Laboratory of Chemical & Electrochemical Processes

Department of Chemical Engineering – University of Patras

Current Projects

Electrochemical Promotion of Catalysis for the hydrogenation of CO2 to valuable fuels and chemicals - Project Page

Coordinators University of Patras, Prof. C.G. Vayenas
Contractors co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the General Secretary of Research & Technology, Greece
Description The objective of the this work is the development of novel chemically and electrochemically promoted processes for catalytic hydrogenations with emphasis to the hydrogenation of CO2 to useful fuels and chemicals, such as light hydrocarbons and methanol.
Purpose There are two incentives for the proposed work. The first incentive is the urgent global challenge for the conversion and utilization of CO2 for sustainable development. Thus the hydrogenation of CO2 to  fuels and chemicals is one of the major and currently pressing technological challenges in heterogeneous catalysis and electrochemistry. 
The second incentive is the great opportunity offered in this direction by the effect of electrochemical promotion of catalysis (EPOC) or non-Faradaic electrochemical modification of catalytic activity (NEMCA effect) and its recently established very close relationship to the effect of metal-support interactions (MSI). While during the last few years EPOC has become quite known and is described in detail in practically all modern electrochemical and catalytic handbooks, still most of the published work in this area has focused on oxidation reactions promoted by oxygen ion conductors with less than 5% of the publications exploring the use of proton conductors for hydrogenation reactions. One reason for this is that until very recently no proton conductors were available for the temperature range 150o to 350oC which is of key importance for most hydrogenation reactions.

Electrochemical Promotion of aerobic-catalytic treatment of toxic pollutants in aqueous phase - Project Page

Code EPOC-Aqua
Coordinators University of Patras, Prof. A. Katsaounis
Contractors co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the General Secretary of Research & Technology
Description One of the effective methods proposed for the treatment of toxic wastewaters is the chemical oxidation in the liquid phase via strong oxidants or via activated oxygen under the absence (Wet air oxidation, WAO) or presence of catalyst (Catalytic Wet Air Oxidation, CWAO). It is well known in solid electrochemistry that via Electrochemical Promotion of Catalysis (EPOC), the catalytic activity and selectivity of conductive catalysts deposited on solid electrolytes can be altered in a very pronounced, reversible and, to some extent, predictable manner by applying electrical currents or potentials between the catalyst and a second electronic conductor (counter electrode) also deposited on solid electrolyte.
Purpose The first objective of the proposal is the application of EPOC in aqueous phase catalytic processes or in other words the combination of the CWAO and EPOC effect. The catalytic reaction could be the oxidation of hydrogen, light hydrocarbons and alcohols, phenolic, carboxylic acids and nitrogen-containing compounds which are supplied or dissolved in the liquid phase. The novelty of the proposal concerns the development of an effective, low cost and controllable electrocatalytic procedure operating at atmospheric conditions for chemical treatment of toxic compounds. Both conventional and novel catalysts will be developed and studied under electropromoted conditions at low temperatures.
The second aim of the project is the investigation of the origin of EPOC in aqueous media using Differential Mass Spectrometry (DMS) in conjunction with electrochemical techniques.
The successful application of EPOC in aqueous phase catalytic oxidations will lead to a novel process substantially more productive and efficient than current technologies. Moreover the economic impact will be great since the operating pressure and temperature will be low and the cost and life time of the catalyst will high due to the modification employed by the EPOC effect.
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