Stability of Copper Nanoparticulate Catalysts
The aim of this project is to study the stability and to get fundamental insight in the deactivation mechanisms of supported copper catalysts. Copper catalysts are, in industry, used for the production of methanol. Methanol is an important reactant for the production of for instance plastics, fuels and drugs. The used catalysts (Cu/ZnO/Al2O3) deactivates by particle growth, which leads to the decrease in accessible surface area for catalysis , . Particle growth is caused by two mechanisms: the diffusion of the metallic nanoparticles over the oxide support and thereby coalescence and Ostwald ripening.
To acquire fundamental insight in both of these deactivation mechanisms a model system is needed. For the investigation of the rate of Ostwald ripening copper nanoparticles can be placed in a mesoporous silica support, modified mesoporous cellular foam , containing cages and narrow windows connecting the cages. In this case the mobility of the small copper particles will be limited to the space of the cages .
Furthermore, the support material, the CO/CO2 ratio in the synthesis gas feed and the effect of the addition of promotors, like ZnO will have an effect on the stability of the catalyst. These parameters together with possible other reactions, catalyzed by metallic copper particles will be investigated. As well as new routes to synthesize copper catalysts, by making use of for example colloidal particles .
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