Heterogeneous catalysis as a key tool for sustainability

  • 5. října 2023
  • Lecture will take place in C12/311

Damien P. Debecker

Managing the transition from a petro-based society to a more sustainable model of development is urgently needed, if we want to mitigate the devastating effect of climate change, to keep the energy crisis under control, and to temper our impact on the environment. Arguably, catalysis, and in particular heterogeneous catalysis, has a major role to play. Catalysis – which the 9th principle of green chemistry – allows saving energy and resources, and is also at the heart of both preventive and curative actions against pollutions. This cycle of lectures will be articulated around three lines.

First, the key concepts and definitions of catalysis will be reminded, with a special focus on the metrics used to define catalytic performance. We will also explain the reasons why catalysis is so essential for the development of a more sustainable chemical industry. With a critical eye, we will consider the impact of the manufacture of heterogeneous catalysts.

Second, we will discuss the key role of catalysis in the emerging concept of “integrated biorefineries”. The major differences between fossil and bio-based resources will be highlighted, and the implications for catalysis science will be discussed. Via some examples we will show how catalyst design can help targeting useful drop-in chemicals or creating new product trees.

Third, we will zoom on a topical scientific and technical challenge: CO2 capture and utilization (CCU). In particular, the catalytic hydrogenation of CO2 will be presented as a key step of the “power-to-X” scenario. Questioning the sourcing of both CO2 and H2 that would feed such process, we will discuss the bottlenecks for future deployment.

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