Catalysis

EBRI is a leading centre for research investigating the challenges of using catalysis to enable the conversion of biomass into low carbon fuels and useful products

About 

Catalysis is the increase in the rate of a chemical reaction of one or more reactants because of the interaction of an additional substance called a catalyst.

Why is it important? 

What makes catalysis essential and of such interest to researchers and broader society is its ability to increase the speed of chemical reactions and even create entirely new products. Catalysis allows us to take renewable energy sources, such as biomass, and use them to create the products we use every day - and doing so with a dramatic reduction in waste and other unwanted by-products.

Catalytic technologies play a critical role in the economic development of both the chemicals industry and modern society, underpinning 90% of chemical manufacturing processes and contributing to over 20% of all industrial products.

Apart from the many practical benefits of studying catalysis, its theoretical study plays a crucial role in deepening our understanding of chemical reactions, which has many implications for the technologies we use in everyday life.

Our research 

The research performed at EBRI is diverse, ranging from designer catalysts that allow clean chemical synthesis to advanced nanotechnologies and improved magnetic materials that unlock advances in data storage and medical treatments.

We aim to:

  • Develop new heterogeneous catalysts for the sustainable transformation of biomass into fuels and chemicals
  • Unlock molecular-level insights into critical surface phenomena over metal, metal oxide, and alloy catalysts
  • Perform rational design on catalysts for green and sustainable chemistry and the associated development of innovative instrumental techniques (e.g., operando XAS and time-resolved XPS) for investigating dynamic structural and chemical changes within such catalytically active materials.

We are currently using these methodologies to explore a host of industrially critical chemical transformations. These include alkane activation over model automotive exhaust catalysts, aerobic selective oxidation of alcohols, and the origin of promotional effects in sulfated zirconia solid acid catalysts.

Environmental benefits 

We are particularly interested in research around pore architectures; tuning and improving these structures can produce remarkable increases in overall surface area. This has the potential to improve our ability to transport bulky reactants and other products produced during biomass transformation, ultimately improving the efficiency of renewable energy.

Our research also holds exciting implications for the environment, including benefits such as novel carbon storage techniques enabling us to limit greenhouse gas emissions, new environmentally friendly fertilisers, and clean low-carbon fuel sources

People and Contact Us

We welcome collaboration opportunities with academia, government bodies and industry from around the world.

To contact us, email the EBRI Business Support Team, visit Bioenergy for Business or call us on 0121 204 3383. 

Energy and Bioproducts Research institute (EBRI)

Aston University 

Aston Triangle 

Birmingham 

B4 7ET