Matteo Monai

Postdoctoral researcher
Utrecht University

About myself  

I’m from Trieste, a city in the north-east of Italy, right at the border with Slovenia. I started my postdoc within CBBC in November 2017. Over the last five years, I focused on many aspects of heterogeneous catalysis and nanomaterials science. In my free time, I play bass guitar (check out Concrete Jelly!).

As a researcher I am passionate about

I always liked solving logic games (Sudokus in particular) and to me, science is the ultimate puzzle. As a researcher, I am passionate about understanding how materials achieve their functionality (e.g. catalytic properties) and how we can use chemistry to make them work better to suit a specific purpose.

At the moment I work on

At the moment I am working on CO2 utilization over transition metal catalysts, demonstrating structure-activity relationships using well-defined catalysts and advanced spectroscopy techniques. The aim is to convert CO2 – our carbon-economy signature waste molecule – into fuels and added-value chemicals, working towards closing the carbon cycle. In order to do this, I am leveraging catalytic materials nanostructure, to tweak their active sites towards the desired CO2 activation pathways.

Within ARC CBBC, I wish to accomplish

Within ARC CBBC, I wish to push the boundaries of CO2 activation chemistry, by bringing new fundamental understanding in CO2 hydrogenation and C-C coupling reaction mechanism. I wish to contribute to the development of conversion technologies to yield sustainable chemical building blocks for materials production and energy storage.