|Dimitris I. Kondarides
|Tel. +30 email@example.com|
|Xenophon E. Verykios
|Tel. +30 2610-991527
The Laboratory of Heterogeneous Catalysis (LHC) belongs to the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras. It was founded in 1987 and is directed by Prof. Xenophon E. Verykios. Currently, the staff of LHC consists of 2 faculty members, 1 researcher, 1 post-doc, 6 post-graduate students and 2 administrative personnel.
LHC is conducting fundamental and applied research, with particular emphasis on the synthesis, characterization and evaluation of catalytic materials, reactor analysis and design, and development of novel environmental and energy-related processes. The interaction of gaseous molecules with catalytic surfaces is also investigated using various techniques, such as equilibrium and dynamic adsorption, in situ-DRIFTS, steady-state isotopic tracing and temperature-programmed techniques. Kinetic and mechanistic studies are conducted employing steady-state and transient techniques.
LHC has been involved in a large number of research projects funded by the European Union, the Greek Government and the industry, with a total budget exceeding 6.000.000 €. Publications of LHC in international journals exceed 250, while prototype research results have been protected by 7 National, European and International patents..
LHC is equipped with all necessary techniques and apparatus needed for catalyst synthesis, characterization, testing and optimization, and has access to the required state-of-the-art instrumentation, advanced methodologies and technical infrastructure. These include: (a) facilities for the synthesis of (photo)catalytic materials in various forms (powders, films, structured, etc); (b) characterization techniques based on a wide range of spectroscopic and microscopic methods (DRS, DRIFTS, BET, UV/vis, access to XRD, Raman, SEM/EDX, TEM, UPS, XPS); (c) several complete systems for (photo)catalyst evaluation equipped with analytical systems for the analysis of reactants and products in the gas and liquid phases (GC, GC/MS, UV/vis); (d) apparatus for performing temperature-programmed and other transient experiments (TPD, TPO, TPR, TPSR, transient-MS, DRIFTS) for the investigation of reaction mechanisms.
RESEARCH PROJECTS - RESULTS
Over the last years, the Laboratory of Heterogeneous Catalysis has initiated, in a global scale, two areas of scientific and technological research, which have proven to be attractive to a large number of scientists:
(a) Heterogeneous catalytic reformation of biofuels, such as bioethanol, biogas and bio-oil, for the production of hydrogen for fuel cell applications or synthesis gas for the production of chemicals,
(b) Photocatalytic reformation of biomass components and biomass derivatives at ambient conditions for the production of hydrogen.
In the first area, a complete process was proposed, which includes utilization of waste biomaterials, cultivations of energy crops and agricultural residues for the production of bio-ethanol and bio-gas. Such process was described in international patents and has attracted significant interest. In addition to the process, optimal catalytic materials were developed for the various conversion steps, namely reformation, water-gas shift reaction and methanation reaction, as well as advanced reactor configurations, integrating the catalytic materials with advanced heat transport mechanisms. In this way, highly compact and very efficient reactors have been developed. Catalysts and reactor configurations have been the subject of 3 international patents.
In the second field of research, it was shown for the first time that three abundant and renewable sources (solar light, biomass and water) can be used in an effective way to produce power via hydrogen and fuel cells. It was established that biomass components and derivatives, mostly waste biomass, can be reformed at ambient conditions to produce hydrogen via solar light and a photocatalyst. This process, which can replace the energy demanding catalytic processes (requiring temperatures of about 800 oC) produces hydrogen very efficiently. However, the rate achievable at the moment is low enough not to permit practical applications. Current efforts at LHC focus on the development of optimal photocatalytic materials to enhance the rate of reformation to practically attractive levels.
Current Research Projects
- “Development and pilot plant demonstration of hydrogen production from solar energy and biomass (waste) compounds and derivatives at ambient conditions mediated by nanostructured photocatalysts”. 2008 E.ON International Research Initiative Call "Application of Nanotechnology in the Energy Business( Contract No: 2008/24_DCE-UoPatras). Budget (LHC): 376 k€. Duration: 36 months (2009-2012).
- “Development of novel Photo-Fuel Cells for the production of hydrogen and electricity via oxidation of organic compounds with the use of solar radiation” (PhotoFuelCell). Program: THALES, Ministry of Education Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (MIS 379320). Budget (LHC): 183 k€. Duration: 48 months (2011-2015).
- “Production of energy carriers from biomass by-products” (Glycerol2Energy). Program: THALES, Ministry of Education Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (MIS 379333). Budget (LHC): 153 k€. Duration: 48 months (2011-2015).
- “New catalytic processes for the production of second generation biofuels” (CAT-BIOFUEL). Program: THALES, Ministry of Education Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, (MIS 380405). Budget (LHC): 170 k€. Duration: 48 months (2011-2015)
- “Development of low cost PEM fuel cells based on novel low and non-Pt electrocatalysts (NonPt-PEM). Programme: Greece-China Cooperation 2012-2014» (ΕPΑΝ-ΙΙ) (12CHN269). Budget (LHC): 55 k€. Duration: 36 months (2012-2015),
- “Development of an innovative, energy efficient and environmentally friendly power system, operating with hydrogen and fuel cell, for standalone refrigeration applications” (HyPEMRef). Programme: Cooperation (11ΣΥΝ_7_396). Budget (LHC): 160 k€. Duration: 30 months (2012-2015).