Research

Methane Oxidative Coupling

Background: Oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) is one of the most attractive routes to utilize natural gas because it is a direct route for synthesizing  ethylene (reaction 1), a vital building block in the chemical industry with an expected increase in demand. Moreover, the reaction is exothermic and not limited thermodynamically. Despite intensive research, OCM still lacks an active and stable catalyst, which gives high selectivity towards C2 products (ethane and ethylene) under harsh reaction conditions (~800 ᵒC). The major challenge for OCM is the more favorable oxidation of methane to undesired carbon oxides (COx) in the presence of gas phase oxygen at high

Methane Dry Reforming catalyzed by Nickel on hydrotalcites

Background: Methane and carbon dioxide are two very potent greenhouse gasses that are produced during the anaerobic digestion of biowaste (biogas). One way of utilizing these harmful gasses, aside from burning, is to reform them into synthetic gas (CO+ H2), which can be used to make fuels and chemicals. However, the reforming of methane and CO2 (MDR) is restricted by catalyst limitations. MDR can be catalyzed by rare earth metals such as Pt, Rh, Pd and Ir, however, current economics does not justify using such expensive metals for this application. Supported nickel catalysts were identified as a cost effective and active

Cooperative catalytic interactions in hybrid organic-inorganic catalysts

Background: Aldol reactions are versatile C-C bond formation reactions that are widely used in the synthesis of bulk and fine chemicals such as ingredients in the flavor and fragrance industry. In recent years major efforts are devoted to developing processes that utilize oxygenate platform molecules derived from cellulose, hemicellulose and triglycerides for making fuels and fuel additives. Ideally these chemical processes will be performed by way of C-C coupling reactions, in which the product’s energy content increases by adding carbons while removing oxygens. It has been shown that these type of reaction can be efficiently promoted by bifunctional interactions of between weak acid and base

Polymer assisted approach for the encapsulation of dispersed Ni in Si doped ZrO2

Background: Zirconium oxide is an intensively studied ceramic material because it can be used for a range of applications such as coatings, optical devices, solid electrolytes and catalysis. At room temperature, the thermodynamically stable structure of zirconia is monoclinic (m-ZrO2). At high temperatures, above 1170 ᴼC, the monoclinic structure phase transforms to the higher symmetry tetragonal (t-ZrO2) and cubic phases, which are more stable thermodynamically. The t-ZrO2 phase was found to provide advantageous mechanical and catalytic properties compared to those of m-ZrO2 phase. In practice, during ZrO2 synthesis the metastable t-ZrO2 nucleates first and only upon subsequent heat treatment  (~500 ᴼC) does it transform into the thermodynamically stable m-ZrO2. This provides