Institute of Catalysis

The Institute of Catalysis (IC) is a leading scientific, research, application and innovation center and center for the training of specialized personnel in Bulgaria and Southeastern Europe on fundamental and applied research in the field of heterogeneous and homogenous catalysis, photocatalysis, chemical kinetics, chemical stabilization and the specific research methods applicable to catalysis.

IC creates novel nanosized catalysts with a regulated structure and properties applicable in the chemical industry, environmental protection processes, alternative fuels – hydrogen, utilization of new energy sources, improvement of the quality of life, etc.

The scientific basis for the selection of new catalytic systems, the chemical stabilization of organic materials, the reactivity of organic compounds, methodical an methodological development of EPR and ENDOR spectroscopy are studied with priority at the Institute; the kinetics and the mechanism of heterogeneous, homogeneous and photocatalytic reactions, catalytic transformations at atomic level are investigated by quantum-chemical methods.

Modern physical methods such as: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction analysis, infrared and ultraviolet spectroscopy, temperature-programmed desorption, reduction and oxidation, differential scanning calorimetry, Mössbauer and EPR spectroscopy are being widely applied.

Significant achievements
  • The effect of the type of phase of the ZrO2 carrier (amorphous, monoclinic and tetragonal) on the structure and catalytic properties of Cu / ZrO2 catalysts for the dehydrogenation of bioethanol to ethyl acetate was investigated during the implementation of the project “Obtaining alternative fuels from renewable hydrogen-containing raw materials: biogas reforming to hydrogen”. Laboratory technology has been developed to produce clean hydrogen fuel by reforming biogas from local renewable raw materials. The highly efficient mixed platinum catalysts deposited on xPrO2-Al2O3 oxides can provide an intensive process of biogas reforming to hydrogen.
  • An energy-efficient and eco-friendly method has been developed for the production of nanoparticulate magnetite and Ni-substituted materials with spinel structure, potentially used as catalysts, gas sensors, magnetic materials and others. The nanomaterials produced by mechanochemical activation have high dispersibility, super paramagnetic properties at room temperature and high photocatalytic activity in the purification of contaminated water from the textile industry.
  • A standard operating procedure has been developed to produce a new non-platinum Ni-containing anode catalyst for alkaline electrolytic cells (contract “Anodes of alkaline electrolytic cells using base metals” with GENCELL Ltd, Petah Tikva, Israel). The catalyst participates in the company’s “Generator G5” commercial product. The invention is protected by the patent: “Nickel-Based Catalyst For Fuel Cell” WO2015 / 142619 A1.
  • New highly active and stable catalysts based on nanosized gold on mixed oxides with a hydrotalcite structure have been developed with a potential application for obtaining pure hydrogen by the water-gas shift reaction of carbon monoxide with water vapor. The invention is protected by the patent “Gold catalysts supported in CuO-ZnO-Al2O3 production method and the use thereof”, WO 2016/059268 A1.

IC is founder, organizer and seat of the Bulgarian Catalysis Club (BCC), established in 1992.

IC is world-wide known as organizer of the traditional International Symposia on Heterogeneous Catalysis. In 2015, the XI Symposium in a row was organized.

IC organizes also workshops of NATO and UNIDO contract teams and is also an active member of the Balkan Environmental Association (B.EN.A).
IC is the seat of the Bulgarian EPR meetings.

Educational activity

IC scientists are actively involved in the preparation of graduates, PhD students and students by holding lectures, seminars. IC has been registered as an employer under the “Student Practices” project of the Human Resource Development Operational Program, with 8 scientists from the institute being registered as mentors. Scientists from IC participate in the work of scientific juries by the defense of dissertations for PhD and Doctor of Sciences degrees and in competitions for occupying academic positions.

Doctoral programs

4.2. Chemical Sciences:

  • Code 01.05.16 Chemical kinetics and catalysis;
  • Chief 01.05.18 Solid state chemistry.

Doctoral courses

  1. Fundamentals of chemical kinetics. Kinetics of catalytic reactions. Methods for Determination of Catalytic Activity, Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Alexander Elias
  2. Scientific bases for the selection and synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts, Lecturer: Prof. Tatyana Tabakova
  3. Contemporary instrumentation methods for characterization of catalysts, lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Hristo Kolev
  4. Catalysis for environmental protection and energetics, Lecturer: Prof. Sonia Damyanova, PhD
  5. Quantum-chemical methods in catalysis, Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Valentin Alexiev
  6. Solutions for the replacement of critical raw materials in high-tech materials and catalysts, Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Zara Cherkezova-Zheleva

IC has participated as a partner in the project “Development of highly qualified specialists on contemporary materials for environmental protection: from design to innovation” BG051PO001-3.3.06-0050 under the Operational Program “Human Resources Development”, European Social Fund.

Other educational initiatives

Applied Quantum Chemistry course based on the “Quantum Espresso” program on “Practice and Application of Modeling of Hydrogen Storage Systems and Solar Panel Coatings”.

An agreement with SABIC (Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation), Saudi Arabia for staff training has been concluded.


International relations