New high-performance catalyst helps convert greenhouse gases into chemical feedstock

INCHEON, South Korea, January 14, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Dry methane reforming (DRM) is a promising approach to convert methane and carbon dioxide into chemical feedstock or syngas. However, DRM needs a stable and highly active catalyst for its commercialization. Now, researchers from South Korea have developed a new catalyst which, unlike previously reported catalysts, can be synthesized by a simple one-step process. With its remarkable stability and catalytic performance, the new catalyst could pave the way for reducing global warming.

The excessive emission of greenhouse gases is the main cause of global warming, which causes irreparable damage to entire ecosystems. Fortunately, scientists have found creative ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. One such approach is ‘dry methane reforming’ (DRM), a chemical reaction that converts methane and carbon dioxide, the two most harmful greenhouse gases, into a useful mixture of hydrogen. and carbon monoxide called “synthesis gas”.

DRM requires the use of a catalyst, and metal-supported zeolites are widely used for this purpose, due to their microporous structure and chemical stability. In particular, certain aluminosilicate zeolites with two-dimensional (2D) structures are already recognized as effective catalysts. However, their synthesis involves a series of rather complex and time-consuming steps, limiting their large-scale commercialization.

In a recent study, researchers led by Professor Min Bum Park from Incheon National university, South Korea, found a solution to this problem. Using nickel as an active metal species, they developed a one-step process to prepare a new type of catalyst with a 2D structure of “MWW type”. Their article was posted on August 16, 2021 and was published in volume 298 of Applied catalysis B: Environmental in december 2021.

The new synthetic approach involved a simple hydrothermal treatment of a borosilicate precursor with a nickel-containing solution for a period of up to four days at relatively mild temperatures. The result was a framework of delaminated 2D material with active nickel centers that acted as a molecular sieve. “Molecular sieves with highly dispersed nickel species are interesting catalysts for DRM because they allow easy molecular diffusion of the gases involved and are resistant to deactivation caused by coke deposition.“, explains Professor Park.

The team then characterized the new catalyst and tested its conversion efficiency and stability in DRM. The results were promising. “Our catalyst exhibited extremely high conversion of methane and carbon dioxide to syngas as well as extraordinary stability. It could maintain its catalytic activity for 10 consecutive days, thanks to the in situ formation of metallic nickel clusters from the framework speciesProfessor Park comments enthusiastically. Plus, it didn’t require any pre-treatment steps, such as air calcination and hydrogen reduction.

Given the many applications of syngas in the chemical industry and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the proposed and easy-to-produce catalyst for DRM could become the key to achieving a circular carbon economy. .

Reference

Original article title: Nickel Species Atomically Dispersed in Two-Dimensional Molecular Sieve: Origin of High Activity and Stability in Dry Reforming of Methane
Newspaper: Applied catalysis B: Environmental
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcatb.2021.120627

On Incheon National university
Website: http://www.inu.ac.kr/mbshome/mbs/inuengl/index.html

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SOURCE Incheon National university

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