December 8, 2021

Sumant Phadke – ESR 9

Sumant Phadke was born in 1997 in Thane, India. After completing his Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering at VIT, Pune, India (2015-2019), he pursued a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering with a specialization in process engineering at TU Delft, The Netherlands. Across his higher education, thermally catalyzed CO2 hydrogenation into value-added products has been a recurring theme. During his bachelor’s thesis, he studied the implementation of ionic liquids for the synthesis of formic acid from CO2. Under the supervision of Prof. Atsushi Urakawa, Sumant investigated the catalytic system of Cu-Zn particles deposited inside mesoporous siliceous channels for hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol. This study involved extensive preparation of catalyst samples, catalyst characterization, and testing. This gravitated his scientific interest towards the fundamental understanding of heterogeneous catalysis. A research project under the supervision of Prof. Evgeny Pidko on the theoretical descriptors for methane activation sparked his curiosity about the theoretical and computational side of catalytic chemistry. He wishes to develop upon these obtained skills and learn new ones throughout his Ph.D.
Research Project
Structure-activity relationships in supported size-selected clusters under CO2 hydrogenation conditions

The underlying objective of my Ph.D. is to understand the activity of the CO2 hydrogenation catalysts by gaining information about the clusters deposited. This will be achieved by developing in situ/operando setups for X-Ray Absorption (XAS) and Infrared (IR) characterization. Such sophisticated techniques allow for understanding the behavior of the metal clusters and the reaction intermediates at reaction conditions. While the synthesized samples will be provided by the concert partners, Sumant will participate in discussions concerning the choice of metal/bimetallic combinations and their compositions, and the design of catalytic reactors for testing the activity. This Ph.D. is supervised by Dr. Olga Safonova (PSI) and Prof. Christophe Coperet (ETH Zurich) and involves several secondments. These secondments will train Sumant in operating in situ TEM (UA), cluster deposition, and activity characterization in microreactors, and familiarize him with industrially relevant catalytic technologies.