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Dr Shiju Raveendran and Dr Ihsan Amin of the Catalysis Engineering research group at the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences have both been awarded 50,000 euros in the Open Competition XS call of the Dutch Research Council NWO (Domain Science). Dr Raveendran will develop a plasma-in-liquid reactor to conduct chemical reactions at low temperature and pressure with renewable electricity. Dr Amin proposes to use borophene, a new emerging graphene-like 2D material, as catalyst to generate hydrogen.

Both projects fit well within the focus of the Catalysis Engineering research group that combines knowledge from Materials Science and Chemical Science with expertise in the field of Reactor Engineering to arrive at novel sustainable chemical processes.

Aurora in a flask

Liquid-phase plasma reactors for sustainable production of chemicals and fuels
Dr Shiju Raveendran

Traditionally, chemical reactions are done in thermally heated reactors. The plasma reactors are being developed as alternative for gas-phase reactions, but not so much for liquid-phase. We will develop a novel, inexpensive plasma-in-liquid reactor to conduct chemical reactions in liquid-phase at low temperature and pressure. The plasma-in-liquid will produce energetic species which will react with the liquid reactants and convert them into value-added products. No external reactor heating will be necessary, an advantage for temperature sensitive biomass conversions. Since the plasma can be generated with renewable electricity, and the reactor system is scalable, this will lead to a sustainable electricity-based chemical industry.

Beyond graphene

Hydrogen fuel generation via borophene-based sustainable chemistry
Dr Ihsan Amin

Hydrogen is suggested as the future fuel, replacing fossil-based fuels. Hydrogen storage should be safe, easy, reversible, have a high gravimetric/volumetric capacity. This makes chemical hydrogen storage promising. To generate hydrogen from them, we need to develop suitable catalysts. Herein, we propose to use borophene, a new emerging 2D material, as catalyst to generate hydrogen. Theoretically, borophene outperforms other 2D materials, even graphene, in generating hydrogen. Our work will be performed in a sustainable way, following concept that would generate energy with greener process and product. Our work will benefit storage and distribution of the hydrogen and thus the society.