Breaking Methane’s Bonds With Ease

Chinese researchers have developed a catalyst consisting of single chromium atoms supported on titanium dioxide nanoparticles for methane oxidation.

AsianScientist (Feb. 4, 2020) – A team of scientists in China has developed a catalyst that selectively and efficiently oxidizes methane. They published their findings in the journal Angewante Chemie International Edition.

Methane is one of the most promising building blocks for producing basic chemicals as it is abundant and inexpensive. However, methane is the most inert hydrocarbon owing to its tetrahedral structure and the strong C-H bond. Activation of methane is a big challenge and has been regarded as the holy grail in catalysis.

In this study, researchers led by Professor Song Weiguo at the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported that single chromium (Cr) atoms supported on titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are efficient heterogeneous catalysts for direct oxidation of methane in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The reaction yields C1 oxygenated products such as methanol and formic acid.

With the optimized catalyst, the researchers were able to obtain a high yield of C1 oxygenated products of 57.9 mol molCr-1, which was reached with a high selectivity of around 93 percent after the reaction was run for 20 hours at 50℃. This outcome is significantly higher than those of most reported catalysts. The superior catalytic performance can be attributed to the synergistic effect between Cr single atoms and TiO2 support.

The researchers noted that their study provides a new non-noble metal single-site catalyst with superior catalytic performance for direct conversion of methane under mild conditions.

The article can be found at: Shen et al. (2019) Single Chromium Atoms Supported on Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles for Synergic Catalytic Methane Conversion under Mild Conditions.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Pexels.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

Related Stories from Asian Scientist