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.
We congratulate Dr.-Ing. Katharina Stoll for obtaining her PhD on 09/23/2021. In her dissertation "Influence of an increased process pressure during the fermentation of synthesis gas", she investigated the fermentation process of synthesis gas with the bacterium Clostridium ljungdahlii and the main products ethanol and acetate, with special focus on the G-L-substance transport.
The catalytic hydrogenation of CO2 is a promising way to store large amounts of renewable energy while reducing CO2 emissions (P2X concept). Marc-André Serrer (IKFT), Matthias Stehle (ITCP) and further colleagues at IKFT, ITCP and IAM-AWP uncovered the reaction progress along a conventional Ni-based and an advanced Ni-Fe-based catalyst during CO2 methanation in a fixed-bed reactor. By using a dedicated new setup, they were able to reveal changes in activity, selectivity, and temperature along the catalyst bed. Complementary spatially resolved structural investigations by X-ray absorption spectroscopy showed that the oxidation state of Fe is strongly influenced by the increasing amount of water towards the end of the catalyst bed. Furthermore, infrared spectroscopy unraveled that Fe species promote the higher activity of the bimetallic catalyst by protecting active Ni0 centers from strongly adsorbed CO. Hence, this example underlines not only the importance to consider gradients in chemical reactors but that they even can be exploited for better understanding.Link_more
The Institute for Hot Chemistry, IHCh, predecessor institute of our today's IKFT, was founded in 1959 with the intention of researching possibilities for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. The tasks included the development of innovative processes and their qualification for industrial application. Over a period of 30 years, the scientific and technical challenges consisted primarily in separating radioactive constituents with extreme separation factors from the highly spent nuclear fuel of power reactors with high yields and almost zero emissions reliably and with high plant availability. The most important extractive and electrochemical processes were investigated in lab and pilot scale with the largest handling permit of 5 kg Plutonium. Technical work was supplemented by fundamental studies on radio isotopes and process modeling. Finally, IHCh contributed to the large GALLEX experiment on the detection of solar neutrinos by a large radioisotope-detector in Italy´s underground laboratory. This historical development and the utilisation of the diverse competences for new research projects in the 1990s are summarized in an article published in Chemie Ingenieur Technik in June.Link_more