Scheme: Industry Fellowship
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Dates: Nov 2006-Oct 2010
Summary: Catalysts are vital components of our everyday life. They work by making it easier for a chemical reaction to happen, but emerge unchanged at the end of the reaction allowing them to be used again. In this Fellowship, we have been working to improve the efficiency and activity of environmental catalysts, which are used for example in catalytic convertors in cars and other forms of engine to convert harmful gases (CO, NOx, particulates) into less harmful gases (CO2, NH3). The process of manufacture of these catalysts involves coating a ceramic honeycomb structure, through which the exhaust gases will pass, with an active coating containing valuable platinum group metals (PGMs) (e.g. Platinum and Palladium). This is complex process, it is necessary for the coating to have the right properties to form a uniform and well adhered layer to the surface. In this project, we have been examining this process in depth and designing new testing and formulation rules and the lab scale which will enable the products to be made more successfully in plant. We have also been looking at ways to improve the flexibility and sustainability of the manufacuring process, by getting a better understanding of how the mixing affects the product quality, and use of alternative mixing technologies to reduce inventory and reduce the size and costs of process plant.
In other work, we have been examining how PGMs may be more efficiently extracted within refineries.