Sofie Ferwerda

PhD Candidate
Employed since: March 2021
Phone: +31644741624
Room: Veining Meinesz-C building



Sofie’s project, which is part of ARC CBBC and in collaboration with BASF, will focus on dry reforming of methane (DRM), in which greenhouse gasses CH4 and CO2 are converted into CO and H2 (syngas). The goal is to create new knowledge on the coke forming and coke removing reactions during DRM, over Ni-based catalysts under a wide variety of reaction conditions and gas compositions. This will be investigated with the use of novel operando time-gated Raman spectroscopy. Raman scattering is an intrinsically weak process, which is often overshadowed by an intense fluorescence emission emanating from the solid. Since Raman scattering and fluorescence emission differ in their timescale, we can separate the two by measuring in a time-resolved manner with the use of commercial time-gated Raman spectroscopy instruments. This technique will be complemented with the use of atomic force microscopy-infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR). These two measurements will provide vibrational information on the amount and type of coke (precursor) species formed during DRM. These coke species will be correlated with information on the state of Ni within the solid catalysts, as determined with operando X-ray diffraction as well as X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). This will provide useful structure-performance relationships on the DRM reaction. The overall outcome is new insights in the type of coke deposits formed, their entanglement with specific catalyst phases, as well as their relationship with specific reaction conditions.



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

Project title: “Operando Micro-Spectroscopy of Coke Formation in Dry Methane Reforming Catalysis”, part of ARC CBBC and in collaboration with BASF

2018 – 2021
Master’s degree in Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University

Master thesis: “The Influence of Metals in Zeolites on the Methanol-to-Hydrocarbons Process”, supervised by S.H. van Vreeswijk and prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen

Internship at BASF de Meern under supervision of ir. A. Goulas and dr. E. Groeneveld

2015 – 2018
Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Utrecht University

Bachelor thesis: “Ag/α-Al2O3 Catalysts Prepared by Melt Infiltration for the Epoxidation of Ethylene”, supervised by P.H. Keijzer and prof. dr. P.E. de Jongh