Activity and characterization of lamellar materials as catalysts for biomass conversion
Context and project description
This PhD work will be devoted to the study of the reactivity of lamellar materials as catalysts for the conversion of biomass-based molecules and their characterization in reaction conditions.
The necessary protection of the environment and reduction of green house gases emissions, as well as the progressive decrease of petroleum resources, push towards an increasing utilization of biomass-based compounds. The intrinsic characteristics and the conditions of production of this new feedstock indicate that the catalysts for such compounds should be sufficiently stable in liquid phase and in presence of water. Lamellar materials could be used in this context because of their stability and for their capacity to intercalate various substrates in their interlayers, thus granting access to the active sites of the solid. A recent PhD work carried out at the Laboratoire Catalyse et Spectrochimie have shown the catalytic potential of mixed layered oxides materials.
We wish to extend this first work by considering more extensively the capacity of lamellar oxides to catalyze diols conversion. Diols may be obtained from biomass derivatives and they are valuable chemical intermediates. They may react with several active sites such as acid-base or metallic sites. It is therefore important to evaluate the respective role of the active sites on the catalyst.
Optimisation of these catalysts also necessitates to monitor the materials evolution directly in the reaction medium. Nevertheless, the methodologies for the characterization of catalysts in liquid phase are not common. Our previous work has shown that Raman spectroscopy was suitable to monitor the evolution of lamellar materials in liquid phase and in presence of water, but up to now it has not been possible to characterize the catalyst during the reaction. The development of such Operando Raman spectroscopy is thus necessary.
The PhD work will thus be devoted both to the characterization of lamellar materials notably by vibrational spectroscopy and to the understanding of their catalytic activity for heterogeneous catalysis processes.
PhD position open to candidates holding a Master in chemistry (applied, catalysis, inorganic chemistry), physical chemistry or materials sciences. Experience in IR or Raman spectroscopies, or in characterisation techniques of solid catalysts (activity test, porosimetry, XRD …) or in the synthesis of catalytic materials would be greatly appreciated.
The PhD will take place in the Laboratoire Catalyse et Spectrochimie in the ENSICAEN (Caen).
Salary and grant nature
Grant from the french Ministry of Education and Research (MENESR) for 3 years. The student will be paid directly by the Université de Caen Normandie (ca. 1685 € gross salary per month, including health coverage).
Starting : October or November 2019.
A cover letter, the CV and contact information of two referees (recommendation letters will be appreciated) should be sent to :
Guillaume Clet (firstname.lastname@example.org ; Tel : +33/2 31 45 28 20).