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» Laboratory of Catalysis and Catalytic Processes

Catalysis and Catalytic Processes

Referent: Forzatti Pio

The research activity of the laboratory of catalysis and catalytic processes (LCCP) is focused on applied catalysis for energy conversion, environmental protection and sustainable production of chemicals. Starting from a broad background on heterogeneous catalysis and chemical reaction engineering the LCCP has developed a comprehensive multidisciplinary, multiscale approach.
The research approach starts from the control of the catalyst properties at the nanoscale level (active sites and porosity) achieved by adequate preparation and characterization techniques (morphological, structural, bulk and surface physico-chemical characterization) and combines such control with surface reactivity/mechanism/kinetics studies performed under steady state and transient conditions. To obtain a more comprehensive and complementary picture such investigations are coupled with surface characterization by ex-situ and in-situ techniques at a molecular level performed through collaboration with other groups with specific expertise.
At the microscale level the LCCP has developed a deep knowledge in washcoating techniques for the deposition of active catalyst layers with controlled porosity and good adhesion properties onto structured supports of different geometries (honeycomb, foams, clothes, slabs) and materials (ceramic and metallic). Such an expertise, based on the control of the rheological properties of the slurry and/or sol-gel precursor of the active coating, is of key importance in the field of catalysis for energy conversion and environmental protection where structured catalysts are typically adopted in order to match severe process constraints. In this respect the group has also gained a background in the extrusion of ceramic honeycombs. From a theoretical point of view the LCCP has devoted considerable efforts to the assessment of heat, mass and momentum transfer properties of the structured catalysts which are governed by the peculiar geometrical and hydrodynamics features at the millimeter and sub-millimeter scale.
In order to cope with the applied focus of its research activity, the background acquired on the characteristic phenomena at the nano- and the macro-scale is finalized to experimental and modeling studies at the reactor scale. The group has a wide capability of testing catalytic reactors ranging from small laboratory to pilot scale covering operating conditions up to 1000°C and 100 bar, including structured catalytic reactors for kinetic measurement in short contact time reactions able to cope with the extremely fast and very exothermic reactions characteristics of such processes. The LCCP has also a wide experience in the development and use of steady state and transient mathematical models, implementing advanced numerical methods, complex kinetics and detailed description of transport phenomena at the different levels of scale.
The LCCP has applied such multiscale, multidisciplinary approach to a wide spectrum of catalytic applications which cover energy conversion processes for fixed and mobile uses ranging from upstream treatment and production of fuels to novel combustion technologies and downstream after-treatment of the exhausts. In the field of the upstream processes the group has investigated the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis for production of diesel fuel, and the short contact time catalytic partial oxidation of hydrocarbons for fuel reforming and H2 production. Concerning the core of energy conversion processes the LCCP is active since more than a decade in the field of catalytic combustion for gas turbines with ultra-low single digit emissions. A wide range of processes have been addressed in the field of the exhausts after-treatment, which cover different applications and type of emissions. The group has a strong background on the SCR DeNOx process for fixed power plants which has been more recently re-focused on mobile applications. The LCCP has also widely investigated other DeNOx technologies such as the NOx storage-reduction systems for the abatement of NOx emissions from lean gasoline and diesel engines and has recently studied the simultaneous abatement of NOx and soot emissions along the DNPR concept. Finally starting from its background on catalytic combustion the group is investigating the abatement of CH4 emissions from compressed natural gas engines.
The knowledge acquired in the field of structured catalysts has been applied to development of novel catalytic reactors for sustainable production. Indeed appropriate design of the regular geometry of structured catalysts offers the possibility of tuning gas-solid and intraparticle diffusion and to achieve a quite effective dissipation of reaction heat through a conductive mechanism while maintaining very limited pressure drops.

c/o Dip. Chimica, Materiali e Ing. Chimica "G.Natta"
Politecnico di Milano
piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32
20133 Milano, Italy

Marina Carbonchi
Segreteria LCCP
Dipartimento di Energia
Politecnico di Milano
Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32
20133 Milano, Italia
Tel./Fax + 39 02 2399 3318

More info:
LCCP website