Marc-Olivier Coppens' Webpage

Photo of Professor Coppens

Ramsay Memorial Professor in Chemical Engineering and Head of Department

Email: m.coppens@ucl.ac.uk
PA:     arvind.mangat@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)20 3108 1126

Professor Marc-Olivier Coppens
Department of Chemical Engineering
University College London
Torrington Place
London WC1E 7JE
United Kingdom

Marc-Olivier Coppens holds MSc (1993) and PhD (1996) degrees in chemical engineering from Univ. Ghent, Belgium, was visiting scholar at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (1996), and postdoctoral fellow at Yale (1996-1997) and UC Berkeley (1997-1998). He joined the TU Delft faculty in the Netherlands in 1998, was named Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor in 2001, and Chair of Physical Chemistry and Molecular Thermodynamics, 2003–2006. He was professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 2006 before joining UCL in 2012.

His multidisciplinary research combines fundamental theoretical work with experiments, centering on nature-inspired chemical engineering, to design and build efficient chemical processes, porous catalysts and separation systems, guided by efficient biological systems. Awards include DSM Prize Laureate (1996), Young Chemist (2001) and PIONIER Awards (2002) from the Dutch National Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO) and a Visiting Professorship at National Tsinghua University, Taiwan (1998) and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2008). His group is involved in many international collaborations, including the U.S.A., the Netherlands (TU Delft), Germany, Japan (NIMS), China and Norway. He has given over one hundred invited lectures worldwide.

Research Interests

Nature Inspired Chemical Engineering

Our research revolves around the theme of nature-inspired chemical engineering (NICE). By studying natural systems – trees, lungs, cell membranes – from the perspective of a chemical engineer, we draw clues to design better performing, more sustainable and efficient chemical processes and materials for technological applications. We seek guidance from nature as a starting point in theoretically and computationally based, and experimentally validated designs. These designs are optimized for criteria such as maximum chemical yield, selectivity and stability over time. We apply this approach to catalysis and reactor engineering, energy and membrane separation technology.

At the heart of these nature-inspired designs lies a better fundamental understanding and control of physico-chemical phenomena spanning multiple length and time scales. We study effects of heterogeneity and confinement on diffusion and reaction phenomena. We aim to preserve a desired functionality at the micro- or nanoscale up to scales that are of technological relevance. Therefore, we especially focus on patterns and symmetries that are omnipresent in nature, such as fractal structures, which link microscopic with macroscopic scales in a very efficient and intrinsically scalable way.

Page last modified on 16 dec 13 14:18