Project title

MXenes-type catalysts for energy production and fine-chemical syntheses (MXeneCAT)

Project Code and number

PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2020-1532; No. PCE17/2020

Contracting Authority


Project Host Institution

University of Bucharest

Run period


Total funding

1.198.032,00 lei



Research Team:

1.      Vasile Parvulescu – director

2.       Simona Coman – researcher

3.      Madalina Sandulescu – researcher

4.       Bogdan Cojocaru – researcher

5.      Mara-Alexandra Badea – Master student 


Project Summary

2D atomic materials like graphenes elicited a considerable interest in the last decades due to the unique structural and electronic properties, their synthesis from available resources and the very high resistance in various environments. As a consequence their utilization found multiple applications, including catalysis. Integrated in this context, MXenes are a new class of 2D family including transition metal carbides, nitrides, and carbonitrides in which two, three, or four atomic layers of a transition metal (M: Ti, Nb, V, Cr, Mo, Ta, etc.) are interleaved with layers of C and/or N or B. To-date the investigation of MXenes in catalysis is still in an infancy state. Taking this state of the art, the project targets the synthesis of new MXenes through the incarceration, surface modification and plasma treatment, more adapted for catalytic applications. Their design focuses the production of fuels from waste CO2, improvement of the refinery production and synthesis of fine chemicals. Complex catalysts will be produced from sustainable resources (like chitosan or alginate) and elements of the groups 3, 4, 13 and 14 (Ti, Al, Sn, Zr, Ga) of the periodic table. Accordingly, the project will be integrated in several mandatory concepts such as environmental protection, energy reduction and circular economy. With the same aim, the synthesis of fine chemicals will be transferred to flow reactors.

The main objective of this project is the investigation of new MXenes materials specifically designed for catalytic applications and to expand the current level of knowledge in this field through a deeper exploration of their properties in a close correlation to theoretical calculations..



The implementation degree of the project:


Phase I/2021 (04.01.2021–31.12.2021): Synthesis of 2D MXenes as reference and support material (Budget 331532 lei)


In order to achieve this phase, the following activities are carried out:


Activity 1.1. - Synthesis of 2D MXenes as reference and support material


Summary of the research report (Phase I):

The research carried out in this phase aimed primarily to establish the conditions under which M-Xene of some elements from groups III-V B can occur. These syntheses were made starting from both precursors synthesized in the laboratory and from mixed carbides MxAlyC2 (M = element from groups III-V B) purchased from companies.

The experiments performed in the laboratory phase confirmed the synthesis of these M-xenes through the structural analyzes performed in the different stages of the synthesis. Associated with the catalytic applications in which these M-xenons will be investigated, the characterizations performed by Raman and XP spectroscopy at this stage have highlighted a number of properties that may indeed have an important contribution. These are:

        i.            Peripheral functionalization that is performed in the exfoliation stage of the material; the composition of the exfoliation environment and the influence of the conditions in which these treatments are performed have an important contribution;

      ii.            The functionalities that can be introduced in this stage and their relative ratio can be reproducibly controlled; their effects can be rationally quantified.

    iii.            The presence of the element M in oxidation states that can be induced on reproducible synthetic routes; the relative ratio of the elements in these states of valence is important.

    iv.            Synthesized M-xenon structures have metallic, acidic and basic properties, their weight can be controlled. These properties are recommended as versatile in complex catalytic applications.

Based on these results, the objectives assumed in this phase of the project are considered fulfilled.



1.      Recent progress and prospects in catalytic water treatment, Vasile I. Parvulescu, Florence Epron,  Hermenegildo Garcia, Pascal Granger, Chem. Rev., ACCEPTED

2.      Valmet Chiral Schiff-Base Ligands And Their Copper(II) Complexes as Organo, Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysts for Henry, Cyanosilylation and Aldol Coupling Reactions, Arora Z. Eftemie D.-I. Spinciu A. Maxim C. Hanganu A.-M., Tudorache M., Cojocaru B., Pavel O.D., Granger P., Andruh M., Pârvulescu V.I, ChemCatChem, 2021, 13(21), 4634 – 4644.