Oscillatory Behavior during the Catalytic Partial Oxidation of Methane: Following Dynamic Structural Changes of Palladium Using the QEXAFS Technique

Jan Stoetzel, Ronald Frahm, Bertram Kimmerle, Maarten Nachtegaal, Jan-Dierk Grunwaldt

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Pd/Al2O3 catalysts oscillate between ignition and extinction of the catalytic partial oxidation of methane when they are exposed to a 2:1 reaction mixture of methane and oxygen. The oscillations of the catalytic performance and the structure of Pd/Al2O3 catalysts in a fixed-bed reactor were investigated using spatially and time-resolved in situ quick scanning X-ray absorption spectroscopy with online mass spectrometry. The dynamic methane conversion oscillated between an inactive state, where only combustion occurred, and an active state, after ignition, where partial oxidation of methane as a combination of total oxidation and reforming in the catalytic capillary reactor was observed. This change in catalytic performance was directly linked to changes in the oxidation state of the Pd/Al2O3 catalysts at different positions along the catalytic reactor. During the ignition of the catalytic partial oxidation of methane, the catalyst reduced from the end to the beginning of the catalyst bed and oxidized again toward the end as soon as the entire catalyst bed was reduced. On an entirely oxidized catalyst bed, only total oxidation of methane was observed and consumed the oxygen until the conditions at the end of the catalyst bed lead to a reduction of the catalyst bed again and a new cycle began with partial oxidation. Prior to the oxidation of the catalyst, a temporary lattice expansion appeared, which could be assigned to carbon intercalation into the palladium lattice. Furthermore, a sintering of the Pd particles at increasing age of the catalyst was observed, which leads to a lower oscillation frequency. Effects of particle size, oven temperature, and oxygen/methane ratio on the oscillation behavior were studied in detail. The deactivation period (reoxidation of Pd) was much less influenced by the oven temperature than the ignition behavior of the catalytic partial oxidation of methane. This indicates that deactivation is caused by an autoreduction of the palladium at the beginning of the catalyst bed due to the high temperature achieved by total oxidation of methane.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials and Interfaces
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)599-609
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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