Project title: Novel Materials for Waste Valorisation and Biofuels Development
Summary: Bio-fuels produced from waste biomass are regarded as a potential green energy source to replace fossil fuels. However, due to the limited performances of the aid materials involved in the process, waste valorisation is not yet economically and practically feasible on a large scale. Metallic ceramics are unique materials with a combination of outstanding properties at the borderline between metals and ceramics, possessing high chemical stability, mechanical strength, distinctive electronic properties and unusual catalytic activity. These features make them ideal candidates for application in key chemical processes, including biofuel production.
In the host group of Dr. Giordano, a novel sol–gel route has been designed to prepare homogeneous, pure and crystalline nanomaterials, allowing dimensional and morphological control, together with higher surface area at a moderate temperature. During this PhD project, alternative catalysts for HDO will be explored and “designed” toward the finding of an ideal system. Here, several parameters will be taken into account, from composition, to size, degree of crystallinity and suitable supports. This project will focus on the practical development of waste valorisation including 1) designing ad-hoc catalysts using transition metal nitrides and carbides 2) applying them in rendering the production of bio-fuels from practical and economical aspects.