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Development of a nickel-molybdenum catalyst that is stable to the reaction conditions for dry reforming of methane

The reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in accordance with greenhouse gas emission regulations is one of the most important tasks faced by industries. Carbon dioxide accounts for a large percentage of greenhouse gases, making it necessary to seek direct measures to supply energy efficiently without producing carbon dioxide. Professor Cafer Yavuz and his research team have successfully developed a catalyst that does not cause coking even when used for dry reforming of methane for long periods of time.

Researching carbon dioxide gases to save the environment

Dry reforming of methane (CH4+CO2→2CO+2H2) has recently attracted great interest as a reaction that can convert carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming and ocean acidification, into useful substances. Catalysts are essential to the dry reforming of methane and have generally been developed using platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), rhodium (Rh), and other precious metals. However, there were limitations for actual industry use due to the high price of precious metals. In order to overcome this issue, Professor Yavuz and his research team studied metals that are active in the dry reforming reaction. Moreover, energy production using fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide gases that cause global warming, which adversely affects the environment, and the team aimed to convert these gases into useful products.

Increased production volume and activity by producing a new nanoparticle

Nickel (Ni) has a high likelihood of success as it is highly active and affordable, but its critical weakness is that carbon builds up (coking) as the reaction progresses and the metal is sintered and deactivated. In order to achieve a high yield, the thermodynamic reaction must take place in a high-temperature, high-pressure environment. Under such conditions, however, the catalyst is also modified and loses its activity over time, eventually becoming deactivated. Carbon build-up on the surface results in a decreased production volume and sintering decreases the conversion rate over time by reducing the active surface. To prevent coking and sintering, the research team produced a nanoparticle containing nickel (Ni) and molybdenum (Mo) on top of a single crystalline magnesium oxide (MgO), and found that it does not cause coking even when used for dry reforming of methane for long periods of time. “The present study has increased production volume and activity, and larger volumes of the catalyst can be used for longer periods of time (about 850 hours) compared to previous catalysts. The scientific principle and techniques will be applied to other catalysts based on the current findings,” Professor Yavuz said. The present study was funded by the NRF, and commercialization is in progress in collaboration with the Saudi Aramco CO2 Management Project Team.

Prof. Cafer T. Yavuz
2018 KI Annual Report

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