Nowadays, the harmful effect that nitrous oxide (N2O) plays in the atmosphere is well known. This formerly considered innocuous gas, contributes to the greenhouse effect and the depletion of stratospheric ozone. At the Kyoto's protocol conference in 1997 the EU committed itself to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases at least 5% below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012. Besides agriculture, the main anthropogenic sources are chemical processes such as nitric and adipic acid manufacture, combustion processes, and industrial and municipal nitrogen-containing waste in fluidised-bed reactors.
One way to reduce these emissions is using end-of-pipe solutions and catalytic technologies offers this possibility. The N2O catalytic decomposition is the most dire ct method for its depletion. Nevertheless, none of the catalysts proposed in the literature show a good activity and stability under realistic conditions of temperature, feed composition (O2, H2O, NOx, etc.) and space velocities. Furthermore, such material s have been tested as powder-type catalysts, however for industrial applications, pellets, spheres or monoliths are required. In the last years the scientific community is highly interested in studying the catalysts under actual operating conditions. Operando spectroscopy has progressed considerably since its origins.
Thus, the study of the catalysts under actual operating conditions may provide essential information about the structure "activity relationship. This project has two main objectives: 1. To develop and study new catalytic systems based on mixed oxides with monolithic structure for the N2O decomposition reaction, able to operate at low temperatures (180-250ÂºC), high space velocities endowed with an improved resistance to either water vapour or oxygen present in the gas feed. 2. To attain a deep training in catalyst characterization by IR and UV-Vis spectroscopy, and to design and assembly and "operando" FTIR and/or IV-vis spectrometer.
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