Special Issue "Engineering Materials for Catalysis"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344). This special issue belongs to the section "Catalytic Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Albin Pintar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Technology, National Institute of Chemistry, Hajdrihova 19, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: heterogeneous catalysis; environmental catalysis; reaction kinetics and mechanisms; synthesis and characterization of catalysts; process development and intensification
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Nataša Novak Tušar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Technology, National Institute of Chemistry, Hajdrihova 19, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: heterogeneous catalysis; design and development of catalysts; structure–property–performance relationships; environmental and energy technologies
Prof. Dr. Günther Rupprechter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
TU Wien, Institute of Materials Chemistry, Getreidemarkt 9/BC/165, AT-1060 Vienna, Austria
Interests: surface science; model and applied heterogeneous catalysis; environmental catalysis; in situ/operando spectroscopy and microscopy; synchrotron methods

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Catalysis is a key enabling technology for achieving efficient, economic, and more sustainable utilization of resources. It provides lower energy processes, reduced waste and pollution, as well as improved selectivity in producing added-value products. About 90 % of all chemical processes use catalysts. Heterogeneous catalysts are already a key component in many processes, from petrochemical conversions to catalytic converters, and enable significant benefits such as catalyst/product separation, reuse, and recyclability. As the world moves towards more sustainable technologies and feedstocks to ensure a cleaner future, heterogeneous catalysts will definitely play an even bigger role. This opens the door to the engineering of novel, next-generation multifunctional catalysts, or even requires looking to the past to redesign more traditional catalysts to meet new challenges. In this regard, designing advanced materials at the atomic scale, an understanding of structure–activity and structure–selectivity relationships, and multiscale modelling aspects are of significant importance.

This Special Issue will feature selected contributions presented at the 2020 Summer School of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS, https://skd2020.chem-soc.si/en/2020-efcats-summer-school/), entitled “Engineering Materials for Catalysis” and held from 15–19 September, 2020 in Grand Hotel Bernardin Convention Center, Portorož-Portorose, Slovenia, but is also open to general contributions from the catalysis community. Articles will particularly encompass the following topics: (i) synthesis and characterization of heterogeneous catalysts, (ii) in situ and operando studies, (iii) synchrotron studies, (iv) modelling and multiscale modelling, (v) applications in photocatalysis, (vi) applications in electrocatalysis, and (vii) catalysis in industry.

Prof. Dr. Albin Pintar
Prof. Dr. Nataša Novak Tušar
Prof. Dr. Günther Rupprechter
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Catalysts is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • catalyst synthesis and characterization
  • operando studies
  • synchrotron studies
  • structure–property–performance relationships
  • multiscale modelling
  • photocatalysis
  • electrocatalysis
  • industrial applications

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Elucidating the Influence of the d-Band Center on the Synthesis of Isobutanol
Catalysts 2021, 11(3), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11030406 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 426
Abstract
As the search for carbon-efficient synthesis pathways for green alternatives to fossil fuels continues, an expanding class of catalysts have been developed for the upgrading of lower alcohols. Understanding of the acid base functionalities has greatly influenced the search for new materials, but [...] Read more.
As the search for carbon-efficient synthesis pathways for green alternatives to fossil fuels continues, an expanding class of catalysts have been developed for the upgrading of lower alcohols. Understanding of the acid base functionalities has greatly influenced the search for new materials, but the influence of the metal used in catalysts cannot be explained in a broader sense. We address this herein and correlate our findings with the most fundamental understanding of chemistry to date by applying it to d-band theory as part of an experimental investigation. The commercial catalysts of Pt, Rh, Ru, Cu, Pd, and Ir on carbon as a support have been characterized by means of SEM, EDX-mapping, STEM, XRD, N2-physisorption, and H2-chemisorption. Their catalytic activity has been established by means of c-methylation of ethanol with methanol. For all catalysts, the TOF with respect to i-butanol was examined. The Pt/C reached the highest TOF with a selectivity towards i-butanol of 89%. The trend for the TOFs could be well correlated with the d-band centers of the metal, which formed a volcano curve. Therefore, this study is another step towards the rationalization of catalyst design for the upgrading of alcohols into carbon-neutral fuels or chemical feedstock. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Materials for Catalysis)
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Open AccessArticle
Infrared Thermography as an Operando Tool for the Analysis of Catalytic Processes: How to Use it?
Catalysts 2021, 11(3), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11030311 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
Infrared (IR) thermography is a powerful tool to measure temperature with high space and time resolution. A particularly interesting application of this technology is in the field of catalysis, where the method can provide new insights into dynamic surface reactions. This paper presents [...] Read more.
Infrared (IR) thermography is a powerful tool to measure temperature with high space and time resolution. A particularly interesting application of this technology is in the field of catalysis, where the method can provide new insights into dynamic surface reactions. This paper presents guidelines for the development of a reactor cell that can aid in the efficient exploitation of infrared thermography for the investigation of catalytic and other surface reactions. Firstly, the necessary properties of the catalytic reactor are described. Secondly, we analyze the requirements towards the catalytic system to be directly observable by IR thermography. This includes the need for a catalyst that provides a sufficiently high heat production (or absorption) rate. To achieve true operando investigation conditions, some dedicated equipment must be developed. Here, we provide the guidelines to assemble a chemical reactor with an IR transmitting window through which the reaction can be studied with the infrared camera along with other best practice tips to achieve results. Furthermore, we present selected examples of catalytic reactions that can be monitored by IR thermography, showing the potential of the technology in revealing transient and steady state chemical phenomena. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Materials for Catalysis)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Influence of Alumina Precursor Properties on Cu-Fe Alumina Supported Catalysts for Total Toluene Oxidation as a Model Volatile Organic Air Pollutant
Catalysts 2021, 11(2), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11020252 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 391
Abstract
The structure–property relationship of catalytic supports for the deposition of redox-active transition metals is of great importance for improving the catalytic efficiency and reusability of the catalysts. In this work, the role of alumina support precursors of Cu-Fe/Al2O3 catalysts used [...] Read more.
The structure–property relationship of catalytic supports for the deposition of redox-active transition metals is of great importance for improving the catalytic efficiency and reusability of the catalysts. In this work, the role of alumina support precursors of Cu-Fe/Al2O3 catalysts used for the total oxidation of toluene as a model volatile organic air pollutant is elucidated. Surface characterization of the catalysts revealed that the surface area, pore volume and acid site concentration of the alumina supports are important but not the determining factors for the catalytic activity of the studied catalysts for this type of reaction. The determining factors are the structural order of the support precursor, the homogeneous distribution of the catalytic sites and reducibility, which were elucidated by XRD, NMR, TEM and temperature programed reduction (TPR). Cu–Fe/Al2O3 prepared from bayerite and pseudoboehmite as highly ordered precursors showed better catalytic performance compared to Cu-Fe/Al2O3 derived from the amorphous alumina precursor and dawsonite. Homogeneous distribution of FexOy and CuOx with defined Cu/Fe molar ratio on the Al2O3 support is required for the efficient catalytic performance of the material. The study showed a beneficial effect of low iron concentration introduced into the alumina precursor during the alumina support synthesis procedure, which resulted in a homogeneous metal oxide distribution on the support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Materials for Catalysis)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Shape-Controlled Pt and Pd Nanoparticles on Selective Catalytic Hydrodechlorination of Trichloroethylene
Catalysts 2020, 10(11), 1314; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10111314 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1149
Abstract
Tailoring the shape of nanoscale materials enables obtaining morphology-controlled surfaces exhibiting specific interactions with reactants during catalytic reactions. The specifics of nanoparticle surfaces control the catalytic performance, i.e., activity and selectivity. In this study, shape-controlled Platinum (Pt) and Palladium (Pd) nanoparticles with distinct [...] Read more.
Tailoring the shape of nanoscale materials enables obtaining morphology-controlled surfaces exhibiting specific interactions with reactants during catalytic reactions. The specifics of nanoparticle surfaces control the catalytic performance, i.e., activity and selectivity. In this study, shape-controlled Platinum (Pt) and Palladium (Pd) nanoparticles with distinct morphology were produced, i.e., cubes and cuboctahedra for Pt and spheres and polyhedra/multiple-twins for Pd, with (100), (111 + 100), curved/stepped and (111) facets, respectively. These particles with well-tuned surfaces were subsequently deposited on a Zirconium oxide (ZrO2) support. The morphological characteristics of the particles were determined by high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD), while their adsorption properties were investigated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) of CO adsorbed at room temperature. The effect of the nanoparticle shape and surface structure on the catalytic performance in hydrodechlorination (HDCl) of trichloroethylene (TCE) was examined. The results show that nanoparticles with different surface orientations can be employed to affect selectivity, with polyhedral and multiply-twinned Pd exhibiting the best ethylene selectivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Materials for Catalysis)
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Open AccessArticle
Management of γ-Alumina with High-Efficient {111} External Surfaces for HDS Reactions
Catalysts 2020, 10(11), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10111254 - 30 Oct 2020
Viewed by 484
Abstract
A series of γ-alumina samples with different exposure ratio of {111} facet were synthesized by an efficient hydrothermal method via adjusting the pH value of the gel precursor. The nanorod alumina supported catalyst with the highest exposure of {111} facet exhibited the best [...] Read more.
A series of γ-alumina samples with different exposure ratio of {111} facet were synthesized by an efficient hydrothermal method via adjusting the pH value of the gel precursor. The nanorod alumina supported catalyst with the highest exposure of {111} facet exhibited the best hydrodesulfurization (HDS) activities of both thiophene and dibenzothiophene (DBT). Characterization of the sulfided NiMo/Al2O3 catalyst with preferential exposure of {111} facet showed that the MoS2 nano slabs were inclined to distribute in the direction along the edges of alumina nanocrystal in reduced stacking layers. The selective exposure of {111} facet played a decisive role in obtaining alumina-supported HDS catalysts with improved intrinsic activity. This work helps to better understand the relationship between catalytic properties and varied support surfaces, which demonstrate a proper design of the catalyst support morphology on the facet-level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Materials for Catalysis)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Chemical and Laser Ablation Synthesis of Monometallic and Bimetallic Ni-Based Nanoparticles
Catalysts 2020, 10(12), 1453; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10121453 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1048
Abstract
The catalytic properties of nanoparticles depend on their size, shape and surface/defect structure, with the entire catalyst performance being governed by the corresponding distributions. Herein, we present two routes of mono- and bimetallic nanoparticle synthesis that enable control of the structural parameters, i.e., [...] Read more.
The catalytic properties of nanoparticles depend on their size, shape and surface/defect structure, with the entire catalyst performance being governed by the corresponding distributions. Herein, we present two routes of mono- and bimetallic nanoparticle synthesis that enable control of the structural parameters, i.e., wet-chemical synthesis and laser ablation in liquid-phase. The latter is particularly suited to create defect-rich nanoparticles. Impregnation routes were applied to prepare Ni and NiCu nanoparticles, whereas nano- and femtosecond laser ablation in liquid-phase were employed to prepare Ni and NiAu nanoparticles. The effects of the Ni:Cu ratio in impregnation and of laser fluence and liquid-medium on laser ablation are discussed. The atomic structure and (surface) composition of the nanoparticles were characterized by electron microscopic (BF-TEM, DF-TEM, HRTEM) and spectroscopic/diffraction techniques (EDX, SAED, XPS, IR), complemented by theory (DFT). The chemically synthesized bimetallic NiCu nanoparticles initially had Cu-rich surfaces, which changed to Ni-rich upon reaction. For laser ablation, depending on conditions (fluence, type of liquid), highly defective, ordered, or core/shell-like nanoparticles were produced. The case studies highlight the specific benefits of each preparation method for catalyst synthesis and discuss the potential of nanoparticles produced by pulsed laser ablation for catalytic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Materials for Catalysis)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Infrared thermography as an operando tool for the analysis of catalytic processes: how to use it?
Authors: Emanuele Moiolia,b, Robin Mutschlera,b, Andreas Züttela,b
Affiliation: aLaboratory of Materials for Renewable Energy (LMER), Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC), Basic Science Faculty (SB), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Valais/Wallis, Energypolis, Sion, Switzerland bEmpa Materials Science & Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Abstract: Infrared (IR) thermography is a powerful tool for the measurement of temperature with high space and time resolution. The application of this technique for the operando study of catalytic reactions can open the way to the unveiling of new phenomena occurring on the catalyst surface, in particular in dynamic conditions. This paper presents the guidelines for the development of a system that can efficiently exploit the potential of infrared thermography. First, the necessary properties of the catalytic reactor are described. As operando investigation requires identical conditions as the real processes, special equipment must be used to simulate the real reactive conditions. Here, we provide the guidelines to assemble a chemical reactor with an appropriate window to be coupled with the infrared camera. Second, we analyze the requirements of the catalytic system to be directly observable by IR thermography. This includes the need for a catalyst that provides a sufficiently high heat production (or absorption) rate. We will present selected examples of catalytic reactions that can be monitored by IR thermography in an appropriate reactor and observe new phenomena that were not revealed before with the use of standard operando techniques.

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