Rideal Travel Bursary recipient, Shanshan Xu, reports from Germany

03 January 2020

Shanshan Xu was awarded a Rideal Travel Bursary to attend the 14th European Congress on Catalysis, EuropaCat 2019 in Aachen, Germany. Here, she tells us about the opportunities the event gave her to network and how she was able to learn from other researchers.

‘The 14th European Congress on Catalysis (EuropaCat 2019) was held from 18 – 23 August 2019 in Aachen, Germany. This conference was organised by the catalysis communities of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The conference provided a splendid opportunity to discuss the scientific progress and to explore novel technologies in catalysis, fully embodying the theme “Catalysis without Borders”.

‘The conference is very large, with more than 1500 participants from industry and academia of 50 countries participating. And 400 lectures and 800 posters were presented. The conference was divided into different symposia, with 6 parallel sessions located in 9 theatres. I was always able to get the presentation that I was interested in, learning from other researchers. Apart from the presentations and posters, a topic especially for young researchers was held during the conference, ie, “The Young European Catalysis Network (YEUCat)”, in which young researchers were encouraged to share knowledge, build fruitful cooperations and promote catalysis to address current and future environmental and societal challenges. As a Phd student, I am very happy to attend these kinds of discussion and I can get some support and emotional resonance with other young researchers.

‘I gave a presentation on my projection of ‘Non-thermal plasma assisted catalytic methanation of CO2 over Ru-loaded on the MgAl layered double hydroxide’. I presented my research towards the development of novel Ru catalysts for CO2 utilisation under the low-temperature plasma conditions. High CO2 conversion and CH4 yield has been achieved by plasma, and the dynamics of the catalysts and mechanism of CO2 methanation are also been investigated by in situ DRIFTS-MS under both thermal and plasma conditions. I also attended the presentations delivered by other researchers from this field. For example, Dr M. Craven presented their work in hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol under plasma-catalytic process. We had a long discussion during the conference, and it was very kind of him to answer my questions and provide some useful suggestions on my own work. Many other topics, such as catalyst preparations and other catalytic reactions, broadened my horizons further in the world of catalysis and enable me to know more about the different projects, ideas and catalysis process. As a result, I got a better fundamental understanding of the catalysis.

‘Apart from learning from other researchers’ work, the conference provided a great opportunity for the networking. They offered a platform for researchers to communicate with each other, to discuss the current challenges in the field of catalysis, to make new friends and open new collaborations between different groups worldwide. By communicating with the experts in the catalysis, I was inspired to go further in the amazing world of catalysis and obtained more responsibility to build up a sustainable and green society.  It is a wonderful experience for me to attend this conference. By connecting with excellent researchers from all over the world will inspire me to explore more in catalysis.

‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank the SCI-RSC Rideal Trust for awarding me this traveling grant for the financial support to attend this international conference.’

Shanshan Xu
PhD student
University of Manchester

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