Catalysis for Fuels and Chemicals

Krijn P. de Jong, Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Reliable and affordably energy is a cornerstone of modern societies but concerns about emissions of CO2 and related climate change are growing. The recent Climate Conference in Paris has led to broad agreement to restrict world temperature increase to 2 °C which translates into a maximum allowable ’carbon budget’ of emissions of CO2 for the coming decades [1]. For transportation fuels we have estimated that for the coming 20 years the required reduction of CO2 emissions will be contributed for 75% by more efficient usage of fossil energy and for 25% by renewable energy (wind and solar combined with electrification) [2].

Catalysis is at the heart of new and improved processes to deliver fuels and chemicals with a lower carbon footprint. In this talk we address the growing role of processes based on synthesis gas, a mixture of CO and+ H2. Synthesis gas can be produced from any carbon-containing feedstock, even from CO2 if renewable hydrogen is available. We focus on results for conversion of synthesis gas to ultra-clean diesel [3] and to chemicals such as lower olefins [4]. Hydrocracking of n-alkanes using bi-functional Pt/alumina/zeolite-Y catalyst will also be presented [5]. In all these examples effects at the nanoscale play a key role to arrive at improved catalyst activity, selectivity and stability. 

1. S.I. Seneviratne, M.G. Donat, A.J. Pitman, R. Knutti and R.L. Wilby, Nature 529 (2016) 477-483.
2. K.P. de Jong et al., Nature Energy 1 (2016) 1-8.
3. P. Munnik, P.E. de Jongh, K.P. de Jong, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136 (2014), 7333-7340.
4. H.M. Torres Galvis, J.H. Bitter, C.B. Khare, M. Ruitenbeek, A. Iulian Dugulan and K.P. de Jong, Science 335 (2012) 835-838.
5. J. Zečević, G. Vanbutsele, K.P. de Jong, J.A. Martens, Nature 528 (2015), 245-254.

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