UNiversity of Antwerp

Research group

Applied Electrochemistry & Catalysis

Welcome to our new website

Welcome to the new website of the research group Applied Electrochemistry & catalysis (ELCAT)

our mission

The core research goal within ELCAT lies in the development of state-of-the art electrochemical reactors and catalysts, with a view towards large-scale industrial development in the field of industrial electrification, in a green and sustainable way.

WHAT WE DO

In recent years there has been a growing interest in clean and environmentally friendly methodologies in organic synthesis. The complex nature of these organic syntheses arises from the large number of reaction steps, use of auxiliaries and sometimes low selectivity. To tackle these issues, an electrosynthetic methodology can be applied. In the ELCAT research group several electrosynthesis reactions are currently under investigation: the  electrochemical aldol condensation, organic halide reductions and intramolecular ring formation reactions .

Electrochemistry allows for a manifold of reactions to proceed easily and on a large scale. However a major drawback of electrochemical activation is the large overpotential required for many of these processes. Reducing those large overpotentials can only be done by improving the catalytic activity. Thus, much attention has been devoted to develop electrocatalytic processes, either by utilizing homogeneous redox catalysts (e.g. metal complexes,  aromatic mediators)  or by the use of heterogeneous electrocatalytic materials.

In the domain of electrochemical reactor engineering ELCAT focuses on development and optimisation of reactors for the electrochemical synthesis of chemicals (organic as well as inorganic). Investigations in this research domain require a combined approach of know-how on (1) reactor design, (2) electrochemical analysis techniques and (3) electrocatalysis.

Research

OUR MOST RECENT ACTIVITIES

Continuous Laser-induced Nucleation of Crystallization. 01/04/2018 – 31/03/2019

Return Continuous Laser-induced Nucleation of Crystallization. 01/04/2018 – 31/03/2019 Abstract Precise nucleation leading to controlled growth, is the most critical step in porces-design for products with a precise particle size distribution and well-defined polymorphism (extremely important in e.g. the pharmaceutical sector). The literature indicates that the use of intense laser pulses can lead to controlled nucleation, but the available proof…

Integrated CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion: development of an electrocatalytic system. 01/05/2018 – 30/04/2022

Integrated CO2 capture and electrochemical conversion: development of an electrocatalytic system. 01/05/2018 – 30/04/2022 Abstract Climate change and global warming has become a growing threat to our world, where the carbon dioxide emisisons are believed to be a major contributor. In order to serve the society and environment, the Sustainable Chemistry department of VITO has been focusing since recent years…

Electronics to high value chemical products (E2C). 01/07/2018 – 31/12/2021

Electronics to high value chemical products (E2C). 01/07/2018 – 31/12/2021 Abstract The overall objective of the project is to stimulate investment in and implementation of Power-to-X technologies by developing innovative direct and indirect conversion processes for the chemical industry towards higher TRL’s, while making use of renewable electricity and lowering the carbon footprint. With these technologies, valuable fuels and platform…

Fundamental insight into the role of the support and electrocatalyst in CO2 electrolyzers: are carbon-based materials the solution or the problem? 01/10/2018 – 30/09/2021

Fundamental insight into the role of the support and electrocatalyst in CO2 electrolyzers: are carbon-based materials the solution or the problem? 01/10/2018 – 30/09/2021 Abstract Renewable energy sources can offer a solution for excessive emissions of greenhouse gases and to the expected decrease in availability of fossil fuels in the near future. Both problems would find a common solution if…

calorimetry and safety studies,

Gathering the necessary safety information is indispensable for the development of an industrial synthesis process. This implies the investigation of several aspects:

Electrochemical characterisation

The electrochemistry expertise and equipment in the ELCAT group is available for third party users. We can consult on a variety of electrochemical phenomena such as corrosion, organic electrochemistry and reaction mechanisms.

Separation processes

It is essential to gather physicochemical parameters when designing an industrial separation process for newly synthesized chemical species. It can moreover be necessary  to conduct trial separation runs in semi-industrial or pilot scale equipment in order to test the validity of the design procedures. 

SERVICES TO

INDUSTRY