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Parallel, Small Scale Catalyst Pretreatment Study

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Zekeringstraat 29
1014 BV Amsterdam

Valerie van Akkerveeken

About Avantium

Avantium is a chemicals R&D organization, which is specialized in development of catalytic processes. We apply our unique high-throughput technology, data analysis, modelling techniques and industrial experience to create solutions for the chemical industry. Avantium runs a R&D laboratory in Amsterdam Sloterdijk and a pilot plan at the Chemelot site in Geleen. Avantium employs approximately 125 professionals. The company has two business units: Catalysis and YXY. The YXY business unit is focused on the development and commercialization of FDCA, a biobased chemical that can be used for the production of PEF. Avantium aims to market PEF as an alternative material for PET which is used in bottles, carpets, textiles, electronic materials and automotive applications. The Catalysis business unit carries out contract R&D projects and develops R&D equipment for catalysis research in the chemical industry. Avantium works with customers around the world, among which BP, Shell, Chevron, IFP-EN, Sinopec, Sabic and Celanese.

More information about the company can be found on

Background of the project

  • Catalysts consist of active metal/metal oxide phases that are dispersed on an inorganic oxide support such as silica (SiO2), alumina (Al2O3), silica-alumina, zirconia (ZrO2) and titania (TiO2). The preparation of catalysts consists of various steps:
    o   In the first step, the metal precursors are dissolved in an aqueous phase.
    o   In the second step, the precursor is either contacted with support (impregnation) or with a pH changing solution, resulting in precipitation of a metal precursor phase (precipitation).
    o   In the third step, the impregnated support or the precipitated phases are dried slowly at moderate temperatures (<100⁰C).
    o   In the forth step, the dried materials are heated in air, inert gas, H2, NO or a mixture thereof to obtain the active metal phase. This step is called calcination or reduction (if the metal valency decreases).
  • Calcination and reduction can be carried out under “static” conditions, in a crucible or vial, in “flow over conditions” or in “flow through” conditions (in a fixed bed or fluidized bed).
  • It is generally known and reported in literature that drying, calcination and reduction give rise to local concentration and temperature differences, which can greatly influence the distribution of the metals on the support and the performance of the catalyst. It is therefore recommended to apply methods that offer good control during treatment.

Project scope

Avantium recently developed a small scale parallel calcination and reduction reactor system, which will have to be tested thoroughly before use in customer and internal projects. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Compare catalyst pre-treatment (calcination and reduction) under static conditions in a ventilated calcination furnace, flow over conditions in a tube furnace and flow conditions in the new parallel reactor system.
  • Validate the results of the pre-treatment steps by comparison with literature data.

The following parameters in the pretreatment method will be studied:

  • Temperature
  • Heating rate
  • Space velocity
  • Pretreatment gas (composition)

The catalysts will be characterized by various techniques.

Selected catalysts from this study will also be tested in a Fischer-Tropsch performance test: activity and selectivity towards desired products like gasoline, diesel, wax and methane. This will be beyond the scope of the internship project.

Additional Information

Starting date: as soon as possible

Position: Full-time, internship, 40 hours per week, minimal 6 months.
Education: HLO or Master final assignment


Do you fit our profile and want to apply? Send your application and CV to:


Referentienummer: 16902



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