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This week the U-Today interviewed Dr. J. A. Faria to talk about his Vidi project on plastic chemical recycling. You can find the details of this interview in here.

The subject of plastic pollution has become a major issue in modern society. In this interview, he discussed the main challenges that we are facing with plastic recycling and how current technologies can be improved to facilitate a more circular economy. 

Here, he also discussed the pathway that took him to the Vidi and the impact of this award on his scientific and academic career. 


Plastic pollution remains a mayor issue as only ~ 9 % is recycled, 12% is incinerated, and 79% is accumulated and natural environments. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the polymers present in the plastic waste consists of polyethylene and polypropylene polymers, which are difficult to recycle. 


Recently, catalytic hydrogenation processes, in which a solid catalyst and hydrogen are placed in contact with molten plastics, have gained relevance in the field of plastic waste valorization.. Unfortunately, this process is limited by very long reaction times due to the high-viscosity and chemical complexity of molten plastics.


To solve this issue the FoCUs (Foams for Catalytic Upcycling of Plastics) project led by Dr. Ir. J. Faria Albanese will develop new catalytic materials and processes that can convert plastic waste into added value chemicals. 


The Vidi grant is the most prestigious academic recognition for mid-career scientists in The Netherlands. As part of the talent scheme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) "this grant enables them to develop their own innovative line of research and set up their own research group." 

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Our recent paper on the "In-situ ATR-IR Spectroscopy Reveals Complex Absorption-Diffusion Dynamics in Model Polymer-Membrane-Catalyst Assemblies (PCMA)" has been accepted it as front cover in ChemCatChem!


This invited article has been the result of extensive experimental studies of CO chemisorption on polymer coated membrane catalyst assemblies using ATR-IR. This is exceptionally important in nano-reactor engineering. 


This was a great the result of the tirelessly effort of our PhD student Maria E. J. Da Silva.

Congrats Maria!

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"Come back stronger” is a necessary part of the Dutch Maritime Masterplan (R&D Mobility recovery fund), as recognized by the partners in the project proposal of LNG-ZERO. The LNG-ZERO project includes the development of a complete cycle for the application of an advanced LNG-ZERO concept, which was originally introduced by TNO.

To do this successfully, we combine efforts of the energy and infrastructure developers (Shell, Carbon Collectors, end users (Heerema, Anthony Veder) and important suppliers & system integrators (VDL AEC Maritime with Carbotreat, Conoship International).

TNO, along with the technical universities of Twente and Delft, are the research partners working on the eco topics.

Safety and performance standards will be developed in conjunction with Lloyd’s Register.


LNG-ZERO is an ambitious research project, in addition to the running international Carbon capture research project like Everlong, which has the goal to develop technology and strategy that are needed for reducing exhaust emissions in order to contribute to a sustainable shipping industry. This will be achieved by a threefold strategy: capture the carbon dioxide (CO2), significant reduction of methane slip (CH4) / N-emissions and bringing the captured carbon to shore for new applications (e.g. as base material for production of synthetic fuel) or directly offshore for permanent geological storage, through which we will achieve massive reduction of GHG in the complete chain. Any residual emissions are offset by the use of bio-LNG. The technologies for capturing carbon and reducing N-emissions can also be applied for ships running on conventional fuels.


The companies working on this project have created a budget of 6.1 Million euros, on which the Dutch government has granted a subsidy of 4.4 Million euros.


With LNG-ZERO we aim for high impact: the clear request from the European commission for reducing emissions in the maritime industry calls for action. LNG-ZERO is ahead of future IMO regulation and in this project we’re developing technology which can ensure total decarbonisation of the maritime industry – which is enables us to fight the worldwide challenge regarding the climate crisis.


This consortium is supported by two essential companies:

  • Shell, who, without benefitting from the subsidy, wants to support this consortium with economic and infrastructural studies.;

  • PortXL (from Rotterdam) wants, as an accelerator of new technologies, to contribute by bringing these developments quicker to the market from this consortium.


The research is a first step to sustainable shipping as is written in the Dutch Maritime Masterplan, with a goal to realizing a emission-free shipping industry.[1]

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Recently, the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology located in the Netherlands has highlighted our work on the project "AMAZING – ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING FOR ZERO-EMISSION INNOVATIVE GREEN CHEMISTRY" project, which is aimed at "replacing large-scale high-temperature cracking processes with electrically driven thermocatalytic dehydrogenation of alkanes to alkenes".

This project involves partners from The Netherlands and Germany and will be spanning from 2020-2024 to develop new catalysts and membranes to conduct dehydrogenation reactions relevant for the chemical industry

Homeostatic Operation of Batteries - HOT- Project Granted!

We are super excited to announced that our collaboration project with Dr. Miguel Muñoz and Prof. Bojana Rosic has been approved by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. This project will be focused on developing technologies to operate batteries in so-called homeostatic or self-regulated manner. 

The NWO-Open Technology Program allows researches at Universities in The Netherlands to collaboration with industrial partners in developing the underpinning work for industrially relevant solutions.

You can find more details to the NWO news item here.

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University of Twente highlighted our collaboration paper on Process Intensification Education
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Our recent article on Process Intensification (PI) education has been highlighted by the University of Twente. In this article, we present how PI can accelerate the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals in the short to medium term and strategies to implement it in our BSc and MSc educational programs. 

You can find more here.

Our collaboration research on biomass to chemicals is published on Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 

We are really excited to see that our research collaboration with Daniel Resasco on Synthesis of α,β‐ and β‐Unsaturated Acids and Hydroxy Acids by Tandem Oxidation, Epoxidation, and Hydrolysis/Hydrogenation of Bioethanol Derivatives is finally published! Open Access! 

As it is shown in the figure, we provide for the first time a catalytic route for the conversion of low-value bioethanol into added-value specialty chemicals and building blocks, such as (i) crotonic acid, (ii) 3-hydroxybutanoic acid, and (iii) 2,3-dihydroxybutanoic acid. We achieve yields of 62, 29, and 21 mol. % (in C.) when starting from bio-ethanol. The products can serve as basis for the production of numerous high-value


You can read the article here.

We are happy to announce that our workshop on RESILIENT-Islands was total success!

On March 11th-13th we were fortunate enough to have a very nice and active workshop at the University of Curaçao on RESILIENT-Islands with over 40 attendees from academia, industry, government agencies, and NGOs.

Building resilience in our food, energy and water systems is a fundamental challenge under changing and uncertain climate conditions, particularly in extremely vulnerable regions, such as Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The RESILIENT-Island workshop will cover the following topics:

- Water desalination
- Water electrolysis
- Ammonia as energy carrier
- Capitalising energy transition

- Life-cycle analysis
- Caribbean socio-economics


In this event, we discussed the different strategies for sustainable production of fresh water, storable energy (hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol), and food. You can find the booklet, all the presentations, TV-interview, recordings of the talks and discussions in the link below:

You can view our TV interview here:

We did it again! Last fall we had a blast in our symposium in the ACS Annual Meeting  (San Diego - 16-08-2019)

Our symposium on Catalytic Conversion of Biomass-Derived Oxygenates was a total success. We had more than 60 speakers from the US, Europe, and Asia. This was possible thanks to our great co-organiser Prof. Xinli Zhu from Tiajin University and Prof. Steven Crossley from University of Oklahoma.

This symposium was focused on the understanding of reaction mechanisms involved in the conversion of oxygenates in vapor and liquid phases.

Topics include but are not limited to:

1) Conversion of biomass-derived oxygenates (vapor and liquid)

3) Experimental, theoretical, and spectroscopic studies of reaction mechanisms

4) New catalytic process and catalyst design

"Artificial Photosynthesis Engineering: Designing solar-driven electrochemical reactors for the production of clean fuels and high-value materials"


Prof. M. Modestino, NY University


The need to decouple industrial processes from fossil energy sources only grows more urgent with the fast increase in global energy demand and the multiple global initiatives to mitigate climate change. Chemical manufacturing, already responsible for 26% of the world energy demand, is highly energy-intensive as it requires large amounts of heat derived from fossil sources to drive thermochemical processes. On the other hand, emerging electrochemical processes which require electricity rather than heat, have continued to gain traction as an avenue towards the integration of renewable energy sources in the chemical industry. Electrochemical processes allow to directly interconvert clean electricity, from solar or wind, into chemical energy and high-value products. This presentation will present opportunities in clean chemical manufacturing of fuels and polymer precursors through the design and optimization of solar-driven electrochemical reactors. 

Through a combination of technoeconomic modeling, device demonstrations and advanced electrochemical reactor designs he showed how electrochemical engineering principles can be applied to fabricate high-efficiency and cost-effective solar-hydrogen generators. He  then discussed how designing efficient organic electrochemical systems may result into more sustainable production of high-value polymeric materials.


Specifically, he discussed the development of a solar-driven electro-hydrodimerization process for production of adiponitrile (ADN), a precursor to Nylon 6,6. Although this model reaction is the largest and most successful organic electrosynthesis implemented in industry, it faces many challenges owing to its limited energy conversion and selectivity. Through a combination of experimental electroanalytical characterization, we elucidate guidelines for the optimal design and operation of ADN electro-synthetic reactors. His results provided insights into mass transport limitations that affect the selectivity of ADN electrosynthesis and on how to control electrode processes to mitigate them.

Our paper on Reforming of Methanol has been selected for as supplementary cover of the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research!

I am really happy to see that our recent publication on the "Interplay of Support Chemistry and Reaction Conditions on Copper Catalyzed Methanol Steam Reforming" has been accepted it as supplementary cover!


This invited article has been the result of the selection of my talk in the ACS Annual Meeting this year in New Orleans as the "Best Contribution of the Session on Biomass Conversion". You can find more about this Open Access publication in the Volume 57, Issue 45 of the ACS Journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research!


This was a great team effort between Manuel Antonio Díaz Pérez, Javier Moya Sánchez-Camacho, and Juan Carlos Serrano-Ruiz.


Visit to the Research Group of Prof. Erik Heeres at University of Groningen (Groningen 23-11-2018)

I was really honoured for the invitation from Prof. Erik Heeres at University of Groningen (The Netherlands) to give a seminar and visit their labs. 

I wanted to thank also, Assistant Professors Peter Deuss and Jun Yue for making this visit possible and arranging the agenda for the day. I really enjoyed the scientific discussion and I look forward to the next collaborations.

Thank you very much!!!

International Symposium of Catalysis in honor of Prof. F. Kapteijn (Delft - 28-09-2018)

We had a great time in the farewell international symposium in the honor of Prof. Freek Kapteijn in Delft.


He had an inspiring and extremely productive academic trajectory that now continues in the legacy of his PhD students around the world.


Our Symposium in the ACS Annual Meeting was a total success!!! (Boston - 19-08-2018)

Our symposium on Water (The Greenest Solvent): Catalysis in Aqueous and Bi-phase Systems was a total success. We had more than 20 speakers from the US, Europe, and Asia. This was possible thanks to our great co-organiser Prof. Fernanda Neira DeAngelo from Eindhoven University of Technology.

This symposium highlighted the role water and organic liquid reactions environments on surface reaction chemistry, kinetics, catalyst stability, molecular transport in porous systems filled with liquids, and convective diffusion processes multi-phasic media for green-chemistry applications.

The topics that included:

  • Novel catalyst designs for stable conversion in harsh reaction environments

  • In-situ characterization of working catalyst in liquid environments

  • Reaction kinetics of heterogeneous catalysts in aqueous and organic solvents

  • Theoretical and computational multi-scale studies of multiphase catalytic systems

  • Innovative (structured) catalytic reactor designs for improved mass transport in aqueous and bi-phase systems

  • Novel catalytic reaction and separation processes in multiphase media

Student trip to Argentina with our Chemical Engineering Students (BSc. and MSc.)... What a great experience...!!!
Visit to YPF
University of Buenos Aires
Dinner in Rosario
Visit to INGAR
Visit to Synthon
Visit to Rosario
Atucha Nuclear Power Plant
Visit to Cordoba
Agrochemical Company in Buenos Aires
Estancia en Buenos Aires
Visit to the University of La Plata
Visit to YPF

This Summer we went in the study trip of our Chemical Engineering Student to Argentina! In two weeks we visited companies, Universities, and leading research institutes in the cities of Cordoba, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, and La Plata! 

We had a blast doing sightseeing in combination with the incredible visits to the Nuclear Plant of Atucha, University of Buenos Aires (UBA) with more than 500K students! The best part of it was the interaction with our students and the faculty in a mix of set-ups of formal visits and beautiful visits to touristic places in Argentina.

We are really grateful with the students of our program in Chemical Engineering and the Student Association of Chemical Engineering "Alembic" for the opportunity to participate in this activity. Great organisation and impecable logistics made the entire trip an incredible experience.

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