Dr Camila Fernandez has received the € 10,000 Umicore Materials Technology Award for her PhD work in the field of exploring dynamic catalytic processes for synthesizing ammonia on ruthenium-supported nanoparticles at low temperatures.
Dr Fernandez’s entry was one of 15 submitted from all over Europe. Camila Fernandez made her PhD studies under the supervision of Professors Eric Gaigneaux and Patricio Ruiz.
Dr Camila Fernandez studied the synthesis of ammonia (NH3) from gaseous hydrogen and nitrogen at low temperature and pressure. The goal was to elucidate the processes occurring at low temperature, upon interaction of nitrogen and hydrogen molecules with the solid surface of catalysts containing ruthenium nanoparticles. Results revealed that, under certain conditions, dynamic processes occur at the surface, involving hydrogen transfer and a continuous modification of the properties of the metal nanoparticles. These processes determine the kinetic parameters and reaction pathways of low-temperature ammonia synthesis. This work contributes to the research and technological development in heterogeneous catalysis, as it provides valuable information on how to perform catalytic hydrogenation processes with lower energy consumption and higher selectivity.