Dr Alan McCue

Dr Alan McCue
Dr Alan McCue

Dr Alan McCue




Room 158

Meston Building

Department of Chemisry

School of Natural and Computing Sciences

University of Aberdeen

AB24 3UE



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 Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and the preparation of alkenes from unconventional routes.

Standout papers to date include:

  1. Selective hydrogenation of mixed alkyne/alkene streams at elevated pressure over a palladium sulfide catalyst.  A.J. McCue, A. Guerrero-Ruiz, C. Ramirez-Barria, I. Rodriguez-Ramos and J.A. Anderson.  Journal of Catalysis, 355 (2017) 40-52.
  2. Quantification and qualification by in-situ FTIR of species formed on supported-cobalt catalysts during the Fischer-Tropsch reaction. A.I. McNab, A.J. McCue, D. Dionisi and J.A. Anderson. Journal of Catalysis, 353 (2017) 286-294.
  3. Palladium sulphide - A highly selective catalyst for gas phase hydrogenation of alkynes to alkenes.   A.J. McCue, A. Guerrero-Ruiz, I. Rodriguez-Ramos and J.A. Anderson.  Journal of Catalysis, 340 (2016) 10-16.
  4. Cu/Al2O3 catalyts modified with Pd for selective hydrogenation.  A.J. McCue, C.J. McRitchie, A.M. Shepherd and J.A. Anderson.  Journal of Catalysis, 319 (2014) 127-135.

Teaching Responsibilities

I currently coordinate our Oil & Gas Masters programme and teach on the following courses:

CM1522 - Elements of Chemistry 2

CM4518 - Advanced Chemistry 3 (Catalysis)

CM4521 - Intregrated Chemistry

CM5535 - Chemistry of Refinery and Natural Gas Processes

CM5536 - Flow Assuracne and Oil Field Chemicals

CM5537 - Applied Analytical and Instrumental Methods

EG551Y - Oil and Gas Chemistry


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