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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W014408/1
Title: CBET-EPSRC Direct methane conversion into valuable oxygenates via tandem catalysis
Principal Investigator: Hutchings, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Chadwick, Professor D Li, Professor K Taylor, Professor SH
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
BASF Haldor Topsoe A/S Invista Textiles (UK) Ltd
Johnson Matthey Louisiana State University SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corp)
SASOL (International) Shell Syngaschem BV (Global)
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2023 Ends: 31 March 2026 Value (£): 951,933
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
17 Aug 2022 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 17 and 18 August 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The chemical industry recognises the need to address the principles of sustainability and there is an urgent need to design processes as new paradigms in modern manufacturing residues or, if unavoidable, to recycle them. However, sustainability also requires the design of chemical processes that minimise the use of energy and direct the reaction towards the desired products, i.e. high selectivity at the required conversion with minimum energy consumption. Catalysis must be at the core of any new chemical process and the development of active, stable, and selective catalysts will be key for chemical sustainability. Most industrial chemical processes involve several chemical steps and each step often uses a different catalyst. Product separation and purification between each step also requires further equipment and energy consumption and hence it is highly beneficial to simplify the overall process. In this project, we aim to minimise the number of individual steps in chemical processes by tandem reactions with multifunctional heterogeneous catalytic systems that can perform the consecutive chemical reactions in one reaction, and we will achieve this using microchannel reactors. Moreover, we aim to achieve this for the preparation of key platform chemicals e.g. acetic acid is a major chemical intermediate that currently require several chemical process steps.

The main objective of this project is to design and develop multifunctional catalysts combined with a microchannel structured reactor to convert methane into value-added oxygenate products including methanol and acetic acid via a tandem oxidative carbonylation process. The use of tandem heterogeneous catalysis represents an exceptionally novel approach to both catalyst and reaction design. We will explore the use of microchannel reactors for methane oxidation/carbonylation. Catalyst synthesis will be coupled with this reactivity testing and catalyst design will be driven by the reactor data. Catalysts will be characterised using state-of-the-art techniques. The engineering and science will operate in an iterative manner with each new step informing the overall programme. What will success look like? Success will be the demonstration of the potential of a bespoke combination of a microchannel reactor coupled with multifunctional catalysts, generating enhanced performance that could lead to a paradigm shift in the synthesis and application of catalytic tandem reactions.

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