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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S005781/1
Title: Polymetallic Complexes: Modelling Heterogeneous Catalysis in Solution
Principal Investigator: McIntosh, Dr RD
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 December 2018 Ends: 30 November 2020 Value (£): 245,575
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Co-ordination Chemistry
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jul 2018 EPSRC Physical Sciences - July 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The production of chemicals on an industrial scale often involves the use of a catalyst because it makes production of that chemical more efficient and therefore more cost effective. The chemical industry generally prefers these catalysts to be heterogeneous (e.g. a solid catalyst in a liquid reaction) as these are simple to separate from the products once the reaction is complete. To develop and improve upon these catalysts it is important to obtain a deep understanding of how they work in order to understand the features that are vital to their reactivity. Achieving this for heterogeneous catalysts presents a significant challenge because it is often difficult to define the active form (or forms) of the catalyst.

The research proposed here aims to bridge this gap by synthesising soluble compounds, containing small clusters of metal atoms, which will be used to model heterogeneous catalysts and study specific reactions that they can be used for. This method allows us to utilise many of the highly sensitive, solution based techniques, which are usually unavailable for heterogeneous catalysts due to their inherent insolubility, and obtain the comprehensive understanding that is crucial for catalyst development. In these initial studies, we will focus on the conversion of CO and CO2 into more valuable resources.

The chemical industry currently relies heavily on feedstocks that are derived from depleting fossil fuels reserves. Establishing alternative feedstock sources that are derived from abundant, sustainable resources, such as CO and CO2, would promote an industry that is not reliant on the production of oil. CO and CO2 are relatively stable molecules therefore transforming them into more valuable compounds is challenging. However, it is well established that metal complexes can help to promote this conversion by weakening the C-O bonds they contain. We are interested in utilising our model catalysts to study the reactivity of these gases and ultimately apply our understanding of catalysts to establishing economically viable processes for their conversion.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk