CMM with UCL London in Nature Materials

(30-09-2020) CMM and UCL made an unexpected discovery about industrial catalysts that could lead to a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

An international study led by the Chemistry Department at University College London (UCL) in collaboration with the Center for Molecular Modeling (CMM) at Ghent University and the Central Laser Facility (CLF) has made a new and unexpected discovery about industrial catalysts that could help to increase the efficiency of the production of chemical building blocks from non-fossil feedstocks such as methanol. Their findings could lead to a reduction of the cost and environmental impact of the production process, making it a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

The Center for Molecular Modeling (CMM) of Ghent University, led by Prof. Veronique Van Speybroeck, has a track record of synergies with leading experimental groups worldwide. Such combined modeling/experimental approach often leads to advanced materials for nanosensing, light harvesting, and catalysis of new feedstocks and fine chemicals. From a purely experimental basis, it is extremely difficult to establish a causal relation between nanometer scale structural modifications and the observed macroscopic function of the material. Therefore, the CMM is developing new methods to model at conditions mimicking as closely as possible experimental operating conditions. Modeling functional nanomaterials in close synergy with experimental groups has the potential to give this nanoscopic insight, provided it yields a realistic nanometer scale representation of the functional material. This can lead to breakthroughs in sustainable chemistry, nanosensing and clean energy, as shown in this new publication.

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The project is an ongoing collaboration between University College London, Ghent University, the Central Laser Facility, and the Catalysis Hub – a consortium created with the aim of establishing a world-leading programme of catalytic science in the UK.

Their findings have just been published in Nature Materials: Insight into the effects of confined hydrocarbon species on the lifetime of methanol conversion catalysts 

I. Lezcano-Gonzalez, E. Campbell, A.E.J. Hoffman, M. Bocus, I.V. Sazanovich, M. Towrie, M. Agote-Aran, E.K. Gibson, A. Greenaway, K. De Wispelaere, V. Van Speybroeck, A.M. Beale



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