European projects

The laboratory of adsorption and catalysis is involved in several european projects:

EnOp: CO2 for Energy Storage

EnOp: CO2 for Energy Storage

The project of the Interreg V EU programme EnOp (in Dutch: CO2 voor Energieopslag - CO2 for Energy Storage) develops technologies for conversion of CO2 into fuels. In particular, the project focuses on the application of sun light energy and sustainable electricity to use CO2 as a platform for energy storage. 

This project is established by a contribution of the European Interreg V Flanders-The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment and the labor market by means of cross-border projects.

For more information visit the EnOp website

This project is established by a contribution of the European Interreg V Flanders-The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment and the labor market by means of cross-border projects.

ENMIX

On January 22nd 2009, in Brussels, the founding of the European Nanoporous Materials Institute of Excellence INSIDE-PORes, ENMIX was signed by 10 European Research Centres and Universities: University of Antwerp (BE), TUDelft (NL), SINTEF (NO), University of Alicante (ES), University of Stuttgart (DE), University of Hannover (DE), University of Leipzig (DE), CERTH (EL), Demokritos (EL), IFE (NO).
The University of Antwerp, represented by the Laboratory of Adsorption and Catalysis within the Department of Chemistry, is one of the founding members. 
The objectives of ENMIX are to promote excellence and to coordinate research in the area of preparation, characterization and industrial applications of nanoporous materials. 
More specifically, the ENMIX mission is as follows:
As an independent and customer driven European Nanoporous Materials Institute of Excellence, the ENMIX mission is to offer:
- Innovative technological solutions
- Unique scientific measuring expertise and facilities and
- Science-based advice and training
with the goal of stimulating sustainable development and strengthening the economic and societal development in Europe,

Moreover, ENMIX aims to
- promote excellence and coordinate high-level research in the areas of preparation, characterisation and industrial application of nanoporous materials
- be an internationally renowned platform for research into the field of the synthesis of porous materials, sorbents, membranes and catalysis
- be a preferred partner with high-quality infrastructures and expertise in development and application of new and improved measurement services
- be a key contributor to positioning Europe internationally with regard to sustainable development
The foundation act was followed by the election of the Board of Directors. University of Antwerp, University Stuttgart, University of Alicante and CERTH are members of the Board of Directors. For the University of Antwerp the representatives in the Board are Prof. P. Cool and Prof. Em. E. Vansant. Moreover, Prof. Vansant was elected as CEO of this institute.

More information is available on the website of ENMIX

CO2PERATE

Flemish knowledge institutions join forces for research on Carbon Capture and Utilization: approval of CATCO2RE and CO2PERATE projects

Two research projects focusing on the discovery of new technologies to transform waste CO2 into value-added chemicals have been funded by the Flemish Government. The CATCO2RE project (2.5 million euro) is funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). The CO2PERATE project (2.6 million euro) is funded by the Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen (VLAIO), and supported by Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for chemistry and plastics. This support represents a significant milestone for the development of state-of-the-art expertise in CO2 capture and utilization in Flanders, and is expected to help address the impact of human activities on the environment. Both projects gather a multidisciplinary team of scientists from several Flemish institutions. CATCO2RE is a joint venture between UGent, KULeuven, VUB and VITO, while CO2PERATE is a collaboration between UGent, UAntwerp, KULeuven, VITO, and the Bio Base Europa Pilot Plant. Both projects are coordinated by Ghent University.

Turning waste into a resource

The discovery of efficient technologies that enable the use of CO2 as a starting material for chemical synthesis is one of the biggest scientific challenges of our time. It serves the dual purpose of reducing CO2 emissions and producing value added chemicals using CO2 as a building block, thus helping mitigate the effects of climate change while creating new opportunities for the chemical industry.

The specific target of CATCO2RE is to investigate the conversion of CO2 to methane and methanol using solar energy, integrating new developments in the production of solar hydrogen with catalyst design and state-of-the-art separation technologies, allowing for the integrated production of solar fuels. The integrated approach of CATCO2RE aims to significantly reduce operating and capital costs, making new CO2-to-methanol plants not only more economically competitive, but overall more sustainable. Meanwhile, CO2PERATE aims to develop catalytic technologies to convert CO2 into formic acid, using renewable electricity. Formic acid will subsequently be used as building block for the biosynthetic production of value added chemicals, as a building block for the chemical industry, or as a potential carrier for energy storage. The processes developed within CO2PERATE hence provide grid stability and integrate renewable electricity generation with the chemical industry.

With the launch of both research projects, the Flemish government provides a significant boost to establish a technology platform for catalytic CO2 reduction, focusing on all three potential routes for CO2 utilization: (i) CO2-neutral fuels and chemicals, (ii) CO2-based integration between renewable energy-production and chemical industry, and (iii) utilization of CO2 as a cost-effective C1 building block. To evaluate the potential of the different options, a decision support framework will be developed within CO2PERATE  to select the best available technology for CO2 utilization within a given techno-economic context. The potentially new business models originating from CO2 utilization within CATCO2RE and CO2PERATE are expected to contribute significantly to economic and sustainable growth in Flanders’ circular economy.

PARTIAL-PGMs

PARTIAL-PGMs proposes an integrated approach for the development of smart and innovative nanostructured automotive post-treatment systems by integrating TWCs (Three-Way Catalysts) as part of the overall after-treatment system, namely the 1st generation of Gasoline Particulate Filters (GPFs), capable to meet future regulations, with reduced PGMs (Platinum Group Metals) and REEs (Rare Earth Elements), leading to the development of 2nd generation GPFs. The approach is broad and based on multiscale modeling, synthesis and nanomaterials’ characterization, catalytic performance determination as well as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The rational synthesis of nanomaterials to be used in these hybrid systems will allow for a reduction of more than 35% in PGMs and 20% in REEs content.

 

More information can be found on the Partial-PGMs website

NEXTGENCAT

The main objective of NEXTGENCAT proposal is the development of novel eco-friendly nano-structured automotive catalysts utilizing transition metal nanoparticles (Cu, Ni, Co Zn, Fe etc) that can partially or completely replace the PGMs. Based on nanotechnology, low cost nanoparticles will be incorporated into different substrates, including advanced ceramics (SiO2, perovskite etc) and silicon carbides, for the development of efficient and inexpensive catalysts. The main idea of the proposal is the effective dispersion and the controllable size of the metal nanoparticles into the substrate that will lead to improved performance. 

More information can be found here.

Inside PORes

The laboratory of Adsorption and Catalysis is part of the Network of Excellence (FP6 of the European Commision)
Inside PORes, in situ study and development of processes involving nanopore Solids.

Inside PORes also has a Young Researchers Division.

PlasMaCatDesign

PlasMaCatDESIGN is a research consortium that aims to develop design rules for (catalytically activated) packing materials to enhance plasma-activated gas phase conversion reactions to basic chemicals. By understanding the material - properties – activity correlation we target enhanced conversion, selectivity and energy efficiency of plasma driven chemical production for two selected industrially and environmentally relevant model reactions in which plasma catalysis can have specific advantages: selective CO2 conversion towards C1-C5 (oxygenated) hydrocarbons and inorganic amine synthesis (nitrogen fixation).

More information can be found here.

Ongoing projects

Sabbatical Leave - Prof. V. Meynen (BOF). 01/05/2021 - 30/04/2022

Abstract

The sabbatical is focused on synthesis-property-performance correlation of (hybrid) (porous) inorganic materials for different applications, reached by a two-fold approach: 1) developing new personal skills and research competences in industry-academia collaboration; 2) Secondly, part of my time will be spent to deepen my knowledge and experience in the research that I have started over the past years (synthesis and modification of hybrid metal oxides and plasma catalytic CO2 conversion). Here, I aim to specifically expand my knowledge on added value, in-depth analysis methodologies that aid in unraveling mechanistic insights in the material synthesis/modification and its correlation to performance in application. In addition, a new collaboration, with the organic chemistry group, on heterogeneous catalyst development for green organic chemistry applications will be started.

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Catalysis for CCU: valorisation of CO and CO2 for carbon capture and utilisation. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

To sustain our carbon-based standard of living, it is becoming increasingly clear that CCU will play a key role in delivering materials, food, and clean energy storage services. This will require informed policy, education of industry partners, opportunities for researchers to collaborate, and academic symbiosis. We have an impressive level of expertise in Flanders in both biological and chemical (catalytic) conversion of CO2 (which is rather unique). Therefore, we create this Scientific Research Network "Catalysis for CCU" composed of researchers with diverse but complementary backgrounds in the CCU field. Our goal is to build a CCU network relevant to the Flemish/European industrial landscape, focused on sharing best practices and knowledge; stimulating collaboration; exposing young researchers; creating a community; being a go-to place for expertise; and sharing resources that individual researchers and knowledge institutes lack.

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Catalysis for CCU: Valorisation of CO and CO2 via Carbon Capture and Utilization 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

We live in a carbon-based society: carbon is the essential element for products ranging from food to fuels and materials. Yet, the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere pose a grand societal challenge. Reaching the goals of the Paris agreement by 2050 will require transitioning to a fully circular economy and a carbon neutrality of the industry. But how? We believe that "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together" (African proverb). Thus, building in Flanders a multidisciplinary network of scientists, connected with well-established research groups in Germany and the Netherlands, focused on Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) technologies is an essential step to develop the know-how for the low-carbon circular economy.

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Synergetic design of Catalytic materials for integrated photo- and electrochemical CO2 conversion processes (SYN-CAT). 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

The objective of the project is to combine photo- and electrochemistry into a photo-electrocatalytic approach to convert CO2 into methanol. The approach herein lies on developing more active and stable photo-electrocatalytic materials compared to the state-of-the-art and to improve productivity of the photo-electrochemical reactor, targeting an energy efficiency of 30% with an outlook for further upscaling.

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Nanostructuring the surface of porous titanium 3D structures. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2024

Abstract

Titanium and its alloys have been widely used for a broad variety of applications. Their performance and applicability can be extended further when nanostructuring its surface. Nanostructuring comprises the broad range of physical and chemical technologies available to modify the surface topography and/or surface chemistry. The first aspect is related to surface roughness, porosity and pore size distribution, while the surface chemistry points to the ability to form a wide variety of titanium oxides or titanates. The more advanced approaches in nanostructuring enable both full control of the surface structural characteristics and its chemistry. Therefore, the main aim of this PhD is to transfer these nanostructuring approaches onto porous 3D micro-extruded titanium. The technology and expertise to manufacture porous titanium parts by 3D micro-extrusion on the macroscopic level is already available at VITO. However, the knowledge to create surface controllable porous layers in/on these porous materials is still lacking. Therefore, together with the university of Antwerp, 2 strategies will be followed, with different degrees of complexity and controllability.

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Towards CRM-free supported catalysts for the preferential oxidation of CO in H2-rich streams. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

In today's world where climate change is a hot topic, burning finite fossil fuels, which contributes to global warming through the production of CO2, still accounts for 85% of the primary energy production. Therefore, the scientific community focusses on the quest of finding cleaner alternative energy sources. A promising alternative is H2. At present, over 95% of all H2 is produced by steam reforming of methane, which has the disadvantage of producing CO as by-product. This causes detrimental effects on several catalysts (f.e. catalysts used in fuel cells or in the ammonia synthesis). Therefore, purification of H2-rich gas streams is required and the most effective approach can be found in the preferential oxidation of CO (CO-PROX). Up to date, many catalysts have been utilized for CO-PROX (mainly noble metal based), however only a few have shown potential for future application. In this project the aim is to provide the next step towards critical raw material-free supported catalysts for CO-PROX. This goal will be pursued by synthesizing innovative mono-/bimetallic Cu-based supported catalysts with ultimate porosity and stability, and excellent catalytically active surface sites dispersion. To contribute to the ultimate goal of sustainability, aqueous based methods will be utilized for the synthesis of the catalysts. Furthermore, innovation is brought to the catalysts by 3D-shaping (collaboration with VITO) and advanced catalytic testing (collaboration with UNIPD, Italy).

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InSusChem - Consortium for Integrated Sustainable Chemistry Antwerp. 15/10/2020 - 31/12/2026

Abstract

This IOF consortium connects chemists, engineers, economic and environmental oriented researchers in an integrated team to maximize impact in key enabling sustainable chemical technologies, materials and reactors that are able to play a crucial role in a sustainable chemistry and economic transition to a circular, resource efficient and carbon neutral economy (part of the 2030 and 2050 goals in which Europe aims to lead). Innovative materials, renewable chemical feedstocks, new/alternative reactors, technologies and production methods are essential and central elements to achieve this goal. Due to their mutual interplay, a multidisciplinary, concerted effort is crucial to be successful. Furthermore, early on prediction and identification of strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats in life cycles, techno-economics and sustainability are key to allow sustainability by design and create effective knowledge-based decision-making and focus. The consortium focuses on sustainable chemical production through efficient and alternative energy use connected to circularity, new chemical pathways, technologies, reactors and materials, that allow the use of alternative feedstock and energy supply. These core technical aspects are supported by expertise in simulation, techno-economic and environmental impact assessment and uncertainty identification to accelerate technological development via knowledge-based design and early stage identified key research, needed for accelerated growth and maximum impact on sustainability. To achieve these goals, the consortium members are grouped in 4 interconnected valorisation programs focusing on key performance elements that thrive the chemical industry and technology: 1) renewable building blocks; 2) sustainable materials and materials for sustainable processes; 3) sustainable processes, efficiently using alternative renewable energy sources and/or circular chemical building blocks; 4) innovative reactors for sustainable processes. In addition, cross-cutting integrated enablers are present, providing expertise and essential support to the 4 valorisation programs through simulation, techno-economic and environmental impact assessment and uncertainty analysis.

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Artificial clathrates for safe storage, transport and delivery of hydrogen (ARCLATH). 01/01/2020 - 30/06/2021

Abstract

This short and intensive 18-month project is aimed at demonstrating the potential of a radically new concept of hydrogen storage and transportation. The aim is to conceptually demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen storage in clathrate hydrates, under technically and economically relevant conditions of temperature and pressure. The central research hypothesis is that confinement in nanoporous materials can be used to stabilise hydrogen clathrate hydrates, catalysing their formation to an extent that a new technology for hydrogen storage can be envisioned. Targeted hydrogen storage capacities exceed 5 wt.% and 30 g/L at temperatures above 2 °C and pressures below 100 bar. This exceeds the performance of any of the current hydrogen storage technologies.

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EASiCHEM - Efficiënt Affinity Separations for Chemical Applications. 01/06/2019 - 31/05/2023

Abstract

Many chemical companies are nowadays confronted with very challenging liquid separations, aiming at separating molecules with very similar physical properties. The current trend towards more bio-based and/or highly-tailored chemicals, will only increase the number of these demanding separations. These challenges would benefit from efficient Affinity Separations (AS). The most traditional AS technology is liquid-liquid extraction, where the extracting solvent acts as the separation agent (ASA). The most selective AS is liquid chromatography, driven by the affinity between molecules and a functionalised stationary phase, the separation material (ASM). Although successful in different situations, both AS processes have important drawbacks. EasiChem aims at tackling these limitations, by developing more efficient, and/or more sustainable AS processes, focusing on two promising, energy-poor liquid separation technologies : 1. Membrane-based AS processes : bringing the selectivity of chromatography to membrane separations, using functionalised ceramic membranes tailored to match the separation problem; 2. Continuous chromatography : tackling the main disadvantage of selective chromatography, making use of a membrane-contactor-like design at microreactor scale. The work programme is intended to extensively explore, understand and benchmark the capabilities and limitations of the new AS processes using a myriad of functionalized ceramic materials. EASiCHEM is a strategic basic research (SBO) project funded by the Flemish spearhead cluster for the chemical industry CATALISTI. Partners are VITO (coordinator), UGent, KULeuven, UHasselt, UAntwerpen, VUB and UCL.

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Designing the packing materials and catalysts for selective and energy efficient plasma-driven conversion (PLASMACATDESIGN). 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

PlasMaCatDESIGN aims to develop design rules for (catalytically activated) packing materials to enhance plasma-activated gas phase conversion reactions to basic chemicals. By understanding the material - properties – activity correlation we target enhanced conversion, selectivity and energy efficiency of plasma driven chemical production for two selected industrially and environmentally relevant model reactions in which plasma catalysis can have specific advantages: selective CO2 conversion towards C1-C5 (oxygenated) hydrocarbons and inorganic amine synthesis (nitrogen fixation).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The role of heteroelement containing functional groups on surface modification. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

Metal oxides possess a high chemical and mechanical stability making them ideal support materials in several applications like catalysis and separations. Unfortunately, metal oxides don't have controllable selective interactions as only hydroxyl groups are present on the surface. Organic surface modification can solve this, creating versatility and affinity. The unique way of coupling the organic functional group to the inorganic matrix influences the properties of both the surface and bulk. The resulting surface interactions created in the hybrid metal oxides critically depend on the particular physico-chemical and structural properties of the metal oxide, the type of functional organic group, the modification method used (Grignard modification or organophosphonic acid (PA) grafting) and the synthesis conditions applied. These high potential organically surface modified materials can open new opportunities in affinity driven separation processes, catalysis, sensing and many other applications if their structural properties can be tailor made and adjusted to the application. Nevertheless, thorough fundamental insights in the influence of synthesis/modifications conditions and reagent types on these physico-chemical surface properties and the resulting interactions between surface and surrounding molecules is lacking, certainly for functional groups other than aliphatic hydrocarbons. This is exactly the aim of this work: it focuses on the impact of the metal oxide support on the interaction with nitrogen containing aromatic and aliphatic organic functional groups. Both PA and Grignard modification will be studied with a main focus on the differences induced in physico-chemical properties due to the N heteroelement. The impact of synthesis conditions, physicochemical properties of the metal oxide, type of modification method and functional groups on the physico-chemical surface properties are being unraveled allowing controlled surface properties. This DOCPRO4 will thus create the crucial fundamental knowledge to correlate synthetic control to physico-chemical properties and molecular interactions of organophosphonic acid and Grignard modified metal oxides.

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CO2PERATE: all renewable CCU based on formic acid integrated in an industrial microgrid. 01/03/2018 - 28/02/2023

Abstract

The main objective of the project is the development of technologies for the conversion of CO2 to value-added chemicals using catalysis and renewable energy. To benchmark, compare and develop the various technologies, the formation of formic acid is selected as the initial target.

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Research team(s)

Surface modification of Titania 3D structures for a new generation of metal adsorbents 01/12/2017 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

To obtain a new generation metal sorbents, the choice of materials, structural architecture and control of surface chemistry is crucial. This project aims to develop methodologies to graft specific functional groups in a controlled way to the titania surface. Control and adjustment of the type, dispersion, density and bonding mode of the functional groups to the surface is envisaged to create different interaction sites with the surface, each responding in a specific way with the metal(s) that need to be removed from complex media.

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Past projects

Trajectory towards industrial production scale for FUNMEM membranes. 01/04/2020 - 31/03/2021

Abstract

This project aims to prepare the scale up of surface modified ceramic FUNMEM ® membranes to industrial production size. The necessary steps to enhance the current manufacturing level (MRL). In addition, the business model will be further refined and defined.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Understanding the material structure-activity correlation in plasma catalytic CO2 conversion (PLASMACAT). 01/04/2019 - 31/03/2021

Abstract

Plasma catalysis is a new emerging field of conversion technology, particularly focused on converting relatively stable gases such as CO2 to basic chemical building blocks by using electrical energy. It consist of highly energetic accelerated electrons producing a cocktail of activated species such as ions, radicals and excited species. To be able to enhance its energy efficiency and create selective conversions, packing materials and catalysts are being introduced in the plasma. Although it is well accepted that there is a mutual interaction of the materials on the plasma properties and vice versa, the underlying mechanisms and even more the specific material properties influencing plasma conversion, selectivity and energy efficiency are still largely unknown. Therefore, a systematic study applying know-how of the applicant and supervisor in controlled material synthesis will be integrated in plasma catalytic studies, a new field of research for the applicant. This will permit a systematic structure-activity correlation, identifying the impact of yet unrevealed material properties on the plasma characteristics and performance (conversion, selectivity and energy efficiency) determined by the specific plasma environment. Focus will be put on studying the impact of metal dispersion and metal support interactions on the plasma characteristics, plasma catalytic conversion and selectivity as well as its stability. Elucidating the role of packing geometry on plasma catalysis is a particular aspect of this MSCA, which is expected to have unique behavior in plasma discharge and characteristics and hence conversion and selectivity. This is a feature distinctive for plasma and not encountered in classical catalytic processes.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Understanding the material structure-activity correlation in plasma catalytic CO2 conversion (PLASMACAT). 01/05/2018 - 31/03/2019

Abstract

Till now, plasma catalysis has been studied in different reactors, under divergent conditions and in a fragmented way, making it difficult to obtain systematic information on the different aspects of plasma catalysis. Therefore, the aim of this project is to study the impact of materials, controlled in particular properties (properties of the support such as shape, metal dispersion and metal-support interaction), that have not been studied in a systematic way before, to elucidate some of the underlying mechanisms and properties not yet identified. Specifically, this project aims at unravelling the impact of catalyst dispersion to better understand the impact of the properties of the deposited catalyst with respect to activity, selectivity and its stability in dry reforming of CO2 and methane

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Innovative sorbent materials. 15/03/2018 - 14/03/2019

Abstract

The project focuses on the development of innovative sorbent materials for heavy metal recovery from aqueous waste streams. The innovative aspect of the research is in tailoring of the chemical composition of the materials. The newly developed sorbents will be upscaled and structured in granulates to build a small-scale prototype to enable their application in a relevant environment. The data generated in this project will be used to file a joint UAntwerp-VITO patent application. In order to strengthen the patent other possible applications of the newly developed materials will be explored.

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Influence of the reaction conditions on organic surface modification of titania and their impact on interactions with molecules 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

Metal oxides possess a high chemical and mechanical stability making them ideal support materials in several applications like catalysis and separation. Unfortunately, metal oxides don't have controllable selective interactions as only hydroxyl groups are present on the surface. Organic surface modification can solve this. The most used method is organosilylation, developed for silica materials. However, silica has a limited chemical stability and a necessary evolution to robust and inert supports is needed. Titania and zirconia are good and robust alternatives for silica but organosilylation results in unstable bonding of the functional groups. New and alternative methods like the organophosphonic acid modification and the recently co-developed (by VITO and UA) patented Grignard modification are promising and result in unique surfaces. But thorough fundamental insights in the influence of synthesis conditions on the physicochemical surface properties and the interactions between surface and surrounding molecules is lacking. This is exactly the aim of this work: first the impact of synthesis conditions, type of modification method and functional groups on the physicochemical surface properties is studied. Secondly, differences in the surface properties that have an impact on the interactions of the surface with specific target molecules are identified. Finally, we will set the first steps in solving solvent-solute interactions by looking at the impact of functional groups on membrane filtration.

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Research team(s)

Stuyding local interactions of organophosphonic modified surfaces through controlled synthesis, characterization and EPR spin probing 01/10/2017 - 30/04/2019

Abstract

Several important applications such as separation and sensors are directly influenced by the materials properties involved. The surface properties and their specific interactions with molecules are key components that needs to be controlled and understood in detail to further progress materials development and performance. Organophosphonic acid modification is a known modification method for metal oxides, adding versatility of interactions of organic molecules to the robust and structural advantages of the inorganic support. Although several studies exist on correlating synthesis conditions with surface properties, detailed knowledge on their impact on specific interactions with molecules at the molecular scale are still lacking. Therefore, we would like to combine knowledge on controlled synthesis and material characterization with studies of dynamic local interaction behavior via in-situ EPR with spin probes and in-situ IR. We aim at: elucidating the correlation of synthesis conditions and the resulting surface properties to local interaction behavior influenced by contributions of the (packing density and type of) functional groups, un-bonded reactive groups of the organophosphonic acid and the titania surface, together determining the observed overall adsorption behavior. Moreover, we aim at revealing important aspects of the surface modification mechanisms by studying the probe mobility during grafting, in and with the surface grafted layer.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Valorisation of inorganic (Ca-Si and Fe-containing) waste streams and CO2 into sustainable building materials. 01/02/2017 - 30/11/2020

Abstract

The aim of this research project is the simultaneous valorisation of inorganic waste streams (Ca, Si and Fe-based) and CO2 into sustainable building materials.The carbonatation process offers the possibility to reduce CO2 emissions in the PoA. In the project we investigate how wastestreams from the Port of Antwerp can be recycled and converted into new products with high-added value. This will be done by gaining insight in the reaction mechanisms and the specific role of silica and iron on the formation of the microstructure of the building materials.

Researcher(s)

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Creating structural and physico-chemical control to enhance properties of hybrid periodic mesoporous metal phophonates. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

Hybrid organic-inorganic materials add organic functionality to inorganic material properties. Attention has shifted from silica based materials towards non-silica hybrid materials. Although a lot of progress has been achieved in surface grafting of organic functional layers, materials with framework incorporated organic groups can induce specific properties not achievable by surface functionalization. Tremendous progress has been reported on hybrid microporous materials such as metal organic frameworks (MOF's). But less attention has gone to mesoporous hybrid metal oxides, prepared by interaction of metal oxide precursors with di-organophosphonic acids (RO)2O-P-R'-P-O (OR)2, intrinsically having the same high potential as the silica based PMO's (periodic mesoporous organosilicates). Research on these periodic mesoporous metal phosphonates is scarcer due to the complexity of controlling the materials properties during template assisted synthesis. We aim at creating the required knowledge to control their structural and physico-chemical properties by revealing the impact of precursor type and amount, synthesis conditions and kinetics of condensation. In addition, developing strategies to solve the often reported need for stabilization. In-depth complementary advanced characterization techniques will be applied to unravel the materials properties correlated to the specific synthesis and stabilization, revealing underlying mechanisms to control their properties and stability.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Influencing interactions with molecules by controling surface modification on metal oxides. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

Metal oxides possess a high chemical and mechanical stability making them ideal support materials in several applications like catalysis and separations. Unfortunately, metal oxides don't have controllable selective interactions as only hydroxyl groups are present on the surface. Organic surface modification can solve this, creating versatility and affinity. The most applied surface modification method is organosilylation, developed for silica materials. However, silica has a limited chemical stability and a necessary evolution to robust and stable supports is needed for several in processes applications such as separation and purification. Titania and zirconia are good and robust alternatives for silica but, organosilylation results in unstable bonding of the functional groups. New and alternative methods like the organophosphonic acid modification and the recently co-developed (by UA and VITO) patented Grignard modification are highly promising, resulting in unique surface properties and separation performance. These high potential organically surface modified materials can open new opportunities in affinity driven separation processes, tailor made and highly selective induced by their surface properties. Nevertheless, thorough fundamental insights in the influence of synthesis/modifications conditions and reagent types on these physico-chemical surface properties and the resulting interactions between surface and surrounding molecules is lacking, certainly for functional groups other than aliphatic hydrocarbons. This is exactly the aim of this work: first the impact of synthesis conditions, type of modification method and functional groups on the physico-chemical surface properties are being unraveled allowing controlled surface properties. Secondly, differences in the surface properties that have an impact on the interactions of the surface with probe molecules will be identified. This DOCPRO4 will thus create the crucial fundamental knowledge to correlate synthetic control to physico-chemical properties and molecular interactions of organophosphonic acid and Grignard modified metal oxides.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of novel, high Performance hybrid TWV/GPF Automotive afteR treatment systems by raTIonAL design: substitution of PGMs and Rare earth materials (PARTIAL-PGMs). 01/04/2016 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

PARTIAL-PGMs proposes an integrated approach for the coherent development of smart and innovative nanostructured automotive post-treatment systems by integrating TWCs (three-way catalysts) as part of the overall after-treatment system, namely the 1st generation of Gasoline Particulate Filters (GPFs), capable to meet future regulations, with reduced PGMs and REEs, leading to development of 2nd generation GPFs.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Membrane proces for the separation of mixtures of fatty acids and their derivatives 01/01/2016 - 31/01/2021

Abstract

Oleochemical are already an alternative renewable source of petrochemicals. Industrial processes of fatty acids and methyl esters of fatty acids (FAME's) have to apply mixtures of oils, even if there are unwanted compounds in it due to the cost and challenges of separation. This inhibits their wider Industrial use or enhances costs of separation. A separation into its individual components could increase the market potential and open new markets for fatty acids and their derivatives. The goal of this PhD research is to develop a possible alternative separation methodology for fatty acids and their derivatives based on functionalised ceramic nanofiltration membranes. The goal is to reach higher separation efficiencies than the currently applied technology while using a less energy demanding method, lowering the cost of the separation.

Researcher(s)

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Inorganic Chemistry: Adsorption and Catalysis. 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

Although much research is focused on the synthesis of materials and their applications, the attention for understanding the impact of structural and physicochemical properties on the performance of materials in various applications is an interesting, challenging field that still requires a lot of efforts. Indeed, the know-how on this matter can provide valuable feedback in order to control the synthesis of materials with properties engineered and adjusted to the specific applications as well as important know-how for more process related and application driven studies. It is the indispensable bridge between material design and development, technology and applications. In addition, synthesis methods are often first developed for powder applications. However, supported layers and coatings are frequently needed in several applications since they are technologically essential (e.g. membranes), avoid leaching or toxicity [ ] etc. A good know-how on the impact of the support on the structural and physicochemical properties of the layer with respect to the powder synthesis or modification is crucial to allow a fast translation of the good and controllable properties of powders to coated materials. Therefore, my research will focus on studying the structural and physicochemical surface properties (obtained via controlled synthesis) in order to rationalize their superior or inferior performance in several selected applications as well as modifying these porous materials via post-synthesis treatments to alter their physicochemical properties and interactions with molecules. The main materials that will be studied are on the one hand mesoporous titania materials (powders, films and membranes) for photo-induced processes (e.g. photocatalysis and photovoltaïcs) and separation and on the other hand functionalized materials (hybrid organic-inorganic materials and zeolitic modified materials) with focus on the interaction of molecules with the functional groups. The main topics will be: 1) Mesoporous titania materials for photo-induced applications 2) Studying the role of the support on thin film and membrane preparation 3) Hybrid organic-inorganic functionalized materials and their interactions with molecules. 3.1) Post-synthesis modification of metal oxide powders and membranes 3.2) Periodic mesoporous organosilica materials with enhanced functionalities 4) Mesoporous materials with zeolitic functionalities

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Valorisation of inorganic (Ca-Si and Fe-containing) waste streams and CO2 into sustainable building materials 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

The aim of this research project is the simultaneous valorisation of inorganic waste streams (Ca, Si and Fe-based) and CO2 into sustainable building materials.The carbonatation process offers the possibility to reduce CO2 emissions in the PoA. In the project we investigate how wastestreams from the Port of Antwerp can be recycled and converted into new products with high-added value. This will be done by gaining insight in the reaction mechanisms and the specific role of silica and iron on the formation of the microstructure of the building materials.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Influencing interactions with molecules by controling surface modifications. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

Metal oxides possess a high chemical and mechanical stability making them ideal support materials in several applications like catalysis and separation. Unfortunately, metal oxides don't have controllable selective interactions as only hydroxyl groups are present on the surface. Organic surface modification can solve this. The most used method is organosilylation, developed for silica materials. However, silica has a limited chemical stability and a necessary evolution to robust and inert supports is needed. Titania and zirconia are good and robust alternatives for silica but organosilylation results in unstable bonding of the functional groups. New and alternative methods like the organophosphonic acid modification and the recently co-developed (by VITO and UA) patented Grignard modification are promising and result in unique surfaces. But thorough fundamental insights in the influence of synthesis conditions on the physicochemical surface properties and the interactions between surface and surrounding molecules is lacking. This is exactly the aim of this work: first the impact of synthesis conditions, type of modification method and functional groups on the physicochemical surface properties is studied. Secondly, differences in the surface properties that have an impact on the interactions of the surface with specific target molecules are identified. Finally, we will set the first steps in solving solvent-solute interactions by looking at the impact of functional groups on membrane filtration.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

EnOp: CO2 for energy storage 30/06/2015 - 30/06/2020

Abstract

The project of the Interreg V EU programme EnOp (in Dutch: CO2 voor Energieopslag - CO2 for Energy Storage) develops technologies for storage of renewable energy into chemical energy by conversion of CO2 into fuels and chemical building blocks. In particular, the project focuses on the application of sun light energy and sustainable electricity to use CO2 as a platform for energy storage. It consists of three technologies that convert CO2 via sunlight and four technologies that convert CO2 with renewable electrical energy into chemicals among other plasma catalysis. This project is established by a contribution of the European Interreg V Flanders-The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment and the labor market by means of cross-border projects. Each trajectory within EnOp is executed by international partners. A business team invests in cross-border collaboration. The team consists of Flemish and Dutch entrepreneurs. This way, next to scientific knowledge also Flemish and Dutch market aspects are included in a pragmatic manner.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

AGRECHEM: Antwerp Green Chemistry. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university. The AGRECHEM consortium is an excellence centre of the University of Antwerp, focusing on green and sustainable chemistry. One of the biggest future challenges is the production of fine chemicals in a sustainable way. The quest for synthetic routes that are at the same time eco-friendly and economically feasible requires a concerted input of scientists with a variety of specializations. The progress in synthesis goes hand in hand with progress in materials characterization. Therefore, the consortium brings together two main research groups on synthetic chemistry and three research units specialized in material characterization techniques with emphasis on gaining mechanistic insight in chemical reactions. The consortium aims at consolidating and increasing the existing excellence in sustainable chemistry at the University of Antwerp.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Ti-activated nanoporous materials for the photocatalytic reduction of CO2. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

The influences of the reactor parameters and the material properties of nanoporous Ti-catalysts on the conversion, selectivity and light efficiency will be examined for the photocatalytic reduction of CO2 with water to methanol. In addition, nanoporous materials with photocatalytic activity under visible light will be developed in order to obtain a higher conversion and light efficiency. On the one hand this will be accomplished by doping with copper and nitrogen, on the other hand by the deposition of gold and silver.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Systematic research for the impact and opportunities of catalysts in CO2 and methane conversion through plasma. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

This research aims at the optimisation of the conversion of CO2 and methane (two greenhouse gasses) through dry reforming. In this process, syngas is formed, which is further transformed to methanol. This will be achieved through the synergy of plasma and catalysis, either in two steps, but preferentially in one step. The synergy will be studied in a packed bed DBD reactor, where a support will be coated onto the packing, and a catalyst will be coated onto the support. Preforming a stepwise process can teach us a lot about the synergy between a plasma and a catalyst.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of advanced TiO2-based photocatalysts for the degradation of organic pollutants from wastewater. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

The treatment of wastewater for the removal of organic pollutants is a world-wide concern. Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) are known as powerful methods, able to decompose toxic organic pollutants. One of the well-established AOP methods for water treatment is photocatalysis with TiO2/UV radiation. The improvement of AOP method for photocatalysis with TiO2 under solar light remains a big challenge. The main goal of this project is therefore the development of sustainable TiO2 based photocatalysts working under solar light for removal of pollutants(dyes) from wastewater.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of highly active nanostructured titaniabased photocatalysts for wastewater remediation and CO2 conversion into valuable chemicals. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

The present FWO-Vito project aims the development of regenerable sorbent materials for aqueous waste streams. The increasing pressure on critical raw materials is the driver for the need of new materials which allow the recovery and replacement of the pristine materials source. This project aims at the recovery of phosphate ions from several waste streams. The goal of the research is on both materials development as well as on materials structuring into an optimum architecture, which can be successfully used for sorption of valuable elements from aqueous wastes as well as other side streams. Therefore, novel structured LDH-type materials with high sorption capacity and selectivity for phosphate anions will be developed.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

CO2 conversion to renewable chemical power by synergy between plasma and photocatalysts (SynCO2Chem). 01/04/2014 - 31/08/2019

Abstract

Due to the goals set by Europe, CO2 mitigation is of major importance for industry as well as society. With this project we aim at establishing an experimental proof of principle of using photocatalysts in plasma catalytic CO2 conversion as a new high potential key enabling technology that fills the gap and fits in the requirements and opportunities needed for CO2 conversion technologies. Indeed, we aim at providing experimental evidence for energy efficient CO2 conversion to renewable basic chemicals and/or fuels (chemical energy) directly from low concentrated, water and impurity containing CO2 streams via implementation of photocatalysts in plasma conversion.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Support maintenance scientific equipment (Laboratory of adsorption and catalysis). 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

This project concerns the support for maintenance of scientific equipment within the research group LADCA. More specifically it concerns sorption apparatus Autosorb-iQ-C with combined volumetric and dynamic sorption, for characterization of porosity of nanoporous materials and their specific surface interactions with probe molecules.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Surface modification of porous materials. 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

In this project different porous materials (microporous and mesoporous) are chemically modified in order to change in a controlled way the adsorption/desorption and their possible catalytic behaviour.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Valorisation of fine-grained inorganic waste streams by means of design into hierarchically structured materials for the use in industrial applications. 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

The aim of this PhD is to investigate the possibilities to valorise fine-grained inorganic waste streams (primarily silica containing waste streams) through an advanced granulation technique into ceramic, hierarchically structured microspheres for the use in high performance applications. This will require extra functionalities, which will be created in the ceramic shaping process.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Valorisation of inorganic residues through design to hierarchically structured materials for the use in industrial applications. 01/11/2013 - 30/04/2018

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VITO. UA provides VITO research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Studying the influence of macrostructured supports and their zeolite coatings on mass transport: a synergic approach with modeling, designed synthesis, characterization and sorption. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

In this project we aim to unravel the impact of structural features of three-dimensionally designed 3DFD supports (size of the pores, stacking, thickness of the struts, …) and the properties of coated zeolite layers (method of coating, thickness, number of layers, size of the zeolite crystals etc.) on the kinetics and sorption properties within the coated zeolite layer(s) via a combination of structural characterization, sorption experiments and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and predictive modelling.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Periodic Mesoporous Organosilica (PMO) as bifunctional acid/base catalysts. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

In this project, we develop structurally stable, leaching free, ordered porous heterogeneous catalysts offering simultaneously acid and basic sites that are not mutually interacting. We aim therefore at the synthesis of very advanced and very stable hybrid materials (combined organic-onorganic) with a precise location of the functional groups.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of an efficient anti-fouling grafting to enhance the applicability of ceramic nanofiltration membranes in water treatment. 01/05/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

Recently VITO and UA have developed an inovative method to modify surfaces of ceramic membranes in a stable way. The applied groups are not as susceptible to hydrolysis as in case of other state of te art methods. The goal of this project is to apply this coating for efficiënt antifouling coatings on commercial ceramic nanofiltration membranes to enhance their performance in water filtration.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of next generation cost efficient automotive catalysts (NEXT-GEN-CAT). 01/02/2012 - 31/01/2016

Abstract

The main objective of the NEXTGENCAT project is the development of novel eco-friendly nano-structured automotive catalysts utilizing transition metal nanoparticles that can partially or completely replace the Platinum group metals (PGMs). Based on nanotechnology, low cost particles will be incorporated into different substrates, including advanced ceramics and silicon carbides, for the development of efficient and inexpensive catalysts.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Simultaneous valorisation of iron-rich waste streams and carbon dioxide at high pressure. 02/01/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

According to the Closing-the-Circle principle, end-of-pipe waste streams should be considered as starting materials for new or existing production processes. In this doctorate, two such waste products, namely iron-rich waste streams and carbon dioxide (C02), will be combined to synthesise one or more new products. The research will provide an integral solution for commonly available waste streams without losing sight of economical and industrial applicability issues.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of novel catalyst materials for green chemistry applications. 01/01/2012 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

In this project, the wide range of porous architectures (ceramic and metallic based) that have been developed within the group KMP (VITO) the last years, will be tuned towards its use as catalyst support materiais, i.e. in heterogeneous catalysis. The advantages of the different materials in the processes will be economically evaluated

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Studying the surface properties of organic modified transition metal oxides. 01/01/2012 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This project aims at elucidating the impact of the grafting methodology and the type of functional organic group on the physico-chemical properties of the obtained organic surface layer and its interaction with probe molecules. To obtain the necessary insights, synthesis and in-depth complementary (in-situ and hyphenated) characterization techniques will be correlated to quantum chemical calculations of large model systems.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Simultaneous enhancement of iron-rich waste and carbon dioxide by reaction at elevated pressures. 01/01/2012 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

The goal of this PhD is to valorise iron-rich waste and carbon dioxide, which are both end-of-pipe products, simultaneously by synthesising economical valuable products. Therefore, different reaction types working at elevated pressures and temperatures will be examined. In order to estimate the industrial feasibility, an economical overview will be made of the selected (production) processes, the suitable waste streams and the obtained products.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

FunMem4Affinity: Exploration of functional ceramic membranes for affinity organic solvent nanofiltration. 01/01/2012 - 30/04/2015

Abstract

The main objective of the project FunMem4Affinity is the exploration and understanding of the potential of affinity separation with functionalized ceramic membranes in nanofiltration in organic solvents.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The development of titania-based catalysts for photocatalytic degradation and photoconversion processes. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

This project aims to develop and study the insights of titania-based photocatalysts with tailored properties for the photodegradation under visible light of pollutants from both air and aqueous systems. The goal of this research is to introduce visible light absorption on mesoporous titania by doping or co-doping with different metallic or non-metallic elements. The project will focus on the possible applications of the obtained photocatalysts by testing both the CO2 reforming in the presence of water as well as on the photodegradation of textile dyes from aqueous wastes under visible light.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Coordinating European Strategies on Sustainable Materials, Processes and Emerging Technologies Development in Chemical Process and Water Industry across Technology Platforms (ChemWater). 01/05/2011 - 30/10/2013

Abstract

The ChemWater project develops a programme of interdisciplinary commonly-defined activities and strategies for measures concerning better regulation, standardization, public procurement, fiscal incentives and business development that will facilitate the rapid commercialization of the innovative materials, products, services and (nano)-technologies necessary to achieve an efficient management of industrial water.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Inorganic Chemistry: Adsorption and Catalysis. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

Although much research is focused on the synthesis of materials and their applications, the attention for understanding the impact of structural and physicochemical properties on the performance of materials in various applications is an interesting, challenging field that still requires a lot of efforts. Indeed, the know-how on this matter can provide valuable feedback in order to control the synthesis of materials with properties engineered and adjusted to the specific applications as well as important know-how for more process related and application driven studies. It is the indispensable bridge between material design and development, technology and applications. In addition, synthesis methods are often first developed for powder applications. However, supported layers and coatings are frequently needed in several applications since they are technologically essential (e.g. membranes), avoid leaching or toxicity [ ] etc. A good know-how on the impact of the support on the structural and physicochemical properties of the layer with respect to the powder synthesis or modification is crucial to allow a fast translation of the good and controllable properties of powders to coated materials. Therefore, my research will focus on studying the structural and physicochemical surface properties (obtained via controlled synthesis) in order to rationalize their superior or inferior performance in several selected applications as well as modifying these porous materials via post-synthesis treatments to alter their physicochemical properties and interactions with molecules. The main materials that will be studied are on the one hand mesoporous titania materials (powders, films and membranes) for photo-induced processes (e.g. photocatalysis and photovoltaïcs) and separation and on the other hand functionalized materials (hybrid organic-inorganic materials and zeolitic modified materials) with focus on the interaction of molecules with the functional groups. The main topics will be: 1) Mesoporous titania materials for photo-induced applications 2) Studying the role of the support on thin film and membrane preparation 3) Hybrid organic-inorganic functionalized materials and their interactions with molecules. 3.1) Post-synthesis modification of metal oxide powders and membranes 3.2) Periodic mesoporous organosilica materials with enhanced functionalities 4) Mesoporous materials with zeolitic functionalities

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Optimization of the structure-activity relation in nanoporous materials. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2014

Abstract

The relation between structure and activity will be optimized for two classes of nanoporous materials: TiO2 nanotubes combined with Ag nanoparticles and Periodic Mesoporous Organosilica's. This will be done based on a multidisciplinary approach combining advanced 3-dimensional imaging with modern computational methods at an atomic scale. This will lead to a more direct optimization of the synthesis and activity of the nanoporous materials in comparison to the classic trial-and-error procedures.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Zeolite-functionalised materials with bimodal porosity. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

This research project aims the formation of zeolite-functionalised materials via innovative synthesis methods to increase and to control the zeolite character of these materials. An important part of the research includes the characterisation of the structures with bimodal porosity, with special attention to the selectivity towards adsorption processes. For these materials, it is expected that the adsorption-properties will be different in comparison to the classical zeolites and the mesoporous materials with amorphous silica walls. In this project, fundamental knowledge will be obtained on the structure of the zeolite nanoparticles, used to build up the materials. Important information is the size and the crystallinity of the particles. Different synthesis methods will be applied in order to prepare the final materials. Hereby a control on the morphology and the ratio microporosity/mesoporosity in relation to the functionality of the materials is very important.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Synthesis and EPR-study of a new generation of hybrid mesoporous materials. 29/08/2010 - 28/06/2013

Abstract

The project aims at the development of novel hybrid mesoporous materials for sorption and catalysis. Different synthesis approaches are investigated and the solids will be thoroughly characterized by electron paramagnetic resonance.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research in the field of modified materials for membrane technology and research to develop new heterogeneous catalysts. 22/02/2010 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand a private institution. UA provides the private institution research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Run and point set of AFM measurements for characterization of biofunctional coatings developed within VITO. 01/01/2010 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

- Synthesis of nanoporous titania (and titania-silica) materials and detailed characterization (with spectroscopic techniques such as FTIR, Raman, porosity analysis, thermal analysis) - Testing of the nanomaterials in fotocatalytic applications - Elucidation of the synthesis mechanism of nanoporous materials via advanced EPR techniques

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of high-selective ceramic membranes by template-assisted sol-gel methods. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The aim of the research is the synthesis of high-selective ceramic membranes for process-integrated applications through template assisted sol-gel methods. These methods not only open the possibility for membranes with high selectivity and tailor-made pore dimensions, but will also result in membranes with chiral selectivity. The performance of the developed membranes will be tested in solvent filtration. One specific process application will be selected in order to demonstrate the market potential of these materials.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Synthesis of titanium-activated siliceous materials with a combined micro- and mesoporosity. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

The aim of the project is to perform a systematic and fundamental study of the different synthesis conditions which leads to the formation of composite (micro- and mesoporous) materials with incorporated heteroelements. Focus will be on the controlled formation of the pores, the morphology and the coordination, the localisation and the strength of the active elements. Also the possibility to have a controlled variation of the ratio of microporosity/mesoporosity and the diameter of the pores is very important for this type of materials. Elucidation of the synthesis mechanism to the formation of the materials will be very important.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Functionalised ceramic membranes for solvent filtration. 01/07/2009 - 30/06/2010

Abstract

The application field of ceramic membranes is more and more expanding towards in process separations, which demand solvent stable nanoporous membranes. Ceramic nanoporous membranes are very stable in solvents, however inherently hydrophilic. A tremendous potential for solvent resistant membranes exists for fine-chemical (pharmaceutical, agrochemical, etc.) industry. Therefore, stable ceramic membranes are being developed that exhibit surface organic functional groups to allow strongly improved separations and high fluxes for less polar solvents.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development of functionalized ceramic NF membranes by post-modification. 01/02/2009 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

This project aims the optimalisation of the synthesis of hydrophobic membranes, in order to reach an efficient separation for molecules of 500 Dalton. The research concentrates on the optimalisation on powders and includes post-modification reactions and a detailed characterization. The advantage of post-modifications is that a broad range of functionalities become possible. The project aims to explore these possibilities in order to develop procedures for optimal functionalised membranes.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Synthesis and optimisation of tailor-made supported titania layers for photo-induced processes. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

In this project the influence of the synthesis conditions and the applied coating techniques on the final properties of deposited thin layers of titania (TiO2) will be studied. Innovative methods for the formation of porous powders (UA, promotor P. Cool) will be combined with the expertise on the formation of thin layers (UHasselt, promotor M.K. Van Bael). Also post-modification synthetic techniques will be applied in order to further control the stability and the properties of the materials. The scientific knowledge which exists for the formation of powders will be transferred to the deposition of thin layers. In this way, fundamental knowledge on the parameters which control the structure and the properties of the deposited titania materials will be obtained. This is of great importance for photo-initiated applications of the materials.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Zeolite-functionalised materials with bimodal porosity. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

This research project aims the formation of zeolite-functionalised materials via innovative synthesis methods to increase and to control the zeolite character of these materials. An important part of the research includes the characterisation of the structures with bimodal porosity, with special attention to the selectivity towards adsorption processes. For these materials, it is expected that the adsorption-properties will be different in comparison to the classical zeolites and the mesoporous materials with amorphous silica walls. In this project, fundamental knowledge will be obtained on the structure of the zeolite nanoparticles, used to build up the materials. Important information is the size and the crystallinity of the particles. Different synthesis methods will be applied in order to prepare the final materials. Hereby a control on the morphology and the ratio microporosity/mesoporosity in relation to the functionality of the materials is very important.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Modification of porous supports for the development of organic-inorganic hybrid materials. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

The objective of this research project is the development of a new generation of mesoporous materials that combine the benefits of mesoporosity with high selectivity and stability. Two main synthesis approaches are formulated. On one hand, mesoporous materials will be directly combined with zeolites by linking their synthesis to one another. On the other hand, selectivity and stability will be increased by the formation of mesoporous hybrid (organic- inorganic) materials.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Synthesis of titania activated siliceous materials with a combined microand mesoporosity. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

The aim of the project is to perform a systematic and fundamental study of the different synthesis conditions which leads to the formation of composite (micro- and mesoporous) materials with incorporated heteroelements. Focus will be on the controlled formation of the pores, the morphology and the coordination, the localisation and the strength of the active elements. Also the possibility to have a controlled variation of the ratio of microporosity/mesoporosity and the diameter of the pores is very important for this type of materials. Elucidation of the synthesis mechanism to the formation of the materials will be very important.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Zeolite-functionalised materials with bimodale porosity. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

This research project aims the formation of zeolite-functionalised materials via innovative synthesis methods to increase and to control the zeolite character of these materials. An important part of the research includes the characterisation of the structures with bimodal porosity, with special attention to the selectivity towards adsorption processes. For these materials, it is expected that the adsorption-properties will be different in comparison to the classical zeolites and the mesoporous materials with amorphous silica walls. In this project, fundamental knowledge will be obtained on the structure of the zeolite nanoparticles, used to build up the materials. Important information is the size and the crystallinity of the particles. Different synthesis methods will be applied in order to prepare the final materials. Hereby a control on the morphology and the ratio microporosity/mesoporosity in relation to the functionality of the materials is very important.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Silica based mesoporous organic-inorganic hybrid materials. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

The focus of this project is essentially on PMO's (Periodic Mesoporous Organosilica's), a new class of porous hybrid materials. BTEB (1,4-bistriethoxysolylbenzene) is used as a precursor, which results in a structure with crystalline walls. Due to organic functionalisation of the benzene molecule, further modification of the materials is possible. In literature the possible applications of PMO's are frequently mentioned but never explored in detail. Therefore the goal of this research is to investigate the possible use of these materials in applications as catalysis and metal scavenging and to compare them with the already existing analogue functionalized polymer and silicamaterials

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

PROMAG: Processing of materials by application of a strong magnetic field. 01/07/2007 - 30/06/2012

Abstract

This project aims to exploit in the field of materials processing the evolution in magnet technology whereby magnets with a stronger field and larger size become available at an affordable price. For this project processes have been selected which were estimated to be of strategic value by the research providing organisations, but also by the industries involved in material processing in Flanders. The selected processes involve: a) the removal of fine inclusions from a liquid metal and b) the texturing of functional ceramics to enhance their properties.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research in the expertise center Environment and Process technology (VITO). 01/12/2006 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

In this project inorganic support materials (such as SiO2, TiO2) will be modified with organic functional groups in order to increase the selectivity, activity and stability for applications in the field of ceramic membranes for filtration, waste water treatment,... In this way inorganic-organic hybrid materials are prepared with superiour properties.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Synthesis and characterization of catalytically active porous composite materials. 01/10/2005 - 30/09/2007

Abstract

This research project aims at the synthesis of a new family of catalytic support materials with combined micro- and mesoporosity and a high structural stability. Two strategies are being followed: (1) the creation of crystalline zeolitic and microporous nanocapsules inside the mesopores of a ordered support material and (2) the synthesis of a templated and ordered mesoporous support material with crystalline microporous walls. Such materials can be very interesting in various fiels such as selective catalysis, controlled drug release, adsorption and separation. Their stability will allow them to be used in heavy duty processes.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The active site: from catalysis to reactor. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

The project involves a collaboration between chemists and chemical engineers in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. The aim is to characterize and to fully understand the active site of the catalyst on the atomic level, in order to build catalysts with improved properties in a reactor in the chemical industry.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Design and structural characterisation of new nanoporous materials. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

New nanoporous siliceous and non-siliceous materials with a combined micro- and mesoporosity will be developed and catalytically activated with transition metaloxides following several innovative procedures. A combination of macroscopic techniques and electron microscopy will be used to fully characterize the catalysts. TEM will determine the morphology and the pore structure and tries to locate the active metal sites in the porous catalyst matrix. This information is essential to understand the relation between synthesis strategy, catalyst structure and catalytic performance.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

In situ study and development of processes involving nanoporous solids. (INSIDE PORES) 01/10/2004 - 31/03/2009

Abstract

This Network of Excellence focusses on the research collaboration between 19 excellent European research centres, and 10 European satellite partners. The joint research activities are build on 5 main process pillars: 1) synthesis processes; 2) catalytic processes; 3) sorption processes (separation and storage); 4) membrane processes; 5) innovative processes. The laboratory of adsorption and catalysis aims to develop new formation processes of porous materials with specific properties in the field of 'clean technology' applications.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Use of textile materials for the elimination of odours and harmful substances in the air by adsorption and catalytic degradation. 01/09/2004 - 31/08/2006

Abstract

In order to give special features to textile materials, they can be modified towards a specific functionality. In this project, porous catalysts will be added to a series of different textile materials. The active catalysts will adsorb harmful odours and toxic components (cigarette smoke, sweat, formaldehyde, VOC's) from the indoor air and catalytically degradate them, in order to avoid saturation. The adsorption and catalytic degradation properties of the materials will be tested and optimised, using different titania catalysts and the necessary analytical techniques (main focus will be on the selectivity and the stability of the catalysts).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Removal of N2O by catalytic reduction, catalytic decomposition and catalytic dehydrogenation of hydrocarbons using a new generation of mesoporous inorganic materials. 01/01/2004 - 31/12/2005

Abstract

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Vansant Etienne

Research team(s)

Synthesis and characterization of catalytically active porous composite materials. 01/10/2003 - 30/09/2005

Abstract

This research project aims at the synthesis of a new family of catalytic support materials with combined micro- and mesoporosity and a high structural stability. Two strategies are being followed: (1) the creation of crystalline zeolitic and microporous nanocapsules inside the mesopores of a ordered support material and (2) the synthesis of a templated and ordered mesoporous support material with crystalline microporous walls. Such materials can be very interesting in various fiels such as selective catalysis, controlled drug release, adsorption and separation. Their stability will allow them to be used in heavy duty processes.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The development of composite enzyme/mesoporous silica catalysts with high stability and biocatalytic activity. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2004

Abstract

Functionalised hexagonal mesoporous MSU silica supports with ultra-large pores between 4 and 15 nm are synthesized following a new, environmentally and economically friendly templated synthesis route. In a post-synthesis modification step, the surface of the solids will be functionalised with suitable groups (thiol, chloride, amine groups) that will interact strongly with enzymes. Next the immobilization of a series of enzymes with different sizes on the MSU supports is performed. The influence of the support porosity and surface characteristics on the enzyme loadings are evaluated, as well as the stability of the resulting enzyme/silica composites. Finally, the activity of the enzyme/mesoporous MSU catalysts is assessed in an appropriate biocatalytic reaction.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

01/01/2003 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Vansant Etienne

Research team(s)

01/09/2002 - 31/08/2004

Abstract

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Vansant Etienne

Research team(s)

The development of new catalytically active porous silicate materials using the templating mechanism : optimisation of their synthesis, stability and acidic properties. 01/10/2001 - 30/09/2005

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

01/09/2001 - 31/08/2004

Abstract

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Vansant Etienne

Research team(s)

Functional nanofilms with swelling clay minerals and porous silicas. 11/12/2000 - 11/12/2003

Abstract

Methods will be developed in order to produce nanofilm from various swelling clays and porous silicas. These nanofilms will be tested towards their adsorptive and catalytic behaviour.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Vansant Etienne

Research team(s)

High-resolution solid-state NMR of active site in heterogeneous catalysts. 01/01/2000 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

Two new double -resonance techniques will be used to increase the resolution of solid-state NMR spectra of heterogeneous catalysts.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Vansant Etienne

Research team(s)

Surface modification of porous materials. 01/01/1999 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

In this project different porous materials (microporous and mesoporous) are chemically modified in order to change in a controlled way the adsorption/desorption and their possible catalytic behaviour.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research

IWT: Instituut voor de Aanmoediging van Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie in Vlaanderen

FWO: Fond Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen

VITO: Vlaamse instelling voor technologisch onderzoek