Sebastian Haben

PhD candidate
Utrecht University

About myself
I grew up near Munich in Germany, where I studied chemistry at TUM and obtained both my BSc and MSc degrees. In my free time I enjoy mountaineering, bouldering and in the winter, skiing. Next to German, I speak English as well as a bit of French, Norwegian and I am currently learning Dutch. I started my project with ARC CBBC in March 2019.

As a researcher I am passionate about
I am passionate about undertaking scientific work with big potential impact on society and industry, to tackle today’s global scale problems. In addition, I strongly believe in an interdisciplinary approach to solve these problems based on free and open research.

At the moment I am working on
Currently I am working on broadening our insight into the deactivation of methane dehydroaromatization (MDA) catalyst. These materials are able to accomplish the very challenging activation of methane and its subsequent transformation into important platform chemicals like aromatics. Unfortunately, current catalysts suffer from rapid deactivation which renders the process economically unfeasible. By utilizing various operando spectroscopic tools I hope to gain deeper understanding of the underlying deactivation methods to aid in the design of more stable future catalysts.

Within ARC CBBC I wish to accomplish
A successful implementation of the MDA process would open up a new way to utilize methane not only as a fuel, but also as feedstock. This opens up opportunities for methane that is currently produced as by-product during oil production, thereby putting an end to the process of flaring. In the future it is expected that methane from biomass will become available at larger scale. MDA will then help to turn this into a renewal feedstock.