For upcoming PhD defences , see the group defences page.


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

Ad meer dan 40 jaar bij de UU! We vierden onlangs met een gezellige lunch dat Ad van der Eerden al meer dan 40 jaar geleden bij de Universiteit Utrecht in dienst is gekomen. Een bijzondere gelegenheid, en speciaal voor hem waren zelfs twee gasten uit het buitenland gekomen… (juni 2022)

AMBHER – Peter Ngene and Petra de Jongh have been awarded a EU HORIZON RESILIENCE grant to develop a more effective ammonia synthesis catalysts, in a collaborative effort of european academic and industrial partners to investigate the potential of green ammonia for seasonal renewable energy storage (June 2022).

During our annual lab outing, we solved a centuries-old murder mistery in the historic centre of Utrecht as part of an escape tour! Two hours after taking this group picture at the Academy building, we were all able to escape the city (June 2022).

In a recent article in ACS Catalysis by Remco Dalebout, Petra de Jongh and many other researchers from our group, as well as collaborators from Sorbonne, Utrecht and Paris, new insights into copper-based, zinc-promoted methanol synthesis catalysts are revealed. Using time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy, it is found that on carbon-supported catalysts a major part of the zinc promoter was reduced and mixed with copper to form a CuZn alloy under high-pressure methanol synthesis conditions. (May 2022)

The SMART-X Chapter has highlighted Heba, Nong, Jessi, and Petra’s advice to young researchers on International Women’s Day.

Fei Chang, Peter Ngene and Petra de Jongh, together with other researchers from Utrecht and Eindhoven managed to design and make an ammonia synthesis catalysts catalyst that operates under moderate conditions and only contains carbon and potassium, yet rivals that based on scarce metals. The results were published in Nature Catalysis. Read more in Dutch or English. (March 2022)

The FAIR-battery project, in which Peter Ngene participates, has been funded with a grant from the Centre for Unusual Collaborations (CUCo). The aim of the project is to develop ‘an open-source electrochemical battery technology that can be deployed and maintained in the field, for residential users, small scale commercial use, and rural health posts’. Read more about the project and the grant here. (February 2022)

Our annual ice skating event was a great success this year! After a few years’ interruption, many within MCC set foot on ice once again to revive the tradition. (February 2022)

This January, Nong Artrith was awarded funding for the !AIQU project through the Bayer Life Science Collaboration.

The goal of the new !AIQU collaboration is to bridge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and QUantum mechanics to develop improved computational approaches.  Combining the predictive power of QM calculations with the efficiency of AI / machine learning techniques has the potential to establish rapid and accurate predictions for industrially relevant properties at large scale. This collaboration involves several partners from industry and academia. Read more about the project here. (26 January 2022)

This January, Nienke Visser, PhD candidate supervised by Petra de Jongh and Jessi van der Hoeven won the poster prize with her poster ‘Particle Size Effects of Carbon Supported Nickel Nanoparticles for High Pressure CO2 Hydrogenation to Methane’ at the 758. WE-Heraeus-Seminar. The focus of the seminar was ‘From Wind and Solar Energy to Chemical Energy to Chemical Energy Storage: Understanding and Engineering Catalysis under Dynamic Conditions’.
(January 2022)

Three of our group members passed a first aid exam as an addition to their BHV training. It was challenging, but it was also enjoyable to learn how to deal with a variety of injuries and illnesses. While we of course hope to never need this knowledge, it’s best to be prepared. (December 2021)

Jessi van der Hoeven was awarded the KNCV Van Arkel prize  at the Soft Matter session of the NWO CHAINS conference for her thesis “Gold based Nanorods, Tuning the Structure for Catalysis and Sensing”. The van Arkel Prize is awarded for the best thesis in the field of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry of the past two years (December 2021).

We are proud of our MCC group members shining at the NWO CHAINS2021 conference! Featuring Nong and Peter as chairs of the parallel sessions, Nienke and Valerio giving excellent talks, and our poster presenters Luc, Oscar, Just, Laura, Maaike, Hidde and Daan discussing their work in the virtual Gather Town world! (December 2021)

On Friday 15 October 2021, prof. dr. ir. Krijn de Jong gave his farewell lecture in the Domkerk. The lecture can be found here (starting after 18 minutes).

Since last summer, we have been reinforced by Tom Welling, who works on gas-cell EM studies of methane decomposition during carbon nanomaterial growth as a postdoctoral fellow, and Lappawat Ngamwongwan, a new PhD student who combines machine learning and DFT to study electronic and ionic transport in battery materials.

After a Covid-19 induced year of mostly online lectures, physical lectures have finally started again. Last week saw the first lectures of both the Advanced Catalysis and Nanomaterials courses with great attendance. This brings a great relief to both students and lecturers to which online education posed an obstacle. We are looking forward to the upcoming lectures.

As life is slowly getting more normal again, Savannah, Kristiaan, Min and Nienke had the chance to travel to Paris last week for their first real-life conference since the start of the pandemic! The scope of the CISCEM conference was to discuss in-situ electron microscopy, which is used to image materials on the nanoscale under realistic atmospheres (liquids and gases). Savannah gave a great talk about her study of the genesis of nickel catalysts with in situ liquid and gas phase TEM, well done! This conference was a fantastic opportunity to finally discuss science again in person and to explore Paris. Fingers crossed that more (international) conferences can be organized live again soon. (17 Sep. 2021)

Meer lezen over de toekomst van duurzame energie? Hier vind je een aantal interessante longread van de Universiteit Utrecht, met onder andere bijdragen van MCC en andere groepen uit het Debye Instituut.

The European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) announces  that – after nomination by the Dutch Catalysis Society – Dr. Carlos Hernandez Mejia has been selected as one of the three prize winners of the EFCATS Best PhD Thesis Award. More information on this EFCATS award can be found here.

This June, we welcomed Remco Dalebout back into our group as technician specialised in chemical analysis. Previously, he was a PhD candidate in our group.

Since the beginning of this year, we have welcomed three new PhD candidates in our group. They are Masoud Lazemi, Claudia Keijzer and Yuang Piao. Masoud works on X-Ray spectroscopy, specifically femtosecond XAS and RIXS of transition metal oxides using X-Ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs). He is supervised by Frank de Groot and Uwe Bergmann (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Claudia’s project is about ultra-pure and structured porous materials as catalyst supports. Yuang works on bimetallic catalysts for the catalytic conversion of syngas into DME via methanol. Both Yuang and Claudia are supervised by Petra de Jongh.

In April, we also welcomed Sylvia Visser as a part-time secretary in our group. Besides working for MCC, she also works for the Physical and Colloid Chemistry group (PCC/FCC).

We are happy that Ad van der Eerden also supports our group as a technician. Only a few months after his retirement, he returned to our group in May 2021 as a part-time employee.

Debye physicists and chemists control catalyst structure at the atomic scale – Novel core-shell catalyst design published in Nature Materials. The work of MCC group members Jessi, Liselotte, Giorgio and Petra, together with the team of Alfons van Blaaderen and others appeared today. More details can be found here.

Op woensdag 28 april was Petra de Jongh te zien op NPO2 in het wetenschapsprogramma Atlas, om uitleg te geven over de rol van duurzaam waterstof in de energietransitie (in het Nederlands, item start op 13:38). Waterstof kan daarin een spilfunctie vervullen, omdat het fossiele brandstoffen en grondstoffen kan vervangen in de industrie, zwaar transport, en bij grootschalig opslaan van hernieuwbare elektriciteit, maar de eerste grote uitdaging blijft voorlopig om voldoende groene elektriciteit op te wekken.

Laura Barberis, PhD candidate of Petra de Jongh and Frank de Groot, won the poster prize with her poster “Particle size effects for copper-catalyzed CO2 hydrogenation to methanol” at the Faraday Discussion Carbon Dioxide Utilisation (April, UK). Congrats! (April 2021)

We are in the process of dividing the group of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis into two new groupsMaterials Chemistry and Catalysis (MCC) of Petra de Jongh, Krijn de Jong, and Frank de Groot, and Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis (ICC) of Bert Weckhuysen and Eelco Vogt. This allows for more focus in research and efficiency in management. You have reached the temporary website of the new MCC group, that of the new ICC group can be found here. (2021)

The Alliance team, led by Sanli Faez and of which Peter Ngene is a member, receives a SPARK grant to create a radically accessible open-hardware platform for redox-flow batteries (March 2021).

In 2021 the Dutch Catalysis Society (sectie Katalyse of the KNCV) has awarded the KNCV-DCS Thesis Award to a talented young researcher. The award has been presented to Carlos Hernandez Mejia (MCC, promotor Krijn de Jong) during the 22th NCCC conference that took place online on March 1, 2021. The title of his thesis reads “Niobia-Supported Metal Catalysts for Synthesis Gas Conversion”. In the consideration of the international jury it was mentioned that the depth and methodology of the study of the metal support interaction was considered exemplary. The award comes with a certificate as well as € 1250 to be used for advancement of science. Congratulations to Carlos for this well-deserved award! (March 2021)

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