Our People

Our Researchers

Dr. K.-J. Weststrate
Senior Research Scientist

Kees-Jan Weststrate studied Chemistry at Leiden University. There, he specialized in surface chemistry and catalysis using surface science techniques and obtained his PhD in 2006. Furnished with a Rubicon grant, he then spent two years at the Synchrotron Radiation Research facility of Lund University, Sweden.

In 2008, Kees-Jan joined a collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology and Sasol Technology, and focused on the fundamental understanding of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis on cobalt catalysts. He provided valuable insights on the deactivation of cobalt catalysts using the flat model catalyst approach, and used surface science to study the surface chemistry of reactants, products, and intermediates being relevant in its catalytic cycle. Kees-Jan has (co-)authored around 30 articles on various topics related to surface chemistry and catalysis, including a comprehensive review on FTS.

Kees-Jan joined Syngaschem BV in February 2015 in order to continue his exciting journey in fundamental FTS research. In collaboration with Prof. Niemantsverdriet, he will lead Syngaschem’s effort on the bottom-up translation of molecular scale information, obtained by surface science, into applied conditions.

Dr. F. Sapountzi
Research Scientist

Foteini Sapountzi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and a Master’s Degree in ‘Physical, Chemical and Biochemical Processes’ from the University of Patras, Greece. In 2009 she obtained her PhD in Chemical Engineering and until 2014, she has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in UPatras/Greece (Prof.C.G. Vayenas), UCLM/Spain (Prof. J.L. Valverde) and IRCELYON/France (Dr. P. Vernoux).

Her research is focused on catalytic and electrocatalytic processes, mainly in the framework of Electrochemical Promotion of Catalysis and of fuel cell/electrolysis technology. She has co-authored 28 scientific articles, including a comprehensive review on water electrolysis.

In March 2015, Foteini joined Syngaschem BV. Stationed at the group of Prof. Niemantsverdriet in Eindhoven, she now works on implementing emerging electrocatalysts into commercial-type electrodes for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals (water electrolysis, alcohol electroreforming, CO2 electroreduction).

Dr. H. Fredriksson
Research Scientist

Hans Fredriksson obtained his MSc degree in Physics at Gothenburg University in Sweden. In 2009, he completed a PhD in material science at the department of applied physics at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg in the field of nanofabrication. In particular, he worked on model systems for catalysis and nano-optics research, which he continued for a while as a PostDoc.

In 2010, Hans joined Prof. Hans Niemantsverdriet’s group at Eindhoven University of Technology to further pursue his interest in combining nanofabrication and catalysis research. His research topics ranged from the properties of catalysts for purification of the products of biomass gasification, and for methanol production from syngas to the chemical transistor concept. He also addressed enhanced oil-recovery in collaboration with Royal Dutch Shell. Hans worked as daily supervisor of PhD students in the field of catalysis research. He has (co-)authored around 20 research papers on various topics.

In Jannuary 2016, Hans joined Syngaschem BV. His main focus is on investigating fundamental properties of catalysts and correlating these with activity and deactivation using model catalysts, micro reactors and a broad range of characterization techniques.

Our Management

Ir. J.P.K. Felderhof
General Director and Strategic Partnerships

Jan Karel Felderhof strives for enhancing organizations and people to their full potential. He does so by developing a source strategy based on the spirit of the organizations or companies he works for, and the people that develop these organizations or companies. From this perspective he supports the design of strategy and organizational structures.

He further ‘catalyzes’ the dynamics of the company

  • by coaching and training team leaders and professionals on self-leadership and self-management to make them fully capable of exercising their accountabilities and responsibilities
  • by establishing an authentic and ambitious culture in the value chain, not only with the employees, but also with other stakeholders, suppliers and clients.

In his role of the general director of Syngaschem BV, Jan Karel sees that the Syngaschem BV scientists are in the centre of Green Energy know how. His aim is to optimally contribute with them in the global change to green energy resources through strategic partnerships.

Besides serving as director of Syngaschem BV, Jan Karel is founder and owner of Impetus BV (1990), which enabled organizations in several branches (knowledge, professional and services) in enhancing their strategy, organization and people.

Prof. J.W. (Hans) Niemantsverdriet
Scientific Director

Hans is also

  • Scientific DIrector of SynCat@Beijing, Huairou, P.R. China
  • Professor Emeritus (1989-2015) of the Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands,
  • Honorary Distinguished Professor at the Cardiff Catalysis Institute of Cardiff University,UK,
  • Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa,
  • Adjunct Professor at Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, P.R. China, 
  • Director of his consulting company Catsurfchem BV.

Hans supervised some 30 PhD projects and 20 postdoc projects in government and industry funded research. He was Editor of the Journal of Catalysis for twenty years (1996-2016)

He is the author of about 350 peer-reviewed publications (H=55), and two text books, and is frequently invited to speak at international conferences, workshops and Summer schools on catalysis and surface science. His main area of research is the fundamentals of catalysis, mainly in synthesis gas chemistry, but recently he has also become interested in electro and photocatalysis.

In 2013, he founded Syngaschem BV and started the SynCat@Beijing project together with Synfuels China. In 2020 he stepped down as general director of Syngaschem BV, but remained involved in the research projects as Scientific Director

Dipl.-Chem. A.R. Vaccaro 
General Affairs Manager

Antonio Vaccaro joined Syngaschem BV in 2013 to run the office at Syngaschem BV.

Since then he kept things going around matters like HRM, organization of workshops and education programs, communication with our people and partners, PR, finance, legal issues, and so forth.

Our Advisors

Prof. Michael Claeys

Professor Claeys obtained his PhD in Fischer-Tropsch catalysis at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1997 and then joined the Centre for Catalysis Research at UCT as a post-doctoral fellow, then Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and now full Professor. Here he was instrumental in establishing a large research activity with focus on Fischer-Tropsch catalysis, a technology which lies at the heart of South Africa’s synthetic fuels and chemicals industry. Other research interests include the preparation and characterisation of nano materials and their use in catalytic applications, as well as the development of novel instrumentation for characterisation of catalysts at working conditions.

A large portion of his research is conducted in conjunction with a longstanding industrial collaboration with Sasol R&D. Professor Claeys is the Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis, c*change, a large virtual and multidisciplinary Centre, where he also acts as the Manager of the Scientific Synthesis Gas Programme. This national Centre, which is hosted at UCT, involves 11 higher education institutions in South Africa and supports more than 50 postgraduate students, 15 post-doctoral fellows and some 25 academics and professional researchers.