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    [platne_od] => 21.04.2020 13:05:00
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Bursar
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General Practitioner, 
Department of Economics and Management, 
Department of Mathematics
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            [paticka_adresa] => UCT Prague
Technická 5
166 28 Prague 6 – Dejvice
IČO: 60461373 / VAT: CZ60461373

Czech Post certified digital mail code: sp4j9ch

Copyright: UCT Prague
Information provided by the Department of International Relations and the Department of R&D. Technical support by the Computing Centre. [paticka_odkaz_mail] => mailto:aubrechj@vscht.cz [logo] => home [drobecky] => [more_info] => [den_kratky_4] => [archiv_novinek] => [novinky_servis_archiv_rok] => [novinky_kategorie_1] => [novinky_kategorie_2] => [novinky_kategorie_3] => [novinky_kategorie_4] => [novinky_kategorie_5] => [novinky_archiv_url] => [novinky_servis_nadpis] => [novinky_dalsi] => [novinka_publikovano] => Publikovano: [novinka_datum_konani] => Datum konani: [den_kratky_3] => [den_kratky_2] => [den_kratky_5] => [den_kratky_6] => [den_kratky_0] => [zobraz_mobilni_verzi] => [den_kratky_1] => [nepodporovany_prohlizec] => [social_in_title] => [social_li_odkaz] => ) [poduzel] => stdClass Object ( [53432] => stdClass Object ( [obsah] => [poduzel] => stdClass Object ( [53433] => stdClass Object ( [obsah] => [iduzel] => 53433 [canonical_url] => _clone_ [skupina_www] => Array ( ) [url] => [sablona] => stdClass Object ( [class] => [html] => [css] => [js] => [autonomni] => ) ) [53434] => stdClass Object ( [obsah] => [iduzel] => 53434 [canonical_url] => _clone_ [skupina_www] => Array ( ) [url] => [sablona] => stdClass Object ( [class] => [html] => [css] => [js] => [autonomni] => ) ) [53436] => stdClass Object ( [obsah] => [iduzel] => 53436 [canonical_url] => _clone_ [skupina_www] => Array ( ) [url] => [sablona] => stdClass Object ( [class] => [html] => [css] => [js] => [autonomni] => ) ) ) [iduzel] => 53432 [canonical_url] => _clone_ [skupina_www] => Array ( ) [url] => [sablona] => stdClass Object ( [class] => [html] => [css] => [js] => [autonomni] => ) ) [53439] => stdClass Object ( [obsah] => [poduzel] => stdClass Object ( [53619] => stdClass Object ( [nazev] => Recent news [seo_title] => Recent news [seo_desc] => Recent news [autor] => [autor_email] => [perex] => [ikona] => [obrazek] => [pozadi] => [obsah] => [urlnadstranka] => [iduzel] => 53619 [canonical_url] => [skupina_www] => Array ( ) [url] => /home [sablona] => stdClass Object ( [class] => stranka_novinky [html] => [css] => [js] => [autonomni] => 1 ) ) [53440] => stdClass Object ( [nazev] => About us [seo_title] => About us [seo_desc] => About us [autor] => [autor_email] => [obsah] =>

We are a research group working at Department of Petroleum Technology and Alternative Fuels at University of Chemistry and Technology Prague and at UCT Technopark in Kralupy nad Vltavou. Our research topics are motivated by Green chemistry principles and environmental sustainability. Catalyst design, synthesis and characterization coupled with testing in chemical reactions are our main directions 

Main research interests: 

Development of environmentally friendly catalysts for:

  • Ester hydrogenolysis
  • Deoxygenation of phenolics, triglycerides and aldol condensation products

Valorization of biomass-derived compounds

  • Hydrogenation / deoxygenation of phenolic compounds
  • Aldol condensation of furfural with ketones
  • Selective hydrogenation / deoxygenation of aldol condensation products
  • Hydrotreatment of bio-oils and waste triglyceride

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sas

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Our laboratories and technical hall are equipped with several reactors for catalyst testing as well as equipment for catalyst preparation and characterization.

Reactors  

Micro Catalyst Bed unit – This PC-controlled unit is used for hydrogenation under high pressure of various compounds. Two liquids simultaneously with a gas such as H2 or N2 can be feed into the fixed-bed reactor of 11 ml (16 cm x 0.85 cm). The unit can be pressured up to 280 bar while with maximum temperature is 450 °C. 

Bench Top Autoclave Reactor – This high pressure stirred laboratory apparatus is used for diverse catalyst research, catalyst characterization, and surface chemistry studies under neutral, reductive or oxidizing atmosphere. The autoclave can be pressured up to 200 bar, the maximum operating temperature is 500 °C.

Down-flow fixed-bed tube reactor - This reactor is used for the treatment of solid materials under high-temperature conditions and the study of their catalytic performance. The flow catalytic unit equipped with: a tubular furnace (a heating zone with the length of 300 mm and the maximum temperature of 1000 °C), gas flow meters and an HPLC pump.

Analytical methods

ICP-OES is used for the determination of metal leaching from catalysts in an organic matrix.

GC machine Agilent 7820A is used for the analysis of reaction products. The GC unit is equipped with an auto-injection system, a capillary column and FID, and controlled by the OpenLAB CDS Workstation.

At UCT we have long-lasting and successful cooperation with:
Laboratory for XRF and XRD analysis (S. Randáková, J. Cibulková)
Laboratory for H2-TPR and nitrogen physisorption (M. Lhotka)
Laboratory for TGA-MS (V. Fíla)
Laboratory for AAS analysis (D. Pokorná)
Laboratory for Raman spectroscopy (M. Novotná, L. Lapčák)
Laboratory for ICP analysis at UCT Technopark Kralupy

Methods

The catalyst preparation is our focus and we are able to prepare co-precipitated and impregnated catalysts with the following calcination in ovens under different atmospheres.

Co-precipitation apparatus is intended for catalysts preparation under controlled temperature and pH values. The apparatus equipped with: magnetic stirrer with hotplate (maximum temperature is 380 °C, maximum stirring speed is 1.500 rpm), benchtop pH-meter (resolution ± 0.01 pH, maximum temperature is 100 °C) with glass electrode, 2 peristaltic pumps for co-feeding reactants (maximum output is 100 ml/min).

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To join us, please contact us!

We are happy to announce four new Ph.D. thesis topics related to our ongoing research projects focusing on biomass valorization to value-added products with the help of heterogeneous catalysis and green chemistry principles. If you would like to know more about the topics or studying at the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, please contact us. The deadline to apply for the positions is 15. 4. 2021.

We offer you an opportunity to do Bachelor or Diploma Thesis in the field of catalysis. 


JUNIOR RESEARCHER: EXPIRED on 14th April

Environmental Chemistry And Technology: Catalysis For Advanced Biofuels

Multifunctional Catalysts for Efficient Biomass Valorization

Significant attention and research efforts of the scientific community have been dedicated to the efficient valorization of biomass-derived oxygenates to advanced biofuels and petrochemicals. Efficient conversion of simple biomass-derived building blocks, such as different furanics, aldehydes/ketones, acids/esters and phenolics, requires a cascade of multiple conversion steps including, for instance, C-C coupling, dehydration and hydrogenation reactions relying on multifunctional catalysts instead of a cascade of single-function catalysts. Thus, the main motivation of the project is to design efficient multifunctional catalysts for multicomponent mixtures of biomass-derived oxygenates.

Main objectives and role of postdoc:

  • Rational design of multifunctional catalysts
  • Synthesis of multifunctional catalysts
  • Characterization of multifunctional catalysts
  • Evaluation of multifunctional catalysts in the model reaction system including C-C coupling and (partial) hydrodeoxygenation
  • Interpreting the structure-activity relationships as a way to improve the catalyst design

Planned activities:

  • Design and synthesis of multifunctional heterogeneous catalysts
  • Detailed characterization of synthesized catalysts
  • Activity, selectivity and stability testing of the synthesized catalysts
  • Analysis of the catalyst synthesis-structure-properties and structure-properties-activity-selectivity relationships
  • Research project proposal preparation

Specific requirements:

  • Practical experience in heterogeneous catalysis
  • Hands-on experience with synthesis/preparation of heterogeneous catalysts
  • Knowledge of catalyst characterization methods
  • Hands-on experience with assessment of the performance of heterogeneous catalysts

Mentors: David Kubička, PhD, MBA and Assoc. Prof. Pavel Šimáček

David.Kubicka@vscht.cz  Pavel.Simacek@vscht.cz

Who can apply?

We are looking for postdoc/junior researchers from around the world who:

  • are max. 7 years after receiving PhD diploma in relevant field
  • were employed outside the Czech Republic for at least 2 years in the last 3 years
  • published at least 2 publications in the last 3 years
  • are interested in one of the 8 key research areas in chemistry (see below)
  • can start the 20-month fellowship on 1 September or 1 October 2020

What do we offer?

  • 20-month fellowship at UCT Prague, supported by EU funds
  • full-time contract
  • monthly salary of 2800 EUR + consumables
  • support of excellent mentor & integration in the research team
  • employee benefits (6 weeks of vacation, catering allowance, language courses, institutional childcare)
  • possibility to apply for own research projects and establish an independent research group
  • international creative environment
  • enjoyable city life in a tolerant and secure country with rich cultural and natural heritage
  • excellent transport connection with the whole world

Selection criteria

  • research excellence (publications, citations, projects, etc.)
  • clear vision and research objectives
  • know-how, international experience, skills, laboratory techniques
  • motivation, creativity, activity, flexibility, independence, responsibility
  • excellent knowledge of written and spoken English (level B2 or higher)
  • organisational, communication and presentation skills
  • ability and willingness to publish results in reviewed highly impacted journals
  • ability and willingness to prepare and submit a research project during the mobility

How to apply?

  • select one key research area in chemistry (see the list)
  • download and fill in APPLICATION FORM
  • submit your application via e-mail to anna.konecka@vscht.cz with “ChemJets2 application” in subject by Tuesday 14 April 2020 23:59 Brussels time
  • be ready for an individual skype interview with mentor between Mon-Thu 27-30 April 2020
  • final results of the selection process will be announced to all applicants in mid-May 2020

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We are open to your questions. Come to visit us at the address:

University of Chemistry and Technology Prague
Technická 5
166 28, Prague 6 – Dejvice

We are also based in research center at Technopark Kralupy, close from Prague

Technopark Kralupy Vysoké školy chemicko-technologické v Praze
Náměstí G. Karse 7/2
278 01 Kralupy nad Vltavou
Czech Republic

Website

Also, you can leave a message in the contact form below:

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Do you want to work with us? Email us.

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In September 2021 we published our new article in Catalysts about the effect of the metal (III) origin on the properties and aldol condensation performance of hydrotalcite-derived materials.

Hydrotalcites (HTCs) are promising solid base catalysts to produce advanced biofuels by aldol condensation. Their main potential lies in the tunability of their acid-base properties by varying their composition. However, the relationship between the composition of hydrotalcites, their basicity, and their catalytic performance has not yet been fully revealed. Here, we have synthesized a series of magnesium-derived HTCs with the various trivalent cations (M3+ = Al, Ga, Fe, In) and evaluated the derived mixed oxides and reconstructed hydrotalcites with respect to their physicochemical properties and catalytic performance in aldol condensation of furfural and acetone. This allowed us to elucidate the role of the trivalent cation on the structure, properties, and catalytic performance (including its stability) of the synthesized materials.

 

Enjoy your reading.

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GreenCats participated in School on Catalysis that took place at the chateau Liblice in October. Our members, Violetta Pospelova and Jaroslav Aubrecht presented their short lectures, while David Kubička and Valeria Korolova presented their posters. There were many interesting plenary lectures on different Catalyst Characterization techniques such as FTIR spectroscopy, Scanning Probe Microscopy, Temperature Programmed Methods and NMR. Moreover, there were also non-scientific lectures on other aspects of researchers' life such as promotion of science and publishing in scientific journals. It was a pleasure to be a part of this conference! 

Where can you see our GreenCats group next? 52nd Symposium on Catalysis in November! More details here: http://www.catsymp.cz

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GreenCats recommend you to leave your laboratory or the office and go for a trip! 

This year, the whole GreenCats team went for a trip to Bohemian Paradise that is known for its beautiful nature. We went hiking and visited the Frydstejn castle ruins that were spectacular. 

Besides that, each GreenCats member had a presentation on the latest results, progress and research plans. Everyone could share his ideas and new thoughts on the current projects in the informal atmosphere. Moreover, we also enjoyed the team-building activities such as playing games or cooking food together. Thank you, GreenCats teammates, for a great trip!

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Last year, we have started to examine Cu supported catalysts for ester hydrogenolysis. Since that time, we have published three articles and two of them right now.

Aubrecht J., Pospelova V., Kikhtyanin O., Veselý M., Kubička D.: Critical evaluation of parameters affecting Cu nanoparticles formation and their activity in dimethyl adipate hydrogenolysis. Catal. Today 

 Aubrecht J., Pospelova V., Kikhtyanin O., Lhotka M., Kubička D.: Understanding of the key properties of supported Cu-based catalysts and their influence on ester hydrogenolysis. Catal. Today

The first study is focused on the use of 10 supports for Cu deposition. We described the support features affecting the active site formation and final catalyst activity in dimethyl adipate hydrogenolysis. As the study was conducted, the alumina- and zirconia-based supports were estimated as the best option to prepare them. The full study you can read here.

The following article deals with only four promising supported catalysts from the first study, but the preparation method was changed to evaluate its influence. Again, both alumina- and zirconia-based supported catalysts were very active. Continue reading here.

Nonetheless, the story does not end. We continue...

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Jon Ander was in the lab every day during one semester in 2019. He gained experience with reactor operation during the testing of CuZnAl catalysts in ester hydrogenolysis. Then, he easily passed the ERASMUS Project A and his Thesis. READ MORE

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This is my first physical educational conference in Europe after one year of covid lockdown. I was very excited and eager to present my research work after the lockdown at one of the most renowned catalytic conferences in the Czech Republic. School of Catalysis is an excellent conference to network with PhD scholars and professionals who share the same interests. I have presented my lecture "Investigation of Acid-base Modified SBA-15 Catalyst for One-pot Aldol Condensation and Hydrodeoxygenation of Furfural and Ketone to Bio-jet Fuel". All presentations were informative and allowed the audience for a discussion. It was a great chance to learn about updated research and meet people from all over the Czech Republic Universities and Industries.

Besides Maha, our a new PostDoc student, some other members of our group participated there.
David presented a plenary lecture "Catalysis – A Key to Sustainability";
Andrey were talking about "Hydrogenolysis of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters over CuZn-based Catalysts"
and Valeriia share her experience with"Synthesis of Catalysts Derived from MgAl Layered Double Hydroxide and Their Application in Aldol Condensation

We are looking forward to participate there again in October.

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How can a different synthesis method affect the properties and the activity of Cu/ZnO catalyst? Our answer is REMARKABLY! 

To the best of our knowledge, we compare for the first time the properties and hydrogenolysis activity of Cu/ZnO catalysts synthesized by five different methods including incipient wetness impregnation, wet impregnation, deposition-precipitation, chemisorption-hydrolysis, and co-precipitation. We believe that these results would be valuable for the further development of environmentally friendly Cu/ZnO catalysts with small, stable, and active Cu nanoparticles. If you also want to find out what is the role of the synthesis method on the way to the efficient Cu/ZnO catalyst for ester hydrogenolysis, you can check our latest article published in Applied Catalysis A: General

 

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Our ladies Violetta Pospelova and Valeriia Korolova participated in The International Congress of Chemical and Process Engineering CHISA 2021 organized by Czech Society of Chemical Engineering and Dechema. The Congress was held virtually from 15 to 18 March 2021. It covered a wide range of Topics starting from Energy, Waste Management to Chemical Engineering and, of course, Catalysis. Violetta presented the talk about the effect of synthesis methods on Cu/ZnO catalyst properties and activity. Valeriia presented her recent results on the impact of rehydration on hydrotalcites activity in aldol condensation. If you want to see the presentations, they are available online here.

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  • How did you learn about our group? How did you get here?

My first acquaintance with The GreenCats Research Group happened several years ago when Oleg Kikhtyanin had a business visit to Boreskov Institute of Catalysis (BIC) where I had been working for 10 years. He described the scientific directions and achievements of The GreenCats Research Group, which of course aroused great interest for the researchers from Russia. This meeting became the basis for joint research and the submission of a joint application from The Research Group of Assoc. Prof. David Kubicka from the UCT Prague and the laboratory of Prof. Vadim Yakovlev from BIC. Subsequently, David Kubicka invited me to join the group to continue the research under a joint Czech-Russian project.

  • What is your project at UCT about?

My research work in UCT is under several directions. The first one is simultaneous deoxygenation of acids and phenols in pyrolyzed wastewater sludges in the frame of a joint Czech-Russian project. Sewage sludge (SS) from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants could be used for the production of pyrolysis liquid (PL-SS). Currently, the sewage sludge is primarily disposed of via landfilling and incineration that are not environmentally friendly methods due to the high concentration of potential carcinogens (heavy metals, dioxins, pathogenic microbes, etc.) in SS. That is why the pyrolysis of the SS followed by PL-SS processing is of great importance for environmental protection issues of SS utilization. The high content of organic components makes SS an attractive feedstock for the fuel and energy sector. Catalytic hydrotreatment of the model compounds of PL-SS (acids and phenols) is of particular interest to reduce the oxygen content in PL-SS. This process presents a key step to obtain a new generation of biofuels and eco-chemicals. Within the second direction, I carry out the development of catalysts for the efficient transformation of vegetable oil to clean fuels jointly with Heilongjiang University, China.

  • What is your previous experience?

I had been working at the Laboratory of catalytic processing of renewables at Boreskov Institute of Catalysis from 2010 to 2020. I obtained my Master of Science in Chemistry (Catalysis and Adsorption) in 2012 at Novosibirsk State University (Novosibirsk, Russia). In 2016 I received a PhD degree with the thesis “Hydrodeoxygenation of model compounds of renewable fuels over catalysts based on Ni-containing alloys and carbides”. I actively took part in different Russian and international projects aimed at research and development of catalysts for hydrotreatment of pyrolysis liquid and its model compounds. The study of catalysts focuses on the understanding of the fundamental principles of the catalytic action on a wide range of organic oxygen compounds. The specific task in the framework of the scientific interests is the development of new types of catalysts modified by different additives to improve their activity and stability in pyrolysis liquid upgrading. I have experience in supervision of Russian and foreigner masters and PhD student.

  • What is your experience with living in the Czech Republic?

My first visit to Prague was in 2019. And I was delighted with the beauty of the city and its unique atmosphere. Despite the fact that all public places are closed now, I am glad that I can enjoy the beauty of the city without a lot of tourists. One of the advantages of the city is that most of the people in Prague speak English or Russian, which helps me in socialization.

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It has been one year since coronavirus has started and affected our life. Many things have changed in all parts of our being and the research area has been changed as well. We started to behave a little bit differently. On one hand, we are not able to move laboratory equipment and instruments home and our presence is still essential but most of other tasks could be accomplished in home office when we are connected together virtually. Yes, this is the word describing this time period – VIRTUALLY. The time we spend in front of a screen has enormously increased and the microphone and webcam are undoubtedly our new work essentials. But, what about our science community, the conferences, sharing of knowledge, meeting new people? Is it alive? 

Yes, partially, I would say and we had to learn how to handle that. From the beginning of autumn last year, conference organizers have accepted the challenge and have started to make them VIRTUALLY. Ehm? Yes, true. We have taken a part in several conferences with our lectures already. So how is such a virtual conference going? Mostly, we have received a link and connect ourselves to a virtual room, nothing extraordinary. When you are a listener, the position is similar to real conference but one advantage appeared. You can refresh your mind whenever you want which helps you to be concentrated for longer time. However, what is completely different is a lecturer position. You sit in empty room with your microphone and for 20 min you are trying to do your best in front of static and deaf laptop believing that someone hears you. From my personal point of view, my nervousness from the audience is significantly lower, but I had to learn how to fight with the empty room feeling during the presentation. No eye to eye interaction. This could be even multiplied by possible technical errors. Yes, it also has happened to me. At the last conference, my audience could not see my shared, as indicated on my screen, presentation. But luckily during one minute, I set it correctly and my audience could see my slides. It frustrated me and I totally lost my focus on the topic. Luckily, after several slides, I was back on track. So, presenting is sometimes little inscrutably. However, the most limiting thing is absence of networking, making new personal contacts with conference participants, when we cannot discuss the presented topic in detail, establish new cooperation or get new knowledge. This is not possible to do virtually. 

We wish you strong health and see you soon personally!

 

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  • How did you learn about our group? How did you get here?

The GreenCat Research Group led by Assoc. Prof. David at UCT Prague is very inspiring because it provides solutions for the world’s energy crisis and the conducted works that are very beneficial and related to my primary research interest as well. The catalysis research work carried out by the Group is highly interdisciplinary which focused preferentially in the area of catalysis for environmental and energy applications. This is one of the main aspects of my PhD research. I’ve been following David’s works for many years now, and his success in hydrodeoxygenation research makes the group internationally recognized as a center of excellence for catalysis research.

  • What is your project at UCT about?

My research project is about designing a multifunctional catalyst for an effective volarization efficient of biomass-derived oxygenates to advanced biofuels and petrochemicals. Designing a trifunctional catalyst (metal-doped acid-base catalyst) for an effective one-pot transformation of biomass-derived platform chemicals (oxygenates such as furfural and acetone) to biofuels and petrochemical products. The one-pot catalytic transformation of renewable biomass to fuels and chemicals is one of the very attractive and crucial clean energy technologies that can reduce the issues associated with biomass disposal in various countries, as agricultural and forestry practices produce a large amount of biomass wastes derived from harvestable yield.

  • What is your previous experience?

My previous experience has mainly been directed towards the development of hierarchical nanozeolites and renewable fuels from biomass, with experience in high-pressure batch reactor systems and extensive study of catalyst systems. I have acquired various advanced catalyst characterization techniques and credible skills in performing kinetics and mechanism of the catalytic reactions, particularly hydrodeoxygenation (HDO).

  • What is your experience with living in the Czech Republic?

Prague is a beautiful city that I had always wanted to visit. I really love the city with a rich history and beautiful architecture. Besides, the people from the university are very helpful and friendly. 

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We are happy to announce four new Ph.D. thesis topics (see here) related to our ongoing research projects focusing on biomass valorization to value-added products with the help of heterogeneous catalysis and green chemistry principles. If you would like to know more about the topics or studying at the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, please contact us. The deadline to apply for the positions is 15. 4. 2021.

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Globally accepted phenomenon that Cu is an active site in ester hydrogenolysis has been described for several times. However, some comprehensive research on the effect of different promoters on copper catalysts was missing. In our newly published article, we studied the promoter effect on properties of Cu active site and catalyst activity. A close correlation between acid-base sites and catalyst activity, performance and selectivity was described. The best choices for catalyst promotion were defined. 

 Please, read the article and send us your comments.

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This autumn, members of GreenCats group changed their laboratory coats for the outdoor wear and went to the small town in Krkonoše mountains, Pec pod Sněžkou. We decided to organize our group meeting in this beautiful place, change the habitual environment and get new vision for our future research. We managed to have presentations from each member of GreenCats talking about the results from previous months and plans for the next academic year. And of course, we did not forget to enjoy hiking in mountains in our spare time. We recommend you to change your surroundings and you will get new creative ideas for your research, for sure!!

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We would like to share with you our new article focusing on long-term hydrogenation of pyrolysis bio-oil over a series of sulphided NiMo catalysts recently published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. This is one of the first articles dealing with long-term stability of the catalyst recently published in the research field. Distillation of a hydrotreated bio-oil into naphtha, gas oil, and atmospheric residue allowed obtaining further insights into oxygenates present and their distribution.

Enjoy your reading

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We would like to share with you our new article focusing on transesterification occurring during ester hydrogenolysis that has been recently published in Applied Catalysis A journal. The process of ester hydrogenolysis is commonly performed over copper catalysts and to increase catalyst performance a promoter should be used. But, next to its effect on catalyst stability, it may be responsible also for the undesired by-products formation. In the current article, the effect of ZnO on the side transesterification reaction and newly probed reaction scheme were described.

Enjoy your reading. 

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We are a group of undergraduate students from Malaysia, currently pursuing our Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Applied Chemistry at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), Malaysia. As we are in our third year of our undergraduate studies, we are required to seek traineeship opportunities in related industries. This was the perfect opportunity as UTP signed an agreement with UCT. Thus, we decided to grab this once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience traineeship life abroad, in Prague, Czech Republic.

The seven-month traineeship at UCT was a very valuable and memorable experience indeed as we gained a lot of soft skills and practical skills that helped us in our studies and career. In the beginning, when we accepted my traineeship in this particular department, we were quite uncertain and lacked self-confidence that we would perform well in our works. However, under the proper guidance of our supervisor/advisors (Jara and Viola), we managed to excel in our performance, and it had exceeded our expectations.

Being in UCT has truly given us insight into the researching world and what it is all about. From this experience, we have learned that researching is quite intense as it is time-consuming and requires great patience. In order to achieve excellent results, a step-by-step process must be followed which requires energy and time. Throughout our traineeship here in UCT, we have witnessed multiple failures and errors. However, from these failures, we were able to improve day-by-day and eventually produce great outcomes. The dedication and effort that we have contributed eventually pay off when success is achieved. We feel satisfied with the overall outcome of our project as they have progressed well and developed exceptional results.

It took us a few weeks to get used to this new work environment at UCT especially when being in a foreign country. This experience definitely encouraged us to work out of our comfort zone and to be more outspoken with the help of our advisors. In the end, we managed to adapt well with not only our personal well-being but also in terms of our traineeship project at UCT. We have grown more comfortable with our work schedules and procedures that we are able to perform tasks independently with minimal supervision of our advisors.

As a whole, we believe that this internship was successful in furthering our knowledge in a career in the field of chemistry. Completing the scientific research internship was very rewarding. The experience we gained working in the lab will surely give us an advantage when doing our final year project in UTP. Besides, this opportunity helps us understand concepts on catalytic chemistry which requires broad knowledge and a lot of literature review. Sometimes it could be frustrating when we were not able to find an answer to the problems by reading through articles. We have learnt a lot about catalyst preparation, heterogeneous catalysis, and how different factors may affect the overall reaction.

Our advisors were tremendously helpful in making sure that we understood our projects well. Any uncertainties that we had regarding the work was guaranteed to be acknowledged by our advisors. We all know that practical work gives us a wholesome experience and it is the best way to prepare ourselves for our future careers. This traineeship gives us the opportunity to improve hands-on by applying the theoretical knowledge that we have learnt in UTP.

 By Nur Amira Azmi and Chiew Mey Onn (Malaysia)

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French ERASMUS student studied at UCT last year and worked with us for a semester. Her Project B was focused on ester hydrogenolysis, where she prepared several catalysts and tested them in dimethyl adipate hydrogenolysis.

Follow her full memories HERE

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Some students from UCT cooperated with us on research topics and successfully defended their Theses. One of them, Petr, summarized his memories in the Flashback #3 and says: "Remember, in scientific research you compete with the whole world!"

Follow his full memories HERE

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This May, the part of our group focusing on ester hydrogenolysis published a new article in Catalysis Science and Technology. It was previously described that use of CuZn catalysts is a promising alternative to toxic CuCr catalysts in ester hydrogenolysis. Now, we described in detail the effect of catalyst precursors on activity in dimethyl adipate hydrogenolysis. Using this study, it is possible to tune the structure of CuZn catalysts to achieve the highest catalytic activity in hydrogenolysis.

Enjoy reading and let us know your opinion!

Full text

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The second part of our #Flashback section is dedicated to Matthew. The funniest guy in our lab.

"Making Ice Cream with liquid nitrogen in the lab and going round a local refinery with the team." Matthew, Scotland"

Read the whole article here- Matthew's FLASHBACK

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Great news! Our research group under supervision of Oleg Kikhtyanin published a paper in Catalysis Today where they discuss in detail the effect of the furfural feedstock acidity on its aldol condensation with acetone when using the MgAl mixed oxides.

The interesting part of the research was not only the testing of the catalyst activity of the as-received furfural. The furfural conversion can be improved by distilling the as-received furfural prior to the aldol condensation experiments. Moreover, the storage of the freshly distilled furfural during a few days, even in a closed flask and at a dark place, resulted in a substantial decrease in furfural conversion in aldol condensation. The main message is that furfural properties have to be closely monitored to obtain reproducible catalytic results.

Enjoy reading and let us know your opinion!

Full text

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We would like to bring you a new section #Flashback that describes the feeling and experience of our former students. 

As Carlos said, "... it was a key point for my interview in my actual job." Follow his full Flashback.

Carlos' FLASHBACK

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The 9th Czech – Polish Catalytic Seminar was held in Ostrava on Friday February 7th, 2020. The CzePoCat was attended by over 70 participants from Polish and Czech universities, including three from our group. The seminar covered all the areas of catalysis with a focus on synthesis, catalysts characterization and the application of catalytic and photocatalytic processes in environmental protection and renewable energy production.

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The largest European conference in the field of catalysis took place from 18 to 23 August 2019 in Aachen, Germany. More than 1500 participants from the most prestigious European universities or industry partners, including three from our department, shared their knowledge and experience in Aachen, Germany. The project for the development of copper catalysts was discussed with colleagues from universities in Japan, Germany, Russia, and France. This important event EuropaCat is held every two years and the next will be hosted by Prague in 2021 with Dr. Kubička as the main organizer.

Their posters are available here.

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Our young researchers under supervision of David Kubička discussed their PhD topics with prof. Agustín Martínez from Valencia. He is working for a long time with catalysis and biomass conversion at Instituto de Tecnología Química. He also performed opened lecture „Fundamental aspects of the ethylene oligomerization reaction on Ni-zeolite catalysts“.

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The three-day Summer School of Catalysis took place at the chateau Liblice in mid-May. Our PhD students listened to lectures presented by researchers from all over Europe, for example from ETH in Zurich, the University of Dresden or Leipzig. Lectures covered all areas of catalysis - homogeneous, heterogeneous, modern photocatalysis, and also computational chemistry. A pleasant innovation was a lecture on developing our presentation skills. Our PhD students - Jaroslav Aubrecht, Violetta Pospelova and Bogdan Shumeiko had the opportunity to present their results either as a poster or a short lecture. At the same time, Dr. David Kubička was one of the main organizers of the event and also had a lecture on the use of catalysts in industry

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In past two years, many international students were working on their student projects with our research group as a part of their ERASMUS study. Some of them gained their first experience of working in the laboratory and basic knowledge of the subject, while others have extended their experience and gained new ones. However, each work involved practical tasks connected with the use of analytical methods or control of different types of reactors. All students actively participated in projects currently solving at the department. The universities they come from are located across Europe from Scotland (Matthew H.), France (Clara M.), Spain (Jon A. G., Salvador T.M.T) through Germany (Carlos M.) to Italy (Hadi D.) and Turkey (Aksu T.S.). The main projects involving the Erasmus students were: hydrogenolysis of the esters for which a new, more environmentally friendly, catalyst is needed, hydrogenation of biooil for the production of biofuels and hydrogenation of triglycerides for green diesel production.

Examples of projects:

Hydrogenation of biooil from biomass pyrolysis

Hydrogenolysis of dimethyl adipate over CuZnAl catalysts

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Just like last year, our doctoral students Jaroslav Aubrecht, Violetta Pospelova and Bogdan Shumeiko from the group of Dr. David Kubička took part in the 2nd Catalytic seminar, that was held on 6 February at the Technical University of Ostrava. The seminar was also attended by a master student Petr Pozděna, who had a chance to present his results to a professional audience. The main aim of the seminar is to present and discuss its results with other colleagues in the field. Three of the four presentations were focused on a complex study of copper catalysts for the hydrogenolysis of esters, while the fourth one focused on the hydrogenation of oxygenate compounds from bio-oil. This year's novelty was the introduction of a teaching lecture, during which all participants expanded their knowledge in the field of an analytical technique of thermally programmed desorption.

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In January 2019, we welcomed prof. Harry Bitter from the prestigious Dutch Wageningen University & Research Centre, here at the UCT. Prof. Bitter is a head of the Biobased Chemistry and Technology Department at Wageningen University. He gave a public lecture on Carbohydrate Based Conversions - from catalyst preparation to reactor choice, outlining a new use of biomass starch for practical purposes. In connection with the visit, the members of our department had the opportunity to present their research and discuss their results, plans, and problems with the prof. Bitter. The presentations were mainly focused on hydrodeoxygenation of triglycerides, hydrogenation of bio-oil, hydrogenolysis of esters and aldol condensation

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The 1st Catalytic Seminar was held on Wednesday, February 7, at the Technical University of Ostrava. The seminar was attended by a number of researchers, doctoral and postdoctoral students from the UCT Prague, University of Pardubice, The Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of CAS, J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry and Technical University of Ostrava. The successful representatives of the Department of Petroleum Technology and Alternative Fuels at the seminar were the PhD students: Jaroslav Aubrecht with a presentation on "Initial steps in the study of hydrogenation of dimethyl adipate on CuZnAl catalysts", Violetta Pospelova with a presentation on "Preparation of a series of CuZn catalysts and comparison of their activity in hydrogenolysis of esters" and Bogdan Shumeiko with a presentation on "Catalytic hydrogenation of bio-oil" supervised by Dr. David Kubička. The seminar also included an excursion to the laboratories of the Institute of Environmental Technologies at the Technical University of Ostrava. We hope this meeting will become an annual tradition. The seminar was financially supported by the Ostrava branch of the Czech Chemical Society

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