The process to turn propane into industrially necessary propylene has been expensive and environmentally unfriendly. That was until scientists at U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory devised a greener way to take this important step in chemical catalysis.
"Using platinum clusters, we have devised a way to catalyze propane not only in a more environmentally friendly way, but also using far less energy than previous methods," Argonne scientist Stefan Vajda said.
Alkanes are typical feedstocks for transformation to alkenes, aromatics and chemicals containing value added moieties. Dehydrogenation is a route to such transformations, but it is an endothermic process requiring significant energy input.
Oxidative dehydrogenation (ODH) of propane to propylene is a multibillion dollar industrial process. ODH of alkanes is exothermic, and thus an attractive alternative to dehydrogenation. However, current ODH catalysts have limited activity and/or poor selectivity resulting from inability to prevent complete oxidation. Two classes of catalysts are used: vanadia and platinum. The vanadia based catalysts are highly selective, but their activity is relatively low. Pt-based catalysts are more active, but their selectivity is low.
Argonne scientists showed that the size preselected Pt8-10 clusters stabilized on high-surface-area supports are 40� times more active for the oxidative dehydrogenation of propane than previously studied platinum and vanadia catalysts, while at the same time maintaining high selectivity towards formation of propylene over by-products.
This new class of catalysts may lead to energy-efficient and environmentally friendly synthesis strategies and the possible replacement of petrochemical feedstocks by abundant small alkanes.
"The oxidative dehydrogenation of alkanes is a reaction that is exothermic and thus an attractive alternative to the endothermic process of dehydrogenation of alkanes," Argonne scientist Larry Curtiss said. "The endothermic process requires a significant energy input with an increased chance of environmentally unfriendly by-products."
Using high performance computing facilities at Argonne and elsewhere, Vajda and his colleagues proved theoretically that attractive interaction between the under-coordinated platinum and propane was the cause for the higher selectivity towards propylene and its high activity.
Brock Cooper | EurekAlert!
Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
01.12.2016 | University of California - Riverside
New process produces hydrogen at much lower temperature
01.12.2016 | Waseda University
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
05.12.2016 | Life Sciences