Preparation of specific heat insert in the actinide research laboratory at ITU
Towards efficient conversion of hydrocarbons
The JRC Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU), together with international partners, will carry out research into the possibilities of using catalysts based on 'actinide' elements (such as uranium, neptunium, plutonium and beyond) to convert hydrocarbons from biomass or fossil fuels into high-value chemicals. This could lead to new ways of reducing the release of greenhouse gases such as methane into the atmosphere, while at the same time offering economic benefits.
The work will be carried out jointly by the University of Edinburgh, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sasol Technology Research Laboratory, University Paul Sabatier and JRC-ITU under a grant awarded in July by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the United Kingdom's leading public funding agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences.
The strength of the hydro-carbon bond, coupled with difficulties associated with selectively accessing a specific site on a particular molecule, means that highly reactive metal compounds are needed for the intended catalysis. Recent advances in actinide chemistry as well as the desire to find C-H activation catalysts not based on the rare and expensive platinum group metals, is now pushing actinide metals back to the forefront in this field.
The activation of C-H bonds in more complex hydrocarbons is also a highly desirable 'toolbox' component for scientists working in all areas of chemical synthesis.