Graduate School

Materials as catalysts for hydrocarbon converios reactions

This course is part of the programme:
Materials (Third Level)

Objectives and competences

The main goal of the course is to give the students theoretical and practical knowledge of contemporary catalytic processes for hydrocarbon conversion (selective partial oxidation and dehydrogenation) and emerging catalytic pathways for CO2 valorization.



Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Fundamentals of heterogeneous catalysis.
  • Modern synthesis techniques for preparation of mofphologically homogeneous and defined catalytic nanomaterials.
  • Introduction of different functions which metallic and oxide nanoparticles play in catalytic reactions of CO2 activation and hydrocarbon conversion reactions.
  • Design of catalytic functions of multicomponent katalysts.
  • Most widely employed characterization techniques (spectroscopic, structural and based on chemisorption) for analysis of catalytic nanomaterials.
  • Evaluation of catalytic behaviour through the established descriptors (conversion, selectivity, deactvation, etc.).
  • Reactor systems used in heterogeneous catalysis along with their benefits and drawbacks.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understanding basic principles of heterogeneous catalysts functioning.
  • Catalyst design for target reactions involving hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide (selection of active components and reaction conditions).
  • The use of an appropriate synthesis method for obtaining desired structure and morpholgy of the catalytic material.
  • Catalyst characterization to the extent where correlations between structural and chemical properties with catalytic behavious is possible and reliable (active site identification, origin of selectivity and deactivation).


  • Fundamental Concepts in Heterogeneous Catalysis, Jens K. Nørskov, Felix Studt, Frank Abild-Pedersen, Thomas Bligaard, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2014.
  • Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy, George A. Olah, ‎Alain Goeppert, ‎G. K. Surya Prakash, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2009.
  • CO2 reforming of CH4, Bradford, M.C.J., Vannice, M.A. Catalysis Reviews – Science and Engineering, 41 (1999) 1-42.
  • Synthesis of Solid Catalysts, K.P. de Jong (urednik/editor), Viley-VCH, Weinheim 2009.

*Other literature provided by the lecturer.


Oral examination and oral defence of the topic related to the content of the lectures. Projects are submitted to the lecturer in a written form and defended orally in an open discussion with professor and students.

Lecturer's references

Assoc. prof. dr. Nataša Novak Tušar

Nataša Novak Tušar is a group leader for catalysis at the Department for Inorganic Chemistry and Technology at the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana. She is additionally employed at the University of Nova Gorica as Associate Professor in Chemistry. Her current research focuses on development of new catalysts for improving manufacturing systems for energy and environmental technologies (production of chemicals and fuels from biomass and purification of water and air).

Nataša Novak Tušar received faculty degree in Chemical technology in 1991 and PhD in Chemistry in 2000 from the University of Ljubljana. Before PhD she was for one year employed in industry (DINOS company for recycling wastes) and one year at Fraunhofer institute for environmental chemistry (Fraunhofer Institut für Umweltchemie und Ökotoxikologie) in Schmallenberg, Germany. She was a post PhD researcher in 2003-2004 as an EU Individual Marie Curie Fellow at synchrotron ELETTRA and University of Trieste, Italy. Between 2010 and 2015 she was additionally employed at the Centre of Excellence for Low-Carbon Technologies (CONOT) in Ljubljana. She is a management committee member for Slovenia in EU COST action FP1306 (Valorisation of lignocellulosic biomass side streams for sustainable production of chemicals, materials and fuels using low environmental impact technologies 2014-2018) and EU COST action FP1306 TD1203 (Food waste valorisation for sustainable chemicals, materials and fuels (EUBis) 2012-2016).

Since 2015, she has been a member of the Board of Directors of ENMIX (European Nanoporous Materials Institute of Excellence) and since 2016, she has been a member of the Management Board of EFCATS (European Federation of Catalysis Societies)

2017 she was a chair of 2nd International Conference on New Photocatalytic Materials for Environment, Energy and Sustainability (NPM-2):!Akqn2OX4TYNIk5MAlEBx2Te1XOLbGg

University course code: 3MAi06

Year of study: 1




  • Lectures: 30 hours
  • Exercises: 30 hours
  • Individual work: 210 hours

Course type: elective

Languages: english, slovene

Learning and teaching methods:
lectures, project work under supervision of the lecturer, discussion and interpretation of the projects results with the lecturer and other students.