MMH.20.005 – WOW: Watching Oxides at Work

Route: Materials - Made in Holland

Cluster question: 017 How can we make chemical and biochemical production processes more sustainable, more efficient, and cleaner?

Effective and sustainable new catalysts are key allies for a rapid transition to a low carbon economy. Heterogeneous catalysis is big business, with metal oxide catalyst and support systems providing activity via acid-base and redox properties. At present, selective oxidation, ammoxidation and dehydrogenation are large scale industrial processes that rely on the metal’s ability to take on differing oxidation states to provide selectivity. Despite its extensive use, there are still many issues/unknowns regarding catalyst activity and stability. Mixed metal oxides are poised to provide a sustainable replacement for expensive, scarce noble metal supported catalysts, including electrocatalysts for key reactions such as oxygen evolution, oxygen reduction and hydrogen evolution. Promising sustainable technologies including fuel cells, alkaline electrolysis and metal-air batteries are hindered by insufficient catalysis stability and performance, as are photo(electrochemical) reactions and CO2 conversion. Key to converting the clear promise of mixed transition metal oxide (electro)catalysts is a step-change in our microscopic understanding of the underlying chemical and physical processes in operation conditions and converting this knowledge into innovative products of market-place maturity. Our core aim is therefore to force access to the key processes at oxide-liquid/gas interfaces under operando conditions: 1. by coupling novel approaches involving unit-cell-controlled 2D oxides to nanoparticles from industry, we will overcome the issues connected to surface inhomogeneity and geometry that hamper distinction between active versus spectator sites. 2. by combining expertise of groups from hitherto widely disparate fields we will overcome challenges associated with operando/local measurements at electrochemical dual solid-liquid interphases. With the consortium behind this proposal we try to cover all these bases, spanning from research groups in the general, technical, and applied university sectors, through organizations specialized in the upscaling and transfer of promising materials analysis techniques into industry.


catalysis, Operando, surface science, sustainable technologies, transition metal oxides


Organisation University of Twente (UT)
Name Prof. dr. ir. G. (Gertjan) Koster