Dr Nico Fischer

Overview/ Research interests

After two and a half years working as researcher in heterogeneous catalysis at BASF, Nico Fischer returned to the University of Cape Town in January 2014 as Senior Research Officer. In The Centre for Catalysis Research he is closely aligned with the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis c*change His research focus areas are in the in situ characterization of working catalysts under industrially relevant conditions, nano-sized model catalyst systems and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. He is involved in post-graduate teaching and supervision. Since 2016 Nico Fischer is also the chairman of the Catalysis Society of South Africa (CATSA).



Ph. D. thesis
University of Cape Town, South Africa, Prof. Dr. M. Claeys & Prof. Dr. E. van Steen
"Preparation of nano- and ångstrøm-sized cobalt ensembles and their performance in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis"

Chemical engineering studies
University of Karlsruhe (KIT), Germany
• technical biology
• chemistry and engineering of fossil and renewable combustibles



Since 01/2014
Senior Research Officer at the Centre for Catalysis Research and DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis (c*change), University of Cape Town, South Africa

Research scientist, laboratory team leader, heterogeneous oxidation catalysts, BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany

Major grants and Awards

Since 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry Newton Advanced Research Fellow

BASF Sunrise Award 2013 for the best new disruptive project in Global Process Chemicals and Chemical Engineering Research.

Finalist for the 2011/12 NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards.


N. Fischer & M. Claeys

“Phase changes studied under in situ conditions – a novel cell”

Catalysis Today submitted.


M. Wolf, N. Fischer & M. Claeys

“Effectiveness of catalyst passivation techniques studied in situ with a magnetometer”

Catalysis Today submitted.


N. Fischer, R. Henkel, B. Hettel, M. Iglesias, G. Schaub & M. Claeys

“Hydrocarbons via CO2 hydrogenation over iron catalysts – the effect of potassium on structure and performance”

Catalysis Letters (2015) DOI: 10.1007/s10562-015-1670-9.


N. Fischer, B. Clapham, T. E. Feltes & M. Claeys
“Cobat based Fischer-Tropsch activity and selectivity as a function of crystallite size and water partial pressure”
ACS Catalysis 5 (2015) 113.


T. Sango, N. Fischer, R. Henkel, F. Roessner, E. van Steen & M. Claeys
“Formation of nitrogen containing compounds from ammonia co-fed to the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis”
Applied Catalysis A: General 502 (2015) 150.


N. Fischer, B. Clapham, T. E. Feltes, E. van Steen & M. Claeys
“Size-dependent phase transformation of catalytically active nanoparticles captured in situ”
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 53 (2014) 1342.


N. Fischer, E. van Steen & M. Claeys
“Tri-cobalt carboxylate as catalyst and catalyst precursor in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis”
ChemCatChem 6 (2014) 1707.


N. Fischer, P. Hubach & C. Woll
“Incorporation of micro-reactor measurements into a pilot scale phthalic anhydride reactor“
Chemie Ingenieurs Technik 87 (2014) 159.


N. Fischer, E. van Steen & M. Claeys
“Structure sensitivity of Fischer-Tropsch activity and selectivity on supported cobalt catalysts”
Journal of Catalysis 299 (2013) 67.


R.P. Mogorosi, N. Fischer, M. Claeys & E. van Steen
"Strong metal support interactions by molecular design: Fe-silicate interactions in FT catalysts"
Journal of Catalysis 289 (2012) 140.


N. Fischer, M. Minneman, M. Bäumer, E. van Steen & M. Claeys
“Metal support interactions in Co3O4/Al2O3 catalysts prepared from w/o microemulsions”
Catalysis Letters 142 (2012) 830.


N. Fischer, E. van Steen & M. Claeys
“Preparation of supported nano-sized cobaltoxide and fcc cobalt crystallites”
Catalysis Today 171 (2011) 174.


M. Claeys and N. Fischer

“Sample presentation device for radiation based analytical equipment”

WO2013/005180 A1

US8597598 B2 (2013)


M. Kraemer, S. Altwasser, F. Rosowski, J. Zuehlke, H.-M. Allmann & N. Fischer

“Catalyst for preparing carboxylic acids and/or carboxylic anhydrides”

WO2014/013397 A2/A3

US9029289 B2 (2015)


N. Fischer, M. Braeu & C.-K. Dobner

“Use of vanadium-containing particles as biocide”

WO2014/195772 A1


N. Fischer, M. Kraemer, J. Zuehlke & H.-M. Allmann

“Process for preparing phthalic anhydride”

WO2014/207603 A2


M. Kraemer, N. Fischer, J. Zuehlke & H.-M. Allmann

“Process for starting up a gas phase oxidation reactor”

WO2014/207604 A2


N. Fischer, C. Galeano, M. Kraemer, M. Schubert, J. Zuehlke & H.-M. Allmann

“Katalysator zur Herstellung von Carbonsaeuren und-oder Carbonsaeureanhydriden”

WO2015/121483 A1