The GTL Group’s research activity is mainly carried out in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. The relating studies aim at developing catalytic systems for alternative fuels production employed in the transport sector.
In particular, the topics of interest are:
- Production of methanol/dimethyl ether (MeOH/DME). The activity aims at developing innovative catalytic systems able to synthesise MeOH/DME mixtures through hydrogenation of CO2. The catalysts in the study phase are based on Cu-ZnO and their formulation contains several inorganic oxides.
- Production of Synthetic fuels (GTL – Fischer-Tropsch Reaction) The study aims at developing a family of catalysts having different “alpha” degree (probability factor for chain increasing) to obtain clean synthetic fuels. In particular, catalysts for the production of alpha olefins and linear paraffins in the C9-C15 range are developed through the reaction of FT using syngases containing CO2 that are obtainable at a lower cost.
- Production of biodiesel through transesterification of vegetable oils. Research aims at developing an acid-catalysed process to produce biofuels from oils containing free acids. High speed reaction catalysts are under study; they are selective and resistant to water.
- Conversion of glycerol to fuels used for transport. The focus is oriented to identifying catalytic systems, which are active and stable when employed in the reaction of etherification of glycerol (subproduct of the production of biodiesel process) with alcohols for the synthesis of oxygenated biofuels to obtain a mixture with diesel. A series of solid acid catalysts is under study.
- Production of oxygenated additives for diesel (Acetals). The research activity aims at developing of solid superacid for the conversion of bioethanol to oxygenated compounds that can be used as additives in diesel fuels.
- Production of biofuels through catalytic treatment of pyrolysis oils. In this field, the research activity is oriented to the development of innovative catalytic systems that are resistant to sulphur and nitrogen compounds, which are used in the hydrotreating reaction of pyrolysis to obtain biofuels to be used for transport.
- Production of gaseous mixtures rich in methane through catalytic conversion of agro-industrial wastewater under water super critical conditions (TR≥374°C, PR≥220 bar). Various catalytic systems based on noble metals (Ru, Rh, Ir, …) are under study; they are stable under the drastic conditions of reaction and resistant to defeat.