A new nanocatalyst has been developed that converts major greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) into high value-added hydrogen gas (H2). This catalyst is expected to contribute greatly to the development of various waste-to-energy technologies as it has more than double the efficiency of CH4 to H2 conversion compared to traditional electrode catalysts. The new development is reported by UNIST – Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea.
A team of researchers led by Professor Gong-Tae Kim of the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST has developed a new method to improve the performance and stability of catalysts used in a reaction (e.g. dry methane reforming, DRM) that produces H2 and carbon monoxide (CO) from well-known greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4.
Common catalysts used for dry methane reforming are nickel (Ni) based metal complexes. However, over time, their characteristics deteriorate, and with them the life of the catalyst itself. This is because carbon accumulates on the surface of the catalysts.
“A uniform and the quantitatively controlled layer of iron (Fe) through Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) promotes topotactic decay by increasing fine nanoparticles,” explains Sangwuk Joo, Ph.D. at UNIST School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, the first author of the study.
The new catalyst has demonstrated high catalytic activity for the DRM process without noticeable degradation over 410 hours of continuous operation. The experimental results also showed a high conversion of methane (over 70%) at 700 ° C. “This is more than double the energy conversion efficiency of traditional electrode catalysts,” said Professor Kim. “Overall, the abundance of nanocatalysts from atomic-layer deposition alloys marks an important step in the development of the decay process and its applications in the field of energy use.”