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The University of Manchester at Harwell


Design and development of heterogeneous catalytic systems and use of operando spectroscopic techniques to monitor them under real working conditions.


Principal Investigator

PhD students

  • Shengzhe Ding
  • Antonio Torres Lopez

MEng students

  • Yusuf Dadabhai
  • Muhamad Ganesh

The overarching aim of catalysis research at UoMaH is to use an educated design approach to develop novel porous nanomaterials that can be used in greener industrial processes.

We are using nano-engineering of catalytic solid materials to replace existing expensive and environmentally harmful industrial reagents. We are exploring the development of catalytic materials for sustainable chemical conversions, including selective oxidations of alcohols and carbonyl species and biomass upgrading. We are also interested in using functional nanomaterials for alternative applications such as gas storage and healthcare.

Catalyst design

Our research focuses on the role that support structures play in catalysts - both on in-pore mass-diffusion and their influence on the physical and chemical properties of deposited catalytic reactive sites. Our investigations use porous oxide materials, including hierarchical structures of these, with an aim to manipulate the physicochemical properties of the support and the species deposited, including the spatial location of active sites.

Operando spectroscopy

We conduct operando X-ray absorption spectroscopic studies to give us a detailed understanding of the catalytic active site. We also attempt to elucidate structure-activity correlations to confirm these studies. By combining the two activities we can clarify the active species and shed light on undesirable deactivation processes that may negatively impact on catalyst on-stream lifetime. This provides an invaluable insight that helps us to nano-engineer catalytic materials more effectively.