Chemical engineers at Purdue University have made a discovery that may help to improve a promising low-polluting energy technology that combusts natural gas more cleanly than conventional methods.
The finding revolves around the fact that catalysts and other materials vital to industry have complex crystalline structures with numerous sides, or facets. Different facets sometimes provide higher performance than others, so industry tries to prepare catalytic materials that contain a large number of higher-performing facets.
The Purdue researchers have determined, however, that the precious metal palladium, the catalyst used in the clean energy technology – called catalytic combustion – performs the same no matter which facet is exposed. "Palladium is the best metal for the catalytic combustion of methane, which is contained in natural gas," said Fabio Ribeiro, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Purdue. "There is no other element in the periodic table you can use thats better than palladium for this reaction."
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
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