Research team

Laboratory of adsorption and catalysis (LADCA)

Expertise

Porous materials; structure-activity relations; materials characterization and modification; inorganic and hybrid organic-inorganic materials; silica and metal oxides; catalysts, adsorbers and membranes Photocatalytic degradation of pollutants, Photocatalytic reduction reactions/synthesis Specialties: Materials development Materials modification - surface modification Materials characterization Synthesis-properties-performance correlation Stability studies Membranes, catalysts and adsorbents catalytic CO2 conversion Personal website: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/staff/vera-meynen/ Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/vera-meynen/27/4b9/319

Mastering metal-PHOSphonate properties in PORE-size engineered catalysts for bio-refinery processes (PHOSPORE). 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

The pursuit of recovering bio-renewable chemicals from biomass waste is a key aspect in the sustainable resource management targets, put forward in the European Green deal. However, converting these natural waste streams to useful target molecules requires high-performance catalysts with tunable surface groups, porosity and extraordinary stability in the demanding bio-refinery conditions. The reproducible wet-chemical synthesis and structural control of these catalysts forms the central challenge of the PHOSPORE project. More specifically, designed porous networks consisting of an organic-inorganic scaffold based on phosphonate-metal linkages are targeted. The first aim of the project is to tune these interactions, maximizing the catalytic performance of these novel materials. A second objective is to fundamentally understand how the porous phosphonate-metal networks are built. Hereto, the formulation of controlled model materials (i.e., MOFs and clusters) is combined with an in-depth analytical methodology to elucidate the synthesis-properties relations of amorphous (meso)porous metal phosphonates. Eventually, the newly obtained materials will be tested in two representative bio-refinery processes being cellulose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural conversion and glycerol acetylation. Hence, an essential knowledge leap in the intertwined hybrid porous material development and catalytic platform chemical conversion is anticipated.

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On the Transition to more Renewable Energy in power-to-X applications (T-REX). 01/11/2021 - 31/10/2025

Abstract

The project focuses on the development of CO2 conversion technologies for establishing viable CCU value chains in Belgium and abroad, towards renewable fuels. These electrified routes are currently being developed at the universities of Hasselt, Antwerp, VITO and IMEC and based on direct solar energy use or linked to a green grid. The research focuses on lab-scale development of robust (electro)catalysts, supported by catalyst surface modeling by UMons. These technologies are positioned in different CCU and Power-to-X Roadmaps based on techno-economic and life cycle analysis.

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Designing metal oxide-based stationary phases for the separation of 225Ac and 213Bi for biomedical applications. 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2025

Abstract

The collaborative PhD project is focused on designing of stable metal oxide-based stationary phases that will allow improved performance in the separation of radionuclides 225Ac and 213Bi for biomedical applications.

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FWO sabbatsverlof 2020-2021 (Prof. Vera Meynen). 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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BOF Sabbatical 2021-2022 - Vera Meynen. 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 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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True colours of titanium dioxide - coloured titania and their advanced characterisation for use in CO2 reduction and sensing applications 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

Titanium-dioxide-based materials (titania) are semiconductors with many versatile applications in chemical catalysis, electrochemical sensing, food industry, energy conversion and many more. A considerable part of these applications rely on the electron-hole formation in titania by the absorption of light in the UV range. However, this restricts many practical applications, since sunlight has a limited UV content. Coloured titania, such as grey and black titania, can be formed via thermal, chemical or sonochemical reduction pathways. Although these materials absorb light in the visible range, there is many conflicting data reported about their activity and involved mechanistic pathways. There is also no consensus on the optimal synthesis routes to enhance specific favorable material characteristics. The large heterogeneity in coloured titania materials and their syntheses used in literature hampers a clear correlation between synthesis, electronic structure and activity. In this concerted action, we aim at a controlled alteration of the reduction conditions of porous titania linked to a direct determination of a variety of properties, such as electron traps, surface-adsorbed and surface-reacted species, bulk defects, band gap, polymorphs and pore sizes, and to activity measurements. For the latter we will test their capacity for photocatalytic reduction of CO2 and their applicability as electrode material in the electrochemical sensing of phenolic compounds in water. With this approach we guarantee that the results of the different experiments can be directly compared and correlated. This will allow determining the key factors governing the relation between synthesis, electronic and geometric structure and activity of coloured titania. This knowledge will be translated in optimal synthesis conditions for the here proposed applications, of importance in sustainable chemistry and development. The project makes use of the unique complementary expertise in the synthesis, experimental and theoretical characterization and application of titanium-dioxide-based materials available at UAntwerp.

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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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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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High-end electron paramagnetic resonance instrumentation for catalysis and materials characterization. 01/05/2020 - 30/04/2024

Abstract

Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) offers a unique tool for the characterization of paramagnetic systems found in biological and synthetic materials. It is used in very diverse fields, such as biology, chemistry, physics, medicine and materials sciences. EPR is a global name for many different techniques, of which the pulsed EPR spectroscopies are the most versatile ones, able to reveal very detailed structural information. The University of Antwerp hosts a pulsed and high-field EPR facility that is unique in Belgium. However, the basic continuous-wave EPR instrumentation that underlies this facility needs urgent upgrade. Moreover in recent years, the technical realization of arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs) with clock rates higher than a gigahertz has initiated a new era in EPR spectroscopy. These AWGs allow for novel experiments with shaped pulses through which more detailed information about the systems under study can be obtained. Use of these shaped pulses avails enormously increased sensitivity and spectral width. This is particularly important for the study of nanostructured materials and the detection of transiently formed active sites during catalysis, device operation or biological in-cell reactions, topics of major interest for the consortium. The requested extension of the EPR facility is essential to assure that EPR at UAntwerp remains at the forefront in this rapidly changing field.

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Catalysis for sustainable organic chemistry (CASCH). 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

Catalysis is a key technology to achieve more efficient and greener organic synthesis. Complementary expertise on the development of new (homogenous and heterogeneous) catalysts (redox, photo and electrocatalysis) will be brought together with organic synthesis know-how in one center. Through collaboration of 5 research teams spanning two different faculties of the University of Antwerp a unique basis for innovative research, tackling challenging transformations in organic chemistry, is created. Cleavage and functionalization of strong bonds (carbon-nitrogen, carbon-oxygen, carbon-hydrogen and carbon-carbon bonds) in (small) organic molecules will be the target of the research activities of the consortium. The substrates will include petrochemical, biorenewable or waste compounds (e.g. CO2). The consortium combines advanced spectroscopy (including UV-vis, (in-situ) IR, multi-frequency EPR and NMR, circularly polarized and conventional Raman), sorption and quantum-chemical and molecular modeling techniques which will allow for fundamental insight in the active site of the catalyst and the reaction mechanism, providing a tool for rational catalyst/reaction development. Through shaping of the novel catalysts (e.g. indirect 3D printing) and evaluation in flow, effects of mass transport and sorption are evaluated revealing their industrial potential.

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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).

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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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Highly visible light responsive black titania for photo-electrochemical applications: the electrosensing of polyphenols in flow mode. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

Recent advances in extending the light absorption range of titania (TiO2) into the visible region has resulted in a new material, i.e. black TiO2 with a bandgap around 1.5 eV. Black TiO2 is a promising candidate for photo-(electro)catalysis under near infrared light owing to its narrow band gap and its improved electronic conductivity which only limited attention has been paid to it to use as a photoelectrochemical sensor. Using photo-electrocatalysts in stationary electrochemical systems commonly face poisoning phenomena due to the generated product seriously affecting the electrochemical detection. In order to improve the recyclability of the photo-electrocatalyst, a flow photoelectrochemical cell is the best choice due to continues movement of a carrier solution to the electrode surface. The combination of a flow cell and an electrochemical setup integrates the benefit of two systems such as high mass diffusion, much lower amount of sample requirements, while warranting strong signals and a high detection sensitivity. The core idea of my proposal is to synthesize and exploit black (reduced) titania as a highly visible light responsive material in a flow analysis setup to detect polyphenols via photo-electrochemistry.

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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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Surface modification of Titania 3D structures for a new generation of metal adsorbents 01/12/2017 - 31/05/2022

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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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.

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Dioxide to monoxide (D2M): innovative catalysis for CO2 to CO conversion (D2M). 01/01/2020 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

The aim of this project is to study, explore and develop various (catalytic) technologies for the production of CO as platform chemical via conversion of CO2. A technology assessment will subsequently be carried out to evaluate the potential of each technology, pinpointing promising strategies for further development and upscaling. Concrete objectives and criteria The efficiency/productivity of existing homogeneous catalytic systems for CO2 reduction to CO will be mapped out and evaluated to identify the most promising systems to achieve this reduction and to explore ways to improve its larger scale viability through detailed catalyst modification studies. The focus will be on cobalt and nickel systems containing N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) species as ligands. The goal of the heterogeneous catalytic conversion of CO2 to CO is to assess the potential of the oxidative propane dehydrogenation (OPD) reaction with CO2 as a soft oxidant. The main purpose here is to focus on and maximize CO2 reduction and CO formation via novel catalyst synthesis, surface engineering and investigation of catalyst support. In the field of electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 to CO we aim to (1) develop metal-based electrodes (electrocatalysts integrated in gas diffusion electrodes) exhibiting enhanced stability, (2) to investigate a novel type of metal-free electrocatalyst that can tackle the current challenges witnessed in N-doped carbons and (3) to demonstrate the continuous production of CO from CO2 by the development of a prototype lab scale reactor including the best-performing electrocatalysts developed in this project Another goal of this project is providing a proof-of-concept for plasmonic enhanced CO2 conversion into CO in an energy-lean process involving only solar light at ambient pressure as energy input i.e. without external heating. The objective of the plasma catalytic route for CO production is to enhance the conversion and energy efficiency of CO2 conversion in different plasma reactor types, with major focus on Gliding Arc plasma and Nanosecond pulsed discharges (NPD) plasma reactors. The project also takes up the challenge to activate CO2 and bio-CH4 and turn them into CO by combining chemical looping processes, into which catalysis is integrated, mediated by multifunctional materials (combine different functionalities into one smartly engineered material) and/or spatial organization of materials in dynamically operated packed-bed reactors.

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Project website

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.

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Infrastructure for imaging nanoscale processes in gas/vapour or liquid environments. 01/05/2018 - 30/04/2021

Abstract

Processes in energy applications and catalysis as well as biological processes become increasingly important as society's focus shifts to sustainable resources and technology. A thorough understanding of these processes needs their detailed observation at a nano or atomic scale. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is the optimal tool for this, but in its conventional form it requires the study object to be placed in ultrahigh vacuum, which makes most processes impossible. Using environmental TEM holders, the objects can be placed in a gas/vapour or liquid environment within the microscope, enabling the real time imaging, spectroscopic and diffraction analysis of the ongoing processes. This infrastructure will enable different research groups within the University of Antwerp to perform a wide range of novel research experiments involving the knowledge on processes and interactions, including among others the growth and evolution of biological matter, interaction of solids with gasses/vapours or liquid for catalysis, processes occurring upon charging and discharging rechargeable batteries, the nucleation and growth of nanoparticles and the detailed elucidation of intracellular pathways in biological processes relevant for future drug delivery therapies and treatments.

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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

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

The impact of the electrocatalytic properties of Cu/Ag core-shell nanoparticles for the reduction of CO2 in an electrochemical flow microreactor. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

In the last decades, the amount of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere has increased enormously. Due to the goals set by Europe, CO2 mitigation is of major importance for industry as well as society. In this project we will focus on the electrochemical reduction of CO2. However, this reaction pathway can only become cost-effective by reducing the large overpotential for the electrochemical CO2 reduction and thus, directs the problem towards the world of electrocatalysis. More specific, the catalytic properties of bimetallic Cu/Ag core-shell nanoparticles on the reduction of CO2 into valuable C1-C3 hydrocarbons will be investigated. Electrochemical measurements will provide an insight in the reaction pathway and this information will be used to adjust the electrodeposition of the NP's and optimizing the core-shell NP morphology of the catalysts. In addition, this project will combine the design and synthesis of these electrocatalysts with the engineering of an electrochemical membrane flow microreactor (including the electrode structure and cell construction). In our opinion, it is this combination that provides the next step in the improvement of CO2 reduction to fuels and chemical building blocks.

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.

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Research team(s)

Project website

SusChemA. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2020

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.

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)

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)

Towards new approaches in bioelectrochemistry – Targeted immobilization of globins on porous materials. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

The project aims at the development of biosensors for small molecules by incorporating globin proteins in nanoporous inorganic or hybrid organic-inorganic materials. This involves globin purification, synthesis and modification of the porous materials, and realization of the electrochemical cell. The structural and electronic properties of the globins will be monitored during the process with resonance Raman and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Targeted immobilization of globin proteins on porous materials for electrochemical applications. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

In this project, we aim at the targeted immobilization of heme proteins (globins) in different organic/inorganic matrices opening the way to new approaches in electrochemistry. The ideal heme proteins in this context are globins, in which the function of the heme group is controlled by the surrounding protein matrix. Moreover, several globins show redox cycling properties.

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)

How to realize new value chains in the Flemish chemical industry : Towards a Market & Technology Roadmap 'Renewable Chemicals'. 01/10/2012 - 31/05/2013

Abstract

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

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Modelling transport of CO2 through porous structures during carbonation reaction. 01/07/2012 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

In this project, the carbonation processes leading to the production of carbonates through reaction between magnesium/calcium-rich minerals that typically occur in waste materials and carbon dioxide (C02) will be investigated by numerical modelling. The aim is to be able to optimise the parameters that influence the carbonation process in order to improve the transition of the process from lab to pilot scale.

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

VITO and UA are developing innovative methods to modify surfaces of ceramic membranes, stable in water. The toplayer has to remain stable in water, which requires innovative approaches. The goal of this project is to apply a coating as efficient antifouling coating 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)

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)

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)

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)

Integrated organic-inorganic synthetic approaches for the development of functionalized periodic mesoporous organosilicas. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

Innovative synthetic approaches for the formation of strongly functionalized crystalline 'Periodic Mesoporous Organosilicas' (PMO's) will be developed. Knowledge and reactions from organic chemistry will be implemented in the known synthesis processes for the production of porous hybrid organic-inorganic materials. Therefore, 2 synthesis paths will be established. 1) On one hand, new organosilica precursors with embedded heteroatoms (N, S, O, P, Cl, ¿) will be synthesized, that can be applied in the synthesis of the innovative PMO's. 2) Another synthesis path aims at executing organic reactions, known in homogeneous reaction media, inside the formed crystalline aromatic-bridged PMO in order to modify the aromatic functions of the PMO. Emphasis will be put on the fundamental aspects such as the influence of the present heteroatoms on the synthesis mechanism of the PMO's.

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 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)

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)

Synthesis and characterization of microporous transition metal oxide nanocapsules in mesoporous ordered support materials : a new type of catalyst. 01/10/2002 - 30/09/2003

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 templated support material and (2) the synthesis of templated and ordered mesoporous support materials with crystalline microporous walls. Such materials will be very interesting in various fields 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)