Dr Alan McCue

Dr Alan McCue
Dr Alan McCue

Dr Alan McCue



Accepting PhDs


Room 158

Meston Building

Department of Chemisry

School of Natural and Computing Sciences

University of Aberdeen

AB24 3UE



I recieved both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Aberdeen.  I am heavily involved in the Department of Chemistry's undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes and am partly responsible for our MSc in 'Advanced Energy Materials'.  My research interests lie in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, with a particular emphasis on how activity and selectivity of hydrogenation catalysts (typically supported metals) can be manipulated by careful design. I also enjoy outreach work.


  • BSc Chemistry 
    2008 - University of Aberdeen 
  • PhD Chemistry 
    2012 - University of Aberdeen 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Programme director - Advanced Energy Materials MSc

External Memberships

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Latest Publications

  • Sustainable microcrystalline cellulose-based activated carbons for a greener carbon capture at post-combustion conditions

    Biti, S., McCue, A., Dionisi, D., Biscaya Semedo Pereira da Graca, I., Fernandez Martin, C.
    International journal of greenhouse gas control
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Understanding the Role of Coordinatively Unsaturated Al3+ Sites on Nanoshaped Al2O3 for Creating Uniform Ni–Cu Alloys for Selective Hydrogenation of Acetylene

    Song, Y., Weng, S., Fan, X., McCue, A., Zheng, L., He, Y., Feng, J., Liu, Y., Li, D.
    ACS Catalysis, pp. 1952-1963
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Mitigating catalyst deactivation in selective hydrogenation by enhancing dispersion and utilizing reaction heat effect

    Liu, Y., Weng, S., McCue, A. J., Fu, B., Yu, H., He, Y., Feng, J., Li, D., Duan, X.
    AIChE Journal, e17874
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Supported Pt Enabled Proton-Driven NAD(P)+ Regeneration for Biocatalytic Oxidation

    Burnett, J. W., Chen, H., Li, J., Li, Y., Huang, S., Shi, J., McCue, A. J., Howe, R. F., Minteer, S. D., Wang, X.
    ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol. 14, no. 18, pp. 20943-20952
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Highly Selective and Stable Isolated Non-Noble Metal Atom Catalysts for Selective Hydrogenation of Acetylene

    Fu, B., McCue, A., Liu, Y., Weng, S., Song, Y., He, Y., Feng, J., Li, D.
    ACS Catalysis, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 607-615
    Contributions to Journals: Articles

View My Publications


Research Overview

My principle research interests lie in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, with a particular emphasis on how activity and selectivity of hydrogenation catalysts (typically supported metals) can be manipulated by careful design.  This can be achieved by a number of methods which include:

  • Alloy formation and controlling surface composition
  • Modifying surface properties by adsorption of organic ligands
  • Incorporation of an inorganic element to change the structure (i.e., Pd + S)

Prepared catalysts can be characterised by a number of different techniques which range from routine (i.e., XRD, microscopy, physisorption or chemisorption) to more specialised (i.e., in-situ FTIR, temperature programmed methods and XAS).  Catalyst performance is then evaluated by testing in either the liquid or gas phase at either ambient or elevated pressure/temperature.  The most common reaction of interest is the selective hydrogenation of an alkyne to an alkene without over-hydrogenation to the alkane.  This is a process of importance with regards to polymer production (i.e., polyethylene or polypropylene) and commodity chemicals in a number of areas.  Other reactions of interest include CO2 hydrogenation and biomass utilisation.

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Chemistry.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Current Research

  • Selective alkyne hydrogenation
  • Development of CO2 hydrogenation catalysts
  • Catalysts for biomass upgrading
  • New and improved materials for gas separation

Funding and Grants

UK Catalysis Hub - A supported molten-salt membrane reactor

Royal Society of Chemistry - Combining pulse chemisorption and FTIR into a single low-cost measurement

Carnegie Trust - Palladium sulphide as a hydrogenation catalyst




Teaching Responsibilities

I currently coordinate our Advanced Energy Materials MSc along with Dr Eve Wildman.  This programme gives students a high level understanding in the areas of electrochemical conversion devices (such as battery and fuel cell technology), carbon capture technologies and the hydrogen economy, amongst other topics.


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