Catalyst advance improves natural gas cleaning technology

Catalyst advances improve natural gas purification technology

Palladium (Pd) oxide catalyst “rafts” held together by individual platinum atoms are effective in cleaning up emissions from natural gas engines. Photo credit: Cortland Johnson, PNNL.

A newly developed catalyst with unique atom-sized “floats” does a better job than current technology for cleaning up emissions from natural gas engines.

The work reported in Natural catalysis, could do natural gas-Powered technology cleaner and more workable for trucks, off-road vehicles and equipment drivetrains. The researchers developed “catalyst rafts” made of palladium (Pd) oxide, which are held together with individual platinum atoms. you catalyst is effective in cleaning the natural gas and allows a more tolerant catalytic reaction to it Steamwhich would reduce the amount of unburned methane that would be emitted.

While Natural gas engines are cleaner than gasoline or diesel engines and cause about 25% less Carbon dioxide emissions and less particulate matter they emit unburned methane because their catalytic converters are inefficient at low temperatures. The new development has been shown to operate at faster reaction rates than current technology.

“Energy efficiency improvements must go hand in hand with aftertreatment technologies,” said Yong Wang, Voiland Distinguished Professor at Washington State University’s Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and a correspondent on the paper. “Right now, burning methane to produce electricity cannot use the most efficient combustion technology. So it works, but there is room for further improvements in that efficiency.”

The team was led by researchers from WSU and the University of New Mexico with a number of staff in the United States, the European Union and China.

Although not as widespread in the US, natural gas engines are widely used in vehicles around the world, particularly in China, Iran, and India. Because they are less harmful to the environment than Diesel engines, they are widely used in trucks and buses in urban areas. Natural gas powered engines are also used in the gas industry to power thousands of compressors that pump natural gas into people’s homes.

However, these natural gas powered vehicles emit unburned methane because their catalytic converters are not efficient at low temperatures. The more efficiently the engines work and the cleaner they burn, the lower the exhaust gas temperature and the more difficult it is for the catalytic converters to clean pollutants. Unburned methane from the engine, in particular, is a powerful greenhouse gas that is about 25 times worse than carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change.

In addition, one of the byproducts of methane combustion is water, and traditional catalysts are “notoriously bad” when it comes to operating in the presence of water, Wang said. The cleaner burning fuel will eventually work against itself by removing pollutants.

Compared to the commonly used catalysts made from Pd oxide nanoparticles, the rafts developed by the researchers offer better water vapor compatibility with improved reactivity.

“The strongly bound platinum (Pt) can serve as a nucleation site for added metal atoms,” said Abhaya K. Datye, professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UNM and one of the corresponding authors of this study. “With the help of trapped Pt atoms, we were able to demonstrate the formation of two-dimensional Pt and Pd oxide rafts that change the oxidation state and reactivity of the active phase.”

“Our theoretical calculations suggested that the raft did not readily dissociate water, thereby reducing the detrimental effect of water poisoning in the catalysis of methane Oxidation, “said Hua Guo, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at UNM.

New catalytic converter masters the challenge of exhaust gas cleaning in modern engines

More information:
Haifeng Xiong, engineering catalyst carrier for stabilizing two-dimensional PdOx rafts for water-tolerant methane oxidation, Natural catalysis (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41929-021-00680-4.

Quote: Catalyst Advance Improves Natural Gas Purification Technology (2021, October 18), accessed October 18, 2021 from

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