In the etzoldlab

In the etzoldlab the challenges arising with the needed global energy change and future sustainable feedstock supply for chemical industry are the major research guideline. From the perspective of applied chemistry, a multidisciplinary approach is employed to provide scientific solutions for these challenges, especially for the complex interplay of catalytic materials within a full process or device. In the scientific approach, generic experiments play a dominant role. They allow controlling process conditions from highly idealized towards technically realistic and are combined with diagnostics providing in-situ information. Chemical reaction engineering simulations complement the experiments, giving especially insights into complex mass transfer phenomena and, therefore making a more holistic picture possible. As a future sustainable energy and chemical industry will need a concerted interaction of electrochemical and classical heterogeneous catalyzed processes both are studied. Based on this strategy, the research of the etzoldlab can be divided in three strongly interacting sub-groups: Advanced Catalytic Materials – Electrochemical Energy Conversion Processes – Heterogeneous Catalysis and Processes. More details on the research of these subgroups can be found in the sections below.

With our research we are part of the following huger or collaborative research activities:

The special focus lies on the development of carbon-based materials for catalysis in form of versatile supports or as catalysts themselves. In order to ensure a high reproducibility and highly pure materials, polymers and carbides are employed as the carbon precursors. Particular attention is paid to the precise control of the pore structure from the sub-nanometer towards the mm scale, including spatially varying properties. In this sense, core/shell carbon particles as well as hierarchically structured open cellular materials are prepared. For the later one an unprecedented high degree of freedom is available through a newly developed stereolithographic 3D printing route. For catalytic applications, surface functional groups are introduced or noble and base metals are deposited in controlled amount, size and shape on these carbons by various methods. The in-depth material characterization is the cornerstone in the etzoldlab to connect the resulting material properties with the synthesis procedure and conditions. Among the variety of characterization techniques applied, a special focus is on high-resolution physi- and chemisorption and thermogravimetric analysis coupled with mass spectrometry.

A,B) SEM images of a 3D porous carbon in a spiral macrostructure; C) 3D printed porous carbon open-cell structure supporting the weight of a 1.7 kg steel cylinder.