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Walter Böhringer





Diplom-Chemiker Karlsruhe

Honorary Senior Lecturer
Department of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment

Email: Walter Böhringer


Research interests

After 20 years of having been a research officer in the section of Chemistry and Technology of Gas, Oil and Coal at the Engler-Bunte Institute, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, University of Karlsruhe, Germany, I have joined the Catalysis Research Unit, UCT, in 1999. My former research activities concerned both applied and fundamental research into industrially relevant processes focussing on acid catalysis, in particular the conversion of hydrocarbons and alcohols over shape selective and non-shape selective zeolites, and on the entire range of hydroprocessing reactions, from hydrotreating to sever hydrocracking, from conventional catalysts to iron based catalysts (for very heavy oil hydrocracking) and noble metal based catalysts (for deep hydrodesulphurisation of diesel). I specialised in high pressure and medium to high temperature conversion of complex, multi-component industrial feedstocks and related model compounds and model mixtures. I also specialised in the development of the respective experimental and analytical techniques, particularly gas chromatography.

My research activities in the Catalysis Research Unit are focusing on adding value to specifically South African feedstocks and products such as coal or natural gas derived liquid fuels and organic base chemicals. This includes product and process development, both applied and fundamental, and based on the specific feedstocks and technologies that are available in the country. Fields are the following (together with Professor Jack CQ Fletcher):

  • Novel/advanced Fischer-Tropsch technologies
  • Hydrocracking of Fischer-Tropsch wax (GTL, gas-to-liquids process)
  • Upgrading of phenolic by-products from coal gasification
  • Selective hydrogenation/purification of olefinic feedstock
  • Gold based catalysts for water-gas-shift reaction
  • Platinum group noble metal based catalysis
  • Shape-selective catalysis of aromatic hydrocarbons and phenols conversion
  • Synthesis of zeolites (for application in the above)
  • Development of specific catalyst test methods and equipment

Most of the above mentioned research activities are co-operations and within research contracts with South African or international companies or both or are integrated in c change, the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis in South Africa

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