The Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds consists of a head office and laboratories in Florence, of two stations located in the Universities of Pisa and Bari and of a Research Unit at the Chemistry Department of the University of Trieste. The permanent staff comprises 27 researchers, 5 technicians and 4 administrative persons, one of these with a temporary position since October 2007. Overall, the associate researchers from Universities were 31 in the year 2007. In the same years the non-permanent staff such as bourse-holders, research contract-holders and Post-Docs were (25), while the graduate student were 35.
Since 2006, ICCOM is responsible for the administration of the Center for Electronic Microscopy (CEME) of the CNR Research Area of Florence.
The overall 2007 production of published papers in international journals or in books was 76 items, 67 of which in ISI journals, 4 in non ISI journals, and 5 were chapters of books. The patents were 9, realized in joint collaboration with industries or owned by the CNR. One book was edited by the Institute. In consequence of its vigorous international activity, the training activity of European young researchers at ICCOM has been fully satisfactory
The institutional research covers the following areas:
SUSTAINABLE HOMOGENEOUS AND HETEROGENEOUS PROCESSES
PRODUCTION OF HYDROGEN AND ENERGY FROM RENEWABLES
TRANSFORTMATION OF RENEWABLES INTO CHEMICALS
INORGANIC, ORGANIC AND ORGANOMETALLIC SYNTHESES
STUDY OF STRUCTURE/ACTIVITY RELANTIOSHIPS
The presence of synthetic chemists, experts in various spectroscopic techniques, theoreticians and biologists makes the ICCOM a flexible and multidisciplinary structure to carry out both fundamental and applied research, to be effective in the technology transfer, to train European young researchers in the main area of molecular and material sciences, with particular regard to catalytic technologies at both molecular and nano-size level. The integration of the competences and expertise of the ICCOM researchers has allowed them to obtain important results in various fields of molecular sciences and nanotechnologies, with particular reference to sustainable catalytic technologies, to the production/activation of hydrogen (hydrogen economy), to the production of energy via new systems, to the preparation of polymeric and nanocomposite materials, to the synthesis of biologically active molecules and functional devices.
PRINCIPAL RESEARCH PROJECTS:
design, development and production of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts for sustainable processes in different phase variation systems
new systems for the direct production of electrical power (electrocatalysts for fuel cells of the types PEFC and DAFC) - production, activation and storage of hydrogen (metal hydrides, MOF)
production of hydrogen (reforming of hydrocarbons, alcohols, sugars, water electrolysis)
hydrogen storage (metal hydrides,MOFs)
preparation and postfunctionalization of polymeric materials
preparation of organic/inorganic polymeric nanocomposites
preparation of oligomers and polymers for use in optoelectronics
preparation of ion exchange membranes (ionomers), especially anion exchange membranes for alkaline fuel cells
preparation of biologically active compounds, especially optically pure compounds via enantioselective synthesis and catalysis
speciation and degradation of toxic and environmentally harmful metallic and organometallic species
theoretical studies and model studies of reaction mechanisms
advanced MS, NMR and EPR studies
construction of scientific instrumentation, in particular of autoclaves and devices for NMR and IR measurements under elevated gas pressure
The main objectives and specific projects performed in 2007 have been in line with the priority areas indicated in both the Guide Lines for the Scientific and Technological Policy of the Italian Government (production systems, energy, environment, health) and the 6FP anf 7FP of the European Union.
The Institute has intensely collaborated with several laboratories from the CNR and Universities as well as private enterprises of different size. The table bleow summarizes the most relevant research contracts signed in 2007 with a neat value of 1.254.000 EUR, which corresponds to six times the institutional budget provided by the central administration of the CNR.
committente subject Initial date Duration months Value IVA included
Acta spa (Italy) Electrocatalysts for fuel cell and electrolysis
applications 01/07/06 12 36.000,00
Argus Chemical (Italy) Chemical analyses byNMR and GC/MS spectroscopy 01/01/07 12 15.120,00
Arkema (France) Control of maleic anhydride grafting onto polypropylene 01/12/05 18 27.000,00
Idea lab (Italy) Design, development and characterization of DEFC stack 16/05/06 12 72.000,00
SUN-NANOTECH Design of electrochemical gas ensors 01/01/07 12 6.000,00
Thermphos International (The Netherlands) White phosphorus activation and functionalization 01/04/06 24 80.000,00
Ente cassa di Risparmio di Firenze (Italy) Advanced Research Programme for the production, storage and utilization of hydrogen as energy carrier (Progetto HYDROLAB) 01/01/07 12 255.000,00
MIUR (Italy) Synthesis of conjugated polymers functionalized with biomolecules and their applications as sensors 2004 36 176.250,00
MIUR (Italy) Mew materials and nanostructured polymeric films with reduced environmental impact and with tailored response to chemical-physical agents (NANOPACK)
12/09/05 36 199.900,00
MIUR (Italy) Inorganic and hybrid nanosystems for the development and innovation in fuel cell technology (FISR) 18/04/05 36 475.311,50
Toscana Region/Ministero del Lavoro/UE "EBH2: Electro-Bio-Hydrogen" (Programma Operativo Ob. 3 della Regione Toscana - Misura D4) 01/01/07 24 500.000,00
Puglia region/ Ministero della Salute Pharmacological prevention in patients suffering from multiple myeloma. Inhibitors COX-2 of angiogenesys and of tumoral growth 2005 12 19.800,00
UE Transition Metal Chemistry and Catalysis in Aqueous Media -
AQUACHEM (Contratto Marie Curie RTN n. MRTN-CT-2003-503864) 23/12/03 48 213.884,00
UE New Chemistry and Catalysis with Hydride Compounds - HYDROCHEM (Contratto RTN n. HPRN-CT-2002-00176) 01/10/02 48 181.690,00
UE Integrated design of catalytic nanomaterials for a sustainable production - IDECAT (Network of Excellence) 01/04/05 60 380.000,00
UE Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices - NANOHYBRID (Contratto n. STRP 516972) 01/03/05 36 154.829,00
UE Atom-economic syntheses using palladium, the chameleon catalyst - PALLADIUM (Contratto RTN n. HPRN-CT-2002-00196) 01/10/02 48 171.543,00
The competence and expertise of the ICCOM researchers have allowed for the realization of studies in various fields at both fundamental and applied level and have favored the participation of of ICCOM to numerous projects of the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes:
1) Atom-economic syntheses using palladium, the chameleon catalyst - PALLADIUM (Contratto RTN n. HPRN-CT-2002-00196,
2) Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices - NANOHYBRID (Contratto n. STRP 516972).
3) Integrated design of catalytic nanomaterials for a sustainable production - IDECAT (Network of Excellence)New Chemistry and Catalysis with Hydride Compounds - HYDROCHEM (Contratto RTN n. HPRN-CT-2002-00176).
4) Transition Metal Chemistry and Catalysis in Aqueous Media - AQUACHEM (Contratto Marie Curie RTN n. MRTN-CT-2003-503864).
5) Homogeneous Supported Catalyst Technologies: the sustainable approach
to highly-selective, fine chemicals production, NANO-HOST, FP7-PEOPLE-2007-1-1-ITN
Of particular relevance is the Network di Excellence "Integrated Design of Catalytic Nanomaterials for a Sustainable Production" (IDECAT) financed by the EU within the FP6. This Network belongs operates within the strategic area "Nanotechnology and nanoscience, knowledge based multifunctional materials, new production processes and devices". IDECAT started its activity on April 1st 2005 and will be financed for 5 years with an overall budget of 9.500.000 EUR. 2.500.000 EUR will be managed by ICCOM-CNR to support the CNT activities. The top-management of IDECAT comprises a Governing Board, un Executive Committee and, most importantly, an Industrial Council with members coming from the major European Industries in the fields of Chemistry and Energy production: Astra Zeneca, Atofina, British Petroleum, Centro Ricerche Fiat, DOW, Enitecnologie, ExxonMobil, Johnson Matthey, Repsol YPF, Rhodia, Sasol, BASF, Bayer, Degussa, ACTA SpA. IDECAT is the only European Network dedicated to catalysis and relative production processes.
The main partners of IDECAT, among which the CNR, will establish in 2008 the European Institute of Catalysis (ERIC), a legal body with its headquarters in Brussels. ERIC will be the principal conversation partner in the catalysis field with the National and EU Institutions and wit the European Industry.
In 2004, ICCOM has signed a contract with the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze for the creation of an advanced laboratory aimed at developing the production, storage and utilization of hydrogen (HYDROLAB). The project involves as partners the Departments of Chemistry and Agricultural Biotechnologies of the University of Florence, the CNR Institute ISC, and the European Laboratory LENS. The project provides financial support for the temporary recruitment of young researchers as well as for purchasing scientific instrumentation.
In the field of hydrogen production by innovative water electrolysis ICCOM is carrying out since 2007 a research activity, in collaboration with the Universities of Florence and Pisa, ACTA SpA, and two CNR Institutes, supported by Regione Toscana entitled "Sustainable Production of Hydrogen via Electrochemical and Photobiological Processes" worth of 500.000 EUR. The project involves as partners the Departments of Chemistry and Engineering of the University of Pisa, the Department of Agricultural Biotechnologies of the University of Florence, the CNR Institute ISC, and the private company ACTA SpA.
The ICCOM is an advanced center for the design and development of scientific instrumentation for high pressure studies. Recent achievements include:
- high-pressure reactors (up to 250 bar and 250 °C) equipped with solid and liquid injectors, sampling devices, controllers of temperature, stirring rate and pressure.
- high-pressure NMR tubes (up to 250 bar and 200 °C) comprising 10 mm OD sapphire tubes sealed by amagnetic titanium valves, high-temperature rotors, charging systems for gases, and pliers for the introduction of the tube into the spectrometer probehead.
- high-pressure reactors with control on temperature, pressure, stirring rate, combining IR cells for continuous monitoring of the reactions.
The demand of the high-pressure instrumentation developed at ICCOM is so great to forecast the creation of a spin-off enterprise with good chances of success.