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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P001467/1
Title: Parallel-screening equipment for advanced catalyst testing and process intensification
Principal Investigator: Hutchings, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Golunski, Professor S Hammond, Dr C Thomas, Professor HR
Taylor, Professor SH Dimitratos, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 30 September 2016 Ends: 31 January 2023 Value (£): 874,075
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
04 May 2016 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Panel May 16 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Over the past two decades, manufacturers and end-users of catalysts have followed the lead of the pharmaceutical industry and moved increasingly to high-throughput methodologies in their development programmes. This transition has not generally been mirrored by academic research laboratories, where one-at-a-time testing still prevails (particularly in the UK), usually as part of an iterative cycle of catalyst preparation, characterisation and evaluation. However, with the availability of rapid and high-throughput techniques for the formulation and characterisation of solid materials, the rate of catalyst discovery in academic laboratories is now often determined by the rate of performance testing. In this project to procure, commission and operate a multi-bed catalyst screening reactor, we will address this missing link within the academic heterogeneous catalysis community in the UK.

This new facility, which will be housed within the Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI), will enable the CCI and its wide network of academic and industrial collaborators to increase their productivity in the key areas of catalyst discovery and catalytic process optimisation. As the CCI is a major player within the UK Catalysis Hub, the facility will in effect be accessible to almost every UK academic group that is active in heterogeneous catalysis.

The catalytic processes that will initially be targeted are those in which the CCI and the other members of the UK Catalysis Hub have already started to build capability:

(i) Exhaust-gas aftertreatment and waste-heat recovery for vehicles running on diesel, petrol, blended or alternative fuels.

(ii) Upgrading of variable sources of methane (such as shale gas, biogas and stranded natural gas) through selective oxidation, particularly to methanol and dimethyl ether.

(iii) Transformation of biomass derivatives to fine chemicals and fuels.

(iv) Oxidative dehydrogenation of alkanes to monomers and chemical intermediates by using greenhouse gases (such as CO2 and N2O) as soft oxidants.

(v) Preferential oxidation for the specific removal of contaminants in the clean-up of feedstreams.

(vi) Hydrogenation of CO or CO2 to hydrocarbons or oxygenates.

With the diversity of feedstocks and operating conditions that these processes require, the catalyst screening equipment will be used in a campaign mode that will maximise the proportion of testing time in relation to downtime - when feeds will be changed, analytical equipment re-calibrated, new test protocols defined and benchmark tests carried out. The operation and servicing of the equipment will be overseen by a Project Manager, who will be part of a Management Board with responsibility for prioritising and allocating access to the facility.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk