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Ram Sambhar Shukla, Speaker at Catalysis Conference
CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), India
Title : Heterogeneous Catalysis for Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Formic Acid


Heterogeneous catalysis proffers the potential advantage of easy separation and recycling of the catalyst and easy purification of the products where as it`s counter part homogeneous catalysis although affords the advantages of high conversion and selectivity but lacks efficient recyclability of the costly metal catalysts. Carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas produced mainly through the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation, is drastically contributing to global warming, climate change and pollution.  One of the attractive ways is to convert it into useful chemicals due to its availability as plenty, cheap and non-toxic C-1 resource specifically for formic acid as it is a renewable energy storage for H2 gas. Formic acid is an essential intermediate and chemical feedstock because of it`s important applications in textile, dyeing, paper, medicinal agents, tanning agent, preservative agent and in livestock feed. The currently established and practised commercial process for the synthesis of formic acid is in two steps, comprising toxic carbon monoxide at high pressure and high temperature. To avoid the use of toxic carbon monoxide, the promising and potential replacement for the production of formic acid is the direct hydrogenation of very abundant, inexpensive and nontoxic CO2 using various transition metal based homogeneous and heterogeneous catalyst. Hydrogenation of CO2 to formic acid is mostly reported under homogeneous conditions by metal based catalysts additionally using liquid base, in which the transfer of the proton to the base favors the reaction. It was conceptualized to use metal and hydrotalcite as solid soft base and support as well, to heterogenise the homogeneous catalyat systems. Rhodium, ruthenium and copper based heterogeneous catalysts using hydrotalcite as support as well as base are synthesized, characterized and had been investigated in detail for the effective conversion of  CO2 to formic acid at moderate, temperature and total pressure of CO2 and hydrogen. Activity,selectivity and recyclability of these catalysts were appreciable for the production of formic acid under the employed reaction conditions in the auto clave.  My speech will discuss the above advances made in the recent research and developments for the atom economic conversion of CO2 to formic acid.


Dr. Ram Sambhar Shukla received B.Sc. (1975), M.Sc. (1977), Ph.D. (1981) degrees and PDF of CSIR (1981-83) from University of Allahabad, India and joined Inorganic Materials and Catalysis Division of CSIR- Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar, India as research scientist since 1983. His specializations include catalyst materials, green organic transformations of O2, CO2, CO, H2 and CH4, high temperature-pressure material and catalysis. He is Life Member of National Academy of Sciences-India, Allahabad and Catalysis Society of -India ,Madras. He was Member of Indian Reference Materials, Delhi and was Chairman (Alternate), Inorganic Materials Sectional Committee of Bureau of Indian Standard, Delhi. As Bilateral Exchange of Scientists awardees visited France (CNRS,1993) and Korea (KOSEF, 2002) for collaborative research on C-H and CO2 respectively. Awarded brain pool scientist (2011) and researched in Korea on utilization of CO2 as soft oxidant. Performed as faculty Professor for Ph.D. course, of Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), and of Bhavnagar University. He is reviewer for reputed journals for materials and catalysis and Ph.D. examiner for Indian universities. He credited: 100 papers, 5 patents, 2 reviews, 4 book/chapters, 52 invited lectures: 21 international and 71 national conferences,17 students guidance and 20 research projects.