[Innovative Catalysts] Innovative catalysts and creation technologies for the utilization of diverse natural carbon resources

※ Affiliations and titles are as of the end of the research activity.

Strategic Objective

Creation of innovative catalysts using diverse natural carbon resources

Research Supervisor

photo: Wataru Ueda

Wataru Ueda (Professor, Department of Material and Life Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Kanagawa University)


This research area will promote the creation of innovative catalysts that can convert methane and other alkane gas resources to useful chemicals and energy, in order to progress towards the establishment of an industrial infrastructure that can make balanced use of diverse natural carbon resources. If new technologies can be used to convert methane, alkane and other natural gas resources easily into chemicals and energy, it will be possible to decrease our current dependence on oil, and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. However, since it is difficult to convert methane and other alkane gas resources directly to chemicals, existing processes are indirect, for example via syngas (CO + H2) generated by methane reforming.
The keynote object of this research area is to overcome this difficult task by pursuing new approaches to create advanced catalyst technologies. It is aimed to achieve a significant jump on the accumulated experience value on catalysts, by engaging with data-intensive science, computational science, and measurement technologies that have made advances in recent years.
This research area will focus on research themes using methane as a reactant. Research themes regarding reactions using ethane, propane and other lower alkanes as reactants will be promoted only if they show higher activity and/or selectivity compared to the existing ones.
It is aimed to promote genuinely world-leading catalyst researches that aim at pioneer new uses for resources such as natural gas in the future chemical industry, and lead to the establishment of a new industrial infrastructure.

Research Area Advisors

・Masaru Ihara
Project Director, Administration and Training Department, Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security

・Yasuhiro Uozumi
Professor, Division of Complex Catalysis, Insttute for Molecular Science

・Masako Kato
Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University

・Maki Kawai
President, National Institutes of Natural Sciences

・Hiroshi Kitagawa
Professor, Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University

・Hisayoshi Kobayashi
Emeritus Professor, Kyoto Institute of Technology

・Satoshi Sato
Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Chiba University

・Tohru Setoyama
Executive Fellow, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation /Director, Science & Innovasion Center Setoyama Laboratory

・Hajime Nagahara

・Itaru Hamach
Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University

・Terunori Fujita
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.Senior Advisor /Chubu University Specially Appointed Professor

・Hiroshi Miura
Emeritus Professor, Saitama University

・Yoshihito Watanabe
Director General, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Institute for Molecular Science

Year Started : 2015

High-yield Methane Conversions by Nanophase-separation Catalysts

Research Director:
Hideki Abe (Principal Researcher, Hydrogen Production Materials Group, C4GR, National Institute for Materials Science)

Creation of methane-oxidizing catalyst through synthetic biology

Research Director:
Yasuyoshi Sakai (Professor, Division of Applied Life Sciences, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University)

Direct conversion of methane to methanol using a malfunction state of biocatalysts

Research Director:
Osami Shoji (Professor, Graduate Schcol of Science, Nagoya University)

Creation of a new type of membrane catalyst to convert methane to useful resourse

Research Director:
Ichiro Yamanaka (Professor, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Development of catalysts for direct methane oxidation and catalysis engineering based on computational chemistry

Research Director:
Kazunari Yoshizawa (Director, Institute for Materials Chemistry and Engineering,Kyushu University)

Year Started : 2016

Oxidation of Methane by Oxyl-radical Complexes of Late Transition-metals

Research Director:
Shinobu Itoh (Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University)

Methane Selective Oxidation by Oxygen Atom Shuttle

Research Director:
Shigeo Ted Oyama (Professor, Chemical System Engineering, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo)

Invention Study on Metal Ultrafine Particle - Oxide Composite Catalyst for Direct Methane Conversion to Olefins

Research Director:
Atsushi Muramatsu (Professor, Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials, Tohoku University)

Year Started : 2017

Development of catalytic process for direct methylation with methane

Research Director:
Naonobu Katada (Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Tottori University)

Discovery of methane conversion catalysts and revealing reaction mechanisms through the integration of experimental, computational, and data sciences

Research Director:
Keisuke Takahashi (Professor, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University)

In-situ atomic characterization of catalytic reactions for development of innovative catalysts

Research Director:
Syo Matsumura (President, National Institute of Technology, Kurume Colleage)

Development of homo- and heterogeneous catalytic process by using supercritical methane as reactant and media

Research Director:
Makoto Yamashita (Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University)

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