Nano-Scale High-Surface-Area Thermal and Conductive Ceramics as Effective Support for Metal Oxide Catalysts in Alkane Selective Oxidation

Dr. Manhua Mandy Lin, Principal Investigator, DOE Grant No. DE-FG02-07ER84794       

The utilization of low cost and abundantly available alkanes as feedstocks for the production of valuable chemicals can bring enormous economic, energy, and environmental benefits to the US, provided that catalytic oxidation processes could replace conventional processes for producing these chemicals.  Although several metal oxide catalysts and processes have been developed for producing valuable chemicals from alkanes, their commercialization has been hindered by the catalytic performances of the metal oxide catalysts, due largely to some inherent limitations of bulk metal oxides.  To overcome these limitations, this project will develop a new class of support materials that are specifically tailored for metal oxide catalysts in alkane oxidations.   Phase I will produce a well-designed, ceramic-based catalyst support; apply it to a model alkane oxidation over a model metal oxide catalyst; and demonstrate a 20-40% enhancement in the catalytic performance of the model metal oxide catalyst.  Then, Phase II will develop a robust, commercially feasible process for the production of the support material and demonstrate a 60-100% enhancement in catalytic performance.  The nano-structure, morphology, and surface area of the support and the supported metal oxide catalysts will be characterized, and catalytic performance will be measured in the model alkane reaction.


Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee:   The new material itself should find immediate application as a catalyst support ready for commercialization.  In addition, the model metal oxide catalyst should be applicable to the model alkane oxidation.  Beyond the model oxidation process, the technology should lead to the development of other metal oxides in other alkane selective oxidation processes.