Catalysis is an essential part of the chemical industry. More than 85% of all chemical products (such as plastics, gasoline, paint and medicines) has been prepared via at least one catalysed chemical reaction. To rationally design better catalysts, rather than through trial and error, it is important to understand how the structural properties are correlated with the catalytic performance. Although copper-based catalysts have been used for many decades on industrial scale, a number of challenging scientific questions are still unanswered.
The main aim of this research was the systematic study of the intrinsic influence of metal particle size, support materials and promoters, on the catalytic performance in three different hydrogenation reactions, namely the hydrogenation of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to methanol, the hydrogenation of ethyl acetate to ethanol, and the selective hydrogenation of butadiene to butene.
Efficient energy and material use
The fundamental insight from this study may benefit the design of more active, selective and stable catalysts, which contribute to the more efficient use of energy and material resources for the production of essential chemicals.