Sebastian Haben

PhD Candidate
Employed since: March 2019
Phone: 0648923485
Room: 4th floor study area



Pyrolytic upgrading of methane to ethylene, aromatics and carbon materials

Methane is a cheap and abundant carbon feedstock which has the potential to become the source for lower olefins and aromatics in an atom- and energy-efficient way.[1] The Methane dehydroaromatization (MDA) and methane dehydrodimirization (MDD) reaction are especially suitable for this task, as methane transformation is achieved without any oxidants, resulting in excluding the greenhouse gas CO2 as a reaction product and instead producing hydrogen.[2]

Unfortunately, the catalyst (usually Mo/ZSM-5) for the MDA reaction suffers from rapid deactivation due to coking.[3] Fundamental insights into this process, e.g. the identification of the coking site, or the mechanism of coke formation are still missing which hinders the development of new more coke-resistant catalysts. In this project I aim to utilize and develop various operando techniques to gain a better understanding of the working catalyst (Figure 1). In the course of this project I plan to expand the set of investigated catalysts from the mostly used Mo/ZSM-5 catalyst to W/ZSM-5 and Fe/ZSM-5 which were shown to also have MDA activity.[4]

Figure 1: Schematic representation of the planned operando techniques.

In addition, I plan to develop a new set of metal oxide 8MR zeolite based catalyst for the MDD reaction and applying the same characterization techniques which were developed for the MDA reaction. This PhD project is funded by ARC CBBC.


[1]   BP p.l.c., BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018, 2018.

[2]   E. T.C. Vogt, G. T. Whiting, A. Dutta Chowdhury, B. M. Weckhuysen in Adv. in Catal. Volume 58 (Ed.: F. C. e. Jentoft), Academic Press, Amsterdam, 2015, pp. 143–314.

[3]   I. Vollmer, I. Yarulina, F. Kapteijn, J. Gascon, ChemCatChem 2019, 11, 39.

[4]          B. M. Weckhuysen, D. Wang, M. P. Rosynek, J. H. Lunsford, J. Catal. 1998, 175, 347.




March 2019 to present

PhD Candidate, Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group, Debye Institute for nanomaterials, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Supervisor(s): Prof. Dr.  B.M. Weckhuysen, Dr. Robin Geitenbeek

2017 – 2018

Master Thesis, Chair of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Technical University Munich, Germany

Thesis title: “Structural and Biochemical Characterization of tRNA modifying Enzymes”

Supervisor(s): Dr. Eva Huber, Prof. Dr. Michael Groll



Research Internship at University of Cape Town, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cape Town, South Africa

Project Title: “Design of solid catalysts for the co-activation of carbon dioxide and light alkanes”

Supervisor: Dr. Nico Fischer


Research Internship at Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Department of Heterogenous Catalysis, Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Germany

Project Title: “Design of solid catalysts for the co-activation of carbon dioxide and light alkanes”

Supervisor: Dr. Gonzalo Prieto

2014 – 2018

Master of Science in Chemistry, Technical University of Munich –Munich, Germany

Major: Inorganic Chemistry

Minor: Organic Chemistry


2011 – 2014

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Technical University of Munich –Munich, Germany

Thesis title: “Synthesis and characterization of a novel three-nuclear homogeneous photocatalyst [ReRu2] for CO2 reduction”

WACKER-Chair of Macromolecular Chemistry

Supervisor(s): Dr. Simon Meister, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Rieger


Professional Experience



Intern, Integrated Lab Solutions GmbH, Berlin, Germany (Process engineering)




Intern, Clariant AG, Heufeld, Germany (BU Catalysis – Syngas)