Cesar A. Urbina-Blanco
Laboratory for Chemical Technology, Ghent University
The discovery of efficient technologies enabling the use of CO2 as a starting material for the chemical industry is one of the biggest scientific challenges of our time. Human activities have altered nature’s carbon cycle resulting in increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which has led to the current climate emergency. Our current linear production model based on the exploitation of fossil resources is unsustainable. One way to close the loop and transition to a circular economy is to find efficient ways to transform CO2 back into chemicals that serve as the starting materials for the chemical industry. This talk will cover our recent efforts into the development of solid micellar catalysts, a new class of catalytic materials that consists of single atom catalysts incorporated into a mesoporous matrix in the presence of surfactants to stabilize the active sites. We will also discuss the role of DFT molecular modelling in identifying the nature of the active site, the reaction mechanism, and the discovery of new reactivities.