The group of Materials Chemistry and Catalysis is part of the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science. Materials Chemistry and Catalysis (MCC) comprises the staff members prof. Petra de Jongh, prof. Frank de Groot, dr. Peter Ngene, dr. Jessi van der Hoeven, dr. Nong Artrith, and prof. dr. ir. Krijn de Jong (em). Next to that our fundament is a team of wonderful technicians, a very professional secretariat and a great team of PhD candidates, postdocs, and MSc and BSc students.
Our group focuses on the synthesis, characterisation and performance of supported catalysts. These allow efficient chemical conversions (and hence decrease the use of energy and raw materials), but are also essential to allow the transformation from fossil to renewable fuels. With fundamental research we unravel structure-performance relationships, but we also investigate large scale existing industrial processes (methanol synthesis, Fischer Tropsch synthesis, hydroisomerisation, ammonia synthesis, epoxidation and other selective hydrogenation and oxidation reactions in both gas and liquid phase).
We are also very active in the field of energy materials: for instance to produce electrocatalytically fuels from CO2 and H2, reversible hydrogen storage, and next generation battery materials. We lead the materials research line in RELEASE, the national consortium to enable large scale reversible energy storage. Another stronghold is the characterisation of these complex materials with advanced (in-situ and operando) spectroscopic and microscopic techniques, most notably advanced X-Ray absorption spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy.
An overview of our research can be found on our research page.
Latest News (more news can be found on our news page and a list of PhD defences can be found on the group defences page.)
The BatteryNL consortium, in which Petra de Jongh and Peter Ngene lead the research line on improving batteries via interface design strategies, started on 12 January 2023. We look forward to contributing to the development of safer and more energy dense lithium-based batteries to meet the world’s need for electric energy storage.
For her MSc thesis, written based on her work in the MCC group with Nienke Visser, Juliette Verschoor was awarded the second prize of the Nederlandse Gasindustrieprijzen 2022. The jury was impressed by the wide variety of experiments she employed in her work to improve the life span of carbon-supported nickel catalysts for the conversion of carbon dioxide and hydrogen to methane (‘synthetic natural gas’). (November 2022)
At the Solid State Ionics conference (SSI-23) in Boston, USA, four MCC members had the opportunity to present their work. Valerio, Laura de Kort, Peter and Henrik shared their work on solid-state electrolytes and batteries. They also got to see the city, including MIT and Harvard, to both of which they were invited for a short visit. (July 2022)
Nanoscientists from Utrecht University have devised a new and promising way to make catalysts in which the amount of precious metals needed is reduced by a factor of 10. Those precious metals are scarce, but essential in many existing and future, more sustainable chemical processes. The publication appeared on 8 July 2022 in the renowned scientific journal Science. Article | Press release