In recent years, the application of polyurethanes as insulation in residential and commercial settings has emerged as a significant driver for their growth, leading to enhanced energy efficiency and decreased CO2 emissions. Aniline and phosgene synthesis are key steps in the production chain of isocyanate precursors necessary for polyurethane manufacturing. Therefore, improving the efficiency and sustainability of these reactions is imperative.
This research project aims to uncover the catalyst degradation mechanism involved in these reactions by investigating the activation and deactivation species using a combination of standard and advanced characterization techniques. These techniques include vibrational micro-spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and synchrotron-based X-ray micro-spectroscopy to monitor changes in the catalyst structure and the formation of carbon deposits. Gaining such a comprehensive understanding of catalyst stability under varying operating conditions and catalyst compositions could lead to the development of improved catalysts with extended lifetimes, fewer regeneration cycles, and minimized catalyst waste.