Atomistic Design of Catalysts
Research Project, 2016 – 2021

The introduction of renewable energy systems requires development of entirely new chemical processes. One pressing demand is the need to store electricity in the form of chemical energy carriers. The general technology that enables this conversion is catalysis. However, many of the crucial reactions in envisioned renewable energy systems lack efficient catalysts. This calls for new methodologies to develop catalytic materials beyond the traditional trial-and-error approaches.

In this project, we will develop a new methodology to advance the understanding of key-processes in catalysis. The approach expands recent experimental and theoretical progress, and enables breakthroughs in the design of superior catalysts based on atomistic knowledge and control. The scientific outcome will be generic and provide a new platform to study surface phenomena at ambient conditions. As demanding model systems, the project targets two challenging reactions for synthesis of methanol, which is a desired energy carrier in future energy systems.

We address the challenges by collecting unique expertise within catalyst synthesis, in situ characterization and theoretical modelling. The project takes advantage of the rapid development of these fields during the past few years. We do this by integrating four world leading research groups at Chalmers, Lund University and the MAX IV Laboratory. The groups have the required complementary expertise within catalysis to take on outstanding challenges. Present and previous collaborations within the constellation have scientifically aligned the groups which already have a strong common track record within catalysis. Examples are the elucidation of the active phase ofpalladium during methane oxidation and the development of surface diffraction techniques to study catalysts during reaction conditions.

Given the unique constellation of the researchers, the proposed project has high potential to establish Sweden as a leading country in catalysis research.


Magnus Skoglundh (contact)

Applied Surface Chemistry

Per-Anders Carlsson

Applied Surface Chemistry

Henrik Grönbeck

Chalmers, Physics, Chemical Physics

Anders Hellman

Chalmers, Physics, Chemical Physics


Lund University

Lund, Sweden

MAX IV Laboratory

Lund, Sweden


Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

Project ID: KAW2015.0058
Funding Chalmers participation during 2016–2021

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