Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Ceria nanoparticles catalyze reactions for cleaner-fuel future


Experiments on ceria (cerium oxide) nanoparticles carried out at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory may lead to catalytic converters that are better at cleaning up auto exhaust, and/or to more-efficient ways of generating hydrogen -- a promising zero-emission fuel for the future. Brookhaven chemist Jose Rodriguez will present results from two studies exploring the composition, structure, and reactivity of these versatile nanoparticles during the 229th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on Tuesday, March 15, at 8:15 a.m. in room Del Mar A of the Hyatt Regency, San Diego, California.

After using a novel technique to synthesize the ceria nanoparticles, Rodriguez and coworkers Xianqin Wang and Jonathan Hanson used bright beams of x-rays at the National Synchrotron Light Source to study how their composition, structure, and reactivity changed in response to doping with zirconium in one case, and impregnation with gold in another. "In a catalytic converter, ceria acts as a buffer, absorbing or releasing oxygen, depending on the conditions of the engine, to maintain the catalyst in its optimum operating condition for converting harmful emissions such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide to carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas," Rodriguez said. Others have found that adding zirconium improves ceria’s ability to store and release oxygen.

The synchrotron studies at Brookhaven explain why: Zirconium changes the ceria’s structure to increase the number of oxygen "vacancies" -- or places for oxygen uptake and release. Furthermore, Rodriguez says, "The ceria nanoparticles we studied have much better performance, higher chemical reactivity, than the bulk form of ceria currently used in catalytic converters." Thus, this research holds promise for more-efficient catalytic converters -- and cleaner air.

In the second study, Wang, Hanson, and Rodriguez deposited gold on the surface of ceria nanoparticles and used x-rays at the synchrotron to determine the catalyst’s "active phase" -- the conformation responsible for the catalytic activity -- in the conversion of water and carbon monoxide to hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide. This "water-gas shift" reaction is important for generating hydrogen, which can be used for chemical transformations and as a fuel in a hydrogen-based economy. Hydrogen is one of the leading energy sources being investigated by scientists sponsored by the Department of Energy as part of its mission to ensure the nation’s future energy needs.

"In both cases, we are learning about the fundamental conditions necessary for optimal operation of the catalysts," Rodriguez said. "This kind of knowledge eventually will lead to a rational design of even more effective catalysts."

Karen McNulty Walsh | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>