Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Nanoporous Materials

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.04.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry   

Code Science Field
P003  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry 

Code Science Field
1.04  Natural Sciences  Chemical sciences 
Nanoporous materials, microporous materials, mesoporous materials, heterogeneous catalysts, adsorbents, advanced oxidation method, water and air purification, biomass conversion, heat storage, hydrogen storage, CO2 capture and storage, drug delivery systems, solid state NMR, DFT
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (26)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  53731  PhD Ciara Susan Byrne  Chemistry  Researcher  2019  43 
2.  33203  PhD Tomaž Čendak  Physics  Researcher  2015 - 2019  41 
3.  51826  Marjana Gantar Albreht    Technical associate  2018 - 2019  10 
4.  03373  PhD Venčeslav Kaučič  Chemistry  Retired researcher  2015 - 2019  647 
5.  35379  PhD Andraž Krajnc  Chemistry  Researcher  2015 - 2019  111 
6.  51412  Jure Lapajne  Computer science and informatics  Technical associate  2018 
7.  52220  Suzana Mal    Technical associate  2018 - 2019  12 
8.  18146  PhD Gregor Mali  Physics  Researcher  2015 - 2019  381 
9.  30634  Darja Maučec    Technical associate  2015 - 2016  47 
10.  25023  PhD Matjaž Mazaj  Chemistry  Researcher  2015 - 2019  286 
11.  13399  PhD Nataša Novak Tušar  Chemistry  Researcher  2015 - 2019  426 
12.  53116  Manca Ocvirk    Technical associate  2019 
13.  17274  Mojca Opresnik    Technical associate  2015 - 2019  25 
14.  50072  Nika Osterman  Pharmacy  Technical associate  2017 
15.  37754  PhD Oleksii Pliekhov  Chemistry  Researcher  2016 - 2018  19 
16.  29027  PhD Mojca Rangus  Physics  Researcher  2015 - 2017  105 
17.  15790  PhD Alenka Ristić  Chemistry  Researcher  2015 - 2019  271 
18.  34546  PhD Andraž Šuligoj  Chemistry  Researcher  2015 - 2017  104 
19.  52007  PhD Tia Kristian Tajnšek  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2018 - 2019  17 
20.  52359  PhD Ivalina O. Trendafilova  Chemistry  Researcher  2019  26 
21.  35378  PhD Jure Varlec  Physics  Researcher  2015 - 2018  11 
22.  52008  Janez Volavšek  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2018 - 2019  19 
23.  38260  PhD Nika Vrtovec  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2015 - 2019  16 
24.  50708  Anna Zabilska    Technical associate  2017 - 2018 
25.  14120  PhD Nataša Zabukovec Logar  Chemistry  Head  2015 - 2019  539 
26.  39707  PhD Tadej Žumbar  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2017 - 2019  16 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,316 
Research work in the scope of the program will focus on the development of advanced porous adsorbents and catalysts. Materials that will be studied are microporous and mesoporous silicates and aluminosilicates, microporous aluminophosphates, metal-organic framework materials (MOF-s) and their analogues modified/functionalized with transition and other metals. The diameters of the pores in microporous materials range from 0.3 to 2 nm, the materials are crystalline and allow the separation of molecules with an accuracy of 0.01 nm (e.g. separation of gases). Pore ​​diameters in mesoporous materials range from 2 to 50 nm, their frameworks are amorphous, therefore, they are less selective than microporous for the passage of various molecules, however, the large pores enable their use in the processes with macromolecules (e.g. conversion of biomass). The preparation of new materials with desired properties will be supported by accurate structural characterization. It will include determination of the size and direction of the pores as well as the type and position of active sites in the frameworks (i.e. location of the molecule sorption, catalytically active sites, etc.). Special focus will be on in-situ research of sorption and catalytic as well as crystallization processes, for which we will need to adapt/develop appropriate spectroscopic and diffraction methods. The results of the structural characterization will be upgraded with computational approaches (process modelling of sorption and catalysis, calculations of the most favourable energy conditions), which will enable a better understanding of the structure-property relationship and better synthesis design. The synthesis of the most interesting materials will be transferred from laboratory to a semi-industrial level in collaboration with two key partners, companies Silkem d.o.o. and Cinkarna d.d. Proposed research will allow the development of cost-effective and stable materials for their use in advanced environmental and energy processes such as advanced oxidation processes of water and air cleaning (AOP), conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals, heat and gas storage and the development of porous drug delivery systems. State-of-the-art research equipment and expertize will constitute an excellent environment for the education of doctoral students. Part of the proposed research is a continuation of the optimization of the systems that we have successfully developed in the previous period, while the rest is based on new concepts of the synthesis. The feasibility of the proposed research is based on experiences and international recognition of the members of the program group in the field of nanoporous materials and experiences in managing domestic and international projects. The proposed program group has a critical mass of researchers, which ensures a successful implementation of the planned research within the foreseen period of time.
Significance for science
Nanoporous materials are implemented in the fields of catalysis and adsorption for many decades. Nanoporous catalysts with isolated metal sites having the enzymatic role, possess exceptional selectivity and enable the production of targeted molecular products in the processes of catalytic cracking, isomerization, etc.. Microporous catalysts are used in series of selective oxidation and reduction processes under environmental friendly conditions with possibilities of easy regeneration and re-usage, which represents big advantage in comparison with liquid catalysts, such as sulfuric acid. On the other hand, crystalline microporous adsorbents enable highly selective separation of gas molecules with only slight deviances in the kinetic diameter, which is not possible to perform with other sorbents. In the last few years, the research in the field of materials science is focused on the development of new nanoporous materials for the use in the renewable energy technologies. Intensive research is dedicated on the development of catalysts for the biomass conversion into the fuels and chemicals. Conversion process usually involves three catalytic steps, including catalytic pyrolysis and deoxygenation, where controlled sequential processes are crucial for the effective degradation of biomass into the final products. Each step requires specifically modified microporous or mesoporous catalyst. The main drawback which is still present nowadays is the leaching of the active species from porous matrices during the long-term use, therefore the stabilization of active sites within the porous frameworks is important for further development of above mentioned technologies. With the suggested procedures of stabilization/immobilization of active metal species within the nanoporous materials which is one of the research main goals within the frame of the proposed program, the important new knowledge for further optimization of catalysts syntheses will be gained. On the other hand, the development of nanoporous adsorbents for the use of hydrogen in mobile processes will be aimed as well. H2 storage in the solid materials is currently the only promising alternative of the compressed and liquid hydrogen, achieving DOE targets (USA Department of Energy) for volume and mass storage capacities. The main drawback of this alternative represents weaker interactions between H2 and surfaces of nanoporous materials, which we will attempt to improve by introducing the new synthesis approach of the functionalization with the molecular groups enabling the covalent bonding of hydrogen (the formation hydrid clusters). Potential new nanoporous adsorbents with the requested capacities for H2 storage at ambient conditions and the proper kinetics of adsorption would represent the discovery of high importance and would influence general preceptions about the use of hydrogen as alternative fuel. Third, very important proposed research area is heat storage in nanoporous adsorbents. Recently, we have tested different microporous aluminophosphates and Zn-, Al- and Fe-based MOFs at the laboratory scale. They show the satisfactory capacities for water adsorption. The problem occurs when these materials are implemented in the storage tanks, where working conditions (pressure and temperature ranges) deviates from the ideal conditions used in the laboratory. Therefore, further research in the sense of post-synthesis treatment for additional improvements of water sorption capacities, mass and heat transfer, is required. The optimization of granulation process will be also performed, since the binder additive can significantly decrease the storage capacity, as we recently showed. We are one of the leading laboratories in the field of nanoporous materials research, therefore any improvements achieved in our research group will importantly contribute to the development in this field. Nanoporous adsorbents and catalysts are intensively investigated in the field of environmental
Significance for the country
The proposed research within the program will be performed in energy-related and environmental areas, which have recently attracted world-wide attention. For example, the effective heat storage is one of the primary research focuses in Slovenia and Europe, as it is crucial for the wider use of solar thermal energy and waste heat for heating, cooling and hot water preparation, which in developed countries represents half of the finally consumed energy. If we use sources of energy for heating or waste heat in even greater extent, we can have the largest savings in energy production, and by far the largest reduction in CO2 emissions. From the standpoint of maintaining a clean environment in Slovenia, the following research areas are crucial: research on materials for capture and storage of carbon dioxide, research on materials for clean air and water and research on materials for the conversion of biomass. The presence of organic pollutants in wastewater for example, is a global problem, which could be successfully solved by effective and sustainable AOP nanoporous catalysts for degradation of toxic organic pollutants. The development of sustainable AOP catalysts is proposed in the scope of the program. It is also imperative to further improve the quality of processing biomass into fuels and chemicals with heterogeneous catalytic processes, as well we proposed within the program (development of efficient and low-cost catalysts), since the current procedures are often economically uncompetitive and/or not sustainable.   Existing and planned applied research we will primarily try to implement with the Slovenian industry, such as our traditional partners Silkem from Kidričevo and Cinkarna from Celje. This will facilitate the transfer of the synthesis of the most interesting materials from the laboratory to the semi-industrial level and further wide use/sale in Slovenian and in foreign markets. In this way, the selected Slovenian companies can improve competitiveness through innovative products on the domestic and foreign markets. Our optimistic plans are based on the experience of successful development of a new zeolite adsorbent on a semi-industrial level in the company Silkem (from 250 ml to 1300 L reactor), a successful granulation of several different materials on a pilot granulation line in the same company and the successful innovation with Cinkarna company (development of built-in filter for indoor-air cleaning devices for removal of volatile organic compounds).   An important indicator of socio-economic performance of the proposed program is the success in education of young people. Young professionals, who have in the past received doctorates within the program group Nanoporous materials, occupy important positions in the public sector and industry at home and abroad. This is the proof of the successful educational work of senior members of the program group in the previous period as well as a suitable basis for a similar way of work in the future.   With the proposed new and innovative concepts of the synthesis (improving the heat and mass transfer in nanoporous materials for storage tanks and heat pumps, achieving an efficient storage of hydrogen under normal conditions, generating clean water without waste, propose development of methods and models for the planned synthesis of materials with the desired properties) we can significantly contribute to the reputation of Slovenian science in the world. With the new materials and the potential of new technologies in the selected areas we will be able to successfully promote our work to the European scientific and professional community through invited lectures (some are already in the process of implementation), invited publications in reputable scientific journals (the invitation of the program leader for the publication in Chem. Soc. Rev. (IF 24)), active memberships in appropriate associations (FEZA, IEA), the organization of international scientific and professional meeti
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2015, interim report, final report
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