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Bernal Institute Research Forum

Wed, 19 Sep 2018

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Duration: 1 Hour
Contact: Tony Pembroke & Luuk Vanderwielen -
Location: MSG-025,MSSI Building Extension, University of Limerick, Ireland

Presentation By
Professor Gareth Whiting, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Presentation Title
Illuminating Heterogeneous Catalysts on Multiple-length and -time Scales.

Designing new catalytic processes (or even adapting established ones) in order to address global challenges, such as reducing the dependency on fossil-derived resources, and also CO2 emission abatement, is of paramount importance to prolonging life on earth. The use of renewable/sustainable resources to synthesize chemicals and fuels, is a hot-topic in the field of heterogeneous catalysis research, with many advancements made, but still, there are many challenges that lie ahead, e.g. catalyst scale-up and optimizing process efficiency. Tackling some of these challenges requires the ability to obtain a thorough understanding of the catalyst system at hand. In order to do this, we need tools that allow us to observe the catalyst at each stage of its life: i.e. ‘from cradle to grave’, and from macro- to nano-length scales, so as to develop structure-function relationships that will allow us to optimize the design of our catalyst systems.

High spatiotemporal resolution in situ/operando spectroscopy offers us an excellent means to not only observe the physical and chemical changes taking place on the catalyst itself, but also to track the formation of reaction species over time. Here, a few of my recent research highlights in this field will be presented: 1) Advanced visualization strategies to unravel the multidimensional complexity of mm-sized catalyst bodies; 2) Replacing fossil-fuel derived alkylating agents with renewable alternatives.

About the Presenter
Gareth Whiting (Welsh, 1987) received his PhD from the Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI) in 2012, in the group of Professor Graham Hutchings FRS. After spending one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Research on Catalysis and Environment in Lyon (IRCELYON), France, he moved to the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis (ICC) group at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. After three further years of postdoctoral research working with Professor Bert Weckhuysen FRS, he obtained a personal NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) ‘Veni’ grant (€250 k), and is currently an Assistant Professor (since 2016) at the same group. His research focuses on the use of in situ/operando micro-spectroscopy to understand structure-function relationships of heterogeneous catalyst materials, at multiple length and time scales. Webpage: 

Tea/coffee will be available at 13h45.