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iCSI and the Corona virus

The Corona virus has influenced on the way we work, within iCSI as in the rest of the society: Since mid of March until end of May, the labs in UiO has been closed for all students and researchers. At NTNU, only PhD candidates in their final year have been allowed to run their experiments to enable them to complete within the scheduled time. At SINTEF lab work has been run almost as usual. For all of us, all kind of lectures, writing, reporting and administrative work including meetings, have been done from home. How effective this has been, varies with people’s private situation. It is not easy to handle work, taking care of small children and home-school at once.

On the positive side we can say that a lot of reading and writing has been done, and more publications are in the pipeline. Exams are completed. On the negative side is that lab work is delayed, especially for the newest postdoc and PhD students. And we have missed to meet each other every day.

However, now we (hopefully) see the start of the end of this period, and the universities slowly open again. The labs are gradually filled with students and researchers. To make this opening successful: Please be patient, take care and follow the new rules of conduct. Thanks to every one of you for your contribution!

New CEO at Haldor Topsøe AS

The appointment of Roeland Baan as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as of June 1, 2020 was announced 7 February. The Dutch economist Baan comes from the position as President and CEO of the global stainless-steel company Outokumpu. Among other positions, he also serves as an independent board member of Norsk Hydro ASA.   





iCSI 2019 Annual Report is online!

Geir Tuft started as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of INOVYN in January 2020.

He is an experienced Senior Executive from large multi-national industrial / petrochemical / oil & energy companies with change management and restructuring challenges.  He came from the posistion as COE of INEOS Oil & gas, which he had hold since 2017.  



Welcome to Sebastian!

Portrettbilde av Sebastian ProdingeriSCI gives a warm welcome to Sebastian Prodinger, our new Post Doc who started March 9.

Once he will be able to start at the lab, he will be working on zeolite synthesis and catalyst preparation targeted at creating systems amenable to the elucidation of active sites for the partial methane oxidation to methanol. Sebastian will be working with Stian Svelle (as his supervisor) and the rest of the iCSI IIA5 team at UiO, Haldor Topsoe and Turin. 

Sebastian comes from a position as Post Doc at University of Delaware, Newark DE, where he explored the possibility of converting glucose to dimethylfuran in a tandem catalytic approach and identified and mitigated challenges in the process.

Challenges in catalysis

February 26 and 27, 14 PhD candidates, postdoctoral fellows and industry researchers were gathered at Haldor Topsøe to discuss challenges in catalysis. The first day, experienced researchers from Topsøe and Yara contributed with presentations on ‘’Advanced operando techniques – from atomic scale to industrial reactor’’, ‘’Nitric acid production - from a catalyst point of view’’ and ‘’Patenting and IP strategy’’. The young scientists gave a brief overview of their own work and opened up for discussion and input from the group. The second day was spent in the Topsøe catalyst plant in Fredrikssund. One comment from a participant: “The seminar was a success and I learnt a lot from exchanging with people at Topsøe as well as fellow researchers.” Thank you very much to Pablo Beato and his colleagues at Haldor Topsøe for their generous hospitality!

Welcome to Julie!

iCSI gives a warm welcome to the new PhD candidate Julie Hessevik.

Julie will work at University of Oslo with catchment of platina group metals within IIA1 Work Package 1.1 -  together with Helmer Fjellvåg, Anja Olafsen Sjåstad and Asbjørn S. Fjellvåg.

She will study how platina group metals are transported in the gas phase under process conditions and how these can be recovered/captured by metals and by metal oxide catchment gauges

The two first iCSI PhDs have defended their thesis!

First out was Ata ul Rauf Salman defending December 6, at NTNU. The title of his thesis is

Catalytic oxidation of NO to NO2 for nitric acid production.

The work has been a part of iCSI IIA1: 21st century Ammonia Oxidation and Nitric Acid technology development. Magnus Rønning has been Ata’s supervisor, with Rune Lødeng and Bjørn C. Enger from SINTEF as co-supervisors.


First opponent: Professor Lars J. Pettersson, KTH, Sweden

Second opponent: Dr. Sang Baek Shin, Yara Technology Centre, Porsgrunn

Administrator: Professor Hilde J Venvik, NTNU


The title of his public trial lecture was Nitrogen fixation beyond Haber-Bosch – recent developments in heterogeneous catalysis and electrocatalysis  


The second out was Dimitrios Pappas defending December 13, at UiO. The title of his thesis is

Direct methane to methanol conversion over Cu-exchanged zeolites: Building structure - activity relationships

The work has been a part of iCSI IIA5: The next step in direct activation of lower alkanes. Stian Svelle has been Dimitrios’s supervisor, with Pablo Beato (Haldor Topsøe) and Unni Olsbye (UiO) as co-supervisors.


First opponent: Jeroen A. van Bokhoven, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Second opponent: Chris Paolucci, University of Virginia

Administrator: Ola Nilsen, University of Oslo

The title of his public trial lecture was "Overview of catalysts for methanol synthesis from carbon dioxide – structure to property relations." 

Congratulations to both Doctors!

Extended leader seminar and Board meeting

22 persons from the board, work package leaders, industrial researchers and iCSI management were gathered November 25 and 26 at Farris Bad, to discuss the last four years of iCSI and the time after. With basis in the SAC evaluation report and the report from the Midway Evaluation team, it was talked through how to reply to RCN on the reccomendations from the evaluations.  Another outcome of the meeting was that it was decided to nominate people for a working group preparing an application for a new catalysis SFI, running from 2024. 

The leader meeting was followed by a board meeting where two new board members were welcomed: Head of Chemical department Einar Uggerud from UiO and  VCM & OCD Research Manager Marco Piccinini from Inovyn.  They replace Kristin Vinje and Terje Fuglerud, respectively, who were thanked for their efforts on the iCSI board. 

Yara strategy as Crop Nutrition Company

Yara announces it is evaluating an IPO of its industrial nitrogen businesses, expanding its improvement program by 70% and setting out clear principles for capital allocation. (An initial public offering (IPO) refers to the process of offering shares of a private corporation to the public in a new stock issuance.)

The conclusion of a final IPO scope is expected early 2020. As part of the evaluation process, the business units Mining Applications (TAN), Transport Reagents and Industrial Nitrates will effective 1 July 2019 be organized in a separate entity.

Going forward, our focus will be on growing value through continuous improvement and through our sustainable crop nutrition solutions including premium products and digital farming tools, says President & CEO of Yara International ASA, Svein Tore Holsether.

Good news from RCN!

The Board of the Research Council of Norway decided on Friday, September 6, that iCSI shall continue as an SFI for four new years. This was in line with the recommendation in the Midway Evaluation Report from the international evaluation team.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who contributes to iCSI!








Haldor Topsøe Holding A/S sells minority stake to Temasek

A press release from Haldor Topsøe anounce that Haldor Topsøe Holding A/S and the Singapore based, state owned, company Temasek signed an agreement for Temasek to purchase 30 percent of the shares in Haldor Topsoe A/S. The new partner will get 3 positions the board. No major changes are expected after this, as they seem aligned with Topsøe's existing strategy.

Haldor Topsoe selected Temasek in recognition of the value that the global investment company would add through its deep insights and connections in Asian growth and other emerging markets.





Dynea anounces a new Formaldehyde Plant Contract

A new contract for building a large fasilTM formaldehyde plant in Gubakha, Perm region of Russia, is signed with PJSC Metafrax and announced on LinkedIn and Dynea web-page. Under the terms of the contract, Dynea will act as Technology Licensor for the supply of the silver catalyst plant. The plant nameplate capacity will be 100 000 TPA (expressed in 100% Formaldehyde) and will produce 55% Formaldehyde. The new production facility will be located next to the existing 100 000 TPA (FH100%) formaldehyde plant, already licensed and delivered by Dynea in 2005.

The proven fasil™ silver technology licensed by Dynea has been installed at more than 40 plants worldwide.






INOVYN interview


In March, a film were made in the Catalysis group's laboratories. It was INEOS (the owner of INOVYN) who wanted to show what activities they have in collaboration with iCSI. iCSI will be allowed to use parts of the film in presentations in other contexts later.

An interview of Oxychlorination team (Prof Hilde Venvik, NTNU, Prof De Chen, NTNU, Dr Kumar R Rout, SINTEF, Endre Fenes, NTNU, Hongfei Ma, NTNU) of iCSI has been presented to INOVYN board meeting in April 2019. This shows the close collaboration of iCSI with industry. Prof Chen and Dr Rout explained the importance of research to the industry and how it benefit to the industry business. The video of the interview will soon come here.




EuropaCat 2019

The large catalysis event EuropaCat 2019 took place in Aachen, Germany August 18th to 23rd. The conference had more than 1500 participants presenting 400 lectures and 800 posters. iCSI was well represented by PhD candidates, researchers and professors. Among them, Hongfei Ma working in IIA4 with oxychlorination, was specially recognized, as he received an award for having one of the 10 best posters after more than 500 participants submitted their votes. The reward was the opportunity to give a lecture on Friday.






Hilde Venvik secretary of the EFCATS Council

iCSI director Hilde Johnsen Venvik has been appointed as the new secretary of the Council of EFCATS.

The European Federation of Catalysis Societies is a non-profit organization of 25 National European Catalysis Societies, to facilitate, coordinate, and rationalize scientific activities in the field of catalysis on a transnational level. EFCATS and the National Catalysis Societies aim to mutually strengthen all activities on national and transnational levels in all areas of catalysis.

The purpose of EFCATS is to provide to its members organisational, technical and financial support promoting and coordinating the participation of its partners in activities aimed to help their scientific development, training, funding of research grants, industrial contracts, technology transfer and solutions along the value chain that are required to reach long term sustainability and technological development in Europe, in the sector of Catalysis. EFCATS is also organizing the catalysis congress EuropaCat.

Congratulations and good luck with the tasks for the international catalysis community!




Visit from Enrique Iglesia

August 15th and 16th iCSI SAC member Professor Enrique Iglesia visited NTNU and UiO, respectively. On both sites he gave an inspiring guest lecture with the title C-C Coupling and O-atom Removal in Oxygenate Reactions at Lewis Acid-Base Pairs on Oxide Surfaces.The rest of the day was spent on individual meetings with PhD candidates and Post Docs (NTNU) and meetings with the various iCSI project teams (UiO). The students were very impressed with both his practical experience and overview of various topics and issues, and found that they had benefited a lot from the meetings. Thanks Enrique, for your dedication and valuable input!





Michel Boudart Award 2019 to Enrique Iglesia

Member of iCSI Scientific Adviser Committee, Enrique Iglesia, is the recipient of the 2019 Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis.

The Michel Boudart Award recognizes and encourages individual contributions to the elucidation of the mechanism and active sites involved in catalytic phenomena and to the development of new methods or concepts that advance the understanding and/or practice of heterogeneous catalysis.

Professor Enrique Iglesia and his research group have advanced the design, synthesis, and structural and mechanistic characterization of solid catalysts for chemical reactions involved in the production, conversion, and use of energy carriers, in sustainable syntheses of chemicals and intermediates, and in the protection of the environment.  Read more.

Congratulations from iCSI!





Welcome to Yalan!

iCSI gives a warm welcome to the new Post Doc, Yalan Wang.

Her studies will be theoretical with focus on understanding of the chemistry and catalysis mechanisms in the production of Chlorine and Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM). She started 01.05.2019 and will work within IIA4 WP4.4 together with professor De Chen for three years.




Welcome to Karoline!

We welcome Karoline Kvande as a new PhD student at iCSI from 01.04.2019!

She will work at University of Oslo with Stian Svelle, Pablo Beato, Elisa Borfecchia og Unni Olsbye as supervisors. The overall objective of her PhD project is to measure the activity of transition metal containing porous catalysts in the continuous catalytic process for the direct activation of lower alkanes. The performance of the reaction will be compared to an already established stepwise mode, and a wide range of characterization methods will be used to investigate the differences between the various Cu-exchanged materials tested as catalysts.

This project is a part of IIA5 and Work Package 5.2




News in Norwegian

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Korleis verkar katalysotoren i bilen din?

26.01.2018 Den reduserer utslepp av forureinande gassar, og har forbetra luftkvalitet i byar over heile verda i fleire tiår. Men korleis verkar ein bilkatalysator? Ein bilkatalysator er eit materiale som skal redusere utslepp av miljøskadelege stoff frå motoren så mykje som mogleg.

Katalyse: jokeren i kjemiske industriprosesser

29.10.2015 Katalysatorer er uunnværlige i de aller fleste kjemiske industriprosesser. Ved hjelp av inngående kjennskap til kjemi på molekylnivå, skal et nytt senter tilknyttet NTNU gjøre katalysatorene raskere, bedre og mer effektive. Katalyse: jokeren i kjemiske industriprosesser (Fakultet for naturvitenskap og teknologi blogg)

Nye sentre for forskningsdrevet innovasjon åpnet

21.09.2015 Fredag 18. september var det høytidlelig åpning av NTNU og SINTEFs nye sentre for forskningsdrevet innovasjon (SFI). NT-fakultetet er vertskap for hele tre av de ni nye sentrene.

iCSI participation 2019

iCSI participation 2019

October 19-22
Defect-Chemical Nature of Advanced Energy Materials, Sommarøy, Norway
Oral presentation by iCSI scientist:
PhD candidate Asbjørn Slagtern Fjellvåg: Ni-loss and Grain Reconstruction of Pd/Ni alloys

August 18-23
14th European Congress on Catalysis, EuropaCat 2019, Aachen, Germany
Oral presentations by iCSI scientists:
PhD candidate Stine Lervold: Morphology and activity of electrolytic silver catalyst for reactions relevant to partial oxidation of methanol to formaldehyde
Post Doc Yalan Wang, Rational catalyst design for Fischer-Tropsch to Olefins by microkinetic modeling through hybrid semi-empirical approach
Adj. Prof. Kumar Rout, Steam Ethanol Reforming on promoted Co-Ni/Hydrotalcite structures: Catalyst optimization.

July 7-12
19th International Zeolite Conference, Perth, Australia
Oral presentation by iCSI Industri partner:
Pablo Beato, Haldor Topsøe: Establishing Structure-Activity Relationships for Direct Methane to Methanol over Cu-Exchanged Zeolites

June  23-28
NAM26 - North American Catalysis Society Meeting, Chicago, Illinois
Award Lecture by
SAC member Enrique Iglesia, recipient of the 2019 Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis
Oral presentation by
Prof. Magnus Rønning, Revealing the Structural and Chemical State of Platinum Nanoparticles during Oxidation of NO to NO2 at Nitric Acid Plant Conditions
PhD candidate Dimitrios K. Pappas,Establishing Structure-Activity Relationships for Direct Methane to Methanol over Cu-Exchanged Zeolites 
PhD candidate Samuel K. Regli, 1) Elucidating Cu Species By Operando XAS – UV-Vis of CuCl2 Oxychlorination Catalysts   2) Operando XAS - UV-Vis of NH3-SCR over Highly Dispersed Cu Catalysts on Mesoporous Alumina
Prof. De Chen, Kinetic Analysis and Design of Catalytic Redox Cycles

June 2-6
12th Natural Gas Conversion Symposium, San Antonio, USA
Receiving 2019 Award for Excellence in Natural Gas Conversion
Prof. Olsbye, Unni
, Natural Gas Conversion in Microporous Catalysts, Zeotypes and Metal Organic Frameworks
Oral presentations by iCSI members
Prof. Stian Svelle, Methane to methanol conversion over Cu-zeolites
Prof. Hilde Venvik, 1.)CO and H2 Adsorption on Co(11-20) - a Combined Experimental and Theoretical Investigation 2) The Initial Stage of Metal Dusting Corrosion of Inconel 601 – Effects of Exposure Conditions and Near-Surface Structure and Composition
Adj. Prof. Kumar Rout, 1) Combined Solid- and Gas Phase Kinetic Modelling: Ethylene Oxychlorinationover K-Promoted Cu/Al2O3 Catalyst  2) EI Impregnated Mesoporous Carbon Spheres As Ideal Sorbent for Post-Combustion CO2 Capture from Natural Gas Power Plant
PhD candidate Hongfei Ma, Co-Promoting Effects of Mg and K in Ethylene Oxychlorination

April 14
SFI-Forum at the Research Council of Norway, Oslo

March 06-08
German Zeolite Conference, Dresden, Germany
Oral presentation by
Post Doc Michael Martin Dyballa Cu-MOR applied in the stepwise methane-to-methanol conversion.

February 26-27
BP coking in reaction systems workshop,

Oral presentation by
Prof. Stian Svelle, Spatiotemporal studies of the deactivation of zeolites by coking during the conversion of methanol to hydrocarbons  

February 11-12
DynaCat Kick-off Meeting SPP 2080
Oral presentation by
Prof. Magnus Rønning, Characterisation of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis catalysts at industrial working conditions.

January 29 - February 1
Operando Surface Catalysis meeting (OPSCAT), UiO, Oslo, Norway
Keynote speakers from iCSI:
Prof. Magnus Rønning,
Combination of operando characterization techniques for studies of catalysts at work
Prof. Hilde Johnsen Venvik, iCSI
Prof. Anja O. Sjåstad, STM
Oral presentations by other iCSI members:
Samuel K. Regli
Helmer Fjellvåg 


iCSI participation 2018

August 27-31
7th EuCheMs Chemistry Congress, Liverpool, UK
Keynote lecture for one iCSI Professor:
Prof. Unni Olsbye, CO2 Hydrogenation over Zr-MOF based Catalysts

August 26-31
34th European Conference on Surface Science, ECOSS34, Aarhus, Denmark

August 26-28
18th Nordic Symposium on Catalysis (NSC), Copenhagen, Denmark
Keynote lecture for one iCSI Professor:
Ass. Prof. Jia Yang, Isotopic labeling for kinetic and mechanistic investigation in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
Oral presentations for our iCSI PhD students!
Dimitrios Pappas, Methane to Methanol over Cu-Zeolites: Establishing Structure-Activity Relationships:
Salman Ata ul Rauf, Catalytic Oxidation of NO to NO2 for nitric acid production over Supported Pt Catalyst:
Endre Fenes, Calcined Al-Mg Hydrotalcite as Support in CuCl2 based Oxychlorination Catalysts

August 5-10
8th Tokyo Conference on Advanced Catalytic Science and Technology TOCAT-8, Yokohama, Japan
Keynote lecture for one iCSI Professor:
Prof. Unni Olsbye,
Tailoring MOFs for CO2 hydrogenation reactions

July 22-27
17th International Conference on X-ray Absorption Fine Structure, Krakow, Poland

July 9-11
4th International Symposium on the Catalysis for Clean Energy and Sustainable Chemistry, Bilbao, Spain
Dr. Pablo Beato (Haldor Topsøe) as a Guest Speaker:
Cu-CHA catalysts for environmental applications

June 26-29
8th International Symposium on Carbon for Catalysis, CarboCat–VIII, Porto, Portugal
Keynote lectures for two iCSI Professors:

Prof. De Chen,
Sustainable carbocatalyst with atomically dispersed Fe-N-P-C complex active sites for superior oxygen reduction
Prof. Magnus Rønning, Nitrogen-doped carbon nanofibres: What are the requirements for application in PEM fuel cells?

June 13-15
Time Work Function Workshop,  Oslo

June 11-14
Tailored surfaces in operando conditions, A Marcus Wallenberg symposium, Ystad, Sweden

May 20-23
25th International Conference on Chemical Reaction Engineering ISCRE-25, Florence, Italy

April 17-18
SFI-Forum at the Research Council of Norway, Oslo

April 15-19
6th International Congress on Operando Spectroscopy, Estepona, Màlaga

January 30
Yara/SINTEF Innovation Hub - Cultivating a culture of curiosity and collaborating, NTNU, Trondheim

January 16-18
1st Silver Formaldehyde Technical Conference, Kazincbarcika, Hungary