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!
Glass's off-kilter harmonies
18.01.2017 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level
18.01.2017 | Institute for Basic Science
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
19.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation