Cardiff Catalysis Institute

Cardiff, United Kingdom

Cardiff Catalysis Institute

Cardiff, United Kingdom
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News Article | March 2, 2017

Catalysis will play a major role in tackling the grand challenges of the 21st Century, such as climate change, growing demands and subsequent environmental issues stemming from the predicted rise in global population. It already plays a leading role in many processes that contribute to human well-being: including energy generation, food production, transportation, healthcare and well-being, and water (in the form of wastewater treatment). The contribution of catalysis to manufacturing adds up to almost 40% of global GDP--and the demand for such catalysts will only increase. Catalysts make existing processes greener. In other words, they produce less waste, consume less energy and use fewer raw materials to make the same mass of products. This will also mean new pathways to existing materials and products from renewable feedstocks, for example, and also routes to entirely new classes of materials with as yet unimagined properties. Catalysts make processes more efficient and effective and each of these challenges will require advances in catalytic technology in diverse sectors from energy, to water, food production, functional materials, bulk and intermediate materials and pharmaceuticals/fine chemicals. In order to maximise the benefits from research and create the greatest contribution to all these areas and more, improved understanding and targeted research programmes with collaboration between academia and industry are required to deepen understanding and develop new catalytic processes by using a design led approach. Edited by Graham Hutchings (Cardiff University, UK), Matthew Davidson (University of Bath, UK), Richard Catlow (University College London, UK & Cardiff University, UK), Christopher Hardacre (University of Manchester, UK), Nicholas Turner (University of Manchester, UK) and Paul Collier (Johnson Matthey Technology Centre, UK), Modern Developments in Catalysis provides a review of current research and practise on catalysis, focussing on five main themes: catalysis design, environmental catalysis, catalysis and energy, chemical transformation and biocatalysis and biotransformations. This book highlights many powerful examples of how catalysis can impact society and also how catalysis science is making use of the most advanced capabilities and techniques to shed light on how catalytic processes work. Topics range from complex reactions to the intricacies of catalyst preparation for supported nanoparticles, while chapters illustrate the challenges facing catalytic science and the directions in which the field is developing. Modern Developments in Catalysis provides a unique learning opportunity for students and professionals studying and working towards speeding-up, improving and increasing the rate of catalytic reactions in science and industry. This book is sold at major bookstores at US$139 / £115 (hardcover). To know more about the book, or to place and order, visit http://www. . C. Richard A. Catlow has long standing experience in the development and application of both experimental and computer modelling techniques in catalysis and molecular sciences. He holds approximately £2.5M of current EPSRC funding and has extensive experience in the field of HPC simulation techniques. He has been PI of the EPSRC funded Materials Chemistry HPC consortium for 15 years and has wide experience in managing large flexible consortium grants including a portfolio partnership grant (2005-2010), a High Performance Computing Consortium grant (2008-2013), and is currently the PI of the Centre for Catalytic Science (2011-2016). Graham J. Hutchings is the Director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute and is the inaugural Director of the UK Catalysis Hub. The UK Catalysis Hub will coordinate and strengthen research efforts in catalytic science, allowing the UK to remain a world-leader in the field and tackle major global challenges. There will be a strong emphasis on energy sustainability, environmental protection and innovative catalytic processes to support the UK chemical industry. One of Prof Graham Hutchings' major scientific achievements is the pioneering work of using gold as an active catalyst, which still remains today as an important area of research. Christopher Hardacre's research is focused on the understanding of heterogeneously catalysed reactions including water gas shift catalysis, the use of transients to determine gas phase mechanisms, liquid phase hydrogenation and oxidation of pharmaceuticals, low temperature fuel cells and clean energy production. Of particular interest is the development of techniques to probe reaction mechanisms at short time scales in the gas phase and the understanding of solvent effects in liquid phase reactions. Strong interactions exist between his group and the theory group of Prof Peijun Hu (QUB) in order to develop DFT methods to predict new catalysts and validate the proposals made. He has also developed a strong research group in ionic liquids within the Queen's University Ionic Liquids Laboratory (QUILL) University-Industry research centre with interests in heterogeneously catalysed reactions, structural determination of ionic liquids, and species dissolved therein, analytical aspects, electrochemistry and prediction of physical properties of ionic liquids. Matthew G. Davidson is Whorrod Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technologies and director of the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies at the University of Bath. His research interests are in the application of catalysis to the sustainable manufacture of fuels, materials and chemicals. Following a PhD and Research Fellowship at Cambridge, he held lectureships in Cambridge and Durham before being appointed to a Chair at the University of Bath. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a recipient of the Harrison Memorial Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Royal Society Industry Fellowship. He currently serves on the REF 2014 Chemistry Panel and holds over £13M of funding from research councils and industry. Nicholas J. Turner obtained his DPhil in 1985 with Prof Sir Jack Baldwin and from 1985-1987 was a Royal Society Junior Research Fellow, spending time at Harvard University with Prof George Whitesides. He was appointed lecturer in 1987 at Exeter University and moved to Edinburgh in 1995, initially as a Reader and subsequently Professor in 1998. In October 2004 he joined Manchester University as Professor of Chemical Biology where his research group is located in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology Biocentre (MIB: http://www. ). He is Director of the Centre of Excellence in Biocatalysis (CoEBio3) (http://www. ) and also a cofounder and Scientific Director of Ingenza (http://www. ), a spin-out biocatalysis company based in Edinburgh and more recently Discovery Biocatalysts. He is a member of the Editorial Board of ChemCatChem and Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis. His research interests are in the area of biocatalysis with particular emphasis on the discovery and development of novel enzyme catalysed reactions for applications in organic synthesis. His group are also interested in the application of directed evolution technologies for the development of biocatalysts with tailored functions. Paul Collier is a Senior Research Scientist at the Johnson Matthey Technology Centre, Sonning Common, UK. He is interested in all aspects of heterogeneous catalysis, especially gas phase catalysis. Dr Paul collier spends approximately one day a week at the Harwell Campus interacting with the UK Catalysis Hub and Diamond Light source. Paul completed his PhD at Liverpool University in 1996 before undertaking a postdoctoral research position at Cardiff University focusing on the direct synthesis of Hydrogen peroxide, as well as investigating other catalytic systems. Following this he went to work for Johnson Matthey. World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research, professional and educational communities. The company publishes about 600 books annually and about 130 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organizations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit http://www. . For more information, contact Amanda Yun at

News Article | September 28, 2016

Christopher J. Kiely calls the 1982 discovery by Masatake Haruta that gold (Au) possessed a high level of catalytic activity for carbon monoxide (CO) oxidation when deposited on a metal-oxide “a remarkable turn of events in nanotechnology” — remarkable because gold had long been assumed to be inert for catalysis. Haruta showed that gold dispersed on iron oxide effectively catalyzed the conversion of harmful carbon monoxide into more benign carbon dioxide (CO ) at room temperatures — a reaction that is critical for the construction of fire fighters’ breathing masks and for removal of CO from hydrogen feeds for fuel cells. In fact, today gold catalysts are being exploited in a major way for the greening of many important reactions in the chemical industry, because they can lead to cleaner, more efficient reactions with fewer by-products. Haruta and Graham J. Hutchings, who co-discovered the use of gold as a catalyst for different reactions, are noted as Thompson Reuters Citation Laureates and appear annually on the ScienceWatch Nobel Prize prediction list. Their pioneering work opened up a new area of scientific inquiry and kicked off a decades-long debate about which type of supported gold species are most effective for the CO oxidation reaction. In 2008, using electron microscopy technology that was not yet available in the 1980s and 1990s, Hutchings, the director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute at Cardiff University worked with Kiely, the Harold B. Chambers Senior Professor Materials Science and Engineering at Lehigh, examined the structure of supported gold at the nanoscale. One nanometer (nm) is equal to one one-billionth of a meter or about the diameter of five atoms. Using what was then a rare piece of equipment — Lehigh’s aberration-corrected JEOL 2200 FS scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) — the team identified the co-existence of three distinct gold species: facetted nanoparticles larger than one nanometer in size, sub-clusters containing less than 20 atoms and individual gold atoms strewn over the support. Because only the larger gold nanoparticles had previously been detected, this created debate as to which of these species were responsible for the good catalytic behavior. Haruta, professor of applied chemistry at Tokyo Metropolitan University, Hutchings, and Kiely have been working collaboratively on this problem over recent years and are now the first to demonstrate conclusively that it is not the particles or the individual atoms or the clusters which are solely responsible for the catalysis — but that they all contribute to different degrees. Their results have been published in an article in Nature Communications titled “Population and hierarchy of active species in gold iron oxide catalysts for carbon monoxide oxidation.” “All of the species tend to co-exist in conventionally prepared catalysts and show some level of activity,” says Kiely. “They all do something — but some less efficiently than others.” Their research revealed the sub-nanometer clusters and 1 to 3nm nanoparticles to be the most efficient for catalyzing this CO oxidation reaction, while larger particles were less so and the atoms even less.  Nevertheless, Kiely cautions, all the species present need to be considered to fully explain the overall measured activity of the catalyst. Among the team’s other key findings: the measured activity of gold on iron oxide catalysts is exquisitely dependent on exactly how the material is prepared. Very small changes in synthesis parameters influence the relative proportion and spatial distribution of these various Au species on the support material and thus have a big impact on its overall catalytic performance. Building on their earlier work (published in a 2008 Science article), the team sought to find a robust way to quantitatively analyze the relative population distributions of nanoparticles of various sizes, sub-nm clusters and highly dispersed atoms in a given gold on iron oxide sample. By correlating this information with catalytic performance measurements, they then hoped to determine which species distribution would be optimal to produce the most efficient catalyst, in order to utilize the precious gold component in the most cost effective way. Ultimately, it was a catalyst synthesis problem the team faced that offered them a golden opportunity to do just that. During the collaboration, Haruta’s and Hutchings’ teams each prepared gold on iron oxide samples in their home labs in Tokyo and Cardiff. Even though both groups nominally utilized the same “co-precipitation” synthesis method, it turned out that a final heat treatment step was beneficial to the catalytic performance for one set of materials but detrimental to the other. This observation provided a fascinating scientific conundrum that detailed electron microscopy studies performed by Qian He, one of Kiely’s PhD students at the time, was key to solving. Qian He is now a University Research Fellow at Cardiff University leading their electron microscopy effort. “In the end, there were subtle differences in the order and speed in which each group added in their ingredients while preparing the material,” explains He. “When examined under the electron microscope, it was clear that the two slightly different methods produced quite different distributions of particles, clusters and dispersed atoms on the support.” “Very small variations in the preparation route or thermal history of the sample can alter the relative balance of supported gold nanoparticles-to-clusters-to-atoms in the material and this manifests itself in the measured catalytic activity,” adds Kiely. The group was able to compare this set of materials and correlate the Au species distributions with catalytic performance measurements, ultimately identifying the species distribution that was associated with greater catalytic efficiency. Now that the team has identified the catalytic activity hierarchy associated with these supported gold species, the next step, says Kiely, will be to modify the synthesis method to positively influence that distribution to optimize the catalyst performance while making the most efficient use of the precious gold metal content. “As a next stage to this study we would like to be able to observe gold on iron oxide materials in-situ within the electron microscope while the reaction is happening,” says Kiely. Once again, it is next generation microscopy facilities that may hold the key to fulfilling gold’s promise as a pivotal player in green technology.

Akram A.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Freakley S.J.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Reece C.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Piccinini M.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | And 8 more authors.
Chemical Science | Year: 2016

Hydrogen peroxide synthesis from hydrogen and oxygen in the gas phase is postulated to be a key reaction step in the gas phase epoxidation of propene using gold-titanium silicate catalysts. During this process H2O2 is consumed in a secondary step to oxidise an organic molecule so is typically not observed as a reaction product. We demonstrate that using AuPd nanoparticles, which are known to have high H2O2 synthesis rates in the liquid phase, it is possible to not only oxidise organic molecules in the gas phase but to detect H2O2 for the first time as a reaction product in both a fixed bed reactor and a pulsed Temporal Analysis of Products (TAP) reactor without stabilisers present in the gas feed. This observation opens up possibility of synthesising H2O2 directly using a gas phase reaction. © 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Aldosari O.F.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Iqbal S.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Miedziak P.J.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Brett G.L.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | And 6 more authors.
Catalysis Science and Technology | Year: 2016

The selective hydrogenation of furfural at ambient temperature has been investigated using a Pd/TiO2 catalyst. The effect of the solvent was studied and high activity and selectivity to 2-methylfuran and furfuryl alcohol was observed using octane as solvent but a number of byproducts were observed. The addition of Ru to the PdTiO2 catalyst decreased the catalytic activity but improved the selectivity towards 2-methylfuran and furfuryl alcohol with decreased byproduct formation. Variation of the Ru/Pd ratio has shown an interesting effect on the selectivity. The addition of a small amount of Ru (1 wt%) shifted the selectivity towards furfuryl alcohol and 2-methylrofuran. Further increasing the Ru ratio decreased the catalytic activity and also showed a very poor selectivity to 2-methylfuran. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

King G.M.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Iqbal S.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Miedziak P.J.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Brett G.L.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | And 7 more authors.
ChemCatChem | Year: 2015

The selective hydrogenation of furfuryl alcohol was investigated at room temperature by using supported palladium catalysts. The catalysts are very selective to the formation of 2-methylfuran. Furthermore, the addition of tin to palladium showed similar catalytic activity, but was more selective to tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol. Variation of the Sn/Pd ratio has shown a considerable and interesting effect on the selectivity pattern. Addition of a small amount of Sn (1 wt %) shifted the selectivity towards tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol and methyltetrahydrofuran, which are ring-saturated molecules. Increasing the tin ratio further decreased the catalytic activity and also showed very poor selectivity to either of these products. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Jones D.R.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Iqbal S.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Kondrat S.A.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Lari G.M.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | And 4 more authors.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics | Year: 2016

A series of ruthenium catalysts supported on two different carbons were tested for the hydrogenation of lactic acid to 1,2-propanediol and butanone to 2-butanol. The properties of the carbon supports were investigated by inelastic neutron scattering and correlated with the properties of the ruthenium deposited onto the carbons by wet impregnation or sol-immobilisation. It was noted that the rate of butanone hydrogenation was highly dependent on the carbon support, while no noticeable difference in rates was observed between different catalysts for the hydrogenation of lactic acid. © 2016 the Owner Societies.

Crole D.A.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Freakley S.J.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Edwards J.K.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Hutchings G.J.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute
Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences | Year: 2016

The direct synthesis of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) from hydrogen and oxygen has been studied using an Au-Pd/TiO2 catalyst. The aim of this study is to understand the balance of synthesis and sequential degradation reactions using an aqueous, stabilizerfree solvent at ambient temperature. The effects of the reaction conditions on the productivity of H2O2 formation and the undesirable hydrogenation and decomposition reactions are investigated. Reaction temperature, solvent composition and reaction time have been studied and indicate that when using water as the solvent the H2O2 decomposition reaction is the predominant degradation pathway, which provides new challenges for catalyst design, which has previously focused on minimizing the subsequent hydrogenation reaction. This is of importance for the application of this catalytic approach for water purification. © 2016 The Author(s).

Buckley J.J.,University of York | Lee A.F.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute | Olivi L.,Sincotrone Trieste | Wilson K.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute
Journal of Materials Chemistry | Year: 2010

High surface area hydroxyapatites have been explored as biocompatible supports for antibacterial applications. Porosimetry, XRD, XPS and XAS reveal that Ag-doped mesoporous hydroxyapatite promotes the genesis of potent Ag 3PO4 nanoparticles, effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. © 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Lee A.F.,Cardiff Catalysis Institute
Australian Journal of Chemistry | Year: 2012

Nanostructured heterogeneous catalysts will play a key role in the development of robust artificial photosynthetic systems for water photooxidation and CO2 photoreduction. Identifying the active site responsible for driving these chemical transformations remains a significant barrier to the design of tailored catalysts, optimized for high activity, selectivity, and lifetime. This highlight reveals how select recent breakthroughs in the application of in situ surface and bulk X-ray spectroscopies are helping to identify the active catalytic sites in a range of liquid and gas phase chemistry. © CSIRO 2012.

PubMed | Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Cardiff Catalysis Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP | Year: 2016

A series of ruthenium catalysts supported on two different carbons were tested for the hydrogenation of lactic acid to 1,2-propanediol and butanone to 2-butanol. The properties of the carbon supports were investigated by inelastic neutron scattering and correlated with the properties of the ruthenium deposited onto the carbons by wet impregnation or sol-immobilisation. It was noted that the rate of butanone hydrogenation was highly dependent on the carbon support, while no noticeable difference in rates was observed between different catalysts for the hydrogenation of lactic acid.

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