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Greenhouse Gas Catching Catalyst ·· catalyst Also Produces Hydrogen

The main greenhouse gases, methane and carbon dioxide, are at the center of emission regulations. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are being made worldwide and a Korean research team has been highlighted for developing a new catalyst that rids of methane and carbon dioxide while producing hydrogen. This catalyst, developed by the research team led by Professor Cafer T. Yavuz, is a dry reforming catalyst of methane that can maintain its performance for an extended period of time. The catalyst is expected to contribute to the prevention of global warming as stable and low production cost
synthesis gas can be obtained.

Verified stability for 850 hour usage

The dry reforming of methane is known to simultaneously reduce methane and carbon dioxide while producing synthesis gas. The problem is with the catalyst. Generally, catalysts were developed based on precious metals like platinum and palladium. However, there were limitations in their actual industrial applications due to the high cost involved.

The research team, led by Prof. Cafer T. Yavuz, focused on nickel, which is both inexpensive and has high catalytic activity. However, the team was met with difficulties as the reaction progressed due to the coking phenomenon, which reduces reactivity from the accumulated carbon on the surface of the
catalyst and the sintering phenomenon, where the nanoparticles agglomerate. The research team synthesized nickel-molybdenum alloy nanoparticles on a single crystal magnesium oxide support. The nickel-molybdenum alloy nanoparticle catalyst fabricated in this manner exhibited the stabilizing phenomenon of blocking the vertexes of the single crystal magnesium oxide support, even in the process of heating it to 800 degrees. In order to apply the developed catalyst to the dry reforming of methane, which is sensitive to temperature change, the activity was measured while varying the temperature and the results showed that the activity was stable, even for the temperature range between 700 and 800 degrees. This result was the achievement of 3 years of research.

“Environmental issues can be resolved through greenhouse gas reduction”

Dr. Youngdong Song, who was the first author of this research, said, “a catalyst was developed that can solve the coking phenomenon, which was a significant obstacle, without the use of expensive precious metals or complex fabrication processes” and, “the stabilized catalyst exhibited a stable
conversion rate without coking or sintering for 850 hours under the reaction conditions.”

The research team predicted that the method of synthesizing metal nanoparticles on single crystal catalyst supports will be applicable to various catalytic reactions as new catalysts can be developed depending on the combination of metals and metal oxides. The results of this research were published in the February 2020 issue of the prestigious academic journal, Science.

Cafer T. Yavuz
King Abdullah Univ. of Science & Technology (KAUST)
Co-Research Director of Saudi Aramco-KAIST CO₂ Management Center

Dr. Youngdong Song
2020 KI Annual Report

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