Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Boost for Methanol?

21.08.2009
New solid catalyst for the direct low-temperature oxidation of methane to methanol

As a possible energy source for fuel cells or a substitute for gasoline, methanol is increasingly drawing attention beyond its importance as a feedstock for chemical industry. It can be stored much more efficiently and cheaply than hydrogen and could be distributed by way of the existing network of fuelling stations.

The disadvantage is the truly complex synthesis of methanol from natural gas via a detour through synthesis gas. One interesting alternative that was pursued and then abandoned is known as the direct low-temperature oxidation of methane to methanol.

A team led by Ferdi Schüth at the Max Plank Institute of Coal Research in Mülheim (Germany) and Markus Antonietti at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm (Germany) has now developed a novel catalyst. As the researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this could provide a second wind, if not a major breakthrough, for this process.

“The development of catalyst systems for the direct low-temperature oxidation of methane to methanol has been one of the major challenges in catalysis over the last decades,” says Schüth. The problem is that the bonds in methane are very strong and difficult to break. In addition, under the reaction conditions required, methanol has the tendency to react further to form carbon dioxide. The process thus requires not only highly active but also highly selective catalysts.

One breakthrough was the development of a platinum complex by a research group led by Roy Periana. This complex catalyzes the low-temperature oxidation of methane in concentrated sulfuric acid at temperatures around 200 °C to form methyl sulfate—which can be converted into methanol—in good yield and high selectivity. Despite highly promising results, the complex separation and difficult recycling of this dissolved catalyst, among other things, hampered the commercial application of this process. Development proceeded to the pilot-plant stage before being abandoned. “A solid catalyst that can be easily separated could make such a process viable on a small scale, making possible the efficient, decentralized consumption of natural gas,” says Schüth.

The German researchers have now been able to develop such a solid catalyst, whose high reactivity and selectivity, and its outstanding stability through numerous recycling steps, have raised hopes of its industrial implementation. “Our development is based on a recently discovered class of high-performance polymers,” explains Anonietti. Polymerization of a ring-shaped molecule, an aromatic nitrile, results in a network known to chemists as a “covalent triazine-based framework”, abbreviated as CTF. Loading this substance with platinum results in a highly active, easily separated, and recyclable catalyst.

Author: Ferdi Schüth, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Germany), http://www.mpi-muelheim.mpg.de/kofo/mpikofo_home.html

Title: Solid Catalysts for the Selective Low-Temperature Oxidation of Methane to Methanol

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2009, 48, No. 37, 6909–6912, doi: 10.1002/anie.200902009

Ferdi Schüth | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.mpi-muelheim.mpg.de/kofo/mpikofo_home.html
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

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...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

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...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>