Laboratory of Petrochemical Technology

The Laboratory of Petrochemical Technology (LPT) was officially established in 1976 in the newly formed Department of Chemical Engineering in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Professor Iacovos Vasalos, who was also one of the founders of the Chemical Process Engineering Research Institute (1985) was the first Director of the Lab till 2006. Since then the Lab is headed by Prof. Angeliki Lemonidou.

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 research work in the 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. Areas of application include among others, the conversion of alkanes to alkenes and alternative fuels, the synthesis of high added value products from biomass-derived components the CO2 capture and the thermochemical energy storage.

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.