Tuesday April 16th, 2019

Thesis prize awarded to Andrés Sierra-Salazar for the preparation of novel catalysts

A former ICGM doctoral student has been awarded the 2019 thesis prize by the Catalysis Section of the French Chemical Society for the development of a new porous material catalyst.

SINCHEM programme for sustainable industrial chemistry

Andrés Sierra-Salazar prepared his thesis between October 2014 and September 2017 in the framework of the SINCHEM programme. SINCHEM is a European doctoral school in Sustainable Industrial Chemistry offered by a consortium of 33 partners. Strong industrial links to major companies in the field (such as BASF, Total, Dow, Air Liquide) are a key part of SINCHEM.

The chemistry engineering school (ENSCM) in Montpellier is one of the 7 full partners of this consortium. ENSCM students in the SINCHEM programme carry out their research activities in the Charles Gerhardt Institute of Montpellier (ICGM).

Multidisciplinary research in materials and catalysis honoured

The thesis of Andrés Sierra-Salazar, entitled “Waterborne catalytic materials with original design”, had as its goal the preparation of supported catalysts with hierarchical porosity by means of rational design. Carried out under the co-direction of Dr. Patrick Lacroix-Desmazes (ICGM, France) and Prof. Siglinda Perathoner (University of Messina, Italy), his thesis demonstrated that the synthetic methodology provided an efficient and versatile toolbox for the construction of adapted and optimized catalysts.

For this work, Andrés is the laureate of the 2019 Thesis Prize of the Catalysis Section of the French Chemical Society (Société Chimique de France, SCF). The prize will be bestowed during the FCCat conference, which will take place in Fréjus (France) next June, where the laureate will present his work in an oral communication.

The Catalysis Section of the SCF will also nominate Andrés for the EFCATS (European Federation of Catalysis Societies) 2019 Best PhD Thesis Award.

A winning team for impressive results

During his thesis research Andrés collaborated with Drs. Tony Chave and Sergueï Nikitenko (Marcoule Institute for Separation Chemistry, France) on the sonochemistry aspects, with Prof. André Ayral (European Institute of Membranes, Montpellier, France) for the sol-gel process, and with Prof. Vasile Hulea (Charles Gerhardt Institute of Montpellier, France) on the catalytic studies.

The catalysts developed by Andrés during his thesis were used for the selective hydrogenation of a benzene derivative and for the direct synthesis of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) from hydrogen and oxygen. In this synthesis of H2O2, an organic intermediate for the catalytic redox cycle (the industrial process) is no longer required.

The results of his research have been published in 4 journal articles and Andrés has given 9 oral communications and 3 poster presentations in international conferences.

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