Laboratory of Petrochemical Technology
Chemical transformations are at the heart of energy production and use, and heterogeneous catalysis lies at the core of efficiently and effectively using our current energy sources, developing alternatives, and reducing environmental impacts. The aim of the work by Prof. Lemonidou’s group in Laboratory of Petrochemical Technology (LPT) is to improve and/or develop new catalytic processes through an integrated approach which involves the elaboration of catalyst characteristics and reaction mechanisms coupled with reaction engineering. Of particular interest are the conversion of alkanes to alkenes and alternative fuels, the synthesis of high added value products from biomass-derived components and the valorization of syngas to fuels and chemicals.
Research efforts are also directed towards CO2 capture at high temperatures developing materials and processes. Our research involves a synergistic combination of efforts in the areas of catalyst synthesis, characterization and evaluation. Several preparation techniques are applied to synthesize tailored-made catalysts with specific catalytically active centers, such as impregnation methods, co-precipitation, sol-gel, combustion synthesis etc. A wide range of physicochemical and spectroscopic methods are applied to determine the textural (N2 adsorption – BET), structural (XRD, FTIR, SEM, HR-TEM) and physicochemical (ICP, Temperature-programmed reduction/oxidation/ desorption etc) properties of the catalysts during preparation and before/after catalysis. The catalytic performance is evaluated in lab scale test units with fixed and fluidized bed reactors equipped with on-line analytical equipment. The units are also suitable for the kinetic investigation of reactions, leading to the calculation of kinetic parameters and development of mechanistic kinetic models. To obtain molecular understanding of the reaction pathways, advanced mechanistic studies with in situ spectroscopy and dynamic experiments with the use of isotopes are also performed.