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Manufacturing of porous functional structures: design of catalysts


*Corresponding authorVITO, Boeretang 200, 2400 Mol, Belgium


The need for a more sustainable chemical industry, is increasing the pressure on processes, reactors and catalysts. New developments are necessary to tackle the new challenges the chemical industry is facing. Catalysts lie at the heart of a multitude of chemical processes. Catalysts aid the synthesis of products in a resource protective way, minimizing consumption of energy and feedstock, and formation of by-products and waste.
Heterogeneous catalysts are applied in many shapes and sizes. In order to cope with the vast range of application domains, ranging from refining over specialty and fine chemicals to environmental protection and new sustainable feedstocks, many processing routes have been developed. One of the great challenges in catalysis research is the combination of good mass- and heat transfer properties with low pressure drop over the reactor. The use of structured catalysts is one of the possible routes to tackle and control these phenomena. Each application will specify the window of properties of the porous material. This contribution aims to give an overview on the processing techniques which are used in the design and manufacture of (structured) heterogeneous catalysts for many applications.


Although the chemical industry uses only 5% of the global reserves of fossil raw materials for the production of chemicals, they are expected to take the lead in the transformation to a sustainable, bio-based economy. Furthermore, the current chemical industry, largely represented by petroleum-processing companies, depends heavily on fossil fuels. An active approach to optimize and innovate current processes, combined with research for fossil fuel alternatives and creating value with alternative raw materials is therefore of strategic importance for the chemical industry (1, 2).
Catalysts aid the synthesis of (new) products in a resource protective way, with less consumption of energy and in some cases without formation of by-products or was