Targeted Design of New Catalyst Materials

Extension for SFB/TRR 247

View of the center of a synthesis reactor in which nanoparticles are created and studied within a spray flame - for example, for the development of new catalyst materials. The probe projecting into the flame for sampling withstands temperatures of up to 2,600°C. © UDE/Samer Suleiman

Almost all everyday objects come into contact with at least one catalyst during their production in order to make their production cheaper, more environmentally friendly or even possible in the first place. The goal of the SFB/TRR 247 "Heterogeneous Oxidation Catalysis in the Liquid Phase" is to develop inexpensive, highly active and selective catalysts at the atomic level. Following its successful first funding phase from the DFG, it is being extended for a further four years and funded with 12.3 million euros.

The researchers are now focusing on identifying active centers of the materials and understanding reaction mechanisms in detail. The Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) is now the spokesperson, with Prof. Dr. Stephan Schulz from the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) as co-spokesperson.

Until now, new catalysts have often been discovered by trial and error. Instead, the SFB/TRR 247 aims to develop a rational design of cost-effective as well as highly active and selective catalysts based on mixed metal oxides for selective oxidation processes in the liquid phase. "An important aspect here is also to replace rare precious metals with readily available and less expensive materials," explains spokesperson Kristina Tschulik. To achieve this, the highly complex chemical processes that take place - in the case of heterogeneous catalysis, where the catalyst is a solid - at the catalyst surface must be better understood.

Twenty research groups from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, both in Mülheim/Ruhr, and the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Berlin, have joined forces in the alliance.