The Freecats project

Freecats is a R&D project whose objective is to develop new metal-free catalysts, either in the form of bulk nanomaterials or in hierarchically organized structures both capable to replce traditional noble metal-based catalysts in catalytic transformations of strategic importance. The new metal-free catalytic materials will be applied to specific processes traditionally carried out by means of precious metal-based materials. The application of the new materials will eliminate the use for platinum group metals and rare earth elements such as ceria used in fuel cell technology (automotive applications and others), production of light olefins, and in wastewater and water purification. Replacing platinum group metal alternatives in these three emerging technologies, will significantly reduce the demand of platinum group metals in Europe, at least mounting to the current automotive platinum group metal demand that is estimated to be in the order of 50-100 tons per year by replacing the platinum group metal.

The Freecats project will:

  • Prepare nitrogen and boron-doped nanocarbons using an optimized and scalable procedure giving controllable nitrogen content presenting the following physical properties:
  • High surface reactivity with an homogeneous dispersion of the dopant on the material surface
  • Strong and stable interface with the macrostructured host matrix (SiC and C foam and cordierite monolith) at the targeted reaction conditions
  • Efficient heat and electron transfer for the subsequence catalytic applications
  • Develop comprehensive process models for three main case studies. The results will allow for determination of the optimum operation conditions. The case studies are:
  • Oxygen reduction reaction for use in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, using N-CNT
  • Oxidative dehydrogenation of short chain alkanes using P and B doped CNF.
  • Advanced oxidation processes for water and wastewater treatment: catalytic ozonation of organic micropollutants and catalytic wet air oxidation using N-CNT
  • Evaluate and test at lab-scale the catalytic performance of the metal-free catalysts in the three cases and compare the results with the performance of traditional noble or rare-earth metal-based systems
  • Explore and scale-up of one or more processes to microplant scale for the demonstration of the long-term stability of these metal-free nanocarbon catalysts.
  • Assess performances of the microplants against the expected performances based on lab-scale results and simulation results.
  • Generate technical data regarding catalyst scale-up (to full commercial scale), catalytic performances and durability, leading to a Technical, Economic and Ecologic assessment.

Freecats is a 3 years projects consisting of a consortium of 9 partners, including European R&D organisations and a group of small and medium sized enterprises. The project is supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program Contract No: 280658 and is coordinated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

R&D Activities

The R&D activities of the project Freecats are split into five workpackages :

WP 1 New materials and novel reactor concepts

Objectives:

To prepare nitrogen and boron-doped nanocarbons using an optimized and scalable procedure giving controllable nitrogen content presenting the following physical properties:

High surface reactivity with an homogeneous dispersion of the dopant on the material surface
Strong and stable interface with the macrostructured host matrix (SiC and C foam and cordierite monolith)
Efficient heat and electron transfer for the subsequence catalytic applications

More concrete, we will prepare N-CNT, P-CNT and B-CNT samples, both in bulk form and supported on macroscopic foam/monolith host structures for initial screening and ranking. The materials will be extensively characterized at the different stages of preparation (after synthesis, after purification, after functionalization, and also after catalytic tests). Specific attention will be given to the control of the dopant dispersion and localization and on the purification efficiency to remove the residual catalyst.

WP2 Hydrodynamics modelling
Objectives:

To develop a detailed process model describing reactions, heat and mass transfer, and hydrodynamics with the foam structure as a parameter.
To generate experimental data for model validation, specifically relating to heat transfer, mass transfer and foam structure.

More concrete, we will develop comprehensive process models for the three main case studies: oxidative dehydrogenation, fuel cell and ozonation as an example of advanced oxidation processes. The three case studies represent different scenarios, namely (i) a gas-solid reaction with high demand on heat transfer through the foam material, (ii) gas-vapour flow with potential for condensation inside the foam, and (iii) a gas-liquid-solid or liquid-solid reaction at close to ambient temperature. The requirements for optimal operation of the three different devices are very different. The common element is the need to connect the specific structure and materials of the foam with performance in mass and heat transfer. WP2 is split into several sub-tasks relating to specific aspects of model development.

WP3 Catalytic testing – Optimization

Objectives :

The main objective of this WP is to test the performance of the materials prepared in WP 1 in the following targeted catalytic reactions for the three cases:

Oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) for use in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), using N-CNT
Oxidative dehydrogenation of short chain alkanes (ODH) using P and B doped CNF.
Advanced oxidation processes (AOP) for water and wastewater treatment: catalytic ozonation of organic micropollutants (COZ) and catalytic wet air oxidation (CWAO) using N-CNT”

More concrete, The ORR tests and the cyclic voltammetry will mainly be performed at CNRS and NTNU. The catalysts will be compared with conventional platinum group metal-based catalysts and also with low-Pt containing catalysts developed in other projects at the consortium partners. The ODH reactions will be performed at available test facilities at NTNU, UP and CSIC. Also here the catalysts will be benchmarked against conventional Pt-based catalysts. The advanced oxidation processes (catalytic ozonation and wet air oxidation) will be performed by UP. The doped carbon catalysts will be tested and compared with conventional catalysts containing noble metals and rare-earth oxides (ceria). The catalytic performance is the ultimate test of the catalysts prepared in WP1. An integral part of the tests in all three tasks will be kinetic studies carefully designed to obtain a kinetic model. The experiments should provide information on the reaction mechanism, the rate determining steps and also relationship between surface composition, structure and catalytic performance.

WP4 Validation of materials and process in integrated micropilot plant

Objectives:

Scale-up the catalyst preparation
Validate performances expected from previous WPs, namely lab scale testing (WP3) coupled with hydrodynamic modelling (WP2)
Generate technical data requested for the benchmarking vs Pt based catalyst in WP5

More concrete, we will fully explore the different problems that could happen during the scale-up step for a dedicated reaction and also to correct some preliminary hypothesis developed for smaller scale reactor. This work will lead to technical data regarding catalyst scale-up, catalytic performances and durability, as needed for the Technical, Economic and Ecologic assessment in WP5. The reaction that will be exploited in such micropilot plant will be selected after the 18th month of the project.

WP5 Technical, Economic and Ecologic assessment for scale-up

Objectives :

To evaluate sustainability metrics for the developed new catalytic processes and benchmark against conventional catalytic technologies

News

This page displays news about the project.

Freecats Researchers at CARBOCAT-V in Bressanone (Italy), 28-30 June 2012

Juy, 16th, 2012

A few Freecats researchers were present at the CARBOCAT-V conference in Bressanone / Brixen from 28-30 of June 2012. They presented scientific results that are related to the research of Freecats.

Freecats project started on the 1st of April 2012

April 1st, 2012

The project has started on April 1, 2012. It is a 3 years projects consisting of a consortium of 9 partners, including European R&D organisations and a group of small and medium sized enterprises

Freecats aims to develop new metal-free catalysts, either in the form of bulk nanomaterials or in hierarchically organized structures both capable to replce traditional noble metal-based catalysts in catalytic transformations of strategic importance. The new metal-free catalytic materials will be applied to specific processes traditionally carried out by means of precious metal-based materials.

Get Rid of Acne at Home

When you have acne, you might have tried treating it with medication through the drugstore, but special store-bought products aren’t always necessary to remove pimples. All that you should treat zits is likely already within your kitchen pantry or refrigerator. These natural cures don’t contain any chemicals, colorants or artificial fragrances, so they’re unlikely to irritate sensitive skin. Many at-home made remedies cost mere pennies per application, so they’re gentler in your wallet, too.

Step One

Give a few pinches of brewer’s yeast to your small bowl, then add several drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice and water. Mix well. Blot the mix right on pimples. Give it time to looking for 10 mins, then rinse with lukewarm water. Fresh lemon juice dries out acne and yeast fights bacteria.

Step Two

Fill a tiny pot with water, then bring this type of water to your boil in the stove. Eliminate the pot through the heat. Drape a towel loosely over the head, then hold your facial skin several inches higher than the pot for a number of minutes or before the steam dissipates. If you achieve too hot, move the face outside the steam. Splash your facial skin with cold water when you’re finished. The steam helps open and clean your pores.

Step Three

Crush one aspirin right into a powder, then mix the powder with 1 tablespoon of honey. Dab the paste entirely on blemishes. Allow it to set for a couple of minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. Aspirin eases inflammation and honey has anti-bacterial properties that fend off zits.

Step 4

Boil 1 cup water, then take away the water from your heat. Add 3 tablespoons of dried basil for the water. Permit the means to fix cool, then strain the basil and discard it. Pour the perfect solution in to a spray bottle. Mist the face with all the basil water each day before cleansing. Smooth the remedy over skin using a cotton ball. The basil tones skin, improves circulation and kills bacteria.

Step 5

Stir together 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and 3 or 4 mashed strawberries. Apply the mix in your face by leaving it on for ten minutes. Rinse with tepid to warm water. Strawberries contain salicylic acid, which you’ll get in many store-bought acne medications.

Step 6

Dab witch hazel or tea-tree oil right on pimples using a cotton pad. Witch hazel cuts through oil and soothes skin. Tea-tree oil works similarly to your 5-percent benzoyl-peroxide solution.

Step 7

Cover an ice cube having a sheet of plastic wrap, then press it against blemishes two times a day for five minutes whenever. The cold reduces inflammation and redness.

Step 8

Combine equal parts baking soda and water inside a cup. Stir until a paste forms, then dab the mix on each pimple having a cotton swab. Rinse it well after ten minutes. Baking soda helps dry up pimples and shrink pores.

Warnings

Don’t clean your skin a lot of — frequent washing can irritate skin and aggravate acne. Wash no more frequently than twice daily, and employ a light soap that’s free from fragrance or chemicals.