Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Chemistry of catalysts for clean air

January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2027
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.04.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry   
2.02.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Chemical engineering   

Code Science Field
1.04  Natural Sciences  Chemical sciences 
2.04  Engineering and Technology  Chemical engineering  
synthesis, nanostructures, composites, nobel metals, transition metals, metal oxides, characterization, catalysis, photocatalysis, air cleaning, VOC removal, CO2 conversion, N2 conversion, gas phase, quato-chemical modeling, multiscale modeling, electronic and geometrical properties
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on December 8, 2023; A3 for period 2017-2021
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  288  7,173  6,479  22.5 
Scopus  302  7,840  7,045  23.33 
Researchers (12)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  28557  PhD Petar Djinović  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2022 - 2023  241 
2.  34522  PhD Miha Grilc  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2022 - 2023  390 
3.  52002  PhD Kristijan Lorber  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2022 - 2023  26 
4.  52220  Suzana Mal    Technical associate  2022  11 
5.  27535  PhD Ksenija Maver  Chemistry  Researcher  2023  45 
6.  13399  PhD Nataša Novak Tušar  Chemistry  Head  2022 - 2023  420 
7.  53779  PhD Jelena Papan Djaniš  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2022 - 2023  39 
8.  54430  Miha Ravbar  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2022  12 
9.  34546  PhD Andraž Šuligoj  Chemistry  Researcher  2022  104 
10.  55424  PhD Hue Tong Vu  Chemistry  Researcher  2022 - 2023  17 
11.  38180  PhD Boštjan Žener  Chemistry  Researcher  2022 - 2023  39 
12.  54620  Taja Žibert  Chemical engineering  Technical associate  2022 - 2023  19 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0103  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology  Ljubljana  1626990  23,092 
2.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,377 
In today's world, clean air is one of the top priorities of humanity due to human health and climate change. Air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air from industrial processes, transportation, and consumer products. Both controlling the sources of pollution and cleaning the air are important for improving air quality. The research program focuses on the synthesis of low-cost and environmentally friendly catalysts to clean waste air in industry and transport before its discharge into the environment, and photocatalysts to clean polluted air already in the environment. THE MULTISCALE RESEARCH PROGRAM will integrate SYNTHESIS with the development of new CHARACTERIZATION approaches coupled with CATALYTIC/PHOTOCATALYTIC REACTION TESTING and MODELING to understand the structure-property-activity relationship of the catalysts/photocatalysts and continue to generate new innovative chemistry of the materials. The main objectives of the research program are to design and develop new catalysts that operate at low temperatures, photocatalysts that exploit a high fraction of the solar emission spectrum, and catalysts and/or photocatalysts that convert CO2 and N2 from the air into valuable chemicals. The materials of choice are composite nanostructures of noble and/or transition metals on various oxide supports like silica, alumina, titania, ceria, or mixed metal oxides acting by heterogeneous catalytic mechanisms. Emphasis will be placed on the green synthesis approach and shaping of powders into granules and coatings. We will calculate the electronic structure of atomic cluster systems by ab-initio methods, mainly the density functional theory (DFT). By transferring the modeling to higher scales, the quantum chemistry toolbox and chemical engineering toolboxes will be integrated in order to describe, optimize and predict the behavior of catalytic conversion on a multiple (atom to reactor) scale. The research program focuses on research, interdisciplinarity, and current environmental and societal needs. The internationally recognized expertise of the program team members, the proposed critical mass of researchers, the modern research equipment available at the location and through international collaboration, and the experience of the program team members in managing domestic and international projects will ensure both the feasibility of the proposed research in the time frame envisioned and an excellent environment for PhD students. The program will enable PhD students to acquire knowledge and skills for the design of various types of materials from their synthesis to characterization and to understand the structure-property-activity relationship. The applicability of the research and the connection with potential users will provide a channel for the transfer of products from the laboratory to the industrial level. The interdisciplinary nature of the research will enable breakthroughs in research contributing to scientific excellence.
Significance for science
Research on catalysts and photocatalysts is one of the most important traditional and at the same time modern fields of materials science. The research program focuses on catalysts/photocatalysts for air purification. We contribute to the development of science by exploring innovative approaches to the green synthesis of these materials, as well as approaches to their formation in suitable macrostructural forms such as granules or coatings. Through the multi-stage program, we also aim to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between the structure, properties, and activity of catalysts/photocatalysts. This knowledge will help us to design the electronic and geometrical properties of the material to design the optimal catalysts/photocatalysts for the targeted application. Nowadays, the study of synergistic effects between active sites that significantly increase the efficiency of catalysts/photocatalysts is particularly topical in science. This is the focus of our research program. The research results will influence the development and understanding of synergistic effects of active sites in catalysts/photocatalysts also in other research areas, such as self-cleaning surfaces for buildings using solar light, water purification and biomass conversion into chemicals and fuels. In addition, we will influence the development of the link between experimental chemistry and theoretical chemistry, which is still very much in its infancy, especially in the field of photocatalysis.
Significance for the country
The proposed research program is an excellent environment for PhD students. The program enables PhD students to acquire knowledge and skills for the design of various types of materials with catalytic activity: from their synthesis to characterization and understanding relationships between the structure and properties of the material and its activity. Relevant knowledge and competencies are acquired through research work in laboratories with modern experimental equipment and through cooperation with internationally recognized researchers. This guarantees the competitiveness of the graduates in the global knowledge market. With the acquired theoretical and practical knowledge and competencies, PhD students will be able to continue their research work at universities, research institutions, and firms in Slovenia and abroad. The following dissemination activities by members of the new research program are used to maintain and enhance the international reputation of the National Institute of Chemistry (NIC), the University of Ljubljana (UL), and the University of Nova Gorica (UNG): presentations at conferences, workshops, summer schools, foreign universities, media, social media. Dissemination also opens access to foreign knowledge. As members of governing bodies of international societies (EFCATS - European Federation of Catalysis Societies, ENMIX - European Nanoporous Materials Institute of Excellence, EU Catalysis Cluster, Energy X initiative), members of the new research program co-create international science policy.
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