Johan de Boed

PhD Candidate
Employed since: November 2017
Phone: +31622736361
Room: 4th floor study area



Support Effects in Gold-Catalyzed Direct Propylene Epoxidation

Low energy demand, limited generation of waste and undesired products, and economically attractive starting materials are prerequisites for a sustainable process. Propylene oxide is one of the bulk chemicals (production >9 mln t/y) widely used as building block for many every-day products including paints, plastics, foams, artificial leather, etc., that is yet to undergo the adaption to a more sustainable process. Most of propylene oxide is currently synthesized via two main routes: first, a chlorohydrin route, where propylene reacts in two steps with chlorine and a base (e.g. lime) towards the desired propylene oxide and a salt as waste. Second, the hydroperoxidation process involving an organic hydroperoxide as an oxidant and generating the desired product and an organic byproduct.

Currently, in research the most promising waste-free propylene oxide synthesis involves selective gas-phase oxidation of propylene with oxygen in the presence of hydrogen and supported gold nanoparticles on Ti-containing supports as a catalyst. Where propylene oxide can be obtained with high selectivity with water as a by-product. [1] In this bifunctional system, metallic gold particles are proposed to be crucial for activation of oxygen and hydrogen to peroxides. While the selective oxidation of propylene is proposed to take place at the perimeter between the Au-particles and the metal oxide surface (figure 1). Ti activates H2O2 for the subsequent reaction with propylene. [2] Yet limited information is available on the effects of the support materials in the selective oxidation of propylene to propylene oxide. In my research I want to gain more insight into how certain support-related parameters affect the catalytic performance of this catalyst.

In our group there is experience both with supported gold-nanoparticles (2-4 nm) on oxidic supports, used in selective butadiene hydrogenation [3], and selective oxidations, e.g. the selective oxidation of ethylene over supported silver-catalysts. [4]


[1] For example Haruta et al., J. Catal., 1998, 178, 566
[2] S.T. Oyama et al., J. Phys. Chem. C, 2008, 112, 1115
[3] P.E. de Jongh et al., ACS Catal. 2017, 7, 5594
[4] P.E. de Jongh et al., J. Catal., 2017, 356, 65



2017 – present
PhD Candidate in the group of Prof. Dr. P.E. de Jongh and Dr. B. Donoeva at Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis

MSc Chemistry: Molecular Sciences at VU University/University of Amsterdam (joint degree)
Master thesis: “Donor-Functionalized Phosphinines: On the Synthesis and Coordination Chemistry of Bis-Hydroxy and Bis-Methoxy-Functionalized Phosphinines” in the group of Prof. Dr. C. Müller, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Literature study: “Terpyridines in Photocatalysis: Potential Applications of Terpyridyl-Based Systems in Photoredox Catalysis for Artificial Photosynthesis”

Bachelor Chemie, Hogeschool Leiden
Bachelor thesis: “Kinetic studies on the dehydrogenation of amine-boranes by a pre-organized Frustrated Lewis Pair” in the group of Dr. J.C. Slootweg at VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam

Born in Dirksland, the Netherlands