GRECAT - Group for Studies on Catalysis and Technology of Chemical Reactions

Areas of work

The research activities of the GRECAT group focus mainly on the following areas:

1. Catalytic Functionalization of Abundant and Cheap Low Alkanes

Preparation and physico-chemical characterization of unsupported and supported, doped and undoped catalysts based on mixed oxides prepared by coprecipitation and sol-gel techniques. Test of the prepared catalysts for the oxidative dehydrogenation of n-butane and isobutane. Correlation of the physico-chemical properties of the prepared catalysts with the catalytic activity for oxidative dehydrogenation of n-butane and isobutane, and for degradation. Study of the kinetics and mechanisms of the reactions.

2. Selective Oxidation of Olefins over Mixed Oxides

Study of the physico-chemical properties of the catalytic active pure and mixed phases of the bismuth molybdate catalysts by XRD, FTIR, Raman, XPS, thermogravimetry, oxygen temperature programmed description, hydrogen temperature programmed reduction, measurements of lattice oxygen diffusivity and catalysts reducibility by hydrogen and olefins, etc. .Correlation of the results with the catalytic activity for the oxidative dehydrogenation, isomerization and degradation of 1-butene. Test of the prepared mixed oxide catalysts by citrate technique with the same reactions.

3. Polymerization and Technology of Polymerization of Olefins over Metalocenic Catalysts:

Homo and copolymerization of vinyl based monomers by transition metal catalysts. Synthesis of unsaturated polyolefins by means of diene comonomers and chemical modification of these copolymers, for development of novel functional polymeric materials. Development of supported metallocene systems on inorganic mesoporous materials as catalysts for polymerization of vinyl monomers. Analysis of the thermal and mechanical properties of the copolymer and correlation studies with the composition and distribution of polar units along the polymeric chain.

4.  Selective Catalytic Oxidations of Methanol and Ethanol

Investigation of the cerium role on the catalytic behavior of silica-supported M0FeO catalysts for the methanol oxidation. Test of mixed oxide catalysts prepared by citrate technique for the selective oxidation of low alcohols like methanol and ethanol.

5.  First Generation Biodiesel by alcoholysis of vegetable oils

Preparation and characterization of catalyst with basic character for methanolysis of vegetable oils (soyabean and others). Study of activity and stability of Mg-Al LDH modified with Ce as catalysts precursors. Study of the catalytic performances of modified (with several elements) MgO.

Research team

Manuel Farinha Portela  (Coordinator)


Emeritus Full Professor of Chemical Engineering

Agregação, IST, 1974

Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering, IST, 1972

Ph. D. Research Work at French Petroleum Institute (Rueil-Malmaison, France), 1967–1969

Graduation in Chemical Engineering, IST, 1954


Research interests

Maria do Rosário Ribeiro

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering (IST)

Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry, Université Bordeaux-I, Bordeaux, France, 1993

M.Sc. in Chemistry of Catalytic Processes, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, 1987

Graduated in Chemical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, 1983


Research interests

Ana Paula Soares Dias

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering (IST)

Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, 1996

M.S. equivalent in Chemical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, 1991

Bachelor´s Degree in Chemical  Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, 1987


Research interests

Research Engineer

Maria Margarida Oliveira

Ph.D. Students

João Campos

Polymerization of olefins over modified mesoporous supports: catalytic behaviour and polymer properties

Joana Tudella

Novel approaches to the resolution of common problems in olefin polymerisation

M.Sc. Students

Sofia Damião

First Generation Biodiesel by soybean oil methanolysis over Strontium and Barium modified MgO

Ana Filipa Santos

Heterogeneous Catalysts for Biodiesel Production. Soybean Oil Methanolysis over Modified Mg-Al Hydrotalcites (December 2007)


Laboratories and Equipments

IST - Torre Sul building


The facilities available for Catalysis Research at GRECAT include:

Recent publications