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PHOTO: Dr Haresh Manyar
Developing new catalysts and new chemical processes for efficient utilisation of biomass resources for production of bio-fuels and renewable chemicals. Dr Haresh Manyar
Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering
Office: DKB 02.426 I Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 6608


  • Theme Lead for Theoretical and Applied Catalysis Research Cluster
  • Year Head for Level 2 Chemical Engineering
  • Examinations Officer for Levels 1 and 2 in Chemical Engineering


Our research is based on the design and development of new and better heterogeneous catalysts by investigating the environment of the catalyst active site during the reaction at the molecular level using conventional ex situ and special in situ techniques developed at Queen’s University Belfast. We study the interactions between active metal species, the surrounding solvent molecules and surface adsorbed molecules (solvent, reactants and products). This information is critical to understand reaction mechanisms and kinetics of surface processes, to design new and better catalysts, perform clean and benign chemistry and intensify existing processes. In our recent work, by combining experimental data with the theoretical insights from our computational colleagues we have been able to explain the structure-activity relationship for a range of reactions of high industrial importance.



Adding value to Fatty acids and Vegetable oils

Hydrogenation of fatty acids feedstocks into renewable biofuels and alcohols has significant potential to add value to otherwise waste biomass. This is currently performed industrially using catalytic hydrogenation; however, the commercial processes typically use high pressures (up to 200 bar H2) and temperature (up to 250 °C). At Queen’s University, we have developed a new low temperature catalytic technology which allows the reactions to be performed under low temperature (60-130 °C) and low hydrogen pressure (1-20 bar) using novel catalysts (QUCaT-1 & QUCaT-2). The QUCaT technology not only promotes the reaction rates under mild conditions, but also enhances the selectivity to corresponding alcohols (>95% selectivity at ~100% conversion of fatty acid), as compared to an unpromoted catalysts. We have also tuned the composition of the catalyst to selectively produce corresponding hydrocarbons for use as biofuels.


Design of New Heterogeneous Catalysts for Selective Chemical Processes

Selective hydrogenation of α,β-unsaturated aldehydes and ketones at the C=C double bond or C=O carbonyl group is highly desirable in the chemical industry. We have achieved highly selective (98% selectivity) hydrogenation using manganese oxide octahedral molecular sieves like cryptomelane (OMS-2) and platinum supported on OMS-2 catalysts at 100% conversions. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations showed the dissociation of H2 on OMS-2 was water assisted and occurred on the surface Mn of OMS-2(001) modified by an adsorbed H2O molecule.


An in situ study of the interaction of molecules with catalyst active sites

In most of the catalytic chemical reactions, the choice of the catalyst (active catalytic species and support) significantly influences the reaction rate and product selectivity which is the result of the interaction of organic molecules with the active catalyst site, such as adsorption configuration, strength and its influence on the metal electronic structure. We study the adsorption of molecules and its effect on the electronic structure of active metal site by combining the catalytic experiments and Temperature-programmed Desorption technique with an in situ liquid phase X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and Density Functional Theory calculations. The change in the Pt electronic structure following the interaction of an α,β-unsaturated aldehyde and ketone is shown below. The adsorption of such molecules resulted in an energy shift of Pt Fermi level, which is in good agreement with the molecule adsorption energies calculated by DFT.


Research Group

Post-doctoral Researchers and PhD students

Dr Sanjay Nagarajan

Dr Manish Tiwari

John Keogh

Ronan Doherty

Eadaoin McCourt

Jennifer Sarah Dicks

Bello Isah


Dr Kathryn Ralphs

Dr Laura Marti Montaner

Amin Safwan Alikasturi

Xiaohan Chen

Hui Li

Yilleng Titus

Work with us

Apart from our advertised research positions, we strongly encourage potential co-workers to secure their own research funds. Potential funding sources include:

If you are interested in preparing a research application, please contact Dr H. Manyar directly to discuss.

Recent Publications

“Determination of toluene hydrogenation kinetics with neutron diffraction”

M. Falkowska,   S. Chansai, H. G. Manyar,   L. F. Gladden,   D. T. Bowron,   T. G. A. Youngs,   C. Hardacre, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2016, 18, 17237-17243. View


“Highlights from Faraday Discussion: Designing New Heterogeneous Catalysts, London, UK, April 2016”

N. Fischer, H. G. Manyar, A. Roldan, Chemical Communications, 2016, 52, 8335-8341. View


“Selective hydrogenation of halogenated arenes using porous manganese oxide (OMS-2) and platinum supported OMS-2 catalysts”

J. McManus, H. Daly, H. G. Manyar, S. F. Rebecca Taylor, J. M. Thompson, C. Hardacre, Faraday Discuss., 2016, 188, 451-466. View


“Use of Short Time-on-Stream Attenuated Total Internal Reflection Infrared Spectroscopy To Probe Changes in Adsorption Geometry for Determination of Selectivity in the Hydrogenation of Citral”

H. Daly, H. G. Manyar, R. Morgan, J. M. Thompson, J.-J. Delgado, R. Burch, and C. Hardacre, ACS Catalysis, 2014, 4, 8, 2470-2478. View


“Aqueous phase reforming of xylitol over Pt-Re bimetallic catalyst: effect of the Re addition”

A.V. Kirilin, A. V. Tokarev, H. G. Manyar, C. Hardacre,T. Salmi, J.-P. Mikkola, D. Yu. Murzin,

Catal. Today, 2014, 223, 97-107. View


“Selective Hydrogenation of α,β-Unsaturated Aldehydes and Ketones using Novel Manganese Oxide and Platinum Supported on Manganese Oxide Octahedral Molecular Sieves as Catalysts”

H. G. Manyar, B. Yang, H. Daly, H. Moor, S. Mcmonagle, Y. Tao, G. D. Yadav, A. Goguet, P. Hu, C. Hardacre, ChemCatChem., 2013, 5, 506-512. View


“High energy resolution fluorescence detection XANES-an in situ method to study the interaction of adsorbed molecules with metal catalysts in the liquid phase”

H. G. Manyar, R. Morgan, K. Morgan, B. Yang, P. Hu, J. Szlachetko, J. Sá, C. Hardacre, Cataly. Sci. and Tech., 2013, 3, 1497-1500. View


“Probing chemistry and kinetics of reactions in heterogeneous catalysts”

T. G. A. Youngs, H. G. Manyar, D. T. Bowron, L. Gladden, C. Hardacre, Chemical Science, 2013, 4, 3484-3489. Edge Article View


“The First Continuous Flow Hydrogenation of Amides to Amines”

J. Coetzee, H. G. Manyar, C. Hardacre, D. J. Cole-Hamilton, ChemCatChem., 2013, 5, 2843-2847. View


“Structural and spectroscopic investigation of ZnS nanoparticles grown in quaternary reverse micelles”

H. G. Manyar, P. Iliade, L. Bertinetti, S. Coluccia, G. Berlier, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 354 2011, 354, 511-516. View


“Highly selective and efficient hydrogenation of carboxylic acids to alcohols using titania supported Pt catalysts”

H. G. Manyar, C. Paun, R. Pilus, D. W. Rooney, J. M. Thompson, C. Hardacre,  Chemical Communications, 2010, 46, 6279-6281. View

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