Catalyst Development

Diverse possibilities for catalyst research and development

For close to two decades we have worked on tailored solutions for the catalyst development of high-temperature, gas phase processes. Our specialty are zirconia-based oxidation catalysts that decompose one of the most harmful gasification gas component, namely the heavy tar fraction. We are able to produce zirconia catalysts in pilot and commercial scale as ceramic monoliths and pellets. The technology has been patented worldwide.

We are developing, producing and testing process catalysts for multiple purposes, such as Fischer-Tropsch, steam reforming, water-gas-shift, methanation, aqueous phase reforming and methanol synthesis. We are able to produce requested combination of support + promoters/additives + active components in the scale from few grams up to several hundreds of kilos. We are also co-operating with many commercial catalyst manufacturers. We can employ for example impregnation, precipitation, ALD and washcoating methods. We have several patents on catalyst compositions and preparation techniques.

Our expertise is in the catalyst development for demanding conditions. Our testing methods are suitable for various shapes and sizes of the catalysts and we are able to feed and analyse wide range of impurities, including sulfur, ammonia and tar components. We also test catalyst durability in harsh conditions and long-term activity up to thousand hours.

Doped zirconia catalysts

We have been developing, manufacturing and testing doped zirconia catalysts for more than decade. The catalysts have been tested in the laboratory scale for several thousands of hours and in numerous conditions. Our gas clean-up catalyst have been used in pilot scale at VTT and in demonstration scale at NSE Biofuels Varkaus plant. In industrial scale they have been used in Skive plant, Denmark. The catalyst has good tolerance for any impurities present in the biomass gasification gas, especially sulfur. It decomposes tar components with high conversion at relatively low temperature range from 600 °C to 700 °C.


Steam reforming, water-gas-shift and methanation catalysts

We have been developing processes involving steam reforming, water-gas-shift and methanation for three decades. Nickel, rhodium, ruthenium and platinum –based catalysts on various support materials are in continuous use in our laboratories. We are able to produce them from micro-scale reactors up to pilot scale.


Fischer-Tropsch catalysts

We have twenty years of experience in Fischer-Tropsch catalyst optimization for the production of synthetic diesel or gasoline. The main focus of the research has been on the cobalt catalysts, especially on the effect of promoter, support and preparation method. We have patented Co / ZSM-5, Co / SCMM and Co / de-Al-Y catalysts. We are able to produce Fischer-Tropsch catalysts from small laboratory batches up to pilot scale.

Kokemäki, Finland 

Kokemäki CHP plant was designed to produce 1.8 MWe power and 3.3 MW of heat by gasifying biomass. Both gasification and gas clean-up technologies were developed by VTT. Our gas clean-up catalysts were applied in the reformer. The plant was operated as a demonstration from 2005 until 2007.


Skive, Denmark 

Skive CHP plant produces 6 MW power and 12 MW of district heat by gasifying wood pellets and chips. The outlet gasifier gas, which contains impurities such as tars, was successfully operated with our gas clean-up catalysts in 2006.


NSE Biofuels 

VTT developed a gasification and gas clean-up technology for NSE Biofuels during 2008-2011. The process included novel reforming technology for upgrading biomass based gasification gas for the production of liquid biofuels. The development work resulted in 5 MW pilot plant.


P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland
Tel. exchange +358 20 722 111
Opening hours Mon - Fri 8:00 - 16:30,
UTC +2 time zone

Tel. +358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00,
UTC +2 time zone