Patrick Littlewood

Position: Post Doc
Office Phone: (847) 491-3221
Office Room: Catalysis 207
Previous Degrees and Institutions: Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience MEng, University of Manchester (2011); Chemical Reaction Engineering PhD in Catalysis, TU Berlin (2015)
Hometown: Chesterfield, England
Project Summary: Despite the current global energy crisis (depletion of fossil fuels) and global environmental crisis (rising atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases), over 100 bn m3 of natural gas are flared every year, constituting approx. 1% of human GHG emissions. Cheap methods of obtaining valuable products from low-value, small-molecule gases, such as methane and CO2, are required to diversify feedstocks and improve industrial scale efficiencies in the transition to cleaner fuels and chemicals. However, these gases are difficult to activate and scalable reactions often require heterogeneous catalysis under harsh conditions such as high temperature. I am interested in modifying inexpensive materials using atomic layer deposition (ALD) to form new catalysts for hydrocarbon conversion chemistry at high temperatures. In particular, the DRM project takes a multi-scale approach using a variety of characterisation techniques to create nickel-based catalysts for the dry (CO2) reforming of methane, for which process the catalyst cost, activity and stability have historically been a scale-up bottleneck. By understanding the deactivating processes of carbon deposition and sintering on the nanometer scale, and the kinetics, thermodynamics and surface chemistry of dry reforming, we aim to design novel catalysts applicable to industrial-scale reactions.