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Last updateMon, 11 Nov 2019 1pm

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Catalyst to transform and reuse CO2 and methane

One of the strategies for reducing the impact of climatic change is finding processes to reuse greenhouse gases and therefore avoiding their emission to the air. Scientists at the CSIC have developed a catalyst for reusing and transforming CO2 and methane and obtaining syngas.

Image of the catalyst obtained by Scanning Electron Microscope.Syngas, also called synthesis gas, is formed mainly by hydrogen and carbon monoxide and can be obtained from substances with a high carbon content. Syngas is used for the synthesis of multiple chemicals and combustibles.

Scientists from the CSIC (at the Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica and at the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales in Madrid) and from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas from Argentina (CONICET), have developed a solid catalyst for the syngas production. The material has a very porous structure which leads to a high dispersion of the active phase of the catalyst, and an exceptionally high activity per mass unit, small particle size and high degree of crystallinity.

The catalyst has been successfully tested in the lab for two processes, at milligrams scale: for producing syngas by catalytic reduction of CO2 with hydrogen, and for producing syngas by partial oxidation of methane, another greenhouse gas.

In the first case, the material was continuously active for at least 100 hours, obtaining  the maximum conversion of CO2 (at thermodynamic equilibrium) with a 100% selectivity to carbon monoxide. In the second case, the partial oxidation of methane reaction, maximum methane conversions to syngas were also obtained.

The goal is to apply these processes in thermal power stations or in biomass gasification facilities to transform waste in chemical resources and energy sources

The scientists will test the catalyst at pilot plant scale the process. As the CSIC scientists Consuelo Alvarez Galván and José Antonio Alonso explain, the goal is to apply these processes in thermal power stations or in biomass gasification facilities to transform waste in chemical resources and energy sources.

As an example, in the case of the CO2 transformation, “it would be necessary to capture CO2 from its source, to isolate it from other gases generated in the industrial processes, and to carry it to the catalytic reactor to transform it in renewable hydrogen. Afterwards, with the carbon monoxide, obtained by other processes, such as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis or methanol synthesis, it would be possible to obtain hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds useful as a chemical products and combustibles”.

The special porous structure leads to a high dispersion of the active phase of the catalyst, which enables an exceptionally high activity per mass unit. The synthesis of the catalyst material is simple and easily scalable at the industrial level. The material as well as its production method and their use in both tested processes, are under patent license.

Contact:

Sara Junco Corujedo
Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Tel.: 915854633
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.