Development of silicic materials with encapsulated atomic clusters and impact of confinement on catalytic performances


Butadiene is a crucial chemical, notably for the manufacturing of elastomers and tires but currently is only produced from fossil sources. In the transition to the sustainable economy, the ethanol-to-butadiene reaction has emerged as a promising solution to secure its production but above all to limit its environmental footprint. As a result, it has gathered significant scientific interest and private companies are investigating its application. The development of dedicated catalysts for this reaction is therefore a priority area of research.
Heterogeneous catalysts with precise surface and interface structures, such as encapsulated nanoparticles, are of great interest to decipher the structure−property relationships and maintain remarkable stability while achieving high activity and selectivity. By rationally tuning the system, a range of encapsulated nanoparticles can be produced with tailorable properties that can play important roles in various catalytic processes and offer sustainable solutions.
In this interdisciplinary project, we aim to develop one or more efficient methodology synthesis for encapsulating nanoparticles with different structural organizations. In combination with collaborative analytic (structure characterization) and testing work (activity/stability evaluation), all results will be fed-back into iterative design loops for the development of a custom catalyst to the ethanol-to-butadiene reaction.

eKeywords: Heterogeous catalysis, Biomass, Zéolite, Silice, Cluster, Metallic oxide, Ethanol, Inorganic synthesis, Catalytic test

  • Academic supervisor    Dr PIRNGRUBER Gerhard, IFPEN, Département Génie Matériaux Divisés
  • Doctoral School    206 - Ecole doctorale Chimie, Procédé, Environnement,
  • IFPEN supervisor    Dr CADRAN Nicolas, Département Catalyse par les métaux et les solides acido-basiques,
  • PhD location    IFP Energies nouvelles, Lyon, France
  • Duration and start date    3 years, starting in fourth quarter 2022
  • Employer    IFP Energies nouvelles, Lyon, France
  • Academic requirements    University Master degree in Materials Science and Engineering, Inorganic Chemistry or Physical chemistry
  • Language requirements    Fluency in French or English, willingness to learn French

To apply, please send your cover letter and CV to the IFPEN supervisor indicated here above.

IFPEN supervisor
Dr CADRAN Nicolas
Département Catalyse par les métaux et les solides acido-basiques
About IFP Energies nouvelles

IFP Energies nouvelles is a French public-sector research, innovation and training center. Its mission is to develop efficient, economical, clean and sustainable technologies in the fields of energy, transport and the environment. For more information, see our WEB site. 
IFPEN offers a stimulating research environment, with access to first in class laboratory infrastructures and computing facilities. IFPEN offers competitive salary and benefits packages. All PhD students have access to dedicated seminars and training sessions. For more information, please see our dedicated WEB pages.