Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


SUSFUELCAT Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 310490
Gefördert unter: FP7-NMP
Land: Germany

Periodic Report Summary 2 - SUSFUELCAT (Sustainable fuel production by aqueous phase reforming – understanding catalysis and hydrothermal stability of carbon supported noble metals)

Project Context and Objectives:
Energy production and supply is one of the most important basics for a high quality of life, industrialization and civilization. Europe’s wealth and leading position in industry depends heavily on energy, for which fossil fuels remain the primary source. In addition to the huge dependency on (mainly non-European) fossil fuel exporting countries, and unstable prices, fossil fuels are a limited resource whose use releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming. Hence, economically and environmentally European based sustainable energy production will become ever more pertinent.
SusFuelCat aims to boost Europe’s expertise on catalysts for sustainable fuel production, especially hydrogen, by the process of Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR). APR is a technology that allows the catalytic conversion of low value biomass streams into biomass based fuels, with catalysts being the key stone in the process. That’s why SusFuelCat aims to gain fundamental material structure-property relationships for the catalyst using model supports and metal nanoparticles. In cooperation with the industrial partners a strategy will be developed to optimize APR catalysts based on this fundamental understanding and being closely related to market prices of materials and dependency on imports from outside of Europe. Hydrothermal stability will be addressed by carbon supports and studied in long-term test.
The two primary objectives of the project are:
a) to unleash the potential of carbon supported catalysts to establish APR as an energy efficient process to convert different biomass based streams to sustainable fuels and to decrease time to market for a commercial APR catalyst.
b) to generate data to allow the design and scale up of the APR process towards a further demonstration level. The final target is to show the technical and economical viability of the global process, from synthesis to efficiency and durability of the nano-catalytic system.
To achieve these objectives in SusFuelCat a balanced consortium between industrial partners ranging from SMEs to multi-national industry and academic partners was established (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The partners’ focus covers the fields of computational chemistry, material synthesis and characterization, chemical engineering, catalysis and biomass conversion. All partners have a significant background in catalytic studies.

Project Results:
First of all the methodology in SusFuelCat to achieve the objectives is described shortly. The workflow splits in 7 work packages. To deduce fundamental structure-property relationships the properties of catalysts are varied with respect to their active metal, cluster size, pore size, carbon graphitization in WP1. Additionally in-silico studies for theoretical investigations are carried out in WP2. Catalyst activity and selectivity are studied experimentally with real- and model-feedstocks (WP3) to give feedback on the catalytic performance. The hydrothermal stability of the carbon support materials and, later on, of the catalysts are studied in WP4. These results will feedback to the model catalyst design in the subsequent iteration loops. Throughout the project the economical viability of the envisaged process are monitored (WP5). Within the reporting period a substantial progress within the work packages could be made.
In parallel to using classical activated carbons, within WP1 the synthesis mesoporous and graphitic carbons was realized using carbide-derived carbons (CDC). Furthermore,an optimum between specific surface area and graphitization for this process was deduced. As material with external surface area the synthesis and purification of high quality platelet type carbon nano fibres (CNF-Pl) was scaled up. Pt and Ru was immobilized on the different carbons by classical methods (e.g. ion exchange, incipient wetness impregnation). Furthermore, high quality nanoparticles with narrow particle size distributions were synthesized as colloids. The stability of the colloids was tested for several months and proofed to be excellent. First efforts to scale up the colloid synthesis were carried out successfully. The immobilization of these well-defined nanoparticles on porous carbons and removal of the stabilization agent was studied in detail. The studies showed that with specialized posttreatments a high accessibility of the active sites can be combined with a high stability of the immobilized nanoparticles.
Without this developed posttreatment an inactive and unstable catalyst results.
In WP2 the detail level of simulation studies on the APR was increased. Therefore the interaction of different reactants with metal clusters was followed. Different pathways leading to different key intermediates could be identified and allowed to setup experimental plans to proof the proposed mechanisms. Furthermore, simulation was used for the evaluation of IR spectra.
In WP3 the reforming of model and technical feed was studied. This included C5 and C6 polyols als also C2-C3 oxegynates. Batch experiments helped to screening the different prepared catalysts, while more detailed studies were carried out in continuous mode of operation. From this data indications for the cluster size, support and mass transfer influence could be deduced, which were employed win WP1 for the syntheses of next generation catalysts. Long term tests could also be carried out and allowed to show, where stability problems take place. With this important feedback post treatments of the catalysts could be developed to improve the stability of the catalysts substantially.
Despite obtaining data for the catalyst design also chemical reaction engineering analysis was carried out and a simplified kinetic model was deduced.
The influence of oxidative treatments of carbon materials and Pt deposition on the hydrothermal stability was studied in WP4. While reference commercial carbons could show a lag in stability, for all SusFuelCat carbons an excellent and sufficient stability resulted.
Based on the interim results of the project and expertise of the industrial partners a first assessment of the catalysts and process was carried out in WP5. This let to the development of special strategies allowing also to use more costly carbon supports and thus to leverage their advantage on the chemical reaction. The process cost calculation showed that hydrogen produced by this process can be competitive compared to other renewable technologies. Especially most interesting directions to lower the costs further could be identified.

Potential Impact:
It is expected that the project will achieve its objectives and find proper APR catalysts for renewable hydrogen production. Important steps were carried out during the past period towards this aim. Important indications for structure-activity relationships could be deduced. New possibilities to tune active and stable metal catalysts were developed and can be of high value also for other catalytic problems. The experimental data and simulation allowed deducing further mechanistic insights, which will be important for the catalyst and process design. First cost estimations show that APR hydrogen can be economic competitive. Thus it is believed that APR technology can be of importance for sustainable hydrogen production in Europe.
Besides this direct impact on the horizon, already further impact becomes apparent for each partner. The pronounced knowledge on well-controlled colloidal based catalysts, methodologies for immobilization and stabilization agent removal, synthesis of high quality carbonaceous materials, great progress on the simulation of the systems and developed experimental protocols have the potential to be of great us in catalysis and neighbouring disciplines in general.
Especially for the industrial partners in the consortium a direct impact is expected. The 2 SMEs within the consortium are the BTG Biomass Technology Group, specializing in process development for conversion of biomass into biofuels and bio-energy via flash-pyrolysis and FutureCarbon, specializing on development, production and refinement of carbon nanomaterials and carbon nanomaterial based products. Both SMEs profit directly from the results obtained so far.
The established industrial partner is Johnson Matthey, which is a specialty chemicals company focusing on catalysis, precious metals, fine chemicals and process technology, with extensive knowledge and experience of carbon supported noble metal catalysis. With the combination of innovative SMEs and established global industrial partners it is expected that a transfer of the project results can become true.

List of Websites:


Franziska Müller, (European Office)
Tel.: +49 9131 85 26474
Fax: +49 9131 85 26239


Scientific Research
Datensatznummer: 183975 / Zuletzt geändert am: 2016-06-09
Informationsquelle: SESAM