Welcome to the Multiscale Reaction Engineering (MuRE) group, led by Pedro Castaño (Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering), in the KAUST Catalysis Center.

Our goal is to push the boundaries of reaction engineering, adopting a holistic multiscale strategy, to make the catalytic process more viable and sustainable

The vision of MuRE is to contribute to a chemical industry based on sustainability, circularity, and green chemistry principles. We aspire to help the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the world transition from an oil-based economy to a circular one following the hierarchy: intensifying the current refinery downstream operations, incorporating alternative and waste feedstock into the production chains, and developing innovative catalytic processes. Given the applied nature of our goals, we cooperate extensively with industry and government stakeholders.

The mission of MuRE is to engineer reactions, catalysts, and reactors at the multiscale for a sustainable chemical industry and a cleaner environment.

We target environmental and waste-valorization processes such as the transformations of small molecules (carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, alkanes, methanol) or bulkier ones in complex mixtures (refinery residues, crude, biomass, lignin, plastic wastes, used tires) into hydrogen, light olefins/alkenes, platform chemicals or high-quality fuels. We investigate these chemistries at different levels/scales:

  • At the molecular level, we engineer reactions by developing kinetic models and a comprehensive analytical workflow of reacting environments. For the kinetic models, we work with density functional theory (DFT), macro- and microkinetic models. We use advanced and integrated characterization techniques for the analytical workflow to understand the reactivity of complex reaction mixtures, including catalytic deactivating spices such as coke.

  • At the catalyst level, we engineer catalysts from the nano- to the macroscale. We focus on enhancing the stability of hierarchical zeolites, supported metal nanoparticles, MXenes, perovskites, aerogels, and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) based materials. We also develop methods to engineer technical catalysts (particles, powders, pellets, extrudates...) with improved crushing strength, thermal conductivity, morphological features, and kinetic+deactivation.

  • At the reactor level, we engineer reactors with a design philosophy based on intrinsic kinetics (absence or controlled mass and heat transport) and multi-functionality/intensification. We systematically analyze and model hydrodynamics using computational (particle) fluid dynamics and different imaging/tracking techniques. We focus on (i) gas–solid fluidized bed reactors (FBRs), such as circulating, Berty, downer, riser, multizone or two-zone, and high-pressure FBRs; (ii) gas–solid packed bed reactors (PBRs), such as high throughput, membrane, periodic, operando and photo-thermal PBRs; and (iii) multiphase reactors, such as slurry, Carberry, trickle-bed, and bioelectrochemical (microbial fuel cell) reactors.



On this website, you can read the who, the how, the what, and the where. Additionally, you can read our latest news and check a list of available positions or upcoming events.

Open positions and news

Prospective MSc or PhD students

  • MuRE / KCC

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