(6e) New Routes and Heterogeneous Catalysts Development for Biomass Conversion

Authors: 
Genuino, H., Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University
Research Interests: Heterogeneous Catalysis, Biomass Conversion, Materials Science, Platform Technology

Teaching Interests: Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Applied Chemical Technology

Crude oil market volatility, together with pressing concerns about greenhouse gas effects offer opportunities for the industrial-scale production of renewable fuels and chemical building blocks from biomass. In this light, the development of active, selective and stable solid catalysts, and bio-based approaches is necessary to achieve a more sustainable and economically viable catalytic conversion of such resource. My doctoral research was about the design and development of multifunctional materials, catalysts and technologies for energy-related and environmental applications, conducted in the University of Connecticut (USA) under the supervision of Prof. Steven L. Suib and supported by the US DOE. After obtaining my PhD in Chemistry in 2013, I moved to the Netherlands and worked with Dr. Pieter C. A. Bruijnincx and Prof. Bert M. Weckhuysen as a postdoctoral research fellow in Utrecht University (Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis). For my first project, I explored new avenues in developing strategies and heterogeneous catalysts such as bifunctional solid acids for the efficient (tandem-catalytic) Diels-Alder aromatization of biomass-derived furanics in the liquid and the solid phase. This project was in collaboration with Wageningen University and Research Center - Food and Biobased Research and our industrial partner, Avantium Chemicals B.V. in Amsterdam. For my second and current project, I have been investigating the influence of synthesis, feed impurities, and process parameters on the stability of atomically dispersed metal catalysts anchored to transition metal oxide supports for levulinic acid hydrogenation. This project is in collaboration with University of Groningen (Engineering and Technology Institute) within the framework of the CatchBio Program and supported by BASF and DSM companies. Exciting recent results from these two postdoctoral research projects will be presented in this poster.

In the near future, my research work will continue to focus on the development of new approaches and high-performing heterogeneous catalysts for the valorization of bio-based platform molecules. It will aim to gain fundamental understanding of reaction engineering and catalytic processes across length scales, including the elucidation of structure-function relationships and expert systems, the investigation of inorganic catalyst stability, deactivation and mitigation, and the application of advanced in situ and operando techniques to understand reaction mechanism. I strongly believe that biomass catalysis and technology research will aid the transition of our chemical industry to a more sustainable one, as well as promote collaboration among various fields and sectors at both national and international levels.

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