol. 62, no. 3, 2023, (Cited by: 2).

Links | BibTeX

Vollmer, Ina; Sardon, Haritz; Huber, George W.; Li, Zhibo

Introduction to Plastic Conversion Journal Article

In: Catalysis Science and Technology, vol. 13, no. 13, pp. 3737 – 3739, 2023, (Cited by: 0).

Links | BibTeX

Jöbsis, Huygen J.; Fykouras, Kostas; Reinders, Joost W. C.; van Katwijk, Jacco; Dorresteijn, Joren M.; Arens, Tjom; Vollmer, Ina; Muscarella, Loreta A.; Leppert, Linn; Hutter, Eline M.

Conduction Band Tuning by Controlled Alloying of Fe into Cs2AgBiBr6 Double Perovskite Powders Journal Article

In: Advanced Functional Materials, 2023, (Cited by: 1; All Open Access, Green Open Access, Hybrid Gold Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Smak, Tom J.; de Peinder, Peter; der Waal, Jan C. Van; Altink, Rinke; Vollmer, Ina; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Oxidative Conversion of Polyethylene Towards Di-Carboxylic Acids: A Multi-Analytical Approach Journal Article

In: ChemSusChem, 2023, (Cited by: 0).

Links | BibTeX

Rejman, Sebastian; Vollmer, Ina; Werny, Maximilian J.; Vogt, Eelco T. C.; Meirer, Florian; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Transport limitations in polyolefin cracking at the single catalyst particle level Journal Article

In: Chemical Science, vol. 14, no. 37, pp. 10068 – 10080, 2023, (Cited by: 4; All Open Access, Gold Open Access, Green Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Vaksmaa, Annika; Knittel, Katrin; Asbun, Alejandro Abdala; Goudriaan, Maaike; Ellrott, Andreas; Witte, Harry J.; Vollmer, Ina; Meirer, Florian; Lott, Christian; Weber, Miriam; Engelmann, Julia C.; Niemann, Helge

Microbial Communities on Plastic Polymers in the Mediterranean Sea Journal Article

In: Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 12, 2021, (Cited by: 54; All Open Access, Gold Open Access, Green Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Vollmer, Ina; Jenks, Michael J. F.; González, Rafael Mayorga; Meirer, Florian; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Plastic Waste Conversion over a Refinery Waste Catalyst Journal Article

In: Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol. 60, no. 29, pp. 16101 – 16108, 2021, (Cited by: 68; All Open Access, Green Open Access, Hybrid Gold Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Vollmer, Ina; Jenks, Michael J. F.; Roelands, Mark C. P.; White, Robin J.; van Harmelen, Toon; de Wild, Paul; van der Laan, Gerard P.; Meirer, Florian; Keurentjes, Jos T. F.; Weckhuysen, Bert M.

Beyond Mechanical Recycling: Giving New Life to Plastic Waste Journal Article

In: Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol. 59, no. 36, pp. 15402 – 15423, 2020, (Cited by: 695; All Open Access, Green Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Yarulina, I; Wispelaere, K De; Bailleul, S; Goetze, J; Radersma, M; Abou-Hamad, E; Vollmer, I; Goesten, M; Mezari, B; Hensen, E J M; Martínez-Espín, J S; Morten, M; Mitchell, S; Perez-Ramirez, J; Olsbye, U; Weckhuysen, B M; Speybroeck, V Van; Kapteijn, F; Gascon, J

Erratum to: Structure–performance descriptors and the role of Lewis acidity in the methanol-to-propylene process (Nature Chemistry, (2018), 10, 8, (804-812), 10.1038/s41557-018-0081-0) Journal Article

In: Nature Chemistry, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 897, 2018, (cited By 1).

Links | BibTeX

Yarulina, I; Wispelaere, K De; Bailleul, S; Goetze, J; Radersma, M; Abou-Hamad, E; Vollmer, I; Goesten, M; Mezari, B; Hensen, E J M; Martínez-Espín, J S; Morten, M; Mitchell, S; Perez-Ramirez, J; Olsbye, U; Weckhuysen, B M; Speybroeck, V Van; Kapteijn, F; Gascon, J

Structure–performance descriptors and the role of Lewis acidity in the methanol-to-propylene process Journal Article

In: Nature Chemistry, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 804-812, 2018, (cited By 84).

Links | BibTeX

Yarulina, Irina; Wispelaere, Kristof De; Bailleul, Simon; Goetze, Joris; Radersma, Mike; Abou-Hamad, Edy; Vollmer, Ina; Goesten, Maarten; Mezari, Brahim; Hensen, Emiel J. M.; Martínez-Espín, Juan S.; Morten, Magnus; Mitchell, Sharon; Perez-Ramirez, Javier; Olsbye, Unni; Weckhuysen, Bert M.; Speybroeck, Veronique Van; Kapteijn, Freek; Gascon, Jorge

Erratum to: Structure–performance descriptors and the role of Lewis acidity in the methanol-to-propylene process (Nature Chemistry, (2018), 10, 8, (804-812), 10.1038/s41557-018-0081-0) Journal Article

In: Nature Chemistry, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 897, 2018, (Cited by: 4; All Open Access, Bronze Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Vollmer, Ina; Li, Guanna; Yarulina, Irina; Kosinov, Nikolay; Hensen, Emiel J.; Houben, Klaartje; Mance, Deni; Baldus, Marc; Gascon, Jorge; Kapteijn, Freek

Relevance of the Mo-precursor state in H-ZSM-5 for methane dehydroaromatization Journal Article

In: Catalysis Science and Technology, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 916 – 922, 2018, (Cited by: 42; All Open Access, Green Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Yarulina, Irina; Wispelaere, Kristof De; Bailleul, Simon; Goetze, Joris; Radersma, Mike; Abou-Hamad, Edy; Vollmer, Ina; Goesten, Maarten; Mezari, Brahim; Hensen, Emiel J. M.; Martínez-Espín, Juan S.; Morten, Magnus; Mitchell, Sharon; Perez-Ramirez, Javier; Olsbye, Unni; Weckhuysen, Bert M.; Speybroeck, Veronique Van; Kapteijn, Freek; Gascon, Jorge

Structure–performance descriptors and the role of Lewis acidity in the methanol-to-propylene process Journal Article

In: Nature Chemistry, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 804 – 812, 2018, (Cited by: 209; All Open Access, Green Open Access).

Links | BibTeX

Other publications

See earlier publications on Scopus.