Institute of Catalysis Research and Technology (IKFT)

The Institute of Catalysis Research and Technology was founded 2011. Its mission is to bridge the gap between fundamental and applied research and the development of new technologies and products in the field of catalysis and process technology of catalyzed processes. The focus of our work is the sustainable utilization of alternative feedstocks and their conversion into energy carriers intermediates. This includes the development of new catalytic systems based on a fundamental understanding of processes on a molecular level. The institute receives basic funding from the Helmholtz Association's program-oriented funding, largely in the Energy research field in the program Materials and Technologies for the Energy Transition.


The PYRAGRAF Project
The PYRAGRAF Project

Agricultural and forest activities are of critical importance to the EU economy due to the revenues and job opportunities they generate and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions they avoid. The EU project PYRAGRAF (4 years, grant agreement no. 101114608) aims to make use of a variety of biomass residues to produce biochar and wood vinegar. The PYRAGRAF solution comprises a mobile biomass pyrolysis unit enhanced with concentrated solar energy to enable efficient and cost-effective production of biochar and wood vinegar at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. The biochar and wood vinegar produced will be utilized in three target countries (Germany, Turkey, Portugal) with different locations, diverse climatic conditions, and varying soil characteristics to assess their potential in agricultural practices and with regard to economic and ecological performance. This way, it seeks to contribute to local circular value chains and promote sustainability. At IKFT, a process model is developed integrating the pyrolysis process, renewable heat supply by concentrated solar power and surplus heat generation for biomass drying by pyrolysis gas combustion. This model is an essential part for plant design and process evaluation.


Applied Catalysis
New process for the production of hydrocarbons from methanol

In a recent publication in Applied Catalysis A, researchers at IKFT have shown that by using new zeolites as catalysts, olefins with a chain length of up to 11 carbon atoms can be produced with high selectivity from methanol or dimethyl ether (Applied Catalysis A 651 (2023)). In principle, similar processes and catalysts are known from literature but lead to different product spectra. This behavior can be traced back to the employed zeolite catalyst, which exhibits a one-dimensional pore system, in contrast to common catalysts, which usually exhibit three-dimensional pore systems and which explains the unusual selectivity during product formation. In June 2023, a patent application by the IKFT researchers was published claiming a modification of the process and the catalyst, in particular by metal loading of the zeolite (DE 10 2021 133 788 A1). As a result, a significant increase in the activity of the zeolite catalysts was achieved. The resulting olefins provide a valuable basis for downstream processes and can be further processed to produce a wide range of fuels and chemicals. Typical examples are the conversion of light olefins to gasoline and kerosene and the hydrogenation of higher olefins to gasoline.

CARE-O-SENE Konsortiums
CARE-O-SENE consortium

The 2-days status meeting of the CARE-O-SENE consortium took place at the KIT on beginning of June 2023. Together with colleges from HZB, IKTS, SASOL DE, SASOl SA and INERATEC the achievements during the first 10 months of the project were presented and intensively discussed.  The CARE-O-SENE project continues to push boundaries by fostering international collaboration between industry and academia and was overwhelming to see what has been already gain on knowledge and what possibilities to extend the cooperation and networking can be used. Together, we are paving the way towards a cleaner, greener world, and the CARE-O-SENE consortium is honoured to be part of this transformative journey. For the first time our young scientists had the opportunity to present their results in catalyst research. During the meeting the KIT Light Source and the EnergyLab 2.0 were visited. Learn more about CARE-O-SENE here.



IKFT Seminar: Monday, 24th of July 2023, at 2 pm (Room 202, IKFT)

Topic: Harmonisation of process evaluation methods for biochemical synthesis gas conversion processes

Henri Steinweg (PhD student, IKFT)

IKFT Seminar:  Monday, 24th of July 2023, at 2 pm (Room 202, IKFT)