Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Energy-saving powder

13.11.2009
It is currently estimated that natural gas resources will be exhausted in 130 years; however, those reserves where extraction is cost-effective will only flow for another 60 years or so.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research and at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces might be helping to make it worthwhile to tap into previously unused resources. They have developed a catalyst that converts methane to methanol in a simple and efficient process. Methanol can be transported from locations where it is not economical to build a pipeline. (Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., September 1, 2009)

It is not cost-effective to lay pipelines to remote or small natural gas fields; nor is it worthwhile accessing the methane in coal seams or in gas sand, or which is burned off as a by-product of oil production, although the methane burned off throughout the world could more than satisfy Germany's requirement for natural gas. It is also too expensive to liquefy the gas and transport it on trains or in tankers - and even chemistry has so far been unable to offer a solution. Although there are chemical ways to convert methane to methanol, which is easy to transport and which is suitable as a raw material for the chemical industry, "the processes commonly used up to now for producing diesel fuel - steam reforming followed by methanol synthesis or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis - are not economical," says Ferdi Schüth, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim an der Ruhr. He and his colleagues have been working with Markus Antonietti and his team at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam to develop a catalyst that might change all this.

The catalyst consists of a nitrogenous material, a covalent, triazine-based network (CTF) synthesized by the chemists in Potsdam. "This solid is so porous that the surface of a gram is approximately equivalent in size to a fifth of a football field," says Markus Antonietti. The researchers in Mülheim insert platinum atoms into the voluminous lattice of the CTF. Thanks to the large surface area, the catalyst oxidizes the methane efficiently to methanol, as it offers the methane a large area in which to react when the chemists immerse it in oxidizing sulphuric acid, force methane into the acid and heat the mixture to 215° Celsius under pressure. Methanol is created from more than three-quarters of the converted gas.

A catalyst manufactured by the American chemist Roy Periana more than ten years ago from platinum and simple nitrogenous bipyrimidine also effectively creates methanol, but only supports the reaction in a soluble form. This means that the catalyst - which chemists refer to as a homogenous catalyst - subsequently needs to be separated off in a laborious and somewhat wasteful process. "It's much easier with our heterogeneous catalyst," says Ferdi Schüth. The chemists in Mülheim filter out the powdery platinum and CTF catalyst, and then separate the acid and methanol in a simple distillation.

The catalyst developed by the Max Planck chemists probably uses the same mechanism as the Periana catalyst and was indeed inspired by it. "When I saw the structure of CTF, I noticed the elements which correspond to its bipyrimidine ligands," says Schüth. "That's when I had the idea of manufacturing the solid catalyst."

To get closer to a large-scale technical application, he and his colleagues are now attempting to enable the process to work with reactants in gaseous rather than soluble form. "We are also looking for similar, even more effective catalysts," says Schüth. "We have already found more efficient homogenous catalysts with ligands other than bipyrmidine." They are now using these as a model for simple, easy to manage catalysts like the CTF and platinum powder.

Original work:

Regina Palkovits, Markus Antonietti, Pierre Kuhn, Arne Thomas, and Ferdi Schüth

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

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Volume 48, Issue 37, September 1, 2009 /DOI: 10.1002/anie.200902009

Prof Ferdi Schueth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mpi-muelheim.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>