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RESEARCH PROFILE

Associate Professor Dr. Khamphee Phomphrai

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
School of Molecular Science and Engineering
Tel. 033014151
Email khamphee.p@vistec.ac.th

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Carbon Dioxide Utilization: From Waste to Valuables

 

Research Overview

Catalysis is the heart of all chemical industry involving multi-billion dollar investment. We have developed novel homogeneous catalysts used in the transformation of carbon dioxide into other valuable chemicals and materials. With the right catalyst design, we can optimize the reaction process for superior selectivity and to give high CO2 content in the materials.

Molecular Catalysis: Development for Better Catalysts

Catalysis has been the forefront of chemical industry for century. The development of better, faster, controllable and robust catalysts is an endless task leading to safer, greener, cheaper, and more reliable processes. The catalyst development is crucial for materials design allowing a preparation of materials with novel properties. Our research focuses on the development of homogeneous catalysts that can change carbon dioxide (CO2) into other valuable chemicals and materials.

Global Warming, Global Concerns

Over the past century, average global temperature has continuously increased leading to the change of climate around the world. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is believed to be one of the major contributors to this alteration as a green-house gas. The average concentration of carbon dioxide has rapidly increased especially in major cities. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere mostly as a product of combustion reactions used in modern life styles. However being cheap and abundant, carbon dioxide has been critically investigated as a valuable starting molecule in both academic and industrial research. It can be exploited in many applications as a part of materials, chemicals, and fuel.


Global warming caused by green house gases

Carbon Dioxide: From Waste to Valuables

Several CO2 transformations have already found significant commercial applications such as in polycarbonates, cyclic carbonates and methanol synthesis. Thus, this area of research has been the focus of major companies around the world. These transformations would not be possible without the help of efficient catalysts. At VISTEC, several catalysts are being developed in connection with industries. They are very crucial for materials and process design allowing a preparation of materials with novel properties or processes that allow the reactions to finish within seconds.


Carbon Dioxide Utilization and Transformations.


Although many utilization processes involve reduction of CO2, especially if the target product is fuel, it is more difficult to make the process carbon neutral because CO2 is the most oxidized state of carbon and a significant amount of energy is required to perform such transformation to this thermodynamic sink. Hence, we are interested in using CO2 as a carbon source in which it is incorporated as a carboxylate group. This would maximize the value of CO2 by exploitation of the existing functional group, while minimizing the complication of the process.

Among the possibilities, we see high potentials in polyester production from coupling CO2 with hydrocarbon as it can have high degree of CO2 incorporation. Moreover, polyester is notable for its biodegradability. This feature expands its uses as a replacement for other hydrocarbon derived plastics to solve the waste problems. Several catalyst systems are being developed to turn this little molecule into the more valuable materials.
 

Research Group Members:

Dr. Khamphee Phomphrai
Dr. Srisuda Patamma
Dr. Phonpimon Wongmahasirikun
Dr. Sucheewin Chotchatchawankul
Ms. Parichat Piromjitpong
Ms. Siriwan Praban
Mr. Phongnarin Chumsaeng
Ms. Jiraya Kiriratnikom
Mr. Pisanu Pisitsopon
Mr. Arnut Virachotikul
Ms. Kwanchanok Udomsasporn
Ms. Thasanaporn Ungpittagul