The goal of this research is to design, synthesize, and evaluate highly selective, active, and stable multifunctional catalysts for the low temperature (< 500 Kelvin (K)) partial oxidation of methane to methanol (MTM) with molecular oxygen.
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309
Pajarito Powder, Albuquerque, NM 87109
This project will investigate single atom catalysts embedded and stabilized in two-dimensional materials such as graphene (GR) and "supported" on Group VIII and IB transition metals such as nickel.
Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a source of energy and economic growth as well as an environmental concern. Recent developments in horizontal drilling and enhanced extraction methods have resulted in production of an estimated 62.4 trillion m3 of ‘stranded’, or uneconomic, natural gas. Uneconomical natural gas is often flared or vented at remote oil production sites. Leaked, flared, and/or vented gas represents a "lost opportunity" and this research project aims to maximize the value of the resource.
We are currently in the process of optimizing catalyst composition and reaction temperature. Synthesis of the catalyst continues to be challenging, in the sense that it is desired to have a large fraction of active sites that consist of single metal atoms embedded in a graphene layer and deposited on a Ni surface (versus large metal atom clusters or metal atoms embedded in graphene but not in contact with a Ni surface). Thus, there is also continued effort in simplifying the catalyst system without sacrificing activity and selectivity.