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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E032079/1
Title: A novel membrane reactor for catalyst activity control
Principal Investigator: Li, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 31 August 2007 Ends: 30 August 2010 Value (£): 121,156
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Electrochemical Science & Eng.
Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK's 21st century chemical industry needs to continue to innovate to deliver more efficient, environmentally friendlier and increasingly intensified chemical processes. Many such processes are catalytic in nature. Indeed globally catalysis is playing an increasingly vital role in the innovation of new green chemistry and sustainable production. To maintain its competitive advantage, the UK chemical industry needs new methods for developing catalysts that enhance innovation and reduce cycle times. However, once a catalyst is loaded into a reactor there is little that can be done to control or optimise its performance by external means. Imagine a way of operating catalytic reactors in which the performance of the catalyst could be dramatically modified in a controllable way by external means. Catalyst activity could be optimised and catalyst selectivity could be manipulated in such a way as to 'switch off' unwanted side reactions. Such technology would produce a step change in the global presence of the UK chemical's sector.This work is motivated by the need to supply high catalyst surface areas to catalytic systems undergoing catalytic control through electrochemical promotion. System fabrication must be low cost and construction simple. In particular this proposal intends to build upon recent advances in the understanding of electrochemical promotion and recent advances in the fabrication of controlled-microstructure mixed conducing membranes. For the first time we will be able to electrochemically promote and control the catalytic activity of a highly-dispersed metal catalyst (all previous applications have used low surface area continuous metal electrodes).Recent EC FP6 proposals from the key players in Europe [1] have failed to identify a technically feasible alternative to low catalyst surface areas in systems designed to exploit electrochemical promotion. However, the experimental work and theoretical insights developed in Professor Metcalfe's group [2, 3] are here used to suggest appropriate materials for the electrochemical promotion of a highly dispersed catalyst as well as an operating strategy for catalyst control. The membrane technology required has begun to be developed through EPSRC grants GR/S12197/01 and GR/S12203/01 with Dr K Li of Imperial College.We have begun to seek appropriate protection for the intellectual property associated with the reactor fabrication and the operating strategy and for this reason we ask that this proposal be treated as confidential.
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk