Projects and grants

ENFORCE: Nanoscale-to-Atomic Engineering of Acid Site for Selective Heterogeneous Catalysis

Advances in catalysis towards new materials and energy production have fueled the development of modern society, particularly thanks to zeolites, microporous solid acids with versatile chemical composition. Key achievements in the chemical industry have emerged from design of zeolite catalysts at the bulk level. Our recent works on chemoselective manipulating zeolite frameworks have challenged a conventional thinking about rational design of materials at the nanoscale level. However, currently available synthetic approaches still lag behind far more sophisticated characterization and computational methods capable of distinguishing active sites in zeolites at atomic level and showing that available materials possess medley of acid centers exhibiting different selectivities in targeted catalytic process. This project aims to establish a synthesis method for selective engineering key features of zeolite acid sites affecting the catalytic chemistry of interest and to provide a rational strategy for the predictive design of acid heterogeneous catalysts. In targeted materials, all acid sites will have exactly the same nature and structure and will consequently perform at the same rate in catalysis, thereby enabling more predictable catalytic processes.

Goal: Implementation of the frontier research project belonging to the field of Physical chemistry, ENforCE, which was included to the category “A” in the second step of 2-step peer review evaluation by the expert panel PE5 of European Research Council but did not receive a support from European funds.

Principal investigator: Mariya Shamzhy

Grantor: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports

Duration: 2021-09 to 2026-09

Grant number: MSMT-13091/2021-2

Total approved costs: 1 489 050 EUR

Advanced characterization of active sites in novel zeolite-based catalysts

Advances in material design for industrial catalysis have enabled the synthesis of nanolayered zeolites with highly developed external surfaces and isoreticular zeolites with continuously tuneable pore size. However, our poor knowledge of the features of acid sites located in (i) micropores of different sizes and (ii) micropores vs. “external” surface of zeolites limits the development of tailor-made catalysts. This Project aims to identify the features of active sites in recently discovered zeolite-based catalysts. For such purpose, we will perform an in-depth characterization of the structure, intrinsic and apparent acidity, location and spatial proximity of acid sites in nanolayered and isoreticular zeolites using a combination of FTIR and NMR spectroscopies and computation methods. Complementarily, we will conduct a thorough examination of their catalytic performance in model and industrial reactions.

Goal: Comprehensive characterization of acid centers in novel nanolayered and isoreticular zeolites to elucidate the features (i.e., structure, intrinsic and apparent acidity, location) of the sites active in relevant Brønsted and Lewis acid-catalyzed reactions.

Principal investigator: Mariya Shamzhy

Grantor: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2020-01 to 2023-01

Grant number: GA20-12099S

Total approved costs: 285 000 EUR

Overcoming application limitations of new zeolite nanomaterials by post-synthesis of germanosilicates

A number of new extra-large pore zeolites being of high interest for oil industry and synthesis of specialty chemicals were prepared as germanosilicates. Moreover, germanosilicate zeolites were recently discovered as perfect precursors for rational design of novel nanoporous materials via ADOR approach. However, high cost of Ge significantly limits the practical use of both Ge-containing zeolites and their ADORable derivatives. This Project aims at improving operational characteristics (e.g. stability, cost) and physico-chemical properties (e.g. chemical composition, the nature and concentration of acid sites) of extra-large pore germanosilicate and ADORable zeolites coupled with recycling of Ge

Principal investigator: Jin Zhang

Grantor: Grant Agency of Charles University

Duration: 2019-01 to 2022-01

Grant number: GA20-12099S

Total approved costs: 32 000 EUR