Researchers learn breakthrough routine for directly converting methane to methanol

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New routine could lead to prolongation of methanol or acetic poison by some-more appetite efficient, low-cost and environmentally-friendly ways

The approach burning of methane—found in healthy gas—into methanol during low temperatures has prolonged been a holy grail. Now, researchers during Tufts have found a breakthrough approach to accomplish a attainment regulating a extrinsic matter and inexpensive molecular oxygen, according to a paper published currently in a journal Nature by a group led by Tufts University chemical engineers.

 

ORNL’s Larry Allard used high-resolution aberration-corrected nucleus microscopy methods to picture singular atoms of rhodium in a zeolite matter material, that aided in a expansion of a breakthrough routine that directly translates methane to methanol. The routine was grown by a Tufts University-led investigate team.

Methanol is a pivotal feedstock for a prolongation of chemicals, some of that are used to make products such as plastics, plywood and paints. Methanol also can fuel vehicles or be reformed to furnish high-grade hydrogen for fuel cells.

However, a stream routine for producing methanol from methane- or coal-derived singularity gas involves a multi-step routine that is conjunction fit nor careful in small-scale applications. As a result, methane emissions from oil wells, accounting for 210 billion cubic feet of healthy gas annually, are being vented and flared, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, a expansion of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and a successive use of shale gas, a arch member of that is methane, have dramatically increasing a healthy gas supply in a United States, and accelerated a enterprise to ascent methane into some-more profitable chemicals, such as by burning to methanol or carbonylation to acetic acid.

ORNL’s Larry Allard used high-resolution aberration-corrected nucleus microscopy methods to picture singular atoms of rhodium in a zeolite matter material, that aided in a expansion of a breakthrough routine that directly translates methane to methanol. The routine was grown by a Tufts University-led investigate team.

As a result, scientists have been seeking some-more fit and reduction costly ways to modify methane with a routine that uses inexpensive molecular oxygen in amiable conditions in that comparatively low temperatures and pressures are used. The intensity advantage is significant. In 2000, a accessibility of inexpensive shale gas represented usually 1 percent of American healthy gas supplies, while currently it represents some-more than 60 percent.

The Tufts-led researchers found that they could use molecular oxygen and CO monoxide for a approach acclimatisation of methane to methanol catalyzed by upheld mononuclear rhodium dicarbonyl species, anchored on a inner pore walls of zeolites or on a aspect of titanium dioxide supports that were dangling in H2O underneath amiable vigour (20 to 30 bar) and feverishness (110 to 150° C).

ORNL’s Larry Allard used high-resolution aberration-corrected nucleus microscopy methods to picture singular atoms of rhodium in a zeolite matter material, that aided in a expansion of a breakthrough routine that directly translates methane to methanol. The routine was grown by a Tufts University-led investigate team.

The same matter also produces acetic poison by a opposite greeting intrigue that does not engage methanol as an intermediate. Carbon monoxide is essential to a catalytic reaction, that is heterogeneous. Tuning a greeting to possibly methanol or acetic poison is probable by scrupulously determining a handling conditions, generally a astringency of a support. Even after many hours of reaction, there is no leaching of a matter in a water, a investigate found.

The paper’s comparison author, Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, Ph.D., a Distinguished Professor and a Robert and Marcy Haber Endowed Professor in Energy Sustainability in a School of Engineering during Tufts University, pronounced a researchers were really astounded to find that CO monoxide was required in a gas reduction to furnish methanol.

“We attributed this to maintaining a active site carbonylation”, Flytzani-Stephanopoulos said. “Interestingly, a matter does not carbonylate methanol. Instead, it carbonylates methane directly to acetic acid, that is a many sparkling finding.”

“Although some-more investigate is needed, we are speedy that this routine binds guarantee for serve development. Not usually could it be effective in producing methanol and acetic poison directly from methane, it also could do so in a some-more appetite fit and environmentally accessible approach than stream processes,”  she added.

Postdoctoral associate JunJun Shan and doctoral tyro Mengwei Li, who are both initial authors of a paper, prepared upheld Rh catalysts by comparatively elementary singularity procedures. The categorical concentration was to atomically sunder a rhodium species, that was achieved by a special feverishness diagnosis custom on a zeolite support and by anchoring rhodium predecessor class on reduced titania assisted by UV-irradiation.  The atomic rhodium state is required for a greeting to occur, pronounced Shan.

Lawrence F. Allard, Ph.D., renowned investigate staff member during Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a co-author of a paper, pronounced aberration-corrected nucleus microscopy was essential in ancillary a research.

“The ‘direct’ imaging of singular atom dispersions joined with some-more customary ‘indirect’ chemical and spectroscopic methods has been a absolute multiple of capabilities that concede these studies to be so successful,” Allard said.

Flytzani-Stephanopoulos leads a Tufts Nano Catalysis and Energy Laboratory, in a Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, that investigates new matter materials for a prolongation of hydrogen and “green” chemicals. Pioneering work from her lab has demonstrated a use of extrinsic singular steel atom catalysts for reactions of seductiveness to fuel processing, and to commodity and value-added chemicals production, with softened yields and reduced CO footprint, while regulating changed metals sustainably and some-more efficiently.

In further to a Tufts researchers from a Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Allard from ORNL, another co-author of a paper, Sungsik Lee, Ph.D., staff scientist during Argonne National Laboratory, assisted with X-ray fullness spectroscopy (XAS) work that was used to denote a constructional state of a catalysts.

This work was upheld by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)/ARPA-E program. The XAS investigate used resources of a Advanced Photon Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility operated for a DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory. Aberration-corrected nucleus microscopy during Oak Ridge National Laboratory was sponsored by a DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office’s Propulsion Materials Program.

Source: ORNL

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