Yannick Geertzema

PhD Candidate
Employed since: May 2019
Phone: +31622736375
Email: y.g.geerzema@uu.nl
Room: David de Wied, 4th floor, study area



Towards Understanding the Selective Hydrogenation of Nitriles towards Primary Amines over Modified Raney Nickel Catalysts

Nitriles are important precursors for the production of amines, chemical buildings blocks used in plastics, pharmaceuticals and agriculture. Although the hydrogenation reaction from nitriles to primary amines is straightforward, the subsequent condensation reaction towards secondary amines and imines results in loss of selectivity. The industrially relevant selective hydrogenation of nitriles towards primary amines can be steered by altering the catalyst with modifying agents or by adding supplements to the reaction, however, this process is still poorly understood.
In this project we want to investigate the mechanism of the subsequent condensation reaction and the interaction between the catalyst and modifying agents using various in situ and operando spectroscopy techniques such as FT-IR, Raman and UV-Vis spectroscopy combined with ex situ techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), thermally programmed desorption (TPD) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The insight obtained in the combined studies will be used to further improve the existing catalyst synthesis and design new catalysts specifically for this reaction. The new catalyst materials could improve the overall selectivity and efficiency of a process widely used in industry.



May 2019 – Present
PhD study under supervision of Prof. Dr. Ir. Bert M. Weckhuysen and Dr. Robin G. Geitenbeek.

2016 – 2018

Nanomaterials Science (MSc) at Utrecht University

Thesis: Utrecht University, Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis under supervision of Prof. Dr. Ir. Bert M. Weckhuysen and Dr. Iván Garcia Torregrosa as daily supervisor.
Facile three-step synthesis of delafossite CuFeO2 photocathodes for water splitting
Pending research paper

Intership: hte GmbH (BASF), Heidelberg, Germany under supervision of Dr. Stephan Schunk and Prof. dr. Pieter C.A. Bruijnincx
Investigating, preparing and testing optimal, inorganic, and stable catalyst on various support materials for biomass conversion under challenging reaction conditions.

2013 – 2016

Chemistry (BSc) (Honours) at Utrecht University

Thesis: Utrecht University, Condensed Matter and Interfaces under supervision of Prof. dr. Andries Meijerink and Dr. Kangming Xu as daily supervisor
Lanthanide Doped Quantum Dots Offering a Six-Coordinated Cation Site


High school education, Regius College, Schagen


Born in Wieringerwaard, The Netherlands