TUM Department of Chemistry
 
Prof. Dr. Johannes Lercher
Chair for Catalysis and Reaction Engineering   Department of Chemistry
TU München
Lichtenbergstr. 4
D-85748 Garching
  Phone: +49-89-289-13540
Fax: +49-89-289-13544
Email: johannes.lercher@ch.tum.de
WWW: thor.tech.chemie.tu-muenchen.de/~tc2/
Curriculum Vitae
Johannes A. Lercher, born in Vienna, Austria, doctorate degree in 1981 at the TU Wien, visiting lectureship at Yale University, lecturer and Ass. Professor at TU Wien. 1993 he was appointed as Full Professor at the Department of Chem. Technology of the Univ. Twente (NL). 1998 he moved to the Chair in Chemical Technology at the TUM. 2003 he declined an offer from the Humboldt University Berlin. Author of 260 papers and 10 patents, member of several editorial boards of catalysis related journals.
 
Structure and group leader
 
  From left to right:
PD. Dr. Andreas Jentys, PD Dr. Thomas E. Müller, Prof. Dr. Johannes A. Lercher, Dr. Jan Kornatowski
 
Profile
 
The group focuses on fundamental and applied research with respect to synthesis, characterization and utilization of macro-, meso-, and microscopically well-defined materials as catalysts and sorbents. Full integration with reactor technology with-in the group allows transferring fundamental results into scalable reaction routes for petroleum and petrochemical reactions. Materials studied include well-structured micro and mesoporous oxides containing metallic and oxidic nano-clusters. Catalyst or sorbent design and synthesis are based on the atomistic understanding of the target reactions. Advanced in situ characterization methods such as molecular spectroscopy (IR, Raman and inelastic neutron scattering) or X-ray absorption and diffraction are developed and improved by the group and are used to understand the synthesis and chemical properties of the materials. Generic catalytic target reactions are catalytic activation, functionalization and transformation of hydrocarbons, synthesis of amines, and reactions related to the reduction of emissions of mobile and stationary engines.
 
Research Highlights
 
Activation of alkanes by low temperature processes
The activation of (light) alkanes under mild conditions is one of the great challenges in order to allow utilization as transportation fuel and chemical intermediate. Based on fundamental studies of the interactions of alkanes with the surface of solid acids novel catalysts and processes to transform the n-alkanes into branched alkanes and alkylate iso-butane with n-butene are developed. The reaction routes are aimed to replace currently practiced processes with environmentally compatible alternatives. The key of the new approach is the possibility to control hydride transfer from alkanes to carbenium ions or alkoxi-groups (and indirectly their stability) as the most important single step in low temperature alkane chemistry. A new process for light alkane alkylation is currently under joint development with an industry / academia consortium.

 
 
Elementary steps of hydrocarbon sorption
Catalytically active sites of micro- and mesoporous materials are located in the inner of a maze of regular or irregular pores. Efficient steady state processes (e.g., catalyzed reactions) as well as processes relying on transients (separation processes) require a detailed understanding how molecules are adsorbed and transported in the pore network. Novel transient techniques using periodic pressure modulations combined with IR spectroscopy are used to characterize these processes on the millisecond timescale. The experiments show that, e.g., aromatic molecules adsorb in a weak precursor state behaving like a two dimensional gas on the outer surface of catalyst particles and then adsorb on specific active sites on the outside and in the micropores.

 
 
Further Research Interests
 
Amine synthesis:
Synthesis of cyclic amines with zeolitic catalysts
Selective reduction of nitriles
Homogeneous and phase transfer catalysis in amine synthesis
High temperature conversion of alkanes:
Oxidative cracking and oxidative dehydrogenation
Hydrogen/synthesis gas production for fuel cells
Steam and autothermal reforming in microreactors and monolith structures
Environmental Catalysis:
Storage-reduction NOx reduction catalysts
Dynamic behavior of urea based catalytic reduction systems
NOx reduction additives for FCC
Sulfur oxide trapping materials
Novel materials:
Low e-dielectrica for electronic devices using nano-particle composites
Synthesis of metal-substituted zeolites
 
 
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